A sixth’s Graders Back-to-the-Classics list

1.  19th Century Classic

Phantastes or other George MacDonald
She’s started Phantastes already . . .
2. 20th Century Classic
Saint Francis of Assisi: Illustrated Edition (G. K. Chesterton Book 5)
The Ball and the Cross was a Christmas present from Uncle.
3. Classic by a Woman
Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Our new read-aloud.
4. Classic in Translation
St. Thomas Aquinas by Raissa Maritain
Another present from Uncle.  Started and finished!
5. Classic Comedy
We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome (or The Ball and the Cross)
6. Classic Tragedy
Dandelion Wine or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
She loves science fiction.
7. Very Long Classic
The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
8. Novella
Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy (Paperback))
More classic sci-fi.
9. American Classic
Magic for Marigold—The Serialized Version by [L M, Montgomery]
Magic for Marigold by L. M. Montgomery
For the young L.M. Montgomery completist.
10. African, Asian, or Oceanic Classic
The River: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics)
The River by Rumer Godden
11. Local Classic
Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
Eight Cousins was a read-aloud years ago.
12. Play
Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
Also on her Aunt’s list.  We can have a My Fair Lady party when they finish!
Mrs. Aldertree

4. A Classic In Translation: Fragments of Sappho

For the Classics in Translation I read Anne Carson’s If Not Winter a Translation of Sappho’s Poems and I highly recommend it.  The Greek is On the left page, in startling red ink while Carson’s translation is on the right page in a calmer black ink. Brackets note the missing lines.  It is a beautiful way to read these fragmented poems; the blank spaces fill you with wonder- what was the complete poem like? There was such intensity in the fragments!

spangled is
the earth with her crowns

Her poems have a sense of pagan piety and duty and yet others were soft, lyrical, feminine with striking imagery:

“Evening you gather back
all that dazzling dawn has put asunder:
you gather a lamb, gather a kid,
gather a child to its mother.” 

To read The Classics is to cross the chasm of time and even language, to experience the permanence of the written word; even an ancient author like Sappho feels close to us when we read. Thousands of years, the Enlightenment, the industrial revolution cannot change the human condition: love, hatred, pain, joy, suffering will always be a part of our lives.

Someone will remember us
I say
even in another time.

-Mrs Karl T. Cooper, Jr.


Stack of Old Books

The other day I visited Karen’s Books and Chocolate for the details of the Back to the Classics challenge she is hosting this year.  Unfortunately, I had just missed the deadline to officially join the challenge.  But I couldn’t resist choosing books for each of her categories. It gave me a fresh perspective on my bookshelves (I already own eight of the 12 titles I selected) and lent a sense of adventure and direction to the reading months ahead.

Here is the stack of old books I’ll be rambling among during the rest of 2018:
1.  A 19th century classic.
Charlotte Bronte dedicated Jane Eyre to Thackeray. Thackeray considered Henry Esmond his true masterpiece.
2.  A 20th century classic.
All I can recall from the first time I read it is the family rosary scene at the beginning and a “wretched meal” of spaghetti dumped from the window of a decaying palace.
3.  A classic by a woman author.
Never read but it’s been on my shelf for ages.  An online review inspires me to dust it off.
4.  A classic in translation.
Investigating agrarianism, I think of this poem again.  A pity that the best translation I know of is not currently available.
5. A children’s classic.
Avoided this one as a child because I didn’t like the movie.  Always loved the title!
6.  A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Knickerbocker Classics)
Or something Sherlocky by Conan Doyle.  These stories were beloved by my grandfather and he recommended them to us.
7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction.
Two Years Before The Mast
Read an abridged version as a kid.  The real thing will surely be worth the time.
8. A classic with a single-word title.
A “cold war classic” my dad recommends.
9. A classic with a color in the title.
Has been on my list.
10. A classic by an author that’s new to you.
As a Driven Leaf (Paperback) - Common
Picked up at a thrift store.
11. A classic that scares you.
Scares me so much I’m not sure I want to read it. But the other book that comes to mind is scarier still. . .!
12. Re-read a favorite classic.
It would be my fourth time through this one.
I will try to update with reviews as I finish these titles.  In the meantime, if these categories inspire you, please share which classics you’d like to read in the coming months.  I can’t offer any prizes but I’m sure it won’t be too hard to think of bookish rewards with which to spur yourself on!
-Mrs. Aldertree