Thursday, June 10, 2010

Room to Read

In my younger years my reading life revolved around the school and local libraries. I remember that at about 10 my diet was mostly The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon but the school library held a very special collection - Illustrated Classics. These were comic versions (or to use the modern parlance, 'graphic novels') of the Classics.

And I read them all - many, many times over. There was the Scarlet Letter A, Ivanhoe, Jane Eye, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Red Badge of Courage, Oliver Twist, The Man in the Iron Mask, Kidnapped,  Last of the Mohicans, David Copperfield, Great Expectations and Tale of Two Cities (I think I became a Dickens babe right there and then) just off the top of my head. I know there was about 30 of them in our library but you get the idea.

I have gone on to read the complete versions of most of them over the years. They gave me an entry into the world of literature in a way that I could understand and without them my life would certainly not have been so rich.

I think of this now as I start the study back up again - I am reading Euripedes Medea today and have Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina to read or re-read in the next week or so.

If this isn't heaven I am not sure what is - and I know that at least some of my love of literature (as opposed to just reading) began with the Illustrated Classics in the Harvey Primary School's Library. I only hope they are still there and still opening new worlds to the kids of today.

1 comment:

pita-woman said...

I admit, I'm not a fan of Shakespeare, probably because teachers forced us to read it and disect every sentence, instead of allowing us to discover it on our own.
But I did read every one of Nancy & Trixie's books, and many of Joe&Frank's books.
My tastes eventually turned to Sidney Sheldon & John Grisham.