Every element of design in our world produces classics. Fashion and interior design both enjoy timeless influence from iconic stylists and their creative designs. Music spans generations and influences up and coming musical artists, and classic movies continue to fill must watch lists.
Classics fill our lives with beauty and historical context. That which is timeless and endures trends, evokes a sense of loyalty, and is priceless, a classic typically represents the period in which it was created. And so it is with classic literature.
Enhancing a Personal Library
For some it’s a pile of favorite books stacked beside the bed. For others it’s a wall of floor to ceiling book cases with a tapestry of novels, journals, magazines and stylish storage all vying for attention on shelves lined with favorite titles and memorabilia. Yet, however large or small, a library without classic literature is missing a key element of artistic substance and luxury.
Some classic literature is perhaps obvious. Novels penned by literary greats Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy and Charlotte Brontë immediately spring to mind. The musings of John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Mitchell or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have entertained countless bibliophiles. Their novels become a collection, worth making space for in a personal library, even becoming heirlooms of sorts.
Children also enjoy volumes of classic literature. Their minds have been inspired and their imaginations sparked through books like Treasure Island, Little Women and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Hans Christian Anderson’s fables and fairy tales whisk them away to enchanting worlds while L. Frank Baum and J.M. Barrie have them flying to magical lands filled with danger and delight.
But not to be overshadowed by the tomes of classic literature, contemporary ‘classics’ are equally rich and inviting. These are titles on their way to becoming timeless treasures. Crichton, Rowling, Ondaatje, Funke, and Atwood all have a spot in the classic libraries of the future.
The Hunt for Literary Treasures
Wondering what to read? Peruse recipients of the Man Booker Prize, a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length English language novel. The Nobel Prize for literature is awarded for ‘the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency,’ (from the will of Alfred Nobel). Both are international honors that span the globe looking for the best works of literary fiction and can offer suggestions for your next read.
From there step into lesser known book stores in your area. Often times small dealers are those in love with their well stocked shelves and will usually take you on a romantic journey through their shop. You get the sense they’ve intimately known the authors or have lived the actual stories by the way they color their knowledge of characters and plot, and through the stories they have.
But truly, personal taste will win every time. If you’re aroused by timeless love stories then savor Pride and Prejudice or Lady Chatterley’s Lover. If you prefer a novel of suspense then turning the pages of the classic thriller War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells will keep you engrossed.
Taking time to immerse oneself in the pages of a well-written novel is a luxurious retreat. Classic novels deposit richly into the reader new ideals and sensibilities and evoke emotional responses. The only question to ask yourself is which titles will you include in your personal library of classic literature?
by Lee Anne Michayluk