Saturday, March 7, 2009

So You're Not A University Graduate

This week I came across a note circulating on Facebook that lists the BBC's Top 100 Books and invites people to indicate which ones they have read (most people will have read 6 of the 100). Not all books on this list are necessarily classics, they simply were popular among readers. This note got me thinking about what makes a book a classic, and what value there is in reading them.

Sometimes "educated" people have a bit of a superiority complex, but the plain and simple truth is that anyone can be well-read, and even those who don't read much may have great wisdom to offer. Snobbish intellectuals simply become stupid because they won't learn from people they feel are inferior. But when someone reacts against intellectual snobbery by denying the value reading, they also can miss out.

True classics not only cross generational and cultural barriers to entertain people on a basic human level, but they also help us better understand the world we live in. Through a good book we can "walk a mile" in someone else's shoes. Even if you struggle with reading, have a disability that makes it difficult, or simply don't think you have the time, the classics can be accessible for you. Some classic books are quite short, some are at a child's reading level, and audio books make it easy to tackle more challenging reads. This list is a good starting point to find something worth reading. I encourage you to read one classic novel this spring, and get as much out of it as you can.

If you have read something lately that changed the way you think, helped you understand life better, or gave you great enjoyment, please share your find in the comments section!

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