Working in a library, there are at least two absolutes:
- There are hundreds of thousands of books I could read
- I am never going to read them all
With this in mind, I have found the solution. Never again will I have to worry and fret about all those classic titles that cause me shame to admit I have never read. With my new tool, I can sound as if I know the plot to the biggies and nod sagely when people discuss the nuances of character development in The Clan of the Cave Bear or the sense of place in Death in Venice.
My great weapon for feeling superior? 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry by Henrik Lange
This slim but filling book lets you read the classics, from The Bible to To Kill a Mockingbird, through to Lord of the Flies and Catch 22, by simply reading a single page with three cartoon squares.
It sums up the tale, the characters, the subtle plot lines, the good, the bad and the ugly and you can almost head to your book club, safe in the knowledge you can bluff your way through.
Spoiler Alert: Once you read it, if you have a good memory, which thankfully I don’t, you may not be able to actually read the book in the future, because you now know how it ends.
It is written with wit and strips away of of the pretentiousness that can accompany the reading of classics.
One of my favorites was the summing up of The Lord of the Flies
So bad boy Jack sets the entire island on fire which gets a navy ship to come to the rescue. The officer says he would have expected better of British boys
So, dip in and enjoy a classic, you could read a dozen while eating your lunch.