5 Minutes for Books: Readable Classics

by Guest Contributor

Before I started my own blog in January of 2007, I followed several blogs daily (yes, I was a lurker). One of the blog topics that always captured my attention was books/reading. I love to read, so I enjoyed following along with reading challenges and blogs about books. As soon as I started my own site, I jumped into the reading community by participating in challenges; and eventually, I became a contributor at 5 Minutes for Books.

I have always been a reader, but reading challenges and my work with 5 Minutes for Books have helped me to expand my horizons in a very specific way: I now read classics—for fun. I first joined the classics scene by reading all of Jane Austen’s books (it seemed that everyone in Blogland adored Jane), and since then, I have read many other classic titles.

Last year, however, I read very few classics. I was sick for much of the year, and I was just too tired to do the work that reading classics involves. I specifically remember trying to read Jane Eyre for the Classics Bookclub. I didn’t make it past the first two chapters because I kept falling asleep! I hated to put it down because I knew it was a well-loved story, but I just couldn’t muster the energy.

janeeyreNot long after that, I learned about the Readable Classics Version of Jane Eyre. The Readable Classics are gently edited by author Wayne Josephson to make them more accessible to everyone (read about his story HERE). I decided that this version of Jane Eyre would be a perfect fit for me.

I am sure that some of you are literary purists who feel that no classic should be altered, and that’s fine. But, this book was a delight to read. How wonderful to immerse myself in Jane’s story without being weighed down by cumbersome language! Wayne Josephson has done a masterful job of editing the story in such a way that the essence remains, but the difficulty does not. I highly recommend this version, and I look forward to reading the other Readable Classics: Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, and Pride and Prejudice (coming in April). I think that well-done revisions like these can open the door for readers who want to enjoy the classic stories but feel that they are not up to the challenge of the original text. Now that I have read the Readable Classics version of Jane Eyre, I am more likely to read the unedited version because I know and love the story. I am sure some of you might be interested in this version as well.

Whatever your preference, I encourage you to pick up a classic story. At 5 Minutes for Books, we have a wonderful Classics Challenge: you pick the books you want to read and then link up and discuss them quarterly. It’s fun to see what others are reading, and I have added several classic works to my pile because of the recommendations of others. You can read some of the recent reviews people linked up at our most recent Classics Challenge link-in.

To encourage you, we are excited to offer a Readable Classics title as a giveaway. The winner can choose one copy of the three published Readable Classics titles. Please leave a comment on this post telling us which book you’d like to read (U.S. addresses only).

We will announce the winner in the April 19 5 Minutes for Books column right here.

The recent winners are:

Mandy and Pandy Teach Kids Chinese is #3 Kathy Eason

The Bookish Board Games from I Can Do That! Games is #47 Nancy T.

Book blogger Lauren is a wife, a mother of two, an avid reader. She blogs at Baseballs and Bows. Thanks to the author for the review copy of the book.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 blueviolet April 5, 2010 at 7:18 am

I’d love to read Pride and Prejudice!


2 Dawna April 5, 2010 at 7:34 am

I would love to read the Scarlet Letter from this series. :-)


3 Jamie Bishop April 5, 2010 at 10:33 am

I stumbled upon this blog quite by accident and am very interested in it. I first found out about the blog week thing because someone had posted it on their blog and while I am confused as to how to participate and how to add the badge to my own blog, I’m excited about it. I also love to read so this particular post was right up my alley. I’d love to read Jane Eyre but have always been slowed by the language difficulty, so it’s great to learn there are versions of some of these classics that will make them far less intimidating! Thanks!


4 Charity April 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

I’d love to read Moby Dick to my oldest son.


5 Annette W April 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Since I can’t say all of them, I will say Jane Eyre. I have also been burdened by the language before…and would like to give these a try. An altered classic…still a classic!


6 Leilani April 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Pride and Prejudice! I love it! Thank you!


7 Lisa B. April 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Jane Eyre was one of my favorite books as a child. As an adult I attempted to read Pride & Prejudice and couldn’t get past the language so I put it down. I would love to try the readable classic version!


8 Benita Glickman April 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I’d love to read Jane Eyre. It is a wonderful story and I’ve read so many versions. I’d love to read one more.



9 Grammy April 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Thank you for this wonderful review for great books that I might actually read. I have several classics that I too have had difficulty getting into. I’ve love to read Moby Dick from this series. Thank you.


10 Francine Anchondo April 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I like Pride and Prejudice


11 Chris April 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I’d like to read The Scarlet Letter; I read it in junior high and high school, but I know it would be an entirely different story for me now.


12 Jen April 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm

I would get moby dick. I’ve read the rest.


13 abi April 6, 2010 at 8:03 am

Jane Eyre would be my pick. Though it was a hard decision


14 abi April 6, 2010 at 8:04 am

oops forgot my email address.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com


15 Linda Kish April 6, 2010 at 8:34 am

Great Expectations

lkish77123 at gmail dot com


16 Amy April 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I’d like to read this version of Jane Eyre as I’ve never made it through the whole book.


17 Anita April 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I’d like to read Moby Dick. I don’t think I ever finished it when it was “required” — LOL!
roseinthemorning [at] gmail [dot] com


18 LaVonne April 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I would choose Jane Eyre. I love that story ;)


19 Cascia April 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I would love to read the Scarlet Letter.


20 PS Mom Reviews April 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm

The book I’d most like to read it Pride & Prejudice. I’ve never read it before.


21 Kendra April 7, 2010 at 1:28 am

I found your site on Blog Frog! It is great! I absolutely love old classics! I love pride & prejudice! I have read it several times! Unfortunately I don’t have as much time to read now that I have a little girl! But I think I should make more time for it! :)


22 rita April 7, 2010 at 9:19 am

I’ve never read Moby Dick, believe it or not.


23 Jen N April 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Jane Eyre would be my pick- thanks!


24 melissa n April 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm

i’d like to read pride and prejudice


25 Erin Pyle April 8, 2010 at 2:43 am

The Scarlet Letter is one of my favorites! I would love to see how well the editor really did!


ejsmomej at gmail dot com


26 Kimberly April 8, 2010 at 5:25 am

I’d like Wuthering Heights.


27 Some Lucky Dog April 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I’d love to read The Scarlet Letter in this format!


28 Kirsten T. April 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I’d like to read Moby Dick in this format…only one of the classics listed that I did not finish in the original form. :-( Thanks!


29 Karen Harris April 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I would love to read Pride and Prejudice.


30 Laura April 9, 2010 at 8:54 am

Jane Eyre would be my pick. thanks for a chance!


31 JHS April 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Wow, sign me up for Pride & Prejudice!


32 deb April 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm

I’d love to read pride and predjudice


33 Christy H. April 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I’d like Jane Eyre


34 katklaw777 April 12, 2010 at 3:23 am

I’d like to try the Scarlet Letter…….thanks.


35 Rachel C April 12, 2010 at 10:49 am

Jane Eyre would be my choice.


36 Alison S. April 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I would love to read The Scarlet Letter. I’ve read lots of classics, but have never read that one.


37 Jessics in M April 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Pride and Prejudice!


38 Melissa M. April 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Please sign me up for “Moby Dick”!


39 Peggy Gorman April 14, 2010 at 6:16 am

I would love to read Pride and Prejudice


40 Leigh April 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Hello. I’d love to try out Moby Dick; I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I haven’t read it (I’m a former English major, specialty in poetry).

Thanks much; GLTA!


41 Mozi Esmes Mommy April 15, 2010 at 9:50 am

I’d love to read Moby Dick!

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2010/04/readable-classics.html

janemaritz at yahoo dot com


42 Angel L April 15, 2010 at 10:46 am

I would love to read Moby Dick! I have tried to read the original and could not get through it because of the language!!!


43 debp April 16, 2010 at 7:00 am

I would take the book pride and prejudice. I saw the show on masterpiece theatre, but I have never read the book.


44 Beth C April 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I would like to read The Scarlet Letter.


45 Wendy April 16, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Moby Dick would be my choice. Thanks for the chance.


46 Lolah B April 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Please enter me. I’d like to read ‘Pride and Prejudice.’

lolahb at gmail dot com


47 Wani April 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I’d love Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre!


48 Melissa B. April 24, 2010 at 11:31 am

I’d love Pride and Prejudice.


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