5 Minutes for Books: Readable Classics

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.


  1. says

    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!

  2. says

    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!

  3. says

    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!

  4. Benita Glickman says

    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.


  5. Grammy says

    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.

  6. Chris says

    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.

  7. says

    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

  8. says

    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! :)

  9. Kirsten T. says

    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!

  10. Leigh says

    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!

  11. Angel L says

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


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