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.
Not 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: