As booksellers, we often overhear customers lamenting that they've always meant to read “that other Jane Austen novel,” or Graham Greene, or Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but just never found the time. We've tried to remedy that with our Classics I Forgot to Read Book Club by providing motivation and a welcoming space to share your thoughts.

In choosing our ‘classics’ over the past few years, we've tried to select titles that had some visibility among readers, but were not necessarily included in the standard high school English class. We've also sampled a range of genres, from mystery (The Long Goodbye) to comedy (Cold Comfort Farm) to stream-of-consciousness (To the Lighthouse). So, whether our picks are already gathering dust on your bookshelves or this is your first encounter with the literary canon, we encourage you to join us on the last Wednesday evening of every month for conversation about the classics.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Two Years Already?

It doesn't seem that long ago... but our June meeting (6/25, 7:30 p.m.) will be the second anniversary of the Classics I Forgot to Read Book Club. We've been visited by crazy people (imagine our disappointment when a very vocal participant announced that Wednesday nights really weren't very good for her), displaced by construction projects (but graciously taken in by Squat & Gobble), preempted by author signings (no hard feelings... and again, thanks to Squat & Gobble)... but mostly we've had great discussions about great books. We've brought in regular customers, old friends who don't even shop here, tourists passing through, and folks who just showed up to root for a book they loved.

One or two of our classics have been mildly disappointing. I guess I shouldn't name names. But others have been very pleasant surprises. I'll never again assume that Turgenev is turgid, or that Virginia Woolf is incomprehensible (cryptic, yes, but all the more meaningful for that.) We've read comic novels, mysteries, sci fi, horror, and a Babel Tower of nationalities--English, French, American, Czech, Russian, Colombian. Granted, there are a lot of bases we haven't touched yet... but give us another decade or two and we should have things fully under control. Fortunately we can read 'em faster than the authors can write 'em.

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