Monday, December 7, 2015

Great Expectations

In 9th grade English we read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  While I've always been an avid reader, I have never cared much for reading plays.  Something about having the text broken by names for each person's speech is very distracting.  I just can't seem to become truly immersed in it.  So although I enjoy seeing the plays, I don't tend to read them. 

Studying plays in a class setting was not an improvement.  I don't know if my teacher Miss Magee just really loved Romeo and Juliet, or if my memory has become a bit faulty, but it feels like we spent at least half the year on the play.  Each day she'd assign students in the class different roles and we'd have to read through the play, line by line.  Somehow, the football players didn't pull off an engaging Romeo.  After we finally finished reading the play, we spent several classes watching the movie.

I found the entire thing very asinine.  So when I wasn't reading a role, I was secretly flipping through my English text for distraction.  And there, at the far back of the book, I found a gem.  I started reading this story called Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.  Right from the opening, when Pip is accosted by the escaped convict, I was hooked.  I adored the gorgeous and distant Estella as well, but my favorite character was Miss Havisham.  I've always had a thing for eccentric characters.  Some things never change. 

Black walnut maple cake I made (not to be confused with Miss Havisham's wedding cake).
 
I had read other classics prior to Great Expectations, and I would find others in high school that were magical too (like Lost Horizon and Of Human Bondage) but this one stands out in my mind as one of my absolute favorites.  I've never returned to it to read again, as there are so many books that I want to read that I don't feel I have time to reread anything.  Plus, I worry that it might not be as extraordinary as it was the first time around.  I don't want to ruin that initial wonder.
 
So I'm taking a vote.  Readers, if you say that I should take the risk and reread what I think of as my first truly beloved classic (26 years later!), I will do so.  It will be on my reading list for 2016.  But it seems risky.  What do you think? 
 
Anyone else love Great Expectations?



21 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

Sometimes this experience helps you find genres you enjoy. I liked being a character with the reading, sometimes more than the story.

Vera said...

Read it again, that is what I would say to you....I have read and re-read and re-read again many of my favourite classics and I never cease to find something new in them.

PioneerPreppy said...

Sure go ahead and read it again. There are several titles I go back and re-read every decade or so myself. Whats scary is that I now think of things in decades...

Thanks now I feel old and it's all your fault and I had such prospects.

Mildred said...

You might truly enjoy re-reading the book. Your cake looks absolutely delicious!

I hope you all will have a nice Monday.

mail4rosey said...

Plays distract me in reading form too.

I LOVED Great Expectations in school. I did read it again as an adult and I loved it again. It didn't take away from the initial wonder. :)

Harry Flashman said...

I have read the Horatio Hornblower books, The Wind and the Willows, and other favorites many times, and always enjoyed them. I say read whatever will give you a few relaxing and entertaining moments. Doesn't matter if you have read it before.

alissa apel said...

I say go for it. Read it in 2016.

Sally said...

I've never read it, but now I'm curious about it. There have been a few that I've read more than once. My problem now though? I could re-read something I read 6 months ago, get half through the book before I remember. :)

xoxo

Starry Dawn said...

Personally, I enjoy re-reading an old book that was my favourite.
In fact, I feel a strong bond to thrillers...

Lin said...

I'd re-read it. I wonder if you will find that you love it more or less the second time around. I hope that you still love it!

Let us know!

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I say,,,"why not" Do it!
love
tweedles

camp and cottage living said...

Now you have me thinking I need to reread Great Expectations again myself. I say we should both do it, then share our thoughts!

Linda said...

You should read it! After all, it's a classic for a reason.

Sharon Wagner said...

I'm reading Gone with the Wind for the first time. It's epic and lllooonnnggg.

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I vote for you to reread it! :-) It could be a very enjoyable experience. And you could read at least some of it aloud for your boys.

I ended up reading a LOT of Shakespeare given my degrees in English, and I'm not impressed with Romeo and Juliet either.

Anne Payne said...

I wouldn't risk it. Treasure the memory you have and keep moving forward. Because what if it's just not that great after all. Your expectations will be crushed. :-)

Michael Manning said...

You made me chuckle at this post. I've never read anyone describe reading a play as you have, Lisa. I can laugh only because your experience mirrored mine in Middle School of suffering through "The Red Badge of Courage" (which I don't remember). Can you imagine 7th and 8th graders reading "Great Expectations" and "The Yearling"? We did! :)

Maggid said...

Well, i hope you bake that cake again . .
Books fill us in different ways . . and, there's plenty to choose from . . If you are not driven to re-read a certain one . . you could always watch for your next "great/memorable read."

love & love,
-g-

Becca said...

I've never read Great Expectations, but I agree with you that there is not enough time in life to read the same book more than once. I'm sure rereading one book wouldn't hurt though ;)

Green Girl said...

Do it!
I have to teach 1 Shakespeare play to seniors, we actually watch a production of it, then periodically go back and reread bits and sections, but never the entire thing. Just savor the key lines and passages. We also watch different productions' versions of same scenes. But NO reading the whole thing straight through in class! How awful!

(Terry) My Journey With Candida said...

I say you only live once.... go for it.