The influence of classical books

classicsclub3The monthly questions posed by Classics Club seem to be getting tougher as the year advances. This month we’re asked to consider: What classic book has changed your view on life, social mores, political views, or religion?

Looking at the books I’ve read so far this year from my classics list, my answer is going to be short and simple.

None.

I have not as yet been transformed into an axe murderer in order to test a theory that I am an ‘extraordinary’ person like Rodion Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment. Nor have I emptied my bank accounts through risky investments and ended up in debtors’ prison like Mr Dorrit in Little Dorrit. Though if interest rates keep falling the way they’ve been over the last few years and I keep spending as much on books (and shoes!) maybe that will be my fate in the not too distant future.

I have yet to find a moment when it would be appropriate to declare ‘Tis  a far far better thing I do now then I have ever done before.’ But maybe that’s because I never finished Tale of Two Cities and this is Dickens’ way of exacting retribution.  And I think I’m a bit too advanced in years to recreate the experience of being young and away from home and parental clutches as per The Country Girls. It shall have to remain as a fond memory with just the few moments of dismay that I can no longer wear hip clinging jeans and tight t shirts. If only…..Regrets, yes I’ve certainly had a few.

If i’ve not read any classics novel that could remotely considered be considered as life changing, it doesn’t mean I simply allowed the words to pass before my eyes without thinking of the human issues they portrayed.   From the way that humans cling to the dream of  better life like the characters in Of Mice and Men to the examples from many parts of the world of how certain individuals have put into practice the theory explored in Crime and Punishment about the supremacy of some extraordinary people beyond the law and beyond punishment. Dostoevsky was writing decades before  World War 2 or the Pol Pot regime but his words nevertheless still resonate. They didn’t change my opinion but they did cause me to reflect.

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on July 18, 2013, in Classics Club and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I think I would agree with you, but I also think that reading great books (classic or no) all my life has heavily influenced who I am. I think (hope) that it has made me open-minded and interested in the world and in people. I couldn’t point to any single book as the cause but books in general? Absolutely!

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  2. Wow, this month’s question is a very tricky one. I can think of lots of revelations and books that illuminated issues for me but I’m struggling to think of books that *changed* me. Will have to think on this one a bit!

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