I finished Great Expectations (A classic I never got around to) before my students started reading it. I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. Somehow, I never really “got into” Dickens the way I did Austen, Brontë, et al (except A Christmas Carol). I may have to remedy that. There is usually a reason that classics are considered classics, and I found it as I read Great Expectations. I rooted for Pip. I enjoyed the characters. I liked learning first hand about people and plot points that get referred to fairly often. I was happy to meet Wemmick and the Aged Parent I had read about in other books (that seem to assume one reads Great Expectations in about 8th grade). There is character growth and learning and redemption. What more do I want from a novel? I’m not sure how it will go with my students, but I’m ready to give it a shot.
My question now is, do I have to have a discrete book from each category? If Great Expectations is my “classic I never got around to” does that mean I need to have a 19th century novel? An author from another continent? (okay maybe Europe doesn’t so much count as another continent, at least for me). Also, do they understand that there aren’t exactly “books” per se in the 17th century, and, well, I’ve pretty much read all of them? I get that no one is grading me, so I get to make up my own rules, but still!