Unlike most people I know, I didn’t go to University, I went straight from High School to having babies. I found a man I adored and we both just couldn’t wait to get started so we did. While I don’t regret it for a second (babies are awesome) I have felt in the last few years a niggling to learn more. My passion for learning unexpectedly reared its head when we started homeschooling our daughters. Watching them excited to learn and constantly yearning to know EVERYTHING left me excited too. I suddenly realised I didn’t need formal education (though I still dream of attending Uni) to learn. So I started where my daughters did, with reading.
I have been an avid reader since I was just four years old. As a child I devoured books. My fondest early memories with my husband were curled up on our lounge reading together. We read to the girls from when they were tiny babies and were soothed by the sound of our voices, rather than the stories themselves. We always had books available to them and we were constantly surprised with how gentle they were with them. Our girls, now, can happily read for six of seven hours a day if they get the chance. While our own home library is rapidly expanding (at last count we have over 700 books that overflow from our bookshelves onto any available space) we also visit the Library a few times a week. Each time maxing our card out with our limit of 60 books (yes sixty). Within a few days they have all been read and we go back and repeat the whole process. One of the proudest parental moments I had was when my daughters all decided they would rather live in a library than a toy store.
Then one day I picked up a copy of a classic “Persuasion” and took it home for myself. I usually grabbed fluff books as I was convinced with my lack of education I would struggle with the classics. But I didn’t. In fact I loved it. I read it cover to cover several times, before buying my own copy. Unlike Emma or Pride & Prejudice I hadn’t watched any adaptations of “Persuasion” so I had no idea what to expect. Like all the books I adore, I identified with her character. As I had knowledge of the other two Austen books I moved straight on to them. Then I read “The Collector” (totally creepy), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (very different from the movies), “In Cold Blood (recommended by my Nana of all people), “Lolita” (extremely unsettling), “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” (raunchy!) and “The Great Gatsby” (LOVE). I was coping fine with my list of classics, but I still thought I would struggle with the Bronte Sisters. Both “Jane Eyre” & “Wuthering Heights” sat on my bookshelf for months taunting me before I finally picked up “Jane Eyre”.
I read through it all in just a few days…and they were busy days. I felt so cranky every time I had to put it down to do something else. I understood it. I loved it. And when I finished it, I felt like I had accomplished something. It probably sounds so silly, but when you have doubted your own ability to do something for so long, then you discover you can do it…well, it feels pretty good.
“Wuthering Heights” left me yelling at my book a lot. Further proof for my family that I am, indeed, insane. I then went back to reading biographies for awhile (I love interesting biographies and memoirs) before last night, while suppose to be sleeping, I decided I should include my attempt to read the classics on this blog. It certainly fits with the theme of self improvement. Then I thought there might be others who want to read along too.
First book I attempt will be the Australian classic “Picnic at Hanging Rock” by Joan Lindsay published in 1967.
“The plot focuses on a group of girls at an Australian women’s college in the year 1900 who vanish during a Valentine’s Day picnic at the site of an enormous rock formation. The novel is often discussed and debated due to its ambiguous ending.”
Miss Fairchild’s book club will motivate me to read a new classic each month and maybe even have some new friends to talk to about the book afterwards. I will give you all a full month to read it, before posting my thoughts. Then I will announce the next book (suggestions more than welcome) and hopefully some of you can add your thoughts in the comments.
As Christmas is just around the corner I am going to give this one six weeks. So be sure to pop in on Wednesday the 9th of January for our first “Book Club”. (a very special day, as it also happens to be my birthday!). Hoping you will join me then.