The most gorgeous classics range available has come down in price. VINTAGE CLASSICS paperbacks are $12.95 each, which means, from Booktopia they are a tiny $10.95 each.
At $10.95 each, there is no need to deny yourself the pleasure of browsing through your own little or large collection.
Build the most enviable classics library today. Imagine yourself sitting for an hour or so amongst your books, taking your time choosing what to read next, flicking through this or that, quite content to dither here and there. Owning a library of classics, no matter how small it is to begin with, gives you the chance to find right book for the right mood.
You need the right book at the right time. Why force Cervantes on yourself when you have a hankering for Raymond Carver? You do a disservice to both by letting circumstances beyond your immediate control choose whom you read. Respect your changing mood by giving it the cultural scope it deserves – a literary nature reserve in which to prowl about – opulence of a kind almost unthinkable in these tawdry times. A reader needs a library of books they have yet to read. Build yours today. It takes only one book to begin, two to get rolling, ten or twelve to make you feel decadent and then you’re off. Soon enough you’ve a collection to be proud of.
But, if I was being banished and could take one VINTAGE CLASSIC along with me to keep me company I’d take Middlemarch by George Eliot…
Virginia Woolf said of George Eliot’s Middlemarch ‘it is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people’. And she was right.
For though many young people have read this book with enjoyment, its true worth does not become apparent until later when a reader has had a chance to love, to be loved, to suffer a loss, to make mistakes and to experience successes. It is when we return to Middlemarch having lived a little that we discover how true to life and relevant to our lives George Eliot’s characters, situations and conclusions are, even though the novel was written so long ago.
I had heard of Middlemarch long before I finally read it. The reason I never took it up to read was that I could never work out what the book was about. And that is because Middlemarch particularises life in general. Being large in scope, the novel is about something different for each reader. I’ve read it twice now and it might well have been two different novels.
The setting is a town, Middlemarch, a place central to the lives of many of the novel’s characters. There are three main threads to the narrative, with many smaller offshoots, yet they all become entwined as the book progresses. Though the story is complex, the reader will have little difficulty keeping track of all the threads as each set of characters is imprinted so firmly on our minds. Eliot concentrates on one thread for thirty or forty pages and then switches just at the point when we have come to miss the characters in the other threads. Sometimes we become impatient with a character’s choices. Sometimes we want to reach out and hug them. We recognise some characters immediately, they are just like our father or sister or friend, but some will be total strangers to us.
By reading Middlemarch, George Eliot offers us the opportunity to experience life through the eyes of many different personalities. This gives us the chance to learn from the mistakes of others while also broadening our view, allowing us to see what a great variation of joys there are to be had in this life.
Even in paperback Middlemarch is a thick block of a book. But don’t let this put you off. It is long but necessarily so, and believe me, when the end approaches you will wish it were longer.
To buy Middlemarch – click here
To visit our VINTAGE CLASSICS page – click here
P.S. I have been thinking I might start a book club for those interested in literature from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. I’ll call it something like: Dead Writers Club. If you’re interested in joining, or know someone who would be, email me – deadwritersclub at booktopia dot com dot au
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.