Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer Classics

Nearly every summer, Dan and I find ourselves in the bookstore in the high school summer reading section. You know--all those books you were supposed to read in AP English? We often tell each other what books that we've already read and then we'll spend a few minutes in that section, picking up books that we "ought" to read. But then we leave the store empty-handed. Not this year!

Inspired by a family of five I saw reading together on a blanket yesterday in the park and also in a full-out effort to learn from the greats as I try to become a real writer myself (7 days of writing so far), I am embarking on a summer filled with classics.

From now until Labor Day, I plan to:

Read 5 classic novels
Watch 5 classic movies
Listen to 5 classic rock albums

Why do I create homework for myself? Because I have been telling myself for years (read my diaries, I am serious!) that I am going to read more and watch more and listen to more and immerse myself in art. I know I have even written about such things in this very blog.

And well--I know this isn't very "artsy" of me. I am not very free-flowing. I am really good at following directions and rules. This is why I excel at work, school, running marathons, grammar. Tell me what to do and I can do it and I can do it well.

I've figured out this is how I am and so it's just up to me to write the rules myself ("Yes, it's perfectly acceptable to go on three-month vacations and take Fridays off from work and write every day and have a summer of classics.) For me, it's the only way that it will work.

Otherwise, I am just saying that I will do it and not doing it, and that is not what I really want. And I have been doing what I don't want for years, it seems.

P.S. I am trying to get Dan on-board with summer classic reading and he's still on the fence, afraid that he won't have time for The New Yorker--his favorite magazine. I just told him that he will have to spend less time with fantasy baseball and more time reading but he didn't like that one bit.


Emily said...

but the question is-what 5 books, movies, and albums?
what did you buy at the bookstore?

Anonymous said...

If you want to know more about the must reads see this article I read in the NYTimes this morning: