Friday, July 28, 2006

How to Introduce the Classics

Liz B at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy has a tremendously thoughtful post on how she came to read the "classics." Her thoughts on what worked for her are spot-on and echo my own experience.

What my parents read: I know my kids (and I) became interested in Tolkien because of their dad's, Treebeard's, love for the books. He read aloud every evening and we would tidy up the kitchen and then settle in for the next installment in the lives of our dear hobbits.

The fact that the books were so important to their father made an impression on them (they were still very young) and gave The Professor's story the opening it needed to work its magic on all of us.

Entling #3 even gave Wuthering Heights a read this year because I suggested she read the Brontes. She almost NEVER reads something I suggest so this was a pleasant surprise. She was reading Wuthering Heights while waiting at the doctor's office and the nurse practitioner asked with some surprise, "Do you have to read that for a school assignment?" She could not imagine reading it, otherwise.

Comic Book versions: There are new editions of the classics in graphic novel format. I have not been able to determine if these are well received by kids or not.

I have been hoping that living-at-home-entlings (1 college, 1 high school) might read some Jane Austen but so far -- no sell. I am attempting to lay some groundwork with another of Liz B.'s ideas: Watching the movie/TV version. I offered a screening of Sense and Sensibility the other evening and challenged them to count the Harry Potter cast members (there are TONS!) in the film. They really enjoyed it.

So now I am wondering, should I offer up the BBC Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth or do the Keira Knightley version? I love the former and have not seen the later.

I think the best I can hope for is that they will read Austen at some point in the future but will never admit it to me. I am probably just guaranteeing that they will NEVER EVER read Jane Austen as long as they live. Alas.


Anonymous said...

Regarding Pride and Prejudice, I like both. I think it depends on whether your kids want to sit in front of the tv for the 2-hour Knightly version or the 6-hour BBC marathon.

Girl Detective said...

Also re: P&P, both of which I liked much better than S&S, the longer one is better, and Firth is much better as Darcy. Knightley, though, is very good as Lizzie. Either would be a good gateway to the book. The Knightley movie, though, leaves out the famous first line! If ever a voiceover was called for, it is for that first line. Also, don't forget Bridget Jones's Diary, the book and movie (the first of both, NOT the second). Both the book and movie are funny and very P&P savvy.

Camille said...

This is very helpful. I think we will go with Colin Firth first THEN watch Keira. He is just so good. I had forgotten Bridget Jones. The second book is so Colin Firth obsessed, it is hilarious. Good advice from you both. Thanks.

Little Willow said...

I have not seen the Keira P&P. I enjoy the BBC P&P. I read a P&P comic when I was little. Thus, this ties together ALL of your post. :)

Anonymous said...

I have read several Jane Austen books. Didn't you know that?

-Entling no. 2

Michele said...

Sorry, Camille, had to laugh at Entling no. 2's comment !

I'd definitely recommend the BBC production of P&P, but then I'm totally biased ! I've not seen the recent movie and am very reluctant to do so, to tell the truth, because I'm too aware of what was altered. I recently watched the BBC production for the first time since it aired and still loved every single minute of it. As far as I'm concerned Colin Firth IS Mr Darcy (a fact that's reinforced by him playing Mark Darcy in the Bridget Jones films...)

Camille said...

One's children never fail to surprise one. First that they have read Austen, second, they are reading their parental unit's blog!

"There are secrets in all families, you know..."
------- Jane Austen, Emma

Michele said...

Quite !! *wink*

Anonymous said...

I've told you before that I've read them. I said as much when the topic came up on the way to see PotC. I have repeated myself numerous times since then, including when we watched P&P.

-Entling no. 2