While I am enjoying and valuing the connections I am making by reading classic literature in approximately chronological order, I do feel the occasional weakening of determination and the call of a favourite author from much later. Shakespeare winks and beckons from the shelves, foaming beer glass in hand. Austen blushes behind her fan, and shows a shapely ankle, while Dickens blusters, and Washington Irving, Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde nod and wave with a twinkling eye. Other, less familiar poets and playwrights : Coleridge and Wordsworth, Whitman, Chekhov and Shaw, smile and hint at as-yet unknown pleasures. Hugo and Dumas toast me from a Parisian sidewalk cafe. Travellers such as Chaucer, Marco Polo, John Muir and Jack Kerouac offer to share a campfire. Lovecraft and Lewis and King stand in front of heavy blood-red curtains, offering a peek inside, while Wells and Verne stand beside a huge telescope peering into the heavens.

So I am more encouraged than ever to make sure I finish with the Classical Greeks by year end, and earn my laurels. My Roman toga is back from the dry cleaners ready for 2017 when I will be invading Britain with Caesar and climbing the Alps on elephant back with Hannibal.


  1. I think the way you are tackling your reading is inspirational and unique. I’m not sure I could ever read the classics in chronological order – I constantly have to jump around different eras to stay engaged. I imagine it is illuminating and extra educational – you would probably pick up generational themes and ideas as they pop up in literature, which is SUCH a cool concept. Have you noticed much of that, or do you think you need to get further through the decades first?


    • I’d can’t claim to be a deep thinker, but I feel I am getting a lot of value from this way of tackling the classics. Firstly I pretty much know what I am going to read next, and can see things on the horizon to look forward to (and I read at least one non-classic between most blogged titles – children’s lit, fantasy, sf, historical fiction and biographies) I had never touched Greek or Roman classics before but now I getting through them and finding wonderful things like Aristophanes. I am also finding non-Western titles which I would never have heard of, such as the Ramayana, which I really enjoyed. I do see some patterns emerging – for instance, the development of stage craft in Greek theatre, from the number of actors and scenes to the props and mechanics required to tell the story, and the change in the reverence of Greek gods and human reliance on their influence. The histories like Herodotus and Thucylides may be slow going in parts, but they explain the themes and personalities used by the Greek playwrights. And of course it gives me a theme on which to write my blog which no-one else seems to have tried.


  2. This is a lovely post. I mean, I’m sorry that you’re dealing with a bit of frustration with the constraints of your reading plans, but the way you’ve built the scene here — Shakespeare and his beer, Wells and Verne at the telescope — is quite interesting!


  3. Thanks Looloolooweez, I did enjoy writing this post, and probably could have rambled on a bit more – look out for my anniversary post on July 4 which will be in a similar vein. I do feel it is impatience more than frustration – I see a particular title and have to think – “you’ll get there soon enough”. Thanks for your comment and wishing you great reading!


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