Last night, Ken and I had a wonderful evening attending a touring company performance of the Broadway hit of years ago Anything Goes. Music and lyrics were written by Cole Porter and the first production in 1934 starred Ethel Merman. Debuting in the middle of the Great Depression, this entertaining show helped give people a short reprise from the worries of the day.
It made me feel somewhat the same. For 2 1/2 hours, I didn't have to answer the phone to yet another politcal poll questioner nor did I think about Ebola, Jihadists and the midterm election coming up. I escaped into another world, if even for a short time. And what a world it was. The snappy singing and dancing, the corny but fun storyline, and the exquisite costumes held my attention and made me feel slightly disappointed when the finale finished. I could have happily watched more. The play has been brought back a number of times on Broadway and with professional touring companies such as we had here at Kansas State University. There have also been two movie versions. I think we can rank Anythnig Goes as a classic.
What about the books and stories we read that have some quality that allows them to remain with us long after we close the cover after reading the final page? What makes a classic? The simple answer is that they stand the test of time. These books or stories are as relevant today as when they were written. They have a universal theme; something that most people can relate to. I think we must add that they are also well-written.
We all have our own personal list of classic reads. They may or may not appear on a literary list. Instead, they're stories that have some relevance to your life or speak to you in some exceptional way. They're books we read more than once. When I see a movie for the second time, I always find something I missed on the initial viewing. Reading a book for a second or third time is the same.
Here are a few of my own personal classics, books that I consider special for me alone. Many would not be on a literary list of classic books, I'm sure, but they each spoke to me in some particular way. There are many others but my list would be far too long if I named all of them, so here are five.
1. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
2. Death Comes For The Archbishop by Willa Cather
3. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
5. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Think about some of your favorite books, make a list, and make time to read some of them again. I have a feeling you'll enjoy the read just as much, if not more, the second time around.