Introduction for Upcoming Book
David Lawrence Brown
"I love classic novels.
Classics allow you to experience the sweet sublime beauty of well crafted words and prose that can open your heart to a larger empathy and compassion for humanity, move your soul to new depths, and engage your mind in ways that only great art can do.
It was the beginning of 2021
when I had a change occur in my life that caused a shift in my inspiration and reflections on humanity, history, culture, and literature. I became immersed in the depths of storytelling considered to be the best in history. By men and women who write with such depth and passion and creative genius that it is a humbling and rewarding experience.
Collectively and individually we experienced the pandemic of 2020
as well as the most divisive election in American history. The content that I read and absorbed in text on Facebook, the internet, and in videos on YouTube during that year was mainly related to these two dominant themes, and mainly negative. However I still managed to continue to write inspirational blogs, but the writing was less frequent, as was the inspiration behind it. By the end of 2020 I was burnt out from the overload of negative content in the media and elsewhere. When 2021 started, I was ready for different content in my life.
Then something happened.
Classical literature suddenly appeared. The change occurred for me in January 2021 when I heard about a new documentary on the life of Ernest Hemingway being produced by Ken Burns for PBS. I read four Hemingway novels within the first few months of 2021 before the documentrary was released in April. I could say much more here however I have dedicated a chapter of this book to Hemingway.
I received an offer in an email from Audible
for a free trial with a free credit for an audiobook. I chose Anna Karenina (which I had learned was one of the best novels ever written and a long one) and that launched my love of reading or listening to classics every day in 2021, and as a commitment and joy for years to follow.
Carpe diem - Seize the day!
After all these years, I wonder why I had not read Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, Dickens, or Hemingway. In my high school and college years I read a number of books and some are considered classics. Hesse, Huxley, Camus, and Tolkien to name a few. My degree was in Humanities and that included some literature, however, except for Camus, I forget what we studied or read in those classes. Then in later years there was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez who became my favorite author.
Yet there are so many classics that I have not read.
In a way, as I turn age seventy in 2021, it is a "blessing in disguise" that I can now enjoy classics, many for the first time, and especially with audiobooks where I can listen to the book and the narration of characters and story.
This has been and is such a joy for me. It has changed my life. So much so that I was inspired to write this book!
The reading or listening of books varies with each individual. Choices of what to read, what was the takeaway, level of enjoyment, insights into life, or pure enjoyment of a well written story are all different for each of us.
A common thread is the love of books - fiction or non-fiction, or classics and the experience of reading or listening to the stories in the novels or short stories.
This book occurred to me as an idea on June 6, 2021,
about a month before my 70th birthday on July 5th. Of course as this date approached I had many different reflections about life including memories as well as more awareness of future trends. The inspiration to start this book was such that on this date I created a title page and started writing this introduction with a stream-of-consciousness style â€“ as the ideas of wording came to mind. Joining Facebook groups that focus on the love of classics is also a part of this new and exciting experience, and I will write more about this in a later chapter.
The main purpose of this book is to inspire an interest in reading or listening to classics.
Chapters will include experiencing them as audiobooks, Kindle, and digital content as well as the tradition of having a library of bookshelves, a love of visiting bookstores, and the physical experience of holding and reading a book. How one chooses to enjoy reading classics is a personal preference and may include all of the above. However my main focus in 2021 was audiobooks, so each chapter on a particular book will be in reference to the audiobook and will include information about the narrator.
A second purpose of this book is to include actual examples of my own and others reflections and reviews of certain classics, and why they are considered classics and the best books ever written in history.
Each chapter is a book title in the order that I listened to them in 2021. (with exception of The Odyssey, which I recommend to listen to as a foundation. It is a classic of classics, written from oral tradition in 800 B.C.). It is an amazing story.
A third purpose that comes to mind in the writing of this book
is inspiration to write about something I love, as a part of my personal journey. As I move into the 7th decade of life, as on a clipper ship in full sail I affirm in that I will enjoy writing about classics as well as the reading or listening of them for the rest of my life. May this be many years !
If you are concerned about the costs of books, I suggest Project Gutenberg. I have devoted a chapter on this free resource for ebooks.
- grandparents of our grandparents lived in the 19th century, when many classics were written that described life at that time.
When we read or listen to classics we are taken to another time, a different culture, and into the depths of characters and their challenges in life.
If past lives are a reality then we might have subtle deja vu experiences of having lived in those times. We might experience a bit of the collective unconscious of humanity in the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of fictional characters, both heros and villains. It is my hope that this book will inspire you to start or continue on the adventure in reading or listening to amazing stories, and that each one will be inspiring as a part of your overall journey in life.
Blessings on your journey. Carpe Diem. David Lawrence Brown June 2021 - Tampico, Mexico