I was browsing in a book store the other day. Everyone has a favorite section of the bookstore, don’t they? I mean the one section they head to first, before going anywhere else? For some it’s the geek, computer book section. For someone else it might be the newest fiction section. Still others may migrate to the biography section.
Mine is the classic literature section. I have a running collection of all of Shakespeare’s works on my book shelf at home. I started collecting them years and years ago and I have a proud collection now – after adding to it book-by-book. I haven’t read them all — I have read most. I am in no rush to read them all – but I have this odd sense of comfort just knowing they are all up there just waiting for me to pick them up and read.
After completing my Shakespeare collection – I started on a collection of my favorite classic reads. No particular order, no particular author – – just ones the I’ve read, or ones I want to read — collecting on my bookshelf…waiting.
The Old Man and the Sea. Of Mice and Men. Jane Eyre. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The Great Gatsby. The Grapes of Wrath. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Tom Sawyer. Death of a Salesman. For Whom The Bell Tolls. A Moveable Feast. A Tale of Two Cities. Oliver. Pride and Prejudice. The Sound and the Fury. The Scarlet Letter. Moby Dick. Little Women. A Streetcar Named Desire. Emma.
Just to name a few. The oddest quirk is that when I collect these books (the Shakespeare ones, included) – they must be published by Penguin Classics – otherwise, it doesn’t fit the collection. I will buy the book if it’s not published by Penguin Classics — but it leaves an empty feeling . . . and it doesn’t fit the collection. Generally, if it’s a book I want and don’t have – and it’s not published by Penguin Classics….I’ll buy it, just to have it. Then, later, when I find it in the Penguin Classics collection – I’ll buy it again and replace the copy that I have.
Odd girl, I know.
So, the other day – I ran across a Penguin Classics published book that I didn’t have! I couldn’t believe I never sought this one out because it is my most favorite and treasured of the classics. Why did it never occur to me before?
I walked through the classic literature isle of my favorite local book store and there it was. Looking at me from the shelf in all of it’s Penguin Classics glory and simplicity. I picked it up and looked it over — a story I had read at least a dozen times in my lifetime. A story that moves me every single time I read it. A story that had a song written about it – – a song, which I love. I turned the book over in my hands…flipping through the pages — completely baffled by the fact that it never even occurred to me to seek out this particular story to put into my collection.
I felt like I had discovered a treasure. Recovered an old friendship. Stoked an old flame. Catherine and Heathcliff had finally come home. Wuthering Heights is now sitting on my bookshelf – amid all of my other favorites. Yet, this one has top billing.
This one sits first, in the row of Penguins.