Deerfield loves reading classics. Works by Shakespeare, Homer, and Tolstoy are always popular checkouts at the library, and maybe always will be. Occasionally, a title like Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here will become newly relevant and shoot up our charts. In the past year, Deerfield patrons have also consistently checked out books by Flannery O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, and Graham Greene alongside the latest blockbusters.
I love reading these books, but I’ve talked to many readers for whom reading “the classics” recalls school assignments and all the attendant anxieties and boredoms. Matthew Arnold says we read classics to know “the best which has been thought and said.” Classics are good for you, the theory goes, like vegetables, and ingesting them means you have good taste. But who wants to eat vegetables? Shouldn’t the best books be pleasurable, astonishing, even fun?
Join in the discussion
In our new Classics Book Discussion group, we’ll take the pressure off with a lively chat about a great book, from syllabus standbys to forgotten classics. Whether the thought of cracking open an old book is intimidating or you are already a passionate reader of classic literature, we know you’ll enjoy this quarterly discussion series.
Join us Thursday, Jan. 25th, 7-8 p.m. to discuss our first selection, My Ántonia by Willa Cather. It’s the story of Ántonia Shimerda, a Bohemian immigrant who settles in the American Midwest. At 100 years old, Cather’s novel is full of adventure, as well as beautiful and surprisingly modern writing.
Books are available now on the Library’s Holds Shelf. Register ahead to ensure a spot.
Note: My Antonia will count towards the January Read Without Boundaries theme, stories by or about immigrants. Learn more about Read Without Boundaries, our year-long Adult reading program designed to expand your reading horizons.