“Chris Picks” for September: Classics

Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders! Click on a title to place a hold. You can find previous Chris Picks through the “What to read” link at the bottom of this page, or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our homepage.

Getting ready for school in September seems to be a perfect time to discuss classic literature. Here are my favorite classic literature books in no particular order:

The Scarlet Letter
I wouldn’t say I liked The Scarlet Letter when I read it in high school. In fact, I don’t think I finished the book. I have since re-read it multiple times, and the book has become my favorite classic ever.

Wuthering Heights
I can’t say the same for Wuthering Heights. From the first page, I wanted to discover how the story would end.

Lost Horizon
I think I had help finding Lost Horizon as a book to read in the eighth grade. Like The Scarlet Letter, Lost Horizon has become a favorite.

The Old Man and the Sea
Hemingway is a fantastic writer. Everyone regards The Old Man and the Sea as quintessential Hemingway. I have another favorite that doesn’t get the same attention. For me, The Sun Also Rises is my pick.

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho tells the story of Santiago, a shepherd who wants to travel. Through his voyages, he finds greater gifts, like finding one’s place in the world and following one’s dreams.

Though written years apart, both Siddhartha and The Alchemist tell parallel stories.
–Both tell of a quest to become men from boys.
–Both require journeying far from home.
–Both protagonists have fathers who are apprehensive about their sons leaving.

The two books diverge in surprising ways, however, and Siddhartha differs in a human way from the spiritual quest of The Alchemist. Both books are well-written, and I recommend reading them together, starting with The Alchemist and then moving on to Siddartha.

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