Pay attention. At the end, there will be a test.
I cleared out (well, still working on it) all my books that just exist in my life as “books” rather than “books I love for some reason” and am instead, building a library of books that are special for some reason or another. Books I love. Books I have sentimental attachment to. Books I admire deeply. Books that mean something.
And I came across this old, stained slipcase with a book in it as I was filling another box of books to give away.
Pulled it out. Huh. I have never read this book. I don’t know why I have it. I do know it wasn’t on the shelves in our home when I was growing up. No sentimental value here.
Vague recollection of writing a Junior theme on Nathaniel Hawthorne. Very vague. Read The Scarlet Letter. Didn’t love. Again, never read this one. Didn’t even remember the title correctly. I didn’t know there was a second “the” in it. Hmm. Ho-hum.
Check publication date. 1935. Almost 80 years old. Still, not doing anything for me. Check abebooks and amazon, not a valuable book, either.
This is difficult. It’s kind of a cool book but I don’t even remember what it’s about. (I wrote that theme. I assume at some point I knew.)
And really nice illustrations at the top of each chapter.
Okay, Mr Hawthorne, here is the deal. I am going to read your book and hope it’s a keeper. Because if it isn’t, I’m not sure what to do with it.
For now, it’s part of the TBR and will be read at some point this year as part of the challenge.
First sentence of the prologue:
When a writer calls his work a Romance, it need hardly be observed that he wishes to claim a certain latitude, both as to its fashion and material, which he would not have felt himself entitled to assume, had he professed to be writing a Novel.
So, dear reader. What would you do? Let’s assume the worst. Let’s assume this book doesn’t keep my attention and I end up not considering it “special” by definition of “stories that appeal to me.”
Do you think it’s pretty enough to keep anyway? On the shelf it’s not. Open, it is. But… is that enough?
Side-discussion welcome: How shallow can Pooks get, holy chickadees, to judge a literary classic by its pretty-quotient?
I’m all ears. Okay, eyes.
And depending on how you do on this test, I have another for you. Only, it will be MUCH more difficult. Promise!