I absolutely LOVE reading the classics. Canterbury Tales, Edgar Allan Poe, The Pilgrim's Progress, anything by Jane Austen, and so on. My love of books came from reading the classics when I was younger. It gave me a good foundation for reading and they all have great vocabulary. But, as a Christian I tend to read them with a different viewpoint. Leland Ryken's new book, A Christian Guide To The Classics, helps to break down these books (and other written materials) from a Christian worldview. He expounds on the greatness of the classics while also being realistic in that we shouldn't read them just because they are considered "classic". I received this book from Family Christian for review purposes.
The author gives the reader step-by-step instructions on breaking down exactly what a "classic" is and how to read them. He gives many examples from great historical authors and includes a sampling of different literary classics from many different genres and time periods (page 94-98). At the back of the book are a few quotes by famous classical writers about reading and books. It was fun to read what some of them had to say about books.
Here are the chapters listed in order:
- Misconceptions about the Classics
- What is a Classic?
- Why We Should Read the Classics
- The Greatest Classic: The Bible
- How Not To Read a Classic
- How to Read a Classic
- Christian Classics, Part 1
- Christian Classics, Part 2
- Secular Classics
- Where to Find the Classics
I have a home library because I homeschool. Not that you have to homeschool to have a home library but we do because of that reason. Over the years I have collected many books. After a while I got to a place that I would only buy books that were considered "morally sound" and/or a classic. Earlier this year I went through all of my books and weeded out the "twaddle" books and am left with plenty of books still. With this new book, A Christian Guide To The Classics, I feel fully equipped to buy great books and literary works in the future to add to my collection.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves books. You will learn so much about the different styles of classics and what a true Christian classic really looks like.