As many of you may know, I’m participating in The Classics Club, where I am challenging myself to read 103 classics by March 2017. If you haven’t seen my list yet, take a look at it here. Recently, a new blog was created for the club. The moderators of the site are putting together monthly questions for participants to answer and this month’s is “What is your favorite classic?” So I’d like to take some take this wonderful Sunday afternoon to discuss that briefly.
I’ve really only dedicated myself recently to reading classical literature. I began reading the classics in earnest in 2008. I’m still not quite sure what drove me in this direction nearly 4 years ago, but what I do know is that it’s a journey that I’ve had so much fun with and haven’t regretted it since.
I’ve read so many classics in those four years, including what I was required to read while I was in college and high school. However, there are a few books that are definitely in contention:
- Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
- Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead
- Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged
- Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace
It’s quite difficult for me to choose my favorite book out of this list of four books. I absolutely love Ayn Rand because of how strong her characters are, and in both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, how she really espouses how important it is for the individual to shine in their endeavors. In particular, with The Fountainhead, how Howard Roark went against the stereotypical architectural style of the day to pursue his own style even though the entire community was against him. What impressed me was how Roark went full steam ahead anyway because he didn’t feel that style was for him.
With that being said, as much as I enjoy Ayn Rand, and I realize that most don’t due to the political ideology of her works, another part of me can’t help but turn my thoughts to Russian literature which I have come to really enjoy, in particular Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. While I truly enjoyed War and Peace, when I read The Brothers Karamazov I was simply amazed, and if I didn’t enjoy Russian literature then, this book would’ve been the one to turn the tide for me.
Dostoevsky really outdid himself with The Brothers Karamazov, it had all the ingredients to make it probably my favorite book of all time, religion, philosophy, and murder. The chapter “The Grand Inquisitor” by itself makes The Brothers Karamazov a great piece of literature. It really got me thinking about a whole host of things. Not whether or not religion was good or God truly exists, but simply for the beauty of the writing, and how much in-depth and philosophical it was. This chapter alone has really cemented Dostoevsky as my favorite Russian author, and I always can’t wait until I tackle another work by him, either The Idiot or The Demons. You can take a look at another post I wrote about The Brothers Karamazov here.
Even though I truly enjoy Ayn Rand’s works, I think, as of right now, my favorite classic, so far, has to be Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.
If you’ve read The Brothers Karamazov, or other works or Russian literature, I’d love to hear what your favorite is. What classic are you looking forward to tackling next? Or if you’re not currently reading a classic, I’d love to hear what you’re reading!