But what I've been most surprised about is a craving of a very different sort: classic literature. I anticipated spending my pregnancy days lounging on the couch or in the hammock (weather dependent) reading as many books as possible. I felt a sense of urgency to read ahead and get to the fall new releases I'm most excited about because I have no idea what life after August 9th (give or take) will look like in my reading life. Yet I keep finding myself wanting to turn to the classics too.
I admit, I'm one of those readers who hated the classics in school. I loved to read, but I was strictly a contemporary, realistic fiction young lady (with the occasional genre fiction piece thrown in.) Required reading was almost always boring reading, and it kept me from the reading I wanted to be doing. Over the years I've discovered that there are classics I like, but it never seems as though they're at the forefront of conversations, so why read them when I can read the books people are talking about? It's one of the perils of book blogging and the bookish Twitter-sphere. Essentially: the classics have survived for this many years without me reading them, so won't they always be there? Why now?
At the heart of this desire is the single biggest change I've noticed in pregnancy: a shifting idea of time. Admittedly, this year feels like the longest one of my life. I am not someone who enjoys pregnancy (but I am so very happy to be pregnant.) Every day is a challenge, and while it's totally worth it (right, nomadbaby?), it's not an experience I care to have more than once. Yet I know this seemingly interminable year will be followed by perhaps the fastest year of my life. Watching the nomadbaby grow from birth to one year old will fly by, if all of my friends are to be believed. Yes, the days are long, but the months and year are short. There are so many changes and milestones the first year.
My sense of time is also changing in terms of ancestry. I find myself even more fascinated than usual by family trees and the combination of lineages. Mr. Nomadreader and I both hyphenated our names when we got married. It's been awesome to be the only two people in the world with our last name, and soon there will be a third. Our little family is an island of its own name.
One of things I most want to pass on to the nomadbaby is a love of reading. I spend a lot of time thinking about it. I've switched back to reading The New Yorker in print and plan to read more print books because I want to more obviously model reading for him. While I've always been a big believer that although there are books of varying quality, reading is more important than what you read. So why the classics if they're not what I've enjoyed most in the past?
Perhaps having a child makes me confront my own age and the speed of life. If I keep putting them off, I'll never get to them because there will always be too many books to read. And there are classics that appeal to me immensely and feel like gaps in my reading (there are also plenty I'm okay knowing the basic plot points about and never reading.)
So which are calling out to me loudest? Today it's Jane Austen, the Brontes, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edith Wharton, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Eliot, Henry James, and E.M. Forster. Some I've read before and enjoyed. Some I've read before and despised but want to give another chance. And some I've (shamefully) never read. Every book I pick up lately seems to reference characters (or experiences in the form of non-fiction) reading the classics, and those make me want to immerse myself even more deeply in the shared experiences.
Yet as strong as this craving is, I'm having so much fun reading whatever strikes my fancy. I stopped accepting books with specific review dates while I was pregnant, and I love the freedom to read what I want when I want to read it. I'll never find my way through all the books I want to read, but I do hope I start to sprinkle in a few more classics to round out my reading.
Now tell me: which classics should I definitely make room (and which should I avoid?)
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