Just self-published a new book – the introduction is posted here.
I love amazing stories in classic novels.
Amazing stories allow you to experience the sweet sublime beauty of well crafted words and prose that can open your heart to a larger empathy and compassion for humanity, move your soul to new depths, and engage your mind in ways that only great art can do.
experiencing amazing stories in a different way as audiobooks that could lead you down new paths, and inspire you to explore new things (culture, language, historical context, etc), and become a new adventure in this journey of life.
This book is designed for anyone who has not read any classics or maybe only a few classics in their life, and wants to explore new possibilities of experiencing amazing stories.
It was the beginning of 2021 when I had a change occur in my life that caused a shift in my inspiration and reflections on humanity, history, culture, and literature. I became immersed in the depths of storytelling considered to be the best in history. By men and women who write with such depth and passion and creative genius that it is a humbling and rewarding experience.
Collectively and individually we experienced the pandemic of 2020 as well as the most divisive election in American history. The content that I read and absorbed in text on Facebook, the internet, and in videos on YouTube during that year was mainly related to these two dominant themes, and mainly negative. However I still managed to continue to write inspirational blogs, but the writing was less frequent, as was the inspiration behind it.
By the end of 2020 I was burnt out from the overload of negative content in the media and elsewhere.
When 2021 started, I was ready for different content in my life.
Then something happened.
Amazing Stories suddenly appeared.
The change occurred for me in January 2021 when I heard about a new documentary on the life of Ernest Hemingway being produced by Ken Burns for PBS. I read four Hemingway novels within the first few months of 2021 before the documentary was released in April. I have dedicated a chapter of this book to Hemingway. Hint: all four novels were amazing stories – Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bells Toll, A Farewell to Arms, and A Moveable Feast. Then there are his famous short stories.
Around the same time I received an offer in an email from Audible for a free trial with a free credit for an audiobook. I chose Anna Karenina (which I had learned was one of the best novels ever written and a very long one) and that launched my love of reading or listening to classics every day in 2021, and as a commitment and joy for years to follow.
Carpe diem – Seize the day!
After all these years, I wonder why I had not read Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, Dickens, or Hemingway. In my high school and college years I read a number of books and some are considered classics. Hesse, Huxley, Camus, and Tolkien to name a few. My degree was in Humanities and that included some literature, however, except for Camus, I forget what we studied or read in those classes. Then in later years there was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez who became my favorite author.
Yet there are so many classics that I have not read.
I was not alone. In 2020, many people turned to reading classics as an escape and therapy from lockdowns, the trauma of the pandemic, and as a new adventure in life.
The Guardian – Resurgence of Classical Novels https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/apr/25/tolstoy-steinbeck-defoe-why-are-so-many-turning-to-classic-novel
A New Adventure at Age 70
In a way, as I turned age seventy in 2021, it was a “blessing in disguise” that I started to enjoy classics (every day), many for the first time, and especially with audiobooks where I can listen to the book and the narration of characters and story.
This has been and is such a joy for me. It has changed my life. So much so that I was inspired to write this book!
The reading or listening of books varies with each individual. Choices of what to read, what was the takeaway, level of enjoyment, insights into life, or pure enjoyment of a well written story are all different for each of us.
A common thread is the love of books – fiction or non-fiction, or classics and the experience of reading or listening to the stories in the novels or short stories.
This book- Amazing Stories by Famous Writers occurred to me as an idea on June 6, 2021, about a month before my 70th birthday on July 5th. Of course as this date approached I had many different reflections about life including memories as well as more awareness of future trends. The inspiration to start this book was such that on this date I created a title page and started writing this introduction with a “stream-of-consciousness” style – as the ideas of wording came to mind.
Joining Facebook groups that focus on the love of classics is also a part of this new and exciting experience, and I will write more about this in a later chapter. YouTube has many resources with searches for authors or book titles.
It was early on in 2021 that I viewed a YouTube video of a recent college grad who provides commentaries on classics and loves the novels of the Russian author Leon Tolstoy.
After finishing War and Peace from the same author she was saying in one video, titled “Tolstoy Made Me Weep”, with her mouth wide open in awe, “I don’t know what to do with myself. My …..heart….is bursting….I can’t believe I just read that….(repeated three times)….how am I supposed to recover?…..Oh my God…..I am actually speechless…..is the word… they are just fictional characters, Andre, Natasha,…..but they seem so real…..and they are so deep and so complex, and so lovable.”
This goes on for forty five minutes. Thank you Caroline Marie for your describing the type of cathartic experience that can happen as a result of experiencing amazing stories that are timeless.
In addition to my own reviews of books in each chapter, this book contains curated content – public domain descriptions of books, editorial reviews, third party and retail reviews.
The main purpose of this book is to inspire an interest in reading or listening to extraordinary stories by famous authors also known as classics. Chapters will include experiencing them as audiobooks, Kindle, and digital content as well as the tradition of having a library of bookshelves, a love of visiting bookstores, and the physical experience of holding and reading a book. How one chooses to enjoy reading classics is a personal preference and may include all of the above. However my main focus in 2021 was audiobooks, so each chapter on a particular book will be in reference to the audiobook and will include information about the narrator.
A second purpose of this book is to include actual examples of my own and other’s reflections and reviews of certain classics, and why they are considered classics and the best books ever written in history. Each chapter is a book title in the order that I listened to them in 2021. (with exception of The Odyssey, which I recommend to listen to as a foundation. It is a classic of classics, written from oral tradition in 800 B.C.). It is an amazing story.
A third purpose that comes to mind in the writing of this book is inspiration to write about something I love, as a part of my personal journey. As I move into the 7th decade of life, as on a clipper ship in full sail I affirm in that I will enjoy writing about classics as well as the reading or listening of them for the rest of my life. May this be many years !
If you are concerned about the costs of books, I suggest Project Gutenberg, an open source free download site for books that have become public domain. There is a section on this and other resources at the end of this book.
Our ancestors – grandparents of our grandparents lived in the 19th century, when many classics were written that described life at that time.
When we read or listen to classics we are taken to another time, a different culture, and into the depths of characters and their challenges in life.
If past lives are a reality then we might have subtle deja vu experiences of having lived in those times. We might experience a bit of the “collective unconscious” of humanity in the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of fictional characters, heros, and villains.
It is my hope that this book will inspire you to start or continue on the adventure of reading or listening to amazing stories, and that each one will be inspiring as a part of your overall journey in life. Amazon Book Listing >