'Classic' - A book which people praise and don't read.
I started reading 'Les Miserables' few weeks ago. Given that I am notorious for leaving books midway, I didn't hope to last that long(pun intended). I have not finished it but by now I know that I will finish it sooner or later. When I started, the early chapters about Bishop Myriel life were not exactly what I am used to reading. But within those lengthy sentences and myriad discussions on religion were little gems which I unearthed.
"Madame Magloire," said he, "fetch me a chair. My greatness [grandeur] does not reach as far as that shelf."
"Place your hopes in the man from whom you do not inherit."
"There is M. Geborand purchasing paradise for a sou."
"To be a saint is the exception; to be an upright man is the rule. Err, fall, sin if you will, but be upright."
"Ecclesiastes calls you the All-powerful; the Maccabees call you the Creator; the Epistle to the Ephesians calls you liberty; Baruch calls you Immensity; the Psalms call you Wisdom and Truth; John calls you Light; the Books of Kings call you Lord; Exodus calls you Providence; Leviticus, Sanctity; Esdras, Justice; the creation calls you God; man calls you Father; but Solomon calls you Compassion, and that is the most beautiful of all your names."
"There is a way of avoiding which resembles seeking."
I can go on and on but I must admit that Hugo is a master of prose. His thoughts on every subject is piercing as well as candid. Maybe it is time that I should pay back a visit to 'A Tale of two Cities' and finish another epic. Is it just me or anyone else also is out there who thinks that the habit of reading improves with practice. As much as I love my Harry Potter and Christie and Doyle, I am beginning to realize that I am not averse to Dumas and Dickens too. They are kind of growing on me. I was giving up on them but they are not giving up on me. And Thank God for that.
Maybe I am beginning to realize what my dear friend Bardicvoice wrote once, "Classics are called classics because they teach us something. They teach us morals and values." It is true. Among contemporary writers, there is no one to write a single book which contains wit, drama, history, morals, discourses, theories, theology all in a single masterpiece like Hugo.
Everyone can take a pick from what they like in 'Les Miserables'. It is a treasure trove of ideas and I feel that every time I take a dive, I emerge with a handful of pearls. Oh, Great Masters! Your fingers were touched with the essence of God, your quills were filled with ink of angels. No matter how hard anyone tries, no one can even began to ascend the dizzying heights of the literary mountain where these masters reside.
How lucky I am to be able to read the classics and how proud I am to be able to glean even little drops of wisdom from the vast oceans these classics contain.
Every reader finds himself. The writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.
And I am discerning things about myself through these books which were hidden from my soul.
As I am turning the last pages of a book, I am opening a new page of my destiny.