The calendar says summer won't be over for another month, but many people will begin their new school year next week. Since June the books have been practically flying off the library book shelves. Lately I've noticed more high school and college students, racing around, earnestly attempting to complete assignments from their lists of recommended summer reading, lists which are largely comprised of classics.
I love seeing young people checking out classics, whether they are doing so because they "have to" or not. In bookstores, the classics are often overlooked, because they're not normally marketed for entertainment purposes. This may explain why an assignment to read, say The Sun Also Rises , could be received with almost legendary dread and an audible groan. Fortunately, reading the classics is still required in most secondary schools and universities, because this essential component of a good liberal arts education is the perfect vehicle for practicing valuable thinking and analytical skills. Reading, thinking about, and studying a complex plot, often written in archaic language, is an excellent exercise for the mind, no matter if you are in school or out. Do you want to keep your brain, as well as your body, in shape? Work out with a classic!