@TheLibrary – Staff Recommendations: “the Classics” with a modern twist

We want to help you find your next favorite book… !!
As you can expect, every member of our library staff is an avid reader! That means any one of us can supply you with a substantial amount of reliable recommendations for what to read next…


Gabriel is an amazingly talented violinist as well, and self-ascribed “Friend to All Squirrels”

This batch of picks is from our Library Page, Gabriel Bray.

Gabriel has given us several lists of recommendations in the past – each proving more diverse, sophisticated, enlightening (and sometimes unconventional) than the last…



Here’s a collection of “Classics” picked by Gabriel


The library contains books of all shapes and sizes, but standing out among them are a select few designated as “the classics.” While there is no absolute standard for what constitutes a true classic, and while the list will continue to grow as long as we a species continue to churn out thought-provoking and original literary works, there are some titles that just about everyone can agree have “made it.” Perhaps you read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school or brought Pride and Prejudice along on your last holiday. Still, such a label carries with it a deal of weight, proving daunting to many a hesitant reader. For those who may prefer a softer approach, the good news is that the Ferndale Library serves you on a multimedia platform, allowing for new and exciting ways to experience classic works across all genres. Here are but a few examples.


indexDante’s Divine Comedy – Seymour Chwast

Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is a three-part Italian epic from the 13th Century, depicting the author’s journey through the stages of the afterlife. Its vivid and often horrific descriptions of the nine circles of hell have become so ingrained into our collective imagination that we may not realize how great a cultural impact Dante has had. Seymour Chwast brings Dante’s imagery to graphic life in his adaptation of the Divine Comedy, while reimagining and modernizing some elements in his art. While clearly a very truncated version of a hefty poem, Chwast’s book functions as a suitable introduction for those not familiar with the original and provides a unique and entertaining artistic take on it for those who are.


index (1)The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer is another great Medieval writer, and one of the first and finest wordsmiths in the English language, especially known for The Canterbury Tales. Some readers might greet that assertion with skepticism upon being introduced to Chaucer’s version of English, which is quite different from the language we know today. Editors have attempted to address this problem in diverse ways, with numerous translations of The Canterbury Tales appearing in both prose and poetry. The library offers another option: the audiobook version. A collection of several of Chaucer’s tales, ranging from the romantic to the raunchy, are presented in the original Middle English. A brief introduction to Middle English is offered on the first disc, and each tale is read by a different narrator, adding up to a quite enjoyable companion for your morning commute.


index (2)Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less – Alexander Aciman

In today’s world, the importance of social media as a tool for communication is not in question. What is questioned is whether our society’s collective addiction to Facebook and Twitter could be adversely affecting our attention spans when it comes to, say, tackling an intimidatingly large work of literature. Enter Twitterature, which sums up a remarkable number of works in a series of imaginary Tweets. Homer and Virgil, Shakespeare and Marlowe, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Proust and Joyce – the list of those represented here is an extensive one. The selections range from the predictable – Frankenstein and Jane Eyre – to the decidedly more outside-the-box – Alan Moore’s Watchmen and the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This book is a fun little diversion for everyone – while the jokes are funnier if you know the story already, it is to be hoped that one or two will inspire the reader to explore a work with which they were previously unfamiliar (and if they do, you know where to look for it).

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