Here at The Field Library we know that reading the classics can sometimes be a total bore. And that’s okay. Some times it is. And maybe what you consider modern classics will some day be boring to someone else 100 years from now. Imagine if in 2150 an English class has to read “The Fault in our Stars” and declares it boring?
Teacher: Okay guys, what did you think when Hazel first went to the support group?
Student: Oh my god, why couldn’t she just take the elevator. This is so BORING!!!!! AUGUSTUS IS A TERRIBLE BOYFRIEND!!!
Teacher: Take off your virtual reality googles and listen! It’s a metaphor!
(I would love it if years from now someone found this blog post and talked about how lame my imagined conversation was.)
Why do I bring that up? Because classic novels by authors such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, or Bram Stoker used to be the popular literature at the time. In fact, many of these authors were considered ‘trashy’ or ‘low-brow’ in their time. Shocking! In fact, Jane Austen was put down since she was first published, mostly because she was talking about “mundane” subjects like marriage and women’s problems. How dare women write about how hard it is to live in 19th century England? And now thousands of people everywhere are required to read her. So next time someone tells you that Gayle Foreman is trash, maybe you should bring that up, huh?
So, you might be thinking right now “Ugh, here goes the librarian, talking about classic literature” or “No way classical books are fun”
On the contrary,
There are many different ways of reading classical novels. There are also different ways of learning about the stories. One of them is through Youtube.
I’m sure a lot of you watch Youtube videos, Vines, all that stuff that the cool kids are watching. What’s cool about the internet these days is you get to see a lot of original content that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see. But did you know that there are web series based on classic novels? So you can watch a retelling of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, adapted for modern times. This series is called “The Lizzie Bennett Diaries” (by the way the series has been adapted into a book. A book turned into a web-series, turned into a book. What a time to be alive)
So we have the usual characters that we know and love; Lizzie, Jane, Dracy, Bing Lee…..wait, you mean Mr. Bingley, right? Like I said, adapted for the modern age! Actual diverse casts and everything! What a time to be alive!
But wait, there’s more Austen!
Thanks to the wonders of Youtube there is more Jane Austen adaptations for everyone!
This adaptation is based off of Jane Austen’s novel “Emma”. Similar to the original text Emma is setting up her friends for the right matches while getting into trouble. In this version Emma is running her own match-making industry, very similar to match-making services today. Kingsley takes the form of the business bookkeeper (close in age to Emma in this version). In this series we explore what it means in modern times to set your friend up. Where is the line between being helpful and being hurtful. Maybe send this as a link to that one friend who’s ALWAYS trying to get you to go out with that one guy that you don’t like……
A favorite series of mine growing up was also “Anne of Green Gables” by LM Montgomery. Anne Shirley is a character that I and thousands of other people always have a soft spot for years after reading the books. And now that there is stirrings of a new adaptation, this is a perfect time to check out this web-series.
What I like about this series is the actors change around Anne’s problems to suit a modern generation. Instead of being an eleven year old girl, we have a 16 year old girl who has been in the Canadian foster system for most of her life. Instead of Marilla and Matthew wanting a boy for the farm, they want a boy because it’s “Just easier”. Instead of her insulting Mrs. Rachel Lyne to her face, her video where she vents about her is discovered (Ouch, lesson learned about putting drama on the internet). It’s these kind of situations where you realize that you might have the same problems as a fictional character from the 20th century. Like Anne, we all know what it’s like to not fit in. We all have said something out of anger and wish we could take it back. Hopefully though not of us have accidentally dyed their hair green.
The final series I want to talk about is a web-series based off of the novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This series changes a few things around. Unlike the novel no one has fought in WWI, there is no bright yellow car, and hopefully no one is disillusioned by the jazz age (maybe by dub-step)
Whatever you pick these series are a good-tie in to the original books. It’s also a really good way to look at a story with fresh eyes.
Comment below with that series you really like and what stories you’d want to see adapted into a web-series. I’m sure that if you can imagine it, there is a web-series based around it (The internet kind of works funny that way).
Also remember this would work for the Read Harder Challenge. This would fall under “Read a book then watch the movie.” Remember registration for “The Field Games: Read Harder Challenge 2016 is still