The Book Man Speaks

May 27, 2012

Maxwell’s House of Books

 

Maxwell's House of Books,La Mesa,San Diego,Rosemary Joles,Top Five Novels,Francine Prose,Moby Dick,Huckleberry Finn,Lord of the Rings,Willa Cather,Mark Twain,Brothers Karamazov

Photo Courtesy of Maxwell's

Some of you may remember an article I wrote in the spring about Maxwell’s House of Books in La Mesa. Craig and Lynn Maxwell have amassed a fine selection of academic and specialty subjects while providing plenty of popular titles and classics. I love that shop. Their prices are great and they really know books. Located at 8285 La Mesa Boulevard, across from Cosmos Coffee Café, they are a go-to-place for book lovers. E-Books have their place, without question, but I do love holding a book in my hands. The smell of a book, the cover design, the typeface, all of these elements synthesize together, transporting me back to earlier times. Why can’t we have both?

While working on the earlier article, Craig and I had a great time discussing the books he loves. So, knowing he was widely read, I asked Craig if he wouldn’t mind giving me a list of what he considered the top five novels in English. There are plenty of well-worn novels in his library since his parents encouraged his avid reading since childhood, but he was able to distill it down to five. Here is the list:

 Craig Maxwell’s Top Five Novels of the English Language

  • Moby Dick—Herman Melville
  • Brothers Karamazov—Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—Mark Twain
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop—Willa Cather
  • The Lord of the Rings—J.R.R. Tolkien
Maxwell's House of Books,La Mesa,San Diego,Rosemary Joles,Top Five Novels,Francine Prose,Moby Dick,Huckleberry Finn,Lord of the Rings,Willa Cather,Mark Twain,Brothers Karamazov

Photo Courtesy of Penguin Classics

None of these books is a flash in the pan. They re-emerge in lit classes and inhabit the shelves of the public library, year after year. Francine Prose, a prolific author and writing professor, said the following about the classics of literature in her book, Reading Like a Writer:

You can assume that if a writer’s work has survived for centuries, there are reasons why this is so… Part of a reader’s job is to find out why certain writers endure.

Something Fun to Do This Summer

If you have some time this summer, it might be a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with one of these masterworks. If none of these titles appeal to you, stop by Maxwell’s House of Books.I am sure Craig has something to interest you.

Maxwell's House of Books,La Mesa,San Diego,Rosemary Joles,Top Five Novels,Francine Prose,Moby Dick,Huckleberry Finn,Lord of the Rings,Willa Cather,Mark Twain,Brothers Karamazov

Photo Courtesy of designsponge.com

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