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Classic Literature and Storytelling: Home

A guide to discovering classic literature in its many forms, including audiobooks, games, interactives, apps, and movies.

Introduction

'Classic' is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as "serving as a standard of excellence : of recognized value". While classic literature is often read, there are other ways which these stories can also be experienced, including audiobooks, movies, and games. Additionally, for those who are interested in learning more about the associated time periods and events relating to certain classics, there are documentaries and websites which could be useful.

This guide is meant for public library patrons who are looking for more ways to enjoy these well-loved, and much read, stories.

Why Look Farther Than Books?

Classic literature has been the focus of movies for many years, and the draw of this kind of entertainment extends well beyond an enjoyable story told with images. For some, a particular classic, such as Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, is a dense read which takes a great deal of effort and focus. However, watching the recent movie adaptation starring Hugh Jackman, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, and Helena Bonham Carter opens the story to a broader audience.

This is also true for audiobook versions, which are the "fastest-growing format in the book business today" (Maloney 1). Whether they are straight reads, which is a single narrator reading without characterization (Burkey 86), or a full-cast narration, which is a cast of actors performing the book together (Burkey 82), they can draw in those who appreciate literature best when it is spoken aloud. Adding these additional touches to famous and well-known stories can bring them to life in a way readers may never have experienced before. Even Shakespeare can be best enjoyed audibly by some, as this "is a more private experience" (Desmet 225). It is then up to the "listeners to fill in character, scene, setting, and so forth from their own imaginations" (Desmet 225).

It is for these reasons this LibGuide has been created. If you are a fan of classic literature, or if you are curious, but are also worried about dense it can sometimes feel, look around and see if there are perhaps other ways for you to enjoy these engaging and time-tested tales! And, as I always say, may you never be without a good story!

Classic Literature

Program Ideas

'Classics Club' is a library program which focuses on patrons experiencing classic literature in all its many and varied formats. A book portion could include a classic book being read either every month or every other month, with a discussion on a predetermined date (ex. every third Wednesday of the month or the second Monday of every other month). To include other formats, it could be an audiobook specific club, or one which reminds those who participate that listening to the book is completely acceptable. Perhaps once or twice a year a movie version of one of the books which was read could be watched as a group. This, if done at the library, would require a movie license, which could be purchased by the institution in question, and would need to be discussed beforehand with upper administration. However, it would be a fun way to discuss whether the movie was a good adaptation, or was perhaps a strong movie in its' own right.

To supplement the books being read and discussed, free apps and interactives could be suggested as other ways to enjoy the storyline. These could also be a way to reach out to those who are not involved in the club itself. A handout or brochure could be created for the entire year that could be given out at the desk when patrons approach with questions relating to this kind of material.

The Creator

Accessibility

A quick note about accessibility:

Accessibility is, essentially, the ability for all users to make use of the resources provided. Many of the movies listed here are available within services that provide either closed captioning/transcripts and/or descriptive audio. Unfortunately, not all services have yet begun providing these points of entrance for the vision or hearing-impaired.

The library is always open to learning more about accessible items and formats, and appreciate when patrons bring these to their attention! Thank you!