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2021 - A Year of Inspiration from Classic Novels

  Sometimes experiences or events seem to "take on a life of their own", as if the mystical, unseen side of life is also involved, which many believe it is, from the depths of their souls. 

This year - 2021 - evokes a full range of issues, and experiences  both individually and collectively. This blog post will focus on only one - my experience with listening to classic novels as audiobooks in 2021 as a journey of amazing storytelling. 

Amazing stories allow you to experience the sweet sublime beauty of well crafted words and prose that can open your heart to a larger empathy and compassion for humanity, move your soul to new depths, and engage your mind in ways that only great art can do. 

 It was the beginning of 2021 when I had a change occur in my life that caused a shift in my inspiration and reflections on humanity, history, culture, and literature. I became immersed in the depths of storytelling considered to be the best in history. Stories by by men and women - famous authors - who write with such depth and passion and creative genius that it is a humbling and rewarding experience.

An article in the Guardian shows that this is a trend that started in 2020 with many who were seeking activities during the lock-downs, and continuing based on statistics of classic ebooks being downloaded. The following is the title, subtitle, and a quote from this article.

Tolstoy, Steinbeck, Defoe – why are so many turning to classic novels?

As sales of literary heavyweights soar, Booker winner Penelope Lively (author, age 87) says that getting lost in a good book is now more relevant than it has ever been.

"Penguin Classics saw a sales spike of 65% during the week before lockdown, while bookshops were still open and people were stockpiling books.’To Lively, an author who describes her fiction as “trying to impose order upon chaos, to give structure and meaning to what is apparently random”, this comes as no surprise. “I think this period, if it’s doing nothing else, is probably making reading a more central part of people’s lives than before.”

Fiction also offers an easy way to leave the lockdown behind. “Reading is always, in one sense, a form of escape,” says Lively. “It’s escaping into a life which is not the life that you’re actually having to live. That’s why we do it.”

In a way it is a "blessing in disguise" that I can now enjoy classics, many for the first time, and especially with audiobooks where I can listen to the book and the narration of characters and story.   

The reading or listening of books varies with each individual. Choices of what to read, what was the takeaway, level of enjoyment, insights into life, or pure enjoyment of a well written story are all different for each of us.  

 A common thread is the love of books - fiction or non-fiction, or classics and the experience of reading or listening to the stories in the novels or short stories.

As I finish the year with one of the most famous classical novels - War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - I celebrate a year of amazing stories by famous authors, experiences as audiobooks, with extraordinary narrators who can capture the subtle and sublime nuances of storytelling. 

I was so inspired by this experience, or journey of various experiences of many stories, that I started to write a book about it, with chapters devoted to each book listened to or read, and themes such as "Seeing the World Differently", "Ancient Storytelling", "The  Greatest Books Lists", and "Can Classics Change Your Life?". 

This is only the first year of this journey. There are still many books that are in my library or wishlist in Audible (audiobooks company owned by Amazon) that I will continue to experience in 2022 and beyond. 

If inspiration is important for your life, I recommend experiencing an audiobook from Audible, as a free download with a trial subscription. If you cancel within the first 30 days, you can keep the book. You might choose a long one to have more hours of listening to an amazing story such as Anna Karenina narrated by Miranda Pleasance (36hrs), The Count of Monte Cristo (47hrs), East of Eden by John Steinbeck, narrated by Richard Poe (26hr), or a short one The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, narrated by Donald Sutherland (2 1/2 hr). 

If you prefer reading to listening, there are free downloads of the older classics at Project Gutenberg, which has experienced a strong increase in downloads. I recommend The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.

 There are so many others including Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, The Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gadsby, and more.

For me, 2021 was a year of inspiration from amazing stories by famous authors - all considered classics. Carpe Diem - seize the day.

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