Great Books Are More Like Passports

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ―Madeleine L'Engle

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ―Cicero

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” 
―Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” ―Ernest Hemingway

A book becomes great when it speaks to us, again and again, generation after generation. Books that tell the struggle of humanity and our need for redemption do more than entertain; they transform. We were made to tell a story, THE story and authors have been telling it in various ways through various methods for thousands of years. Great stories are meant to change us. How can we read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or Jane Eyre without being changed?

You may be thinking, “I get that these are great books, but I have such a hard time understanding them,” and you are partly right; some great books are challenging to read. Though most classics are more accessible than commonly believed, it does help to have an excellent teacher to open these great works up to their students. They do more than provide an education, they provide a passport and instill a passion for learning by challenging students to think and to discuss perennial issues. 

It would be far easier to teach students about a book, about an author or about an issue. But an education in the great books is about teaching through them so that authors become friends for life. And this is why great books are more like passports; they lead us in to a new adventure in the journey that we call life.