Recently Thrifted: Madame Bovary

Savers Thrift Store in Berkeley has an ugly, disorganized corner on the second floor lovingly reserved for books. Besides indisputable crap, there are far more classics than anything else, which is a bit alarming, as these are the books that people are ridding of their lives. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert marked the first time I read a book and thought, I like this more than anything I’ve ever read. It is forevermore in the canon of my all-time favorites, which entails buying any and all editions that I come across. This particular one cost me just 50 cents, thanks to the cashier who picked it up, shrugged, and charged me for a children’s book.
 
An introductory note from the publisher ends this way: “All Flaubert’s scorn for conventional society, its lack of intelligence and insensitivity to beauty, are embodied in his greatest novel, Madame Bovary.” Scorn and society are frequent costars, but Madame Bovary’s very own intelligence and beauty inspires a new kind of understanding, one focused on a woman who suffocates within the confines of conservative society. It is a dense classic better left read, like I imagine all of them are. Until the next re-read, may it sit on my bookshelf as a reminder to read the countless classics I have yet to read, because any one of them may be the next addition to the list of perennial favorites.

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6 Comments

  1. I have a favorite one like this myself, Charolette Bronte’s Villette. This also reminds me however, how I got a bunch of classics from someone but never made the time to sit down a read them before I had to sell them all in a desperate attempt to move away. One of these days, I’ll come back to these classics.

  2. Everytime I go into any trift store, there are so many classics. Admittedly, not all in the best condition, but I have to hold back and not purchase them all.

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