Despite their differences in genre and style, these books all give an unforgettable sense of place -- whether that place is a small patch of ground, an entire continent, or just the wrinkles of the writer's mind.
Just when I think the literary establishment can become no more obliviously dismissive of SFF as a genre, along comes Joanna Trollope to complain that fantasy novels, while "a lovely escape," fail to provide a strong enough sense of moral guidance for children.
I spend a lot of time with people who want to change the world and with people who actually do. The difference between them isn't intelligence, money, connections, or even force of will -- it's perspective.
Great literature, because it asks big questions and communicates big ideas, stays relevant, even if it is very old. You will be richer, wiser, and smarter if you make classic literature a regular part of your life.
The French president-elect might find an interesting lesson on socialist leadership in the far distance of fifth-century B.C. Europe, and specifically from the two men who dominated left-wing politics in the twilight of Athens' golden age.
Why do we assume classics are impenetrable and obsolete? Why do we imagine that an ecology that privileges "emerging artists" while all but abandoning mature ones, let alone historical ones, will have resonance in the long run?
How then can someone so successful at making money be so comically unskilled at managing his political brand? For three potentially revealing answers, consider the case of Marcus Licinius Crassus, ally and bankroller of Julius Caesar.