When I was a child, I read comic books. Then one day I returned home with one of those book order forms that are still distributed by the publishing company Scholastic. For reasons that I will discuss some other day, I checked off all of the titles that I knew--with my limited scope of knowledge--were literary "classics." A week or two later, I came home with copies of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Taming of the Shrew and a several other titles I no longer recall.
It was my first foray into something clearly a cut above my previous reading--no small feat I soon discovered as I muscled my way through the adventures of Katherine and Petruchio with an able assist from the ample notes that ran on the verso pages of my Folger paperback edition. (God bless those editions!) I was not so lucky with Wuthering Heights as I sank ever deeper into the moorish clutches of incomprehensibility. And as for Jane Eyre, well, there seemed to be an awful lot of pages, so I thought I'd wait on it. Probably a good idea when you're only in 8th grade and trying to take on some of England's greatest writers with little more than a deep knowledge of the Silver Surfer's tragic origins or the workings of Thor's mighty hammer.