Perennial Classics Contest Winners

In the last Perennial Classics competition, entrants were asked to tell us in 250 words or less, about their favorite Classic book. Here, then, are the winners and what they wrote. [Originally posted here:]

Tami Sutcliffe:

This time you won't get sucked in again. You'll just read one quick chapter and then get back to real life. You think, "I haven't read this since last summer. I'll just look over the first chapter. That was the best part," so you slide your shoes off and turn towards the light…

The words flow by, smoothly, like words you might hear anywhere except the story is too sad and you want to stop reading. One more chapter. Then you'll stop.

Poetry can be page after page of profane reality. These voices are not like voices you will ever hear but they saturate your memory, like the scent of cinnamon and cooked pork in the shabby hallways where Delores and Cesar are haunted by love. Their music is not like any you will ever play, but the pitiful Mambo King and all the pretty young voices he loves, hardly knowing, glitter and laugh until the late night lamp light makes you squeeze your tired eye lids closed. One more page.

Your shoulder is stiff where you have leaned against the chair too long. Traffic outside begins again. The smoky Tropicana nightclub is empty. Nestor and Cesar are walking away from you, jauntily, filled with all their futile, ancient machismo. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love one more time and you've listened again, all through the night hours, wandered through the smoky bars and crowded apartments with them once again. For creatures who sing songs of love, they are very cruel.

[Read all six winning entries here:]