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Looking for... excerpts of classics

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I am looking for a single volume that shows excerpts of great writing.  A well crafted description by Dickens or a great passage from Moby Dick.  I don't want an anthology, just examples of wonderful writing. 


Has something like that ever been created?  I am not looking for a textbook that gives analysis just an enjoyable foray into excellent writing.  Something I could read a selection or two during lunch to inspire my budding writers. 


I have tried multiple searches on Amazon and this board but haven't found anything.  I am beginning to worry it doesn't exist but am hoping someone can correct me and send me in the right direction.


Thank you!

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You asked for classics, but it would be easier to point you to best of annuals.


The Best American Essays 2015


The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015


Best Food Writing 2014


Collections like that will give you pieces that are shorter and more complete.  You could read the article and discuss why it worked, etc.  They have annuals for travel writing, crime writing, fiction, all sorts of things.  I use them extensively with my dd.

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Those look interesting but I really don't want contemporary literature.  Now that I think of it though, it doesn't have to be in print.  Is there a web site with excerpts of great writing?


Anyway, thank you for the ideas OhElizabeth.  I'll see where the Amazon "those who bought this..." rabbit trails lead me.



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You might look at Good Will/Salvation Army/second hand book stores for individual volumes from the following out-of-print book series, which contain excerpts of classics:


Collier's Junior Classics: The Young Folks Shelf of Books 

My Book House

The Children's Hour -- a number of the volumes can be read online through Gutenberg Project; here are links

Bookshelf for Boys and Girls

Journeys Through Bookland -- a number of the volumes can be read online through Gutenberg Project


In the past thread, "Anthologies: The Children's Hour vs Young Folks' Library vs.?", posts #22, 25, 28 list some of the contents of some of the editions of these book series to help you decide which ones would be more useful for your purposes.

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Thank you for the information and especially the thread with content listing!  I will check these out.


The online versions will also have the table of contents, so you can track down what classics are excerpted in that particular volume. :)


Also, I recommend reading through that whole thread -- mixed in are some great ideas of how people use these anthologies -- for example, to "whet appetite" of late elementary/early middle school students for continuing from reading/hearing the excerpt to reading the classic on their own. ;) From your signature, it looks you have a number of students in the perfect age range for these anthologies…


And, here are a few other threads in which people explain how they use these love anthologies:

"How to use My Book House set?"

"Just wanted to share again how much I really like Journeys Through Bookland"

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Caesar's English 1 & 2, vocabulary books by Michael Clay Thompson, have lots of great excerpts from classics. They are fairly short, if memory serves, but MCT is great at pointing out what is so good about them, and why the author may have made certain vocabulary choices. 


They are excellent books for reading aloud and discussing. 

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