More than just a church, more than just a fire.


Mark Twain described a classic book as one that everyone loves but no one has read.

That is so often true that I long ago stopped asking “What was it about?” when someone starts raving about how much they loved Fahrenheit 451 or To Kill a Mockingbird or the other great books Mrs. Martin assigned in her 10th grade English class at Richmond Senior High School.

The exception seems to be The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo’s novel about Quasimodo and Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy girl: that is one of the classic books many people seem to actually have read. (Or maybe they’ve just seen one of the 15 movies made about it.)

Regardless of how, they have been exposed to one of the great pieces of literature in history. How powerful is the book and story?