I don't know how or why, but most of the classics I've read have just been random. They weren't forced down my throat or recommended. I just happened upon them. I'd heard of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for years and I just figured it was one of those ubiquitous heartwarming coming-of-age books I usually don't like. But what the hell, I read it anyway. And I loved it! I had no idea it was so realistic about the immigrant experience. One thing that stayed with me is that the main character's little brother pours his precious coffee down the drain,just because it makes him feel rich and powerful to do so. That one detail gave me so much insight into why the poor do the things they do. So much of what we all do is to help us feel in control in situations in which we really haven't much control.