Category Archives: The Classics Club

Classics Club: February Meme

classics_club_buttonAlthough my Classics Club reading has dropped off the face of the Earth lately, I’m still considering myself a member and hanging in there. I keep telling myself that I will be able to make it a priority again soon, and I hope that’s true.

In any case, there’s a great question for the monthly members’ meme this month (alliteration, yay!).

What about modern classics? Pick a book published since 2000 and say why you think it will be considered as a “classic” in the future.

Two books automatically came to mind for me when I read this question, but when I checked the publication dates I saw that the first–Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day–was published in 1989 so it doesn’t count. Can we do a post-1980 question? I have a lot more books I would add to the list within those parameters.

The second book I thought of does fit, though, as it was published in 2004: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. This book blew me away when I first read it, as the writing is just simply, stunningly beautiful. It also won a whole bunch of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction. But don’t just take my word for how good it is. Add it to your Classics Club list today! 🙂

gilead

The Classics Spin (yet again!)

classics_club_buttonThe Classics Club has come up with a fun way to get us motivated and reading our classic books–the Classics Spin! The rules are:

  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List. Confession: I’m constantly updating my list so I usually cheat on this part and just pick what I want.
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday (that’s tomorrow!).
  • Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by January 5th, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading!

So here goes. In honor of this month being Non-Fiction November I’ve decided to include a special non-fiction section. I’m also putting five works of Victorian Lit (The Classic Club’s November theme) and five books with a holiday/winter theme for December. The last section will be books that have been recommended to me but that I haven’t found time to read yet.

Classic Non-Fiction

  1. A Vindiction of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
  2. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  3. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
  4. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  5. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

Victorian Lit

  1. (6.)  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  2. (7.) Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  3. (8.)  Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  4. (9.)  David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  5. (10.)  The Professor by Charlotte Brontë

Holiday/Winter-Themed Lit

  1. (11.) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  2. (12.) The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry
  3. (13.) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  4. (14.) If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
  5. (15.) The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (too recent to technically be called a classic, but I’m including it anyway because it’s based on an old folk tale)

Classic Recommendations

  1. (16.) The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  2. (17.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  3. (18.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  4. (19.) Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
  5. (20.) Far From the Maddening Cry by Thomas Hardy

Good luck to everyone who’s “spinning” this time around. Hopefully we’ll get our lucky number!

Classics Club: October Meme

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Even though I’ve been a very bad Classics Club member lately, I am going to try to get back in the game with the monthly meme question.

Let’s talk about classic poetry! Have you got a favorite classic poem? Do you read poetry? Why or why not? // You could also feature a poet or a book of poetry, rather than a poem.

I do love poetry, but it has taken me a long time to find the kind of poetry I most enjoy. Some of my favorite poets include Billy Collins, Naomi Shihab Nye (who I saw give a reading in college but didn’t fully appreciate at the time, unfortunately), Carol Ann Duffy and Mary Oliver, to name a few. I’m not sure they really count as “classic” poets, though, as they are mostly modern ones.

There are two classics poets that I read in school and who really stuck with me, however. The first is Sappho, whose ancient Greek poetry reads like something a modern day woman could have written. I had to read an entire book of her poetry in college and I flew through it in one night, totally enchanted.

The classic poet who taught me to really appreciate poetry, though, is William Carlos Williams. I can remember reading the following poem one day and all of a sudden I just GOT it. I understood what imagery really was and why it was such a big deal. Williams made me realize that poetry doesn’t have to be complicated and indecipherable and full of $10 vocabulary words to be meaningful and beautiful.

“This is just to say”

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Head over to The Classics Club to see what other members are talking about…

The Classics Club Spin #6 (or 4, if you’re me)

classics_club_buttonThe Classics Club has come up with a fun way to get us motivated and reading our list books–the Classics Spin! This will be my fourth time participating, and since I had such a great spin last time I’m feeling confident that I can do it again.

To add to the fun, I’ve got five choices that fit in with the Classics Club Post-Colonial/World Literature event for the month of May.

The rules are:

  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List (Disclaimer: I’m kind of “adjusting” my list as I go, so to be fair a lot of these aren’t on the original list).
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday.
  • Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by July 7th, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (No fair not listing any scary ones!)

So here we go with my spin list for this time around:

Five I’m Hesitant to Read

1.  Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
2.  The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper
3.  Vanity Fair by William Thackery
4.  Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
5.  Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Five I Can’t Wait to Read

6.  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
7.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
8.  Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
9.  The Color Purple by Alice Walker
10. The Complete Stories of Truman Capote

Five I’m Neutral About

11.  Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
12.  My Antonia by Willa Cather
13.  The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata
14.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
15.  The Once and Future King by T. H. White

Five Post-colonial/World Lit Classics

16.  Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
17.  Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
18.  Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
19.  Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye
20.  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Good luck to everyone participating!

Classics Club: March Meme

classics_club_buttonNothing like leaving it until the last minute, right?

The Classics Club has put up their monthly meme question:

What is your favorite “classic” literary period and why?

This is a pretty easy question for me to answer–Victorian. I’ve always had a fascination with this period, as it was such a time of social upheaval and contradiction. I love the juxtaposition of repression and freedom, of clinging to the past while a whole new world of science and technology is opening up. It made for some very interesting reading, to say the least. And as much as I love the writers of the day (Dickens and the Brontës, Eliot and Gaskell…), I equally enjoy some of the modern writers who revisit this period and all its complexity. Some of my favorite takes on the Victorian period include The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles (a must-read) and The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, both classics in their own right.

Head over to The Classics Club to see what other members are talking about…

The Classics Club Spin – 3rd Time’s a Charm?

classics_club_buttonThe Classics Club has come up with a fun way to get us motivated and reading our list books–the Classics Spin! This will be my second third attempt at reading a spin book, and hopefully I’ll be more successful this time around.

The rules are:

 

  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List (Disclaimer: I’m kind of “adjusting” my list as I go, so to be fair a lot of these aren’t on the original list).
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday.
  • Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by April 2nd, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (No fair not listing any scary ones!)

My Spin List for the Classics Club  –

  1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  2. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  3. Agnes Gray by Anne Brontë
  4. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
  5. The Professor by Charlotte Brontë
  6. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  7. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  8. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
  9. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  10. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  12. The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata (the “dare” book!)
  13. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  14. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
  15. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  16. The Group by Mary McCarthy
  17. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  18. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
  19. No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe
  20. Reader’s Choice! – If I get this one, I’ll read the first classic book that someone suggests. Just to keep me on my toes. 🙂

The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins

the-frozen-deepI’m not sure I would have picked this book up on my own, but luckily the Wilkie in Winter gang are hosting a readalong which gave me a reason to read some Wilkie in good company. The Frozen Deep is a cross between a novella and a play, and it tells the story of an Arctic expedition, a young woman with the second sight, and an embittered man seeking revenge. What’s not to like?

Because it’s so short (right around 100 pages), it’s very doable to read the book in one sitting. While I didn’t do so, I can see the advantages of it, as it would keep the reader caught up in the drama and suspense right until the last pages. There is a LOT of drama, melodrama to be more precise, and while it might not be every reader’s cup of tea I really enjoyed it. I could easily picture the actors on stage, with lots of bosom heaving and sudden exclamations and the brooding anti-hero twirling his moustachios.

I also liked the shift in setting from proper London society to the bleak landscape of the Arctic. I read elsewhere that the story was inspired by Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition of 1845, in which he attempted to traverse the Northwest Passage. While I don’t want to give away the ending of the story, suffice it to say it’s not quite as tragic as the true life tale.

If you’re looking for a few hours of escapism and some entertaining Victorian melodrama, I can definitely recommend The Frozen Deep. Thanks to Andi, Heather and Amanda for hosting this readalong for Wilkie in Winter, and I look forward to reading The Woman in White with you in a few weeks!

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