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Classics Challenge and Meme

May 25, 2008

I didn’t have time to read a short story or two today. I planned to, but then I got distracted by the library! Yep, I’ve finally gotten a library card to my city’s public library system (before this, I just used the base library). And I spent a couple hours researching/working on an annotated list of non-fiction books about the Middle East. I should finish it in the next couple of days.

Anyway, I got home and opened up my google reader only to see that CJ’s developed her list for the Classics Challenge. I’ve been trying really hard to resist, but I love me some challenges and I love me some classics, so it was inevitable that I would give in. Trish created a meme to go along with the challenge, which is such a brilliant idea! So, meme first:
1. My favorite classic is oh! That’s a really tough one! How about I name my favourite classic authors? Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, George Eliot, and Victor Hugo is fast working his way up there. :) But I love a bunch of other classic authors too.
2. The classic I had the toughest time finishing is Thomas Mann’s A Death in Venice; it’s really short, but God it seemed to go on forever.
3. I would recommend Pride and Prejudice to someone who doesn’t read a lot of classics or who doesn’t generally like classics because it’s just a great story! And it’s pretty short.
4. To me, a classic book is a book that reflects or influences the society it came from and has stood the test of time.
5. The type of relationship I have with classics is a wonderful, long-term relationship, if at times it’s a bit long-distance too. I love reading them, but somehow I don’t make as much time for them as I should. Nevertheless, I know they’re always there for me when I need them.

Now for my picks! Combined with my new (much larger) library’s catalog and my shelves, I’ve come up with this list, of which I will read at least five from two different countries (option two). I’ve listed page numbers in parantheses, just because I like to know what kind of commitment I’m getting into (ETA: wordpress tried to turn the page numbers into smileys, so I had to fix it)!
From America…
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger (208 )
Summer by Edith Wharton (100 )
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (288 )
The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (464 )
From England…
Armadale by Wilkie Collins (752 )
No Name by Wilkie Collins (784 )
Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope (848 )
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (496 )
The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf (358 )
From France…
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1312 )
Le morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (512 )
From India…
Ramayana by Krishna Dharma (488 )
From Persia…
The Arabian Nights trans. Husain Haddawy (464 )

For fun, here are the other classics I’ll be reading for other challenges during the rest of the year:
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (France), Little Women by Lousia May Alcott (America), “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad (Poland), “Gigi and the Cat” by Collette (France), “Oroonoko” by Aphra Behn (England), The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (Italy), Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, trans. Volokhonsky and Pevear (Russia), My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin (Australia), The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, trans. Volokhonsky and Pevear (Russia), Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (France), Howard’s End by E.M. Forster(England)

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2008 8:58 pm

    You’ve got some great choices on you list. And I like that:

    The type of relationship I have with classics is a wonderful, long-term relationship, if at times it’s a bit long-distance too.

    I keep meaning to do this challenge. At least I haven’t missed the deadline yet!

  2. May 25, 2008 9:24 pm

    Your answer for what makes a classic is the best I’ve seen so far. Great list.

  3. May 25, 2008 11:12 pm

    Kim, thanks! Can’t wait to see what list you come up with. :)

    Petunia, thank you! Are you doing this one? I bet you’ll have a great list too; when I was looking for some Wharton, I thought of you. :D

  4. May 26, 2008 2:01 pm

    My toughest read was a really short one as well–Howards End. Bleh! :) Great list! I love that someone else is thinking about countries as well–it seems like option 1 is the one of choice for most.

  5. May 27, 2008 1:27 am

    That’s a great list. Two really good Wilkie Collins’ novels there, be interesting to see what you think of them.

  6. May 27, 2008 5:52 am

    This looks like fun! You’ve got some books listed that I’d like to get to myself, including more Wilkie Collins and Edith Wharton. I should probably read more Hawthorne too, as I read too little 19C American fiction, as opposed to British. Enjoy the challenge!

  7. May 27, 2008 7:36 pm

    I have to go read the rules, before deciding to join (I probably will…..). I like your choices, lots of variety there!

  8. May 27, 2008 8:04 pm

    Trish, uh-oh: I’m reading Howard’s End for the 1% Well-Read Challenge! Have you read any other Forster? Did you like A Room With a View?

    Eloise, I’m excited-I read his two most famous last year, so I want to read at least one more this year.

    Dorothy, I had to do a quick google search on 19c American fiction to come up with Hawthorne! lol So I don’t read too much in that area either, which is why I put him on the list.

    Susan, whoops-shoulda listed the rules! Pretty simple, though. If you join, can’t wait to see your list. :)

  9. June 7, 2008 10:53 am

    Love your list.
    I know what you mean about ‘A death in Venice’ going on and on…

  10. June 14, 2008 8:20 am

    Lynda, thanks! And glad I’m not the only one who had to slog through such a tiny book. ;)

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