21 November 2010

Classics Book Club

In the last couple of months, I've made references to Classics Book Club, with the intention of writing a post about it for the same amount of time. This is the plan of Judy, at Judy's Notebook: For Classics Book Club, we will read two (or one, whatever) classic novels a month, and discuss online, for a year. Since I was putting off the Camus that Rebecca has lent to me (it's about A PLAGUE - sounds depressing, huh?), and I was having trouble feeling inspired by the first few pages of Rebecca's Catch-22, I thought reverting to checking off some older classics might be good for me. (I am however, determined to read those other two, R! Eventually! And I finished your Ishmael forever ago!)

Here's the list, below. There are a few books that I have already read, but am considering re-reading.


Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe

Persuasion was a re-read by times ten, but Moll Flanders was brand new to me. Happily, I finished both, and have been meaning to blog about them...


Howards End, by E. M. Forster
The Europeans, by Henry James

Though I'd watched the 1992 film version of Howard's End, the novel was new to me, and I was glad to have forgetten some of the plot points from the film. Currently I am reading The Europeans. Yes, I am behind. The advantage, or temptation, of an blog discussion, is that each person doesn't have to write their thoughts on the same day.


To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
Candide, by Voltaire

Both of these are new to me; I've been meaning to read To The Lighthouse forever. Though I am behind with October, I am optimistic about getting caught up with the last three novels mentioned within a relatively short amount of time.


The Secret Agent, by Joseph Conrad
Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons

I've read neither of these novels, nor had I ever even heard of Cold Comfort Farm and Stella Gibbons. I will be reading both.


Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell
Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen

Cranford has been on my to-do list for awhile. Mansfield Park, on the other hand, I've read many times over. I was considering substituting another book in its place, but perhaps here would be a good time to self-assign just one book for January, so I can get caught up on reading that for which I have by this time likely procrastinated. However, I still consider myself up to talking about MP any old day, truly!


Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton

Having previously read both of these novels, I considered substituting other novels. I think that in the case of Dickens, instead I will read David Copperfield, as that particular novel is the most obvious Dickens that I have not read. (I have read A LOT of Dickens.) I can still discuss Oliver Twist, however! In the case of The Age of Innocence, I think perhaps I will re-read it. This is after weighing Wharton being depressing in general, with my desire to renew my adult opinion of that book. If The House of Mirth had been assigned, I probably would have substituted Ethan Frome (which will however remain on my to-do list). Wharton =/ shits n' giggles.


The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan

I've read Dorian Grey, but since it's a short novel, I could stand to read it again. The Thirty-Nine Steps is new to me.


Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Treasure Island will be new to me. Anna Karenina, I read years ago, and then it was assigned during Book Club Part I, circa 2004. However, I didn't read the whole thing for the discussion belonging to that assignment, so I have been considering re-reading for Classics Book Club. Tough choice, because it's a long book, and it doesn't add another notch in my bookcase. For now, though, I will plan to re-read. April is still several months away.


Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy

With the suspicion that I read the Reader's Digest condensed version of Little Women as a child, I will be reading the novel "again" for Classics Book Club. Far From the Madding Crowd will be completely new to me, including the correct title, which I have misread and mispronounced as "maddening," not "madding," for literally, years. In fact, it was not until I was searching for an old copy in the local used bookstore recently, did I realize this mistake. For shame, Amanda. For shame!


Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Middlemarch, by George Eliot

Both of these would be re-reads. Since I haven't read Jane Eyre since I was a teenager, I would like to re-visit that novel. And I love Middlemarch, but I read it only four years ago, so I'm considering substituting Silas Marner instead. (But can still discuss Middlemarch!)


Vanity Fair, by William Makepiece Thackeray
The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham

I've read Vanity Fair, but am still considering making that a re-reading. The same situation as Anna Karenina and Middlemarch, but I haven't made up my mind yet, in the case of VF. The Painted Veil, however is a new read!


Barchester Towers, by Anthony Trollope
A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh

Both books that I have never before read.

Want to read some classic novels with us? I will keep a list of books on the sidebar, and blog about the books occasionally. Feel free to follow along and/or check out book discussions on Judy's blog. :)


Judy said...

The moment I saw that you have already read Middlemarch, I screeched "Read Silas Marner!" Just about everyone in the world has asked me if I named my cat after the character in this book. Well everyone 20+ years older than myself. Apparently it was required reading once. The answer btw is no.

Thanks for the Classics Club acknowledgment, Amanda. Your contribution is fantastic.

my name is Amanda said...

Thanks, Judy!

Well then, how did you come up with the name "Silas?!"

kr said...

When reading Little Women: be aware that the first half is her original writing, the second half was written at the demand of her publishers. When I found this out, it removed a lot of my WTF reaction to the second half. The first half is really good; the second half, relative pap and felt like a betrayal of the first half.

Everyone knows that the formal sequels were written to spec; I hate that LW is published as if it were one "continuous" work. (Growl.)

Judy said...

I didn't know that kr. Maybe we could change it out with another title. Any ideas AM?

kr said...

still good to read the first half; and with awareness it might be interesting to see how she changed it up for the second half and add that to the discussion(?)