Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to the Classics Wrapup

Sarah's rules state that I must produce a wrapup post for her challenge.  I only get to be entered in the drawing for a prize if I submit this for her to inspect.  So:

  • Any 19th Century Classic-- Doctor Thorne, by Anthony Trollope, a Barsetshire novel.
I think this has been my favorite Barsetshire novel so far.
  • Any 20th Century Classic--Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak. (two doctors!)
One of my favorite books of the year; I'm so glad I accidentally met it at the library.
  • Reread a classic of your choice--The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.  I loved it in college and remember almost nothing about it.
Wow, this is a strange book, and a great one.  Not easy to understand (and I don't claim that I did!), but very good.
  • A Classic Play-- The Tempest, by Shakespeare, read aloud with my daughter.
I've enjoyed reading some plays with my daughter this year, and I even got to take her and a friend to a broadcast performance of The Tempest--one of those things where you go to the movie theater and the performance happens somewhere else far more important than your dinky little town.  The production starred Christopher Plummer (most famous as Captain Von Trapp) and was part of a Shakespeare festival that is not in Ashland.  It was an excellent performance that we all enjoyed--it's a play that is much easier to follow if you can tell all the Italian guys apart.
  • Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction--Dracula, by Bram Stoker. 
I'd never read Dracula before and it was much better than I anticipated!
I think this is turning into my Russian year--this makes 3 in one challenge.  I'd always heard so much of the beauties of Pushkin and never read any.  I did enjoy the story of Onegin, but I sure wish I could read Russian.  There is no way to really translate poetic novels, is there?.  If I was going to pick one language to be able to read literature in properly, I think it would be Russian.
  I enjoyed this book so much.  It was just beautifully written and realistic too.  A wonderful portrait of a depressing subject.

I thought I'd better do some American literature, which is an embarrassing weak spot.  Now I love Edith Wharton and will certainly be reading more.  (My other American lit challenge, Hemingway, not so much.  Bleh.)
  • Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime - The Story of an African Farm, by Olive Schreiner.  Though I would love to visit Africa, let's face it--if I'm ever that lucky, the chances are slim that Lesotho will be the place.
 This was probably my least favorite of the challenge, but that's not to say that I didn't like it; it's just that I really liked everything else more!  It was, however, a good and worthy book.  Sad.

I am really pleased this year with my challenges, and how they have helped me focus my reading.  I feel like I'm picking more quality books, and not just whatever looks good at the moment.  I think I've read more classics this year so far than in the last two years combined, and I am really enjoying it a lot.  Of course I don't promise to only read classics from now on, but this has been great and I'm still in the mood.  Without Sarah's challenge, I'm not sure that I would have found the Classics Club either (though I really don't know now what the sequence was).  So, thanks Sarah, I owe you one!



1 comment:

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

And you are welcome Jean! I'm glad you enjoyed the challenge, and that you found the Classics Club. Congrats on finishing!!