Friday, December 6, 2013

Classics Club December Meme

Happy December!  I am in the middle of my annual chocolate frenzy, and I'm doing pretty well at it.  Last night was very very cold, so I made sure to do cherry cordials,which are the trickiest.  It's been very cold here, cold enough that some people are having trouble with their pipes freezing, and they are even saying it might snow tonight.  Certainly the sky has gone from crystal clear (this morning) to heavily clouded over now (after lunch).  I was going to do toffee today but I think it will be too damp to do anything tonight.  Maybe I can read a book instead.

No reason--I just like this picture today.
I have some wonderful books going, but chocolate and Christmas do get in the way.  I've gotten well into N. K. Jemisin's fantasy, The Killing Moon, which is really cool.  I've also started Frans Bengtsson's classic tale of the Vikings, The Long Ships, and it is fantastic.  (I just now realized that both of those titles are ones I picked up from Eva at A Striped Armchair, ha.)  I finished my Spin title a few days ago; I just haven't written it up yet.

Christmas is well under way here and I even have a tree up, which is a first for me.  Normally I don't get a tree until at least the 10th, and here it's been up for several days now.  We shall see if I can survive this--although I love a Christmas tree, after a few weeks I can't wait to get rid of the whole thing and all the decorations (which I don't even have many of) and start fresh.  As for gifts, I decided that this year I just can't hack all the sewing I usually do.  I'm not even wishing I was sewing, which is downright strange.  Instead, practically everyone is getting books--used books, so that I can give 3-4 instead of one.  Don't worry, they are in good shape!  No one will mind.

Anyway, it's time for our monthly Classics Club meme.  This month's question is a cruel one:
 Let’s do this again: What is your favorite classic book? If you already answered this question in August 2012, great! Tell us what you picked then, and if your answer has changed in the last year and a half. If you are new since that meme, what is your favorite classic as of today? (Yes, you can of course list multiple books.)
I skipped this question the first time around, because it's too hard to answer. I am completely useless at picking just one favorite anything, much less when it comes to books.  So here are some of my favorites from the last year or so:

Anna Karenina, by Lev Tolstoy.  Oh wow, I loved this book!  It's just wonderful and amazing.  I would very much like to read it again sometime, and try a different translation to see what I think.  But first, I would like to read War and Peace because I bet it's wonderful too.

A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth.  Indian family saga that includes people from all walks of life and paints a portrait of India in 1950.  What's not to love?

In the First Circle, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  I loved this one too.  A portrait of the USSR in 1950, rooted in the lives of gulag prisoners.  Amazing book.

Niels Lyhne, by J. P. Jacobsen.  So beautifully written, although so sad too.  Both Romantic and Modern, so kind of unusual.  I wish more people knew this book.

The Queen's Diadem, by C. J. L. Almqvist.  A really strange novel--well, fantastic, in the old sense of the word.  Another title I wish more people knew.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.  I did not expect to enjoy this one as much as I did, so it was a surprise.  I'm not all that big on American literature, or Southern literature, or anything.  But it's so funny, and a truly great American novel. 

If I'm going to pick a #1, I think I'll have to go with Anna Karenina, but picking a #1 is overrated, right? :) Sometimes I might want a Russian saga of doomed love, and sometimes I might want something else.

Looking over the past year of reading has made me really happy to see how many great books I've gotten to enjoy.  Lucky me!  And it's also made me impatient to read more on my CC list--they are all so tempting and yummy-looking.  Isak Dinesen is beckoning me to read Winter's Tales.  Jane Austen and Anne Elliot want me to enjoy Persuasion for the 10th time (I'm reading a fun mystery that reflects it).  And The Makioka Sisters are wondering if I will ever get to them, given that they never get picked for the Spin.

And, hooray for the Chunksters Challenge.  I've always been so nervous about reading gigantic novels, and most of my best books this year have been exactly those gigantic books I was putting off.


10 comments:

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I did not care for The Makioka Sisters, I must admit. So you can probably put it off a little while longer. :p

3-4 used books is obviously better than 1 brand new book. I wouldn't say it's a hard and fast rule because there are some exciting books in the world that you can only get new; but in most cases, right? People will not mind at all. People will be thrilled.

Jean said...

Exactly! Besides, I picked all the books specially, and many are not in print.

Hm, yours is the first opinion of not liking the Makioka Sisters I've heard. It will be interesting to see--someday when I get to it--where I fall.

cleopatra said...

Once again you have exposed me to books that I've never heard of. What great choices! I am off to check a couple of them out …….

Ekaterina Egorova said...

I'm ashamed to say I haven't heard about three of your favourite books! I'm on to check them at Goodreads... I really like both Anna Karenina and Huckleberry Finn, and I'm going to read In the First Circle soon, as I love Solzhenitsyn's novels! Cancer ward left me completely shattered, it's such a powerful book!

tasseled said...

Yay for Long Ships! Great book and unfairly forgotten one too

Ruth said...

Anna Karenina would have been in the running for me, too, and actually Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer would have been some of my favorites from this past year. But I have not even thought about this meme, yet, because I just love so many of the books that I have read and cannot make up my mind.

Brona Joy said...

A Suitable Boy is one of my all time favourite books (although I've only read it the once, about 10 years ago, so it hasn't stood the test of the reread yet!)

When I read it & claimed that it was THE book that I was going to be buried with when I died. They had become my family and I couldn't bare to be without them.

I still think about Lata and wonder what she's up to :-)

Jean said...

Brona, I'm very sure it would stand up to a re-read! I too wonder what ever became of Lata. I think she made a good choice, even though it wasn't the romance-movie choice and I would have liked to see what that would have been like too.

amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

I have a hard time with favorites too--I basically non-answered the first time around, so I'm skipping it this time. There's just too many good books to choose from--and so many I have yet to read. I hadn't heard of a couple of the titles here. I suppose that's really the fun part of the 'favorites' question!

Ellie said...

Picking favourites is hard! Anna Karenina just missed being in my top 5, but I definitely think it is there at number 6. I would like to try more Tolstoy now.