• Reading

    Classic Club 10 Year Celebration Questionnaire Answers

    See post on Classic Club here.

    When did you join the Classics Club?

    Looking through my old posts, it looks like I’ve been part of it since the first year, 2012 (I was not quite 22 at the time of my first post). I didn’t finish my first list, I forgot about it/fell off from it, and since I moved my blog, when the new moderators cleaned up their links, my old ones were removed since I didn’t update the links. Classic procrastinator.

    What is the best classic book you’ve read for the club so far? Why?

    I don’t think I have my old list saved any where (stupid, I need to remember to preserve this one in a post), so I’m going by the reviews I did manage on my blog. I started the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and fell head over heels for him. I don’t care for all of the novels, but the ones I do are now on my comfort reads list.

    I see that I tried Jeeves and Wooster again (I didn’t get it when I tried for our church bookclub), and this time it stuck. Definitely another comfort read for me.

    What is the first classic you ever read?

    I can’t remember, I know my dad read Narnia to us when small. I know I loved Little Women as a tween and teen. And then later more of Alcott and LM Montgomery. My first “grown up” classics that I can recall was Pride and Prejudice at around 14 or 15, I believe (my mom borrowed after we watched the 95 version with friends, both the film and the book were a touch beyond my total comprehension at the time, but that started my JA novel/movie obsession of the time). I think I’d skimmed the Bronte novels, but I didn’t read the two most famous in their entirety until I was 19 I believe.

    Which classic book inspired you the most?

    I feel like the introduction to Jane Austen as well the homeschool classics blogging world as a teen as well as few years later as being part of a church book club got me more into the classics; my reading/focus ability crashed and burned due to some OCD or some mental break as a teen, all this slowly helped me back.

    What is the most challenging one you’ve ever read, or tried to read?

    Lis Mis was challenging in it’s length and tediousness. Same for Brothers Karamazov. Also, the philosophy of the latter was beyond me.

    Favorite movie adaptation of a classic? Least favorite?

    2022 gave me an easy least favorite, Persuasion. Favorite is harder. I’ve many Jane Austen adaptations, and some are more accurate than others, but in the last several years Emma 2009 has become a comfort movie for my sisters and me. I think that Emma herself is one of the least accurate, but the overall movie is peaceful (excluding Box Hill) and hilarious and the scenery is beautiful, the music is wonderful, and I just love the costumes.

    I grew up (at least teens I think) with the 1994 Little Women, so although the Laurie Jo plot still infuriates me to this day, nostalgia, you know?

    A childhood favorite was the 80’s made for tv Heidi. I watched that obsessively, and in my tiny heart crushed on Peter, envied Klara her boots, and called milkmaid braids Heidi braids until I learned as an adult they were already named milkmaid braids.

    I’m sure there are more (like I said, favorites are harder), but this is off the top of my head.

    Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?

    Marianne Dashwood.

    Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving? Respecting? Appreciating?

    Middlemarch was a dark house, and it was a slow start, but then I really got into it. I need to reread it. Talk of underwhelming adaptations and underappreciated classics.

    Also, after a couple other Russian tries, I was pleasantly surprised to find when starting Anna Karenina (I’d skimmed as a teen and maybe early twenties, not ready for it then, so I did know a lot of the story), that I enjoy it.

    Classic/s you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?

    Well, hopefully most of the ones on the list I don’t get to this year, since my end date is next September. I’m currently almost done with Anna Karenina, about to start Count of Monte Cristo, and hopefully will start War and Peace after that.

    Favorite memory with a classic and/or your favorite memory with The Classics Club?

    I love rewarding myself with film adaptations after finishing a novel. I did read a lot (but very repetitively) as a child, but I struggled as a teen, and I’m not naturally drawn to super long novels, so finishing a novel that is a bit harder to get through and then getting to watch a film is fun.

    I also of course love learning about new favorites to add to my comfort reads.

  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin #30

    So, I started but didn’t finish Richard III for the last spin, and I’m about 1/3 of the way through Anna Karenina, and I still haven’t picked up The Idiot again, but hey, let’s do another Classics Club spin anyway. I am going to add those on there as well, maybe it will force me to at least pick up the pace/finish them. I’ve divided up my list according to seasons (obviously involved some guessing, since I don’t know much about some of the books), and put spring and summer ones on this list.

    1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    2. Through the Looking Glass
    3. Walden by Henry Thoreau
    4. An anthology of American poetry
    5. An anthology of British poetry
    6. Anthony Trollope novels
    7. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    8. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    9. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
    10. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    11. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    12. Anna Karenina
    13. The Idiot
    14. Richard III
    15. A Good Man is Hard to Find or other Flannery O’Connor novel
    16. 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or another novel by Jules Verne
    17. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    18. Grapes of Wrath and/or East of Eden and/or Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
    19. O’ Pioneers and/or Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
    20. Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • Reading

    My List for Classics Club Spin #29

    I’m joining in the Classics Club spin #29, here. I’ve not done great on this list, and I’m reeaaaallly not doing great on reading period, so we’ll see.

    1. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    2. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    3. Cymbelline
    4. Henry VI, Part 1
    5. Henry VI, Part 2
    6. Henry VI, Part 3
    7. Henry VIII
    8. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
    9. King John
    10. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
    11. Richard III
    12. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
    13. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
    14. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
    15. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    16. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    17. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    18. The Scarlet Letter and/or The House with Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne
    19. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    20. Walden by Henry Thoreau
  • Reading

    My Classics Club Spin #12 is . . .

    Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Awesome, one I really didn’t want . . .

    I’m also going to see if I can read Cymbeline (my last spin pick), Dracula, The Moonstone, The Crucible and maybe Irish Faerie Tales and Turning of the Screw, since all these are very Autumnal and I’m quite behind on my Classics Club list. And I need to work on The Idiot (another spin pick).

     

  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin #28 List

    I’m going to attempt another spin. I had a play the last time which if I hadn’t essentially forgotten I could easily have read. I’ve put it on this list along with The Idiot and anything I felt was Autumnal feeling or at least not as Spring-y or Summer-y.

    1. An Anton Chekhov novel
    2. The Wimsey Papers by Dorothy Sayers
    3. A Good Man is Hard to Find or other Flannery O’Connor novel
    4. A Portrait of A Lady and/or Turning of the Screw by Henry James
    5. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    6. Cymbelline
    7. Dracula by Bram Stoker
    8. Irish Faerie Tales by William Butler Yeats
    9. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
    10. King John
    11. Macbeth
    12. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
    13. Richard III
    14. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
    15. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    16. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    17. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
    18. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    19. The Scarlet Letter and/or The House with Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne
    20. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin #27 List

    Well, these spins have 2 out of 3 + success rate for me (I say over 2 out of 3 because I at least started The Idiot which I’ve again put on this list) which is pretty good.

    1. An Anton Chekhov novel
    2. A Good Man is Hard to Find or other Flannery O’Connor novel
    3. A Toni Morrison novel
    4. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    5. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    6. Cymbelline
    7. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    8. Grapes of Wrath and/or East of Eden and/or Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
    9. Henry VI, Part 1
    10. Henry VI, Part 2
    11. Henry VI, Part 3
    12. Henry VIII
    13. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
    14. O’ Pioneers and/or Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
    15. One Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or another novel by Jules Verne
    16. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
    17. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    18. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    19. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    20. Walden by Henry Thoreau
  • Reading

    The Mill on the Floss Review

    Prepare yourselves.

    I remember my sister telling me the synopsis on this story oh, a decade ago, so I knew the siblings died, I couldn’t remember anything much else, just vague things like there was a love interest. I didn’t have any connotation of the author then, and her name didn’t stick. Years later I read Silas Marner and disliked it, and then years after that I read Middlemarch which I liked which inspired me to then read Amos Barton (disliked), Adam Bede (liked), and Daniel Deronda (liked).

    I’m not sure when that I learned she wrote Mill on the Floss as well. I was not inspired with a desire to read it immediately. A few years ago, I got barely into it but didn’t perservere. I’ve had it on my newest Classic Club list (see tab above), and included it on my most recent spin list and it was chosen.

    Once again it was a slow start and then I left oft and it looked like it was going to be another fail, but then I picked it up again and got really absorbed. There was just so much going on and Victorian authors seem to often have a way of showing everyone’s humanity and idiosyncrasies that is just hilarious and unique.

    Eliot does have a way of writing characters I’m ambivalent towards (yet that doesn’t necessarily mean I will dislike the novel), but this novel seemed a bit extreme in that way. The mother seemed to be barely mentally competent, the father a blustering selfish fool he seemed kindly enough at first but later! If he can’t forgive, I can’t forgive what he put his family through. Tom I had more respect for except for how he took up the petty revenge and visited it on innocent people. The aunts’ idiocy and selfishness were interesting but very repetitive (there was a LOT of repetition which is something that I don’t remember from Eliot’s other works and which eventually made this tiring towards then end). I took Maggie to be the main character and the good one.

    Towards the beginning and then end tons of things keep happening and new characters and angles are introduced, but the same character flaws show up in the main family characters with very little variation except maybe to be more extreme, and the same types of mistakes and wrongs are done and no one learns a thing. The father assumes all he does is right and that everything wrong that happens to him is someone else’s fault and puts that fault on an innocent person because that person was connected to someone he saw as wronging him. The mother becomes more mentally feeble. Tom, while he does mature in responsibility becomes even more narrow thinking and blinded and prejudiced and self-righteous and takes up his father’s prejudice and hatred and focuses it more on the innocent person.

    And well, I kept thinking Maggie was the heroine and would eventually act like it, and I also thought that there would be some satisfying love section before the sorrow (despite the fact that nothing was getting resolved and more and more complications added unnecessary by the characters).

    Why I kept thinking this in the face of the evidence is beyond me. Maggie only passively let things happen (nonaction action which drives me insane) and then reacted at the final hour to the supreme hurt of everyone whether they were wrong or right or a mix of both. And submitted for all the wrong reasons to her family and their wrongdoing and sacrificed other people while she called it “right.” I think she had some sort of superficially self-abnegation idolatry complex. With the major climax with Stephen (there are several, it was rather exhausting), I finally lost patience with her and her stupid, twisted woe is me, I must sacrifice myself sermons. Sorry, lady, if you really felt that way, you’d never have let it get to this point. It’s almost like she wanted to have some sort of self victory to let it get this far then break it off . . . and too bad about the other people and their feelings!

    This was about 6 chapters to the end, I lightly skimmed over the rest I couldn’t stand to read anymore, disgusted with everything and everyone and not remotely sad that Maggie died, more like, fine kill off the wretched heroine, sacrifice her brother (she sacrifices everyone she says loves, so it is fitting) and end this monstrosity.

    I thereupon immediately texted my sister telling her my opinions and asked her if she’d liked it (she seemed shocked at the ending from my memory but she was drawn to sorrowful types of books, especially then). She told me, no, why did I think it took her so long to read other Eliot novels?! (She usually led on lots of literature, but I think I was the one that brought up Eliot, guess I know why now). She also said something about the chronological order of the books, s0 I looked up all the Eliot novels.

    Scenes of Clerical Life, 1857 (Amos Barton in this short story collection, I’ve included this with the novels since I’ve read Amos Barton)
    Adam Bede, 1859
    The Mill on the Floss, 1860
    Silas Marner, 1861
    Romola, 1863
    Felix Holt, the Radical, 1866
    Middlemarch, 1871–72
    Daniel Deronda, 1876

    The Mill on the Floss, after Adam Bede (but I did enjoy that one, at least it interested me, I think most of the characters irritated me too). I guess she gave her characters a bit more brains and some of them agency after that, although again, I don’t think all the characters in Adam Bede were like that. I know often her characters infuriated me, but usually I enjoyed the reading experience and didn’t want to throw it against the wall.

    Don’t start your Eliot reading with either of those though (Adam Bede is quite the experience, not so near much action as Mill on the Floss, but oh my stars the action, its DARK), unless you like this sort of thing. I’d start with Middlemarch.

    To sum up, I assumed Mill on the Floss was sad, of the type where the characters have all the promise of happiness and suddenly it is cut off (again, not sure why I thought that). Instead, it reminded me of Ethan Frome in that the sorrows were all self-inflicted and piled on in a way that made it ludicrous, not sad.

    And Maggie made me think of making this, I couldn’t get the phrasing to express quite what I meant, but settled on this:

  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin

    I’m joining in the Classics Club spin #26, I put The Idiot on again, maybe if it gets picked this time I will finish since I’m at least 1/3 through.

    1. A Thomas Hardy novel
    2. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    4. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
    5. Cymbelline
    6. Henry VI, Part 1
    7. Henry VI, Part 2
    8. Henry VI, Part 3
    9. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
    10. Macbeth
    11. Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
    12. O’ Pioneers and/or Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
    13. 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or another novel by Jules Verne
    14. Richard III
    15. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    16. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    17. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
    18. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    19. The Three Musketeers Alexander Dumas
    20. Walden by Henry Thoreau
  • Reading

    Winter Reading Plans 2021

    My General Reading Goals (present to March 20)

    • Try to keep my books borrowed from the library to 12. Try to keep any other borrowed books to far fewer.
    • Join an online book group, I’d like to join The Enchanted Book Club deluxe, maybe in March, depends on what they are reading.
    • Work through important to reads and long held borrowed books:
      • The Idiot
      • War and Peace
      • Dune? Maybe, if the movie is coming out in September, perhaps I could wait to start until Spring, but knowing me, I might not finish it time, and who knows, they could bump up the movie, since clearly its done if it was supposed to be out LAST September.
      • House of Mirth
      • Looking for Transwonderland
      • The Shadow of the Wind
      • Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts
      • Factfulness
      • Hemingway Didn’t Say That
      • Wheel of Time
    • I’d like to read one or two more classics besides those listed above from my Classics club list
    • I’d also like to read one or two more books besides those listed above from another country, perhaps another mentioned on A Strong Sense of Place
    • Fun potentials
      • Ethel Lina White mysteries
      • Mercedes Lackey fairytale retellings and fantasy
      • Circe by Madeleine Miller
    • Books to match my current study schedule (History, Logic, Geography, Civics, Christian Apologetics, World Religions). Genealogical reading should be on Ancestry.com, I don’t really need books for that subjects, its mainly to be building my tree.

     

  • Reading

    Coriolanus: Play and Performance Review

    So, this is very late. I’d definitely skimmed or read the story version of this play as well. I wrote my notes as remarks, so I’m going to have to pull my brief reviews from these somewhat cryptic responses.

    Ugh. There is a reason this one is not one of Shakespeare’s super popular plays. Coriolanus is arrogant, but its not played interestingly. And there are parts where he lies and flatters the people to obtain power I think, I preferred his open contempt. There isn’t much humor period.

    And all things above, HIS MOTHER! Who can respect a man with a mother like that-she unmans him no matter what he does? Everyone is awful, but Mummy and the tribunes are the worst.

    Ok, such was reading the play. Now for the Donmar Playhouse performance. I’d seen almost all the main actors is very different things and some of those roles were ludicrously different (while fitting the actors far better than the ones in this play) for example one tribune is Aunt Marge from Harry Potter and Volumnia is the silly Miss Phoebe Browning.

    This play did great at showing how his relationship with his domineering mother pushed contrasted with his relationship with his weak wife.

    I at least first thought that Tom Hiddleston played Coriolanus less hateful and arrogant and more honest and maybe he was playing Coriolanus somewhat self-deprecatingly, as having as sense of humor? I also thought he made Coriolanus more dignified (or tried), but he could not fully be so because I felt that I could see the flattery and sycophancy from everyone highlighted so much in the performance, and I was heartily sick of hearing of his wounds.

    I didn’t care for the odd mixture of modern, and modern with historically inspired elements, AT ALL. I don’t think it was creative, I thought it reminded me of a small town community, high school theater that doesn’t have enough money. I found it distracting, and his wife is made to look even sillier with her entirely modern outfit (which granted might be a point but could have been made more creatively). Also, this is a very Roman play, some plays are more timeless and better lent to modernization or modern vs classic juxtaposition, for example, Romeo and Juliet. Coriolanus loses impact when this was done to it.

    I felt that the flattery (oh, it was constant!) highlighted the relationship boundaries crossed, especially the mother-son boundary that Volumnia doesn’t appear to think exists. So the flattery is creeping and the relationships are all creepy (they added another relationship boundary busting bit between the tribunes). And then play takes these things further with T. Aufidius and grossed me out and made Coriolanus looks absolutely ludicrous. I think also that this was one way to make the play have more humor but it wasn’t clever, didn’t fit, and all attempts at humor felt forced. So I quite watching.

    Again, I need to stop having high expectations, that guarantees that they will be dashed down.