Woo, a post that actually relates to the blog!
One of the things I really wanted to do on my year off was finishing a pile of books I had been longing to read. (Isn’t that on everyone’s “to do” list when they have a chunk of free time?) I’ve always wanted to tackle a few classics, since for some reason my high school chose to negate famous authors such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain in the curriculum. I don’t know how I obtained a high school diploma without touching a book by any of these people, but I did. (We did cover a few Shakespeare plays, Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein*, so all hope is not lost on public education in Canada.)
*We spent two weeks in class listening to horrible audio tapes of this book. Just thought you should know.
Note: When I think of “classics,” I’m really just relating it to “well-known books that come up in conversation and everyone should know what they are.”
- Probably the easiest thing I’ve ever googled.
Of course, not all goes to plan. I did finish The Great Gatsby. It was wonderful. I breezed through 1984 and then Animal Farm. I even regretfully finished The English Patient!
Pride and Prejudice didn’t make for very good beach reading, as I was on vacation in PEI at the time, so I switched over to–are you ready?–The Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. Her more well-known work is Something Borrowed, which I believe has been made into a movie starring Kate Hudson. I feel guilty just typing this.
I'm sorry, Jane Austen.
My next check-out from the library was Great Expectations. I don’t know what it was, I really enjoyed the book but I just didn’t finish it before it had to go back. I tried! I really did! I tried to the tune of nearly $5 in late fees. I did record the page number I was on, so all hope isn’t lost!
At one point I even downloaded a Kindle app onto my iPhone and tried reading the free A Tale of Two Cities on my breaks. That lasted about…15 minutes? You try reading that on an iPhone!
I’m not doing too well at this point, am I?
I keep going to the library with “classics” on my mind, and then I wind up getting side-tracked by the pretty pastel covers on the shelf where they keep all the popular books. Dammit.
Right now I’m reading Eat, Pray, Love, which is a lovely story of a woman’s journey–oh, hell, you’ve all seen the movie. Not a classic. I’ve also got Lisa See’s Peony in Love to read afterward. Also not a classic. (If you are curious about China and have a thing for mid-20th century historical fiction, please get your hands on Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy by See. Those were two stories that stuck with me for a while.)
Other off-track books I’ve finished include The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, My Sister’s Keeper, Water for Elephants, and The Help.
Oh, my god. These are all books recently made into movies. Who am I? I actually didn’t even realize that until I listed them here. This is turning about to be a more self-deprecating post than I thought.
(I suppose I don’t know why there’s a certain…elitism…against people who flock to a certain book when word gets out about a movie being made. It’s a way that the book is thrust into the spotlight, a book that the reader may have never heard of before all the movie-talk.)
If you have a Goodreads account, please do me a favour and make sure I stay on track! I’d like to read Moby Dick and finish Great Expectations before I dive back into the world of pastel covers.
Although, that may have to wait. Looks like I’ve put a hold on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close at the library. It was an accident, I swear!
Tom Hanks is judging me. (Although this is a shot from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, so yeah, lets think about that.)
Oh and please share any of your favourite classic novels! I would like some suggestions, of course.
- Classics Challenge (brilliantlynovel.wordpress.com)