Monday, 7 July 2008

The Classics Challenge - July 1 - Dec 31, 2008

I'm joining The Classics Challenge and thought I had joined, but I'm not there nor do I have a post! So, here it is, my official post joining the Classics Challenge. It's easy:

Classics: We love them, we hate them, now we are going to challenge ourselves to reading more of them. Because there are so many different types of classics, different genres are acceptable and encouraged--for example, novels, short story collections, non-fiction, poetry, essays--I'm open for other suggestions!

RULES (keep reading for the bonus):

* OPTION 1: Read FIVE classics.

* OPTION 2: Read FIVE classics from at least TWO different countries

* OPTION 3: Read FIVE classics with any combination of at least TWO different countries and TWO different genres (see above for genres).

* Cross-posting with other challenges is allowed (and encouraged!); Audiobooks are fine; books must be finished after July 1st to count for the challenge although re-reads are acceptable.

* Lists don't have to be set in stone; you can change your selections at any time.

* Have Fun. Oh ya...there will be a drawing for a prize or two. To be entered you must complete any one of the above options. You do NOT need a blog to participate.

Am I going to define what a classic is? Nope! There are lots of definitions offered on the Internet, but essentially we all have different opinions so don't stress too much--and see the bonus below.

BONUS!! (optional)

As you can see, I'm requiring FIVE classics for six months. For the sixth book, I would like the participants to offer suggestions for books that may not be considered classics but that you think should be or books that you think will be a classic one day. Leave your suggestions in the comments below. I'll compile a list of the suggestions and you choose a book from the list and make that your sixth read. I realize this means you may have to wait to make your list if you choose to participate in the bonus round, but I'm hoping this is a modern twist on the old classics challenge.

For example, I am going to suggest The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Remains of the Day by Kazou Ishiguro.

And before everyone rolls their eyes at me, I'm a) challenge-addicted!! and b) my Cool Literary Inner Bookworm had already put the challenge logo on my sidebar! She has decided I'm going to read more challenging books and not drift away on a sea of fantasy and mystery! Why I ask her. What's wrong with fantasy and mystery? I LOVE them. They please me. They delight and fascinate me and bring me wonder and adventure and explore the darkness.
She sniffs, twirls her curls, stares stonily out the window, dreaming of France. I hate the cold treatment. Fine! But no Proust yet!!! She smiles and condescends to give me hints on reading Iris Murdoch, which I am preparing to do for the first time in my life.

I know now I am taking Option 3, since I even have my very first book done, this afternoon on my lunch at work:

1. Beowulf (Penguin Classic edition) - DONE
Hurray!!! Book review to follow shortly....(poetry classic)

My other selections are:

2. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (thank you, Rhinoa....I put Jane Austen! eek!)
3. Middlemarch - George Eliot
4. The Iliad - Homer (poetry)
5. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
I'm not sure what my 6th choice will be yet. It might be
- Jonathan Strange and Dr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke
- Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
- Why I Wake Early - Mary Oliver (poetry)
- War for the Oaks - Emma Bull
- Possession - A.S. Byatt
- The Sea, the Sea - Iris Murdoch

****ADDED OCT 19 2008***** ALTERNATES

- Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen - DONE
- Persuasion - Jane Austen


Bybee said...

Your Cool Literary Inner Bookworm is a harsh taskmistress, but she does have good taste. And she's got curls? Mine could be bald, for all I know! All I ever see is that disapproving forefinger waggling in my face -- which often leads me to waggle back one of my own fingers. Good luck with this challenge! Don't think I'll join, but maybe your good example will have a positive influence on me. (At least You-Know-Who is hoping so.)

Andrea said...

Jane Eyre is my favorite book of all time! I've read it 3 times and I'm sure I'll read it even more in the future. I've also read Wuthering Heights, and while it isn't my favorite (I found it very depressing), I think it's one that everyone should read.

Rhinoa said...

Glad you are officially joining in. I read Beowulf not too long ago and really enjoyed it, I look forward to your review. I hope you enjoy The Iliad and go to read The Odyssey which I think I just preferred. I think you have a typo, Jane Eyre was by Charlotte Bronte and I really should read it again. I am also due to read Middlemarch this year and am looking ofrward to it.

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Kim L said...

Very nice, I think this will be a great challenge. I hope you like Wuthering Heights, I found it to be not my taste when reading it long ago. But Jane Eyre is a new favorite of mine... i've gone to see a play version, and a movie version, and I love it more each time.

Susan said...

Bybee: my secret is that all the books are already on other challenges!!! I'm not crazy, even if challenge-addicted!! I'll never get through everything I've signed up for (non-fiction 5, where are you??), but at least it's getting me to read more. :-) more classics, my CLIB whispers....

andrea:I love Jane Eyre and have read it several times, seen almost all the British tv versions too. This is my bi-annual reread of it, which I am due for :-) Wuthering Heights doesn't even come close as far as I am concerned, too, because I hate Catherine and Linton so much. Heathcliff I understand!! Do you have a blog? I'll come visit you....

rhinoa: I saw you read Beowulf too recently, so as soon as I do my post I'll let you know :-) and then come read what you wrote!! did I put Emily for Jane Eyre. Sigh, I originally put Charlotte, then saw both Bronte sisters books in a pile.....thanks for correcting me! That would be bad for an English lit major to mix them up! when are you reading MIddlemarch? I've never read it, so it's getting closer to the top for this summer, I think.

kim l: they are both rereads for me, but as I said above, Jane Eyre is one of my favourites, and Wuthering Heights I reread every 10 years to see if I like it any more - I like Heathcliff, and I love the setting! (I also like what Jasper Fforde did with the characters in Well of Lost Plots - someone finally slaps Catherine! Heathcliff has to get anger management classes!! hee)

everyone: we all seem to agree on Jane Eyre vs Wuthering Heights! hmm, I just had an idea...wouldn't it be fantastic to have one of the men who played Jane Austen's heroes, play Rochester? oooh, I'm going to have to think about this one!!! lol

Andrea said...

I didn't like Catherine either! But I sympathized with Heathcliff. I haven't watched any movie versions of Jane Eyre although I always mean to.

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