Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Classics Club: 50 Questions

I just read JoAnn from Lakeside Musing’s post of answers to this survey, and felt like it would be worthwhile to do myself. It might also goad me into returning to the classics, as I haven’t read one since the summer. But winter is often a wonderful season for reading the classics!

1. Share a link to your club list.

Here it is: https://agoodstoppingpoint.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/joining-the-classics-club/

2. When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club? (We are SO CHECKING UP ON YOU! Nah. We’re just asking.) 🙂

I joined in November 2012 and have read 10 of the titles from my classics club list. I’ve read a few other classics outside of my offical list, namely some Golden Age mysteries, but didn’t end up counting them towards my goal. Regardless, it looks like I need to kick it up a notch on my classics reading.

3. What are you currently reading?

Not a classic – quite the opposite: I’m reading David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, which was released this year.

4. What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it?

Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (also not a classic). I loved it and felt inspired by it.

5. What are you reading next? Why?

I don’t know – perhaps Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black, because I have it on loan on my Kindle from the public library. Though answering this survey may shame me into reading a classic next instead.

6. Best book you’ve read so far with the club, and why?

Oh, tough call. Maybe A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

7. Book you most anticipate (or, anticipated) on your club list?

Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts. A travel memoir classic I look forward to reading.

8. Book on your club list you’ve been avoiding, if any? Why?

Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I tried reading it years ago, and didn’t finish, and I am wary of Hemingway in general.

9. First classic you ever read?

Pride and Prejudice. I joined a book club my freshman year of high school – a club that was mostly composed of teachers – and this was the first book we read.

10. Toughest classic you ever read?

Not including books assigned to me in school, I found Frankenstein slow-going. Not really tough, just not as engaging as I thought it would be.

11. Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry? made you angry?

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. This one part where several characters are unexpectedly killed at once . . . man.

12. Longest classic you’ve read? Longest classic left on your club list?

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – was not a fan at the time I read it, which was in 2004. The longest one left on the list is The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding.

13. Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list?

Not sure which is older – certain books of the Bible or the Epic of Gilgamesh, which I was assigned in high school. The oldest classic left on my club list is The Oresteia by Aeschylus, 458 B.C.

14. Favorite biography about a classic author you’ve read — or, the biography on a classic author you most want to read, if any?

I’m not very drawn to reading biographies, though I read part of a Frederick Douglass biography that was pretty interesting. I didn’t finish it before I had to return it to a public library in Illinois because I was moving back to the D.C. area. My uncle gave me a biography of Beatrix Potter that I’ve been meaning to read.

15. Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I just feel like it’s a pretty solid recommendation for almost anyone.

16. Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any?

I have pretty Penguin cloth-bound editions of Cranford, Pride & Prejudice and Middlemarch.

17. Favorite movie adaptation of a classic?

I really love the BBC miniseries version of Bleak House, the one with Gillian Anderson.

18. Classic which hasn’t been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film.

I was going to say The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott, because some parts of it were so cinematic in writing already, but wikipedia says it’s been source material for a number of films. Even Ridley Scott’s film Kingdom of Heaven drew some plot inspiration from The Talisman.

19. Least favorite classic? Why?

Not including books read for school, I really didn’t get on with David Copperfield, as mentioned above.

20. Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read.

Barbara Pym, Pearl Buck, Dorothy Whipple, Rumer Godden, Primo Levi.

21. Which title by one of the five you’ve listed above most excites you and why?

In this House of Brede by Rumer Godden. Can’t put my finger on it, but I really think it will be a rich and rewarding read.

22. Have you read a classic you disliked on first read that you tried again and respected, appreciated, or even ended up loving? (This could be with the club or before it.)

I think I found Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of Pointed Firs to be boring when I was in high school. I read it several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the American “cozy” nature of it.

23. Which classic character can’t you get out of your head?

24. Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?

Don’t have answers for the above two questions.

25. Which classic character do you most wish you could be like?

Not in circumstances, but character: maybe Dorothea from Middlemarch.

26. Which classic character reminds you of your best friend?

Don’t really have an answer for this.

27. If a sudden announcement was made that 500 more pages had been discovered after the original “THE END” on a classic title you read and loved, which title would you most want to keep reading? Or, would you avoid the augmented manuscript in favor of the original? Why?

Most classics I’ve loved have had perfect endings, so I’ll cheat and say, Wives and Daughters. I wouldn’t want 500 more pages, but if it was discovered that after all, Elizabeth Gaskell had finished the book before she died, I would be very happy.

28. Favorite children’s classic?

Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, perhaps. I should re-read that book.

29. Who recommended your first classic?

Part of that book club I mentioned earlier.

30. Whose advice do you always take when it comes to literature. (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.)

Same answer as JoAnn – my blogging friends as a community.

31. Favorite memory with a classic?

Memorizing a passage of dialogue from Jane Eyre along with my younger sister and reciting it back and forth to each other as we walked to school, my senior year in high school.

32. Classic author you’ve read the most works by?

Jane Austen. I’ve read all of her full-length novels.

33. Classic author who has the most works on your club list?

Anthony Trollope, as I placed the last four of his Barchester Chronicles on the list.

34. Classic author you own the most books by?

William Faulkner. I took a class about him and Flannery O’Connor in college, and acquired a couple more titles by him after the class.

35. Classic title(s) that didn’t make it to your club list that you wish you’d included? (Or, since many people edit their lists as they go, which titles have you added since initially posting your club list?)

I’ve since added Lonesome Dove. I think The Forever War by Joe Haldeman was also added to the list since my initial posting.

36. If you could explore one author’s literary career from first publication to last — meaning you have never read this author and want to explore him or her by reading what s/he wrote in order of publication — who would you explore? Obviously this should be an author you haven’t yet read, since you can’t do this experiment on an author you’re already familiar with. 🙂 Or, which author’s work you are familiar with might it have been fun to approach this way?

I already was planning to read Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire novels in order, and that’s most of her output, so that may count. (I have read one of her novels – out of order – and realized that I should start at the beginning.)

37. How many rereads are on your club list? If none, why? If some, which are you most looking forward to, or did you most enjoy?

No re-reads on the list. I continually feel the pull of the books I haven’t read before.

38. Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish?

I’m sure that has been, but I can’t recall at the moment.

39. Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving?

I didn’t expect to dislike A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but I think I was semi-bracing for it to be a sentimental sort of book and it definitely wasn’t. It was much more clear-eyed than I expected it to be.

40. Five things you’re looking forward to next year in classic literature?

Just reading more classics in general.

41. Classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?

Buddenbrooks. My cousin gave it to me with high praise. I need to give the library books a rest and read what’s on my own shelves.

42. Classic you are NOT GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?

I’ll answer this practically: High Rising by Angela Thirkell because my plan is to read all of Trollope’s Barchester Chronicle books first.

43. Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club?

I don’t do every spin, but when I do, I like the suspense of it and I always make sure to visit other participating blogs during the spin and get reconnected to other club members.

44. List five fellow clubbers whose blogs you frequent. What makes you love their blogs?

It’s getting late, so I’ll skirt this question and just say there are a lot of blogs I enjoy reading and I don’t remember which ones – other than Lakeside Musing and The Bookworm Chronicles – participate in the Classics Club.

45. Favorite post you’ve read by a fellow clubber?

This would involve some research and rummaging on the internet, and the late hour bids me to wrap this post up.

46. If you’ve ever participated in a readalong on a classic, tell about the experience? If you’ve participated in more than one, what’s the very best experience? the best title you’ve completed? a fond memory? a good friend made?

I enjoyed reading Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White with Reading Rambo, Devouring Texts, What Red Read, and others. Lots of snark and gifs abounded and we all loved the character of Marian.

47. If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why?

I missed the boat on an East of Eden readalong a couple of years ago and would do that or any one of the longer books.

48. How long have you been reading classic literature?

Since that Pride and Prejudice read, I guess, back when I was fourteen.

49. Share up to five posts you’ve written that tell a bit about your reading story. Reviews, journal entries, posts on novels you loved or didn’t love, lists, etc.

Aforementioned clock ticking and all that. Besides, I did something similar in my previous post about my five year blogging anniversary.

50. Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!)

Thing that has most surprised you about reading the classics?

How funny some of the classics authors can be! Humor is one of those things that I expect to be most vulnerable to the passage of time, but Dickens and even Victor Hugo have cracked me up before with passages of humor.

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