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Topic: The best and worst from your 2011 classics challenge

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Subject: The best and worst from your 2011 classics challenge
Date Posted: 12/1/2011 5:22 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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What was your favorite book from the 2011 classics challenge? Mine was Boleslaw Prus' The Doll, a saga I thoroughly enjoyed. I would never have heard of it were it not for this forum.

My least favorite book was Blackmore's Lorna Doone--wretchedly drawn out with a relatively thin plot.

What about the rest of you?

                                                                                                                 Rose

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 3:22 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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Other than The Hobbit, I didn't enjoy any of my classics (lite) challenge books as much as I had anticipated, but I'm still holding out hope for Cup of Gold, as Steinbeck's one of my favorite authors. I had better luck with my contemporary challenge choices this year, but I'm pretty excited about my 2012 classics list.  

Date Posted: 12/9/2011 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 482
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So my classics challenge was pretty much a fail this year - I only read four books.  However, I have opinions about the ones I read, lol!  My least favorite was The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett simply because it was fairly dull.  My favorite was Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan LeFanu because it was so much fun in its gothic antics.  The pages flew by and I adored how rotten Uncle Silas really was!  Talk about your wicked uncles.  I also got an eye-opener while reading Oliver Twist.  Not what I expected at all!  I'd say Charles Dickens was maaad when he wrote this. He certainly made his point about several social ills of the time.  I admired the descriptive scenes and there certainly were a lot of memorable characters (especially the bad 'uns) but I was expecting a fair dose of sweetness and light and nope, that wasn't coming!  Kind of glad I'm done with it.  Concurrently, I have been reading a book by Charles' great-granddaughter,  Monica Dickens and it is a delight.  It is titled One Pair of Hands and it chronicles her experiences working as a cook/housemaid basically because she wanted to try something different.  I'd highly recommend it, quite a lot more fun than Oliver.

 

 



Last Edited on: 12/11/11 9:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/10/2011 4:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I didn't like any of my selections save True Grit.

Date Posted: 12/10/2011 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Gee, it kinda sounds as if some of you were a little masochistic when you picked your books for the Challenge!    Personally, I pretty much shy away from making selections that I  suspect I wouldn't at least kinda like.   For me, it would be masochistic to plan to read (some more) William Faulkner, for instance.  And I do believe I can go to my grave without a regret for not having read Proust  (and perhaps Thomas Mann, too).   My latest addition to the 2012 list is a "piece of fluff"-----Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, a bildungsroman.  

If one's reading matter can be compared to one's diet, well, gimme a "diet" that includes, frequently, desserts and sweets and pastries and good wine, really good tea, and superb coffee.  (Of course I will eat my veggies, and oatmeal, and other humble nourishing dishes, even if they aren't fine cuisine.)

Subject: masochism completely unintended
Date Posted: 12/10/2011 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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I actually had expected to enjoy my selections more than I did. I even changed a couple as I realized I wasn't going to be able to make it through Dead Souls and One Thousand and One Nights. I was reading several new-to-me authors, though. (I suppose at least now I know a few more to avoid in the future - lol.)

I did actually enjoy A Man for all Seasons more than I had expected, as I don't usually enjoy reading plays much. I liked The Hobbit exactly as much as I had expected: enough. The real disappointments to me were Treasure Island, because I really enjoyed Kidnapped, and The Three Musketeers, because I remember loving the movie as a kid.

I have high hopes for Jekyll & Hyde, The Secret Agent, The Once and Future King, and Oliver Twist next year, although after reading someone's review, I'm a little worried about my Dickens choice. He's usually one of my favorites, but I did list Oliver Twist as my "wit lit" choice. Can anyone who has read it tell me whether I'm way off? Does it lack Dickens' usual satire & caricature?

Fahrenheit 451 is one of those books I feel like I've read though I never actually have. Should be interesting...

(Maybe I should dip them all in chocolate first. laugh)

 



Last Edited on: 12/10/11 8:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/11/2011 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I only read 8 (and part of a 9th) books out of the original 12. I actually enjoyed all the books even the one i havent finished yet. :) My favorite was most definately the Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. It inspired me to re read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy which i enjoyed even more the second time around.

I read several other classics that did not fit into categories for this challenge. Of those, the one i did not enjoy was the Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain. I read it over 8 months ago so i honestly cant tell you what it was i didnt like about it. I just know I didnt like it at all.

Date Posted: 12/11/2011 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Kristin, may I offer a footnote to what Michele wrote about Oliver Twist?  The story of this little orphan created a sensation when it was first published (1837).  Popular fiction of the time glamourized the life of London's professional criminals......, but Dickens' portraits of Fagin, who turns little boys into professional thieves, and Bill Sykes, the brutal burglar, and the villainous Monks stripped away the romance and showed the underworld for what it truly was.  And, the heartrending account of the death of Oliver Twist's mother and Oliver's wretched childhood in the workhouse proved to be an especially forceful critique of England's inhuman Poor Laws.

(This is from an old notebook of mine about English literature.)  I suppose when one makes an old 'classic' into a (singing and dancing) "musical" for the stage or screen, one doesn't wish it to be too heavy on the sordidness?



Last Edited on: 12/11/11 3:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Oliver Twist
Date Posted: 12/11/2011 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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Thanks for the feedback, Bonnie! I'm thinking that novel will definitely have to go in another category.

Date Posted: 12/13/2011 3:34 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
Posts: 87
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I enjoyed all of the books I read for the challenge. I tried to choose a favorite, but I couldn't. :)  Several of them led me to read other books outside of the challenge - like, after reading the epics the Odyssey and the Ramayana for the challenge, I decided to read the Tain Bo Cuailgne (which, btw, reminded me a lot of the Iliad). Pollyanna led me to read other childhood classics that I didn't read as a child like Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

They also affected my choices for the 2012 reading challenge. I'm following the Decameron with the Heptameron, The Brothers Karamazov with The Idiot and Demons.

All things considered, I think my challenge experience was a success. I can't wait for January 1!! laugh

Date Posted: 12/14/2011 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Oh I forgot that I read The Caine Mutiny and love it so much that I got copies of Wouk's other popular novels...er....I forgot ... er Wind of War and the sequel and hated Winds of War. I was even tried to watch the movie. It too was dull.

 

Date Posted: 12/17/2011 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,879
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I had a fairly good year.  Not sure which is my favorite but I liked Shackleton's Valiant Voyage; Wuthering Heights (even though I hated Heathcliff the writing is awesome); Moonfleet; I, Claudius (long by good); One of Ours by Willa Cather and Romeo and Juliet which I enjoyed far more than I expected.  



Last Edited on: 1/9/12 3:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 5