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Topic: It's September. How's your Classics Challenge coming along?

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Subject: It's September. How's your Classics Challenge coming along?
Date Posted: 9/3/2010 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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I'm about half-way though my translated book, Madame Bovary.  I'm finding it very dull!  Maybe if I could read it in French, I would appreciate the descriptions of nature and villages more.  Perhaps I would appreciate Emma Bovary more (or at least appreciate her).  Right now, she seems so nondescript and vapid that I can't even like or dislike her. 

After that I have the science fiction classic, The War of the Worlds, to read.  Not being a science fiction fan, I am not looking forward to this.

So that I don't sound like a complete grump, I have thoroughly enjoyed several of my challenge books.  I'll leave that for a summative post at the end of the  year (or the end of the challenge).

I'm afraid that we lost a lot of challenge members throughout this year.  I'm sure that they are reading, maybe even reading the classics and just not posting. 



Last Edited on: 9/3/10 3:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/3/2010 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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Poorly.  I have not been in a classics sort of mood for the majority of the year.  But I'm ready to start tackling them again.  I think it's a seasonal thing, I just don't feel like reading classics during the summer, but when the leaves start to turn, I'm all about pre-20th century prose.

I also spent the afternoon at the library and got Vanity Fair, Little Dorrit and The Way We Live Now.  Now I just have to decide which to read first.

Date Posted: 9/4/2010 1:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I am bored out of my mind. My horror selection was a big fat fail.

Date Posted: 9/4/2010 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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After these two responses, I'm going to say what I was saving until the end of the year.  I'm glad that I accepted this challenge.  By the end, I will have read maybe two-five more classics than I would normally read in a year.  However, I seriously doubt that I will accept another such challenge.  The books that I disliked were truly an exercise in self-control to read and finish.  Then, again, there were others that I'm glad that I read, but I didn't truly enjoy them.  One example was Don Quixote.  It was interesting in parts but soooooooooo repetitive.  Then, for instance, Catch 22--I'm glad that I now know what it was about, but that one I hated every minutes past about Chapter 2.

Still, I will complete the challenge--1 1/2 books to go.

Date Posted: 9/4/2010 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I'll finish the challenge. I too am glad that I gave this a try.  

I learned quite a bit about my reading preferences.  I tend to favor old westerns or novels about the frontier/pioneer times. Willa Cather, Hamlin Garland, O.E. Rolvaag are my new favorites.  I like American lit over English lit. 

If there is a 2011 reading challenge I won't do classics, but perhaps historical fiction.

 

 

 

Date Posted: 9/4/2010 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Vivian expressed the feeling I had about one of my Challenge books------"I'm glad that I read it, but I didn't truly enjoy it.   It was Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton.  Edith Wharton is a very able writer, and her books are perceptive, interesting looks at various members of "Society" and some of that society's hypocrisies.    But the tale of doomed Ethan Frome was just such a "downer". . . . .   it was kind of a self imposed castigation for this soft-hearted simpleton to read that one!

After the Labor Day weekend and our migration to the South,  I'll be back to the 2010 Challenge.  For one thing, if it's a chilly Fall, I may go into Winter semi-hibernation early.    A nice long novel will be just the ticket.....

Up here in Minnesota, they make a joke about how one's  preparations for WINTER should include, along with a dependable snow blower, long underwear, table games, strong drink, etc., a couple of James Michener books!   Well, I read Hawaii and enjoyed it, but somehow I can't bring myself to start Iberia or some other one of his . . . .

After reading the comments of some of the other Classics Forum 'gang", I think I'll cancel Fanny Hill and get the unabridged edition of The Count of Monte Cristo.     ( If you read  Sleepers, by Lorenzo Carcaterra, you'll recall how much this book meant to the four boys put in prison for "malicious mischief".)



Last Edited on: 9/5/10 6:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/4/2010 11:47 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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I'm just over half-way through (have read 7 of 12 books) -- and may or may not complete the full challenge. With the exception of the horror category (I read Jackson's Haunting of Hill House, which I thought mediocre), I've liked the books I've read (especially Woman in White). I tend to like classics to begin with -- but generally along the lines of Dickens and Austen, so this challenge has helped me expand my range a bit -- which I assume is the point. But, still,  I think I'll skip the challenges next year -- too many books I've set aside because they don't fit into challenge categories -- though perhaps trying to keep up with two monthly book clubs and 4-1/2 challenges was just stupid from the get-go!!!

Date Posted: 9/5/2010 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 482
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I'm doing okay with this challenge.  I've read 8 of 12 and I'm not too worried about the last four selections with the exception of Dickens.  I even really like Dickens, however, I'm sometimes, um, lazy!  It's hard for me to read him with the family in the background which is where they always are unless it's the foreground!  I have to say I have enjoyed almost all my selections, even the goofy Castle of OtrantoThe Greek Coffin Mystery was a stinker and I had to switch out Mysterious Island because I couldn't stand it (maybe something to do with the translation?).   I'm not sure if I'll do any next year or not, maybe a lite challenge?

Date Posted: 9/6/2010 12:31 AM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,437
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I am running behind. There aren't any books I put on the list that I wasn't interested in reading, though I am not looking forward to The Brothers K.

Date Posted: 9/6/2010 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I've read 7 of 12 so far. Enjoyed most of them however I don't believe I will read Goethe again . . .

I need to read five books in four months to complete the challenge, easy-peasy :-)

I would participate in the challenge again but might add more books from my TBR vs books to fit a particular category.

Date Posted: 9/6/2010 2:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I'm officially back in the saddle for this challenge- about 1/4 way through my "new to me author" pick (Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now) and I can only describe it as juicy.  Most of the characters are despicable in the best possible way.

Date Posted: 9/19/2010 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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I recently finished Madame Bovary.  For the most part, I found it boring.

Date Posted: 9/19/2010 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,861
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Just finished my classic mystery - The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  It took me awhile to read this classic but what a read.  Wilkie Collins is such an outstanding author.  The tale unfolds with so much care that one keeps wondering what direction it will next take.  I felt as if I knew all of the characters depicted in the novel.  So many narrators tell the story  - seven in all.  Nevertheless, the book never loses its story line.  Yes, I figured out who the thief was but not how the theft was accomplished and that is a story in itself.  You may figure it out, too, but don't stop reading the twists and turns this novel takes are a delight to follow.  In my opinion, this is a book that anyone interested in classics and mysteries should take time to read.  It's wonderful!  Only two books to go to complete the challenge.



Last Edited on: 9/21/10 3:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 9/22/2010 3:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Just finished two books for the Classics challenge. The first was Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. It's one of those delightful, charming books that makes one smile.  Set in 1903, a travelling salesman, Roger Mifflin, rolls up with his wagon bookshop to the farm where Helen McGill, fat, single, and 38, lives with her author brother. Helen ends up buying the travelling bookshop, along with the horse Pegasus and dog Boccaccio, and off she goes, discovering there's more to life than baking bread. In fact, she finds adventure, trouble, and love. It's just a light, sweet, and entertaining story.

The second was Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain. So much has been written about this book and I don't want to rehash the story, the themes, the controversy. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed the book immensely, more so than I did in high school -- but it does need to be read as a reflection of pre-Civil War days. Certainly worth reading -- but the Great American Novel??? I'm not so sure.

Subject: am really grateful for this challenge!
Date Posted: 9/30/2010 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I only have a couple more books to read (Crime and Punishment and The Island of Dr. Moreau. I have thoroughly enjoyed the variety of classics this challenge has exposed me to. I found out, for example, that I really missed some major points in A Tale of Two Cities when I studied it in high school (and I was an excellent student!). I absolutely adored Les Miserables, but not War and Peace.

(Someone mentioned Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House: that is, IMO, one of the most brilliant stories ever written. What an amazing psychological study of a disturbed woman!)

 

                                                                                                                      Rose

Date Posted: 9/30/2010 10:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 482
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Dracula and Ten Little Indians (And Then There Were None) are up next.  I'm looking forward to both of them.  After that, Dickens is all I have left, but I've been procrastinating on his books for half a year.  I love his writing but the thought of another long book is a little daunting! 

 

 

 

Edited to add original title. :)



Last Edited on: 10/1/10 9:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/10/2010 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,123
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I've taken a LONG break from PBS due to some personal stuff, and am just back now reading the forums and posting.  Of course, I've been reading during this time, but since several of my challenge books (in all of the challenges I'm doing) require a little more concentration than usual, I'm behind in all but my mystery challenge.  I've read 3 of the 6 for the light Classics challenge, so I still have hope that I'll finish the other 3.  I greatly enjoyed 2 of the 3 I read so far.

For my other challenges, I chose some books that I didn't like once I started them.  I have no problem stopping them once I realize I'm really not enjoying them, so I've switched out a few books so far.  My own personal rule is that it's fine to switch titles for a category if I don't like something I've chosen. 

I'm definitely reading some things I wouldn't have otherwise, which is always nice.

Diane