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Topic: What's the first book on your 2013 challenge?

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Subject: What's the first book on your 2013 challenge?
Date Posted: 1/1/2013 8:22 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I'm going to read George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. I have to say I didn't care for Middlemarch, but I'm hoping this other book will mean more to me.

What's first on your lists?

                                                                                                     Rose

Date Posted: 1/1/2013 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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I read Jekyll and Hyde today. I can't believe I'd never read it before; but it seems like one of those books people feel like they've read even when they haven't. It was a nice to start with this short book, though, because it made me feel like I've made a small dent in my long lists of challenge books for this year. (Granted, it's probably a false sense of security.)

I've now moved on to The Secret Agent by Conrad. So far, I can't believe how funny it is. Conrad isn't an author I usually associate with humor. Equally humorous is a sentence from Kaplan's introduction, which I will share here because it made me laugh out loud: "The Secret Agent...is perhaps the closest Conrad came to writing a page-turner." 

Can anyone tell me which is considered Le Fanu's greatest work? I've never read him and am considering doing so for the horror category.

 

Date Posted: 1/2/2013 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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I'm reading Tolstoy's Anna Kareina.  I'm taking my time with this & will probably finish in 1-2 months.  I'm enjoying it, but want to shake Anna!

Date Posted: 1/5/2013 1:23 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
Posts: 87
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I read Psyche by Moliere for the nom de plume category. Personally, I find his plays to be very quick, witty, and funny, so for the past few years I have read at least one of his plays on New Year's Day - just to start the year off right. :)

Date Posted: 1/9/2013 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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Update: I finished it. The full review is here.

The first one that I am reading is in the 'feminist' category, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, an autobiography. Mary Seacole was a Creole Jamaican woman born in Kingston.  She learned first aid, nursing, and doctoring from her mother. She later nursed British soldiers and officers in the Crimean War, and was called by the newspapers of the time "the Black Florence Nightingale."



Last Edited on: 1/14/13 9:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/13/2013 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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I've finished Anna Kareina by Leo Tolstoy for the Russian Lit category.  I'm glad I finally read it; I've been intimidated by it for years.  His portrayal of the emptiness of the Russian upper class's lives was fascinating.  I never could warm up to Anna.   Yes, it was unfair that women were held to a harder line of conduct than men, but she was a fool.  I was so frustrated by her decisions and selfishness. 



Last Edited on: 1/13/13 9:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/13/2013 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I have started to read Anna Karenina a couple times, but only get so far. I set it aside, thinking I'll try another time.

But I still haven't read it. Maybe I can put it in this year's challenge--take something else out. 

Or maybe I can just be better than that and read it as well!

                                                                                                                     Rose

Date Posted: 1/14/2013 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I cheated and read my 'fantastical' pic Carmilla back in November.  I'm waiting for my library to send me a copy of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy- my espionage pick.

Date Posted: 1/14/2013 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I just completed my first book of the challenge...the espionage classic The Czar's Spy   by William Le Queux (1905). I had never heard of this author, but I chose it because it was said to be one of the earliest and best regarded spy stories. I really enjoyed it very much. It really sustained my interest to the very end...which is something many more current books have failed to do.  I obtained it as a download from Project Gutenberg to my Kindle. Makes me wonder what other forgotten gems lurk in the archives!

Date Posted: 1/19/2013 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,857
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I've begun my first book for the challenge - a less famous work by a famous author:  Barrack-Room Ballads by Rudyard KiplingIt's fun! This is a delightful old, old copy that has no publication date. 



Last Edited on: 1/19/13 8:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/20/2013 7:34 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I'm definitely going to check out Barrack-Room Ballads--I appreciate this tip!

                                                                                               Rose

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 3:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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I think I may read The Count of Monte Cristo for my first classic. 

Anna Karenina is one of my all-time favorite books although I read it over a period of months, putting it aside from time to time.  I think the story of Kitty and Levin is so much better than the story of Anna and Trotsky.  I loved Levin (who I have read Tolstoy patterned somewhat after himself).



Last Edited on: 1/25/13 3:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/30/2013 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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Barbara, the Le Queux sounds good!  I've never heard of him before, but I'm going to read The Czar's Spy.

Donna, I agree with you that Kitty & Levin's love story in Anna Karenina is better than the Anna & Vronsky storyline.  Characters who don't try & help themselves irritate me.  I didn't find Anna appealing or tragic.  She was personally responsible for everything that happened to her...so selfish!

 

Subject: First Classic for 2013
Date Posted: 2/5/2013 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2011
Posts: 56
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Last week I finished Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.  His descriptions of life as a slave vividly show how dehumanizing the institution of slavery was to its victims.  He also notes that it was dehumanizing to the  slaveholders!  I wish that Douglass had been able to provide the details of his escape, but he chose not to do so in order to protect the lives of those who helped him and those who were still hoping to find their way north.

Date Posted: 2/6/2013 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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A couple of days ago I finished My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass. It was written in 1855, about ten years after Narrative of the Life so it gave no details of his escape lest he compromise people who helped him. In the 1881 memoir, Life and Times of FD, he reveals the details. I think that would be good to read too because he talks about John Brown, the Underground Railroad, black soldiers in the Civil War, and his meetings with Lincoln and Johnson and other luminaries.

Date Posted: 2/18/2013 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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I haven't exactly developed a Classics Challenge for 2013 liist, but today I did begin a book for the 'serendipitous reading' plan for 2013 I am thinking of following.  It's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark.  The explanation for this choice is that I've been watching Downton Abbey and taking a special interest in the character played by Maggie Smith.  A couple of nights ago, there was a YV interview with the septuagenarian actress about her career and her 'new' role as Lady Violet.  I was reminded that early in her career,Smith had made the character of the girls' school instructor in 1930s England into a memorable film portrait.  And I was reminded that I had NOT read that book of Sparks'. So now, at long last,  I am going to do so.   I remember being impressed by Memento Mori, by Sparks.  If any of you are unacquainted with Muriel Sparks, I recommend either of those titles to you.