Thursday, October 05, 2006

Return to the Classics

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens...these are a few of my favorite classics!

Wuthering Heights
Jane Eyre
Madame Bovary
Pride and Prejudice
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Anna Karenina
Of Human Bondage
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

While I have read and reread my favorites, I'll admit it's been a while since I have read anything new from the classics - like I commented to Lesley, who I admire so much for setting herself the "Back to school Classic Challenge", I seem to be on a contemporary literature merry-go-round from which I can't get off!

I have my reading for October all cut out for me, but starting November I would love to add a classic or two to my monthly reading dose. I'd love to hear what your favorite classics are and if you have a favorite publisher.

Booklogged, are you still planning to host a "Back to Classics" challenge? Let me know!


Dawn said...

I'm trying to do the same thing. I've decided to do the Virgina Woolf for dummies that Ex libris talked about. I've not read her much, only when at college, so this is going to be interesting! Sorry about the notification not working...I'll have to see what is going on with that!

Madhumathi said...

I recently read Paulo Coelho's The Devil and Miss Prym and was so entranced that I am diving into his older book By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. His books are bound to become classics, but modern, for sure. So that's one from me :-)


Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Dawn!

I'll have to look for the book suggested by Ex Libris, thanks for mentioning it. Also, don't worry too much about the e-mail program not notifying me of your blog updates, I check your blog often in the week, so I am confident of not missing a post.

Hi, Madhu!

Many thanks for the book suggestion, I will be sure to look for it - I haven't read anything by Paul Coelho after "The Alchemist", so this will be a nice treat!

After I wrote the post, I was curious to find out how the publishing industry defines a "classic" and this is what I found at the Penguin site - happy to note it is fairly close to what I consider a classic:

So what makes a Penguin Classic a classic? Simple. It has to be one of the 'best books ever written'. And that doesn't mean ladies with parasols strolling through Victorian gardens admiring the roses. It means the most shocking sex scenes and the most gratuitous violence. It means love - at its most enthralling and its most heartbreaking. It means the best politics, psychology and philosophy since ancient civilization. It means the darkest criminal minds, the cheekiest minxes and the most inspiring heroes ever committed to paper

Joy said...

Hi Lotus ~ Everytime I get into the "need to read more classics" mode, I'd read a few, then get very discouraged. I haven't quite discovered why they (the ones I read) became a classic in the first place. ??? Maybe I just haven't read the right ones. :)

BTW, I like your opening jingle. (It's my all time favorite musical.)

booklogged said...

Yes,Lotus, I am still going to host a Classics Challenge. I think I'll do a post on my site asking for a few suggestions so I can make up my mind just how to do it. So come see me and offer suggestions, please.

I haven't read that many classics. In fact, I just read Pride and Prejudice this year. It and Jane Eyre are definitely favorites.

Anoc said...

shakespeare comes to mind.

Joanna said...

Hi Lotus!

I love your list, which also made me realize I'm not so well-read in the classics as I would like to be. When did you first read Wuthering Heights, by the way? I first read it in middle school and didn't understand it then read it again after college and did. The brain had congealed by then.

Okay, here are my classics faves:
1. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (but may be too mod?)
2. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
3. Dead Souls by Nicolai Gogol
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
(I was a Russian lit major in college).

Danielle said...

I have been trying to read more classics, too. It is amazing how much I missed in school. I saw that Booklogged has something in mind and am going to keep my eye on that! :)

nomadica said...

I'm a big Austen fan: Pride and Prejudice and Emma are my favorite novels. I would love to make some time to read Austen's Persuasion. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classics as well!

Rosemary Esehagu said...

I love Albert Camus, particularly his writing in The Stranger. He was the first author to make me fall in love with literature; he was the first author to show me the power and importance of literature. I love Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, which I first read in junior high. I love George Eliot's Silas Marner. As a young reader, I loved Sophocles' Oedipus the king (yes, I know it's a strange kind of story to love; it's the irony that won me over), but Freud has sort of tainted that a bit. I love any novel by Jane Austen.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Joy!

Like with all books, some classics appeal and some are just too long drawn out,boring and tedious. I guess you have go with your favorite genres and try to pick a classic that falls in that group. I tend to enjoy the Gothic romances, women writers, Russian Lit. and children's classics and I don't usually stray too far from those three groups! :)

Hi, booklogged!

Again, thanks so much for agreeing to host the "Classics Challenge", I so look forward to it -I'm going to push my reading of the classice to Jan/Feb instead of November which is when I had planned to start.

Hi, anoc!

Sadly, I didn't do much Shakespeare in school, but you're right, now may be a good time to start!

Hi, Joanna!

I so value and appreciate your suggestions. They are going to come in very handy when I do booklogged's "Classic Challenge". I must have read "Wuthering Heights" for the first time when I was around 15 or so. I thought Heathcliff was the most romantic man ever to appear within the pages of a book - I still do because I love the brooding kind! ;) And I envy you studying all that wonderful Russian lit. in University! Wish I could have done something like that!

Hi, danielle!

Your reading of the classics and your posts on how much you were enjoying them have probably been an inspiration for a lot of us!

Oh, Nomadica

Isn't "Jane Eyre" the best? It probably has some of the best closing lines of any book I have ever read.

Hi, Rosemary!

The fact that you hold Albert Camus in such high regard is enough of a reason to make me want to read him. I remember reading George Eliot's "Silas Marner" but for some reason it hasn't stayed with me like some of the other classics I have read -perhaps it's time for a reread, huh?

J said...

I gave myself this challange a few years ago, and I've read some great books since then. I don't know if they count as 'classics' or not, but I read The Grapes of Wrath, In Cold Blood, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, To Kill A Mockingbird, and some others. Right now I'm reading "The Catcher In the Rye", and "East of Eden" is on my list as well. What a great idea. :) Current stuff rocks, but it's nice to go dust off a classic now and again.

And I'll second the vote for Camus. Also, Death In Venice is pretty darned good as well. Or Lolita.

Lotus Reads said...

J, I would definitely call your selection of books classics - 20th-century classics. I saw the movie "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and cried buckets, I'm sure the book is just as sad, if not more. Thanks so much for the titles, I love these suggestions!

Les said...

Now that my personal classic challenge has ended, I'll post my 13 favorites next Thursday. Maybe there'll be something on the list that will catch your eye.

BTW, did you recently switch over to Beta? Any problems? Do you like it better??

Bookfool said...


I went out to my "good shelves" for a few ideas. Pride and Prejudice and Of Human Bondage are a couple I agree with - loved both. Here are some others I enjoyed, which I think you could call classics - not sure about all of them:

1. A Passage to India - E.M.Forster
2. The Maltese Falcon & The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett
3. The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Orzy
4. Invasion of the Body Snatchers - Jack Finney (better by far than the movies)
5. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
6. My Antonia - Willa Cather
7. The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
8. The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

You're probably feeling overloaded, now! LOL I really have missed an awful lot of classics, but I'm surprised to find there are plenty I've read and loved.

monideepa said...

Great list. I would add D.H. Lawrence's 'Women in Love', Jane Austen's 'Emma'. How about Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, the latter as much a tale for adults as a children's classic..
Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms'
Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, The Great Gatsby

Gulliver's Travels

Better stope here :-) keep reading and writing.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Les!

This Thursday at your blog? OK, we have a date! :)

About Beta, there are a lot of new features, except, I haven't learned to use any, not as yet atleast. However, I do like the ability to label and tag posts and also, when blogger notifies you via e-mail about a new comment, you are told which post it is for - a feature that the non-beta blogs do not have, I believe. Also, the dashboard is new and improved - you should check it out. I think some templates work better with beta than others, they have more features. The template of one of my other blogs is able to do far more than this particular one, but I keep this because I am used to it. I am, however, due for a blog overhaul, so let's see.

Hello, bookfool!

And a big thank you for the wonderful selection of titles! Thank you also for reminding me about "Rebecca", I had clean forgotten how much I enjoyed it! Wlla Cather's "My Antonia" and the Alexandre Dumas novels will definitely go on my list. I have read "The Man In The Iron Mask", woooo, what a book, I really should read it again!

Hello, Moni!

And thanks very much for your list of favorites, I am enjoying noting these titles very much indeed! I just read "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and while I enjoyed it, I didn't think it was a favorite, but I will try his "Women in Love" sometime. Ohhhh, and how could I have forgotten a childhood staple - Mark Twain? Thanks so much for reminding me!

Framed said...

Even though I'm reading an A to Z list, I may take a break in January to do Booklog's Classic Challenge. There are awful lot of title mentioned here that I would love to read or re-read. I'm thinking Wuthering Heights, The Brothers Karamazov, Atlas Shrugged, (don't know if it qualifies), and The Pickwick Papers. I liked your quote. My question is, "Who gets to decide the best books ever written?"

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Lotus,

I have a purple mug too, bought in London which is Woolf's A Room of One's Own. I was enjoying my return to the classics, then got carried by my writing so that stalled. I had thought of returning once more to them.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Framed!

I will definitely be visiting your your blog to enjoy your book journey through the alphabet. Yes, do join booklogged's challenge - it will be so much fun and also a great motivator to read all the classics we've been meaning to. I honestly don't know who or how one decides a general list of "best books" to suit everyone, but I have my own that I put together based on my reads and with a little help from my friends and that seems to work for me!

Hi, Susan!

I envy you the cup! Do let me know when you decide to return to reading the classics - if we're reading the same ones, it will be fun to discuss them!

David D Jerald said...

Hi Lotus,
Your love of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was never my kind of book but Emily was my kind of poet.

Nice job as always Lotus


There should be no despair for you
While nightly stars are burning,
While evening pours its silent dew,
And sunshine gilds the morning.
There should be no despair - though tears
May flow down like a river :
Are not the best beloved of years
Around your heart for ever ?

They weep, you weep - it must be so ;
Winds sigh as you are sighing,
And Winter sheds its grief in snow
Where Autumn's leaves are lying :
Yet, these revive, and from their fate
Your fate cannot be parted :
Then, journey on, if not elate,
Still never broken-hearted !

Emily Bronte 1818 - 1848 Best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, published under her pseudonym of Ellis Bell in 1847.

Lazy cow said...

"I have my reading for October all cut out for me"

That made me laugh. I have my reading for October AND November all lined up, ready and waiting.

Thanks for visiting my blog and your lovely comment.

Lotus Reads said...

You're quite welcome, Lazy Cow, it's always so wonderful to discover a new (new to me atleast) book blog!