Classics Challenges

1.  From – The Pretty Books blog:
https://theprettybooks.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/2015-classics-challenge/

Challenge:   to read one classic book per month in 2015 and, if you want to, blog about your experience (including):

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
WHAT Makes It A Classic
WHY I Chose to Read It
WILL It Stay A Classic
WHO I’d Recommend It To

Okay,  here goes:  –

JANUARY
happyalltheHappy All the Time
by Laurie Colwin
1978 / 213 pages
read by Marc Vietor  6h 13m
Rating:  8 / 20th century fiction

I discovered this in a reading group – it’s been in continuous publication since 1978 and I suppose it’s a classic because of the way it deals with various types of people in marriages – it appeals to people of various eras.  I have no idea if it will stay a classic – times are changing (on the other hand,  people aren’t all that different today).   I might recommend it to a friend who likes gentle novels.  ?

I can’t imagine recommending this to anyone.

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FEBRUARY
TShelteringSkyhe Sheltering Sky
by Paul Bowles
1949 / 352 pages
read by Jennifer Connelly 10h 30m
rating:  6 / classic

Not quite as bad as Under the Volcano but the similarities are certainly there.  This is better because it has more of a storyline.   I’d seen it on the “Best of” lists.  I have no idea why it’s a classic except that it impressed some folks in the 1950s so much that it was heralded everywhere.  I don’t personally enjoy long self-centered  interior monologues (USUALLY!).  I rather hope this goes out of publication – I would never recommend it to anyone.

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MARCH
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APRIL

1.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Robert Pirsig
1974 (1999) / 403 pages
read by Michael Kramer 15h 58m
rating: 8.5 / non-fiction classic – philosophy
(both read and listened)

I read this about 40 years ago and since then it’s become a classic and it came up in a group years ago but I couldn’t read it again then because I was afraid it wouldn’t hold up to the heights I’d held it.   –  This time another group decided to read it and I went ahead – yes,  absolutely – it’s held up but for different reasons than I would have thought.

I think this book accurately depicts the social milieu and thinking of the period in which it was written  – the late 1960s and ’70s.   It’s been in print continuously since it was first published.   Yes,  I think it will remain a classic but  not at the level of Pride & Prejudice.  lol

I can’t imagine recommending this to anyone although if they said they were thinking about it already I’d say go ahead.

2.  The Man in the High Castle (review)
by Philip K. Dick
1962/ 259 pages
rating 9 / classic sci-fi (alternative history)

I’d been meaning to read more by PKD but hadn’t got around to it.  This came up in a reading group and gave me the chance.  It’s now been made into a film series by Amazon.

It accurately depicts the underlying ideas of the 1960s when fast cars, space travel, the cold war, “the bomb” and so on were top-most in the minds of Americans.

Yes, it will remain a classic – of sci-fi anyway.  I’d recommend it to sci-fi buffs,  if they hadn’t read it already.

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MAY

3 books – The Scopes Trilogy by William Faulkner 
The Hamlet
The Town
The Mansion

WHEN I Discovered This Classic: –  right after high school, wanted to read the whole thing ever since.
WHAT Makes It A Classic – Faulkner – 1930s – historical value –
WHY I Chose to Read It – The Town for a reading group,  the others from choice
WILL It Stay A Classic –  oh yes
WHO I’d Recommend It To – anyone interested in Faulkner  or the history of the times – not his most accessible though
*****************

JUNE
The Kreutzer Sonata
by Leo Tolstoy
1889 –

WHEN I Discovered This Classic: –  many years ago – this is a reread –
WHAT Makes It A Classic – Tolstoy  – 19th century  – historical value –
WHY I Chose to Read It –  for a reading group,
WILL It Stay A Classic –  oh yes – historical value
WHO I’d Recommend It To –  classics buffs and folks who enjoy Russian history,   but they’ve likely already read it – NOT a kids book!

Far From the Maddening Crowd
by Thomas Hardy
1874/ 500 or so pages
rating: 9.8 / classic – 19th century England

WHEN I Discovered This Classic: – many years ago – just read others by Hardy first
WHAT Makes It A Classic – Thomas Hardy, 19th century – historical value –
WHY I Chose to Read It – for a reading group, but I love Hardy!
WILL It Stay A Classic – oh yes – historical value
WHO I’d Recommend It To – classics buffs and folks who enjoy Vicoriana history and literature – but they’ve likely already read it.  The movie watchers (not I).

JULY –
Ceremony
by Leslie Marmon Silko
1977 /  262  pages
rating: 8 / cont. fict. Native American (classic)

WHEN I Discovered This Classic: – a few years ago – wanted to read it –
WHAT Makes It A Classic – age – writing,  subject matter of Native Americans
WHY I Chose to Read It – I nominated it in a group and it was selected.
WILL It Stay A Classic – oh yes – Native American studies
WHO I’d Recommend It To – ?? –

AUGUST

The Morgesons
by Elizabeth Stodard
1862 / 310 pages (K)
rating:  4 / classic US

WHAT Makes It A Classic – the age – compare to Little Women
WHY I Chose to Read It – for a reading group – otherwise I would never have considered it!
WILL It Stay A Classic –  hard telling – it does get older,  generates some feminist interest
WHO I’d Recommend It To – no one –

SEPTEMBER
The Rise of Silas Latham
by William D. Howells
1895 / 286 pages
read by Grover Gardner / 12h 2m
rating  / classic American – 19th century
(read and listened)

WHAT Makes It A Classic –  insight into the era – age –
WHY I Chose to Read It – for a reading group – otherwise I would never have considered it!
WILL It Stay A Classic –  probably – good example of American Realism, history of the era
WHO I’d Recommend It To – very few –

OCTOBER

Lady Chatterley’s Lover
by D H Lawrence
1928 /  557 pages (Kindle)
rating:  8 / classic

NOVEMBER
Evan Harrington
by George Meredith
1860 / 427 pages
rating  8 / classic satire

DECEMBER
The Octopus
by Frank Norris
1901 /
(currently reading – will finish by 12/31)

 

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