Classics-I-Have-Not-Read - A Challenge by fuzzi
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There are so many "classic" reads (mostly 19th Century and prior) that I skipped over in my youth, books that I really want to read NOW.
Well, in 2018 I want to remedy my failings.
Here is a list of books garnered from my own "TBR" list, and suggestions by other LT'ers as "classics" that deserve a read:
The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Peter Pan by JM Barrie
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper
The Heart of Midlothian by Walter Scott
The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Philip Sidney
The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (added)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (added)
Nicholas Nickerby by Charles Dickens (added) Group read here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/279365#6307350
Not originally written in English (for those who want a BIG challenge, thanks to harrygbutler for these)
The Iliad by Homer
Daphnis and Chloe by Longus
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Orlando Innamorato by Matteo Boiardo
Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto
Gerusalemme Liberata by Torquato Tasso
Some of these listed I have read already, but most I have not.
How about you?
Care to join us?
Have some suggestions?
I've started Peter Pan. And I have been thinking to read Don Quichotte. And I have started to read Nicholas Nickleby for the group read.
So I guess I have already been joining this challenge:-)
Have dropped a star here.
Count me in. Are we going to try for shared reads? I'm open to tackling most anything on the list.
I'm in... in addition to Nickleby (a re-read) I want to re-read The Scarlet Letter, which I'm sure I did not appreciate in my high school reading some 50 years ago. I even still have the paperback book we used, with my notes in the back.
Interesting... I have read Moby Dick and Don Quichote, recently read The Decameron, so no Canterbury Tales in the near future...
This month I am going to read Gullivers Travels & I have Orlando Furioso waiting on the shelves.
I would like to add Ovid's Metamorphosen, Dante's Divine Comedy and Elliot's Middlemarch
Not really a good list for me. I have read 8 of the first list (and the Iliad out of harrygbutler's suggestions).
Tried and gave up on another 2.
11 more I own copies that I don't currently have access to - and buying duplicates would really be too decadent!
But I'll try to join you with the others - and I am up for joining discussions.
I've read 13 of those on your list and enjoyed almost all of them immensely. Enjoy, and I'll be interested to see what you have to say about them!
I love Middlemarch! I hope you enjoy the book when you get to it, fuzzi!
I like to read one or two classics a year. I haven't picked out mine for this year yet so I'll be following this thread for ideas.
>9 drneutron: thank you!
I'm tickled at the response, good to see others also want to read classic books.
And for those who've already read most on the list, make suggestions!
>2 EllaTim: can you link to the group read of Nicholas Nickerby?
>3 harrygbutler: I'm also game for shared reads. Would like to do a couple this month, depending on spare time.
I am also slowly trying to read those classics that I wasn't required to read when I was growing up. I did read All Quiet on the Western Front last year, and I've joined the group read of Nicholas Nickleby, along with Ella (>2 EllaTim:).
Of fuzzi's list (>1 fuzzi:), I've read the following:
The Song of Hiawatha (loved this poem, and I'm not normally into poetry)
Dracula (of all the irrational fears that I have, my greatest is that of vampires - Dracula, along with Salem's Lot will never be rereads for me!!!) 😜
Little Women (devoured everything by LMA)
Pride and Prejudice
Along with many others... I read much of Divine Comedy in middle school, but don't recall finishing it.
I've had the following on my list for the last couple of years, but haven't gotten around to them.
The Pilgrim's Progress
Heart of Darkness
It would be great to have a list in the List feature of LT - or somewhere else, because I'd love to keep track. Perhaps I'll have to start another database...
>17 rretzler: I think I'll join the group read of Nicholas Nickerby, though it wasn't on my original classics-to-be-read list.
I love, love, LOVE Pride and Prejudice, have reread it several times. I love words, conversations, character dramas, and it's superb. Jane Eyre is also superb if you like that sort of story.
I read Heart of Darkness this year, was okay. I did finish it.
>13 madhatter22: as I said above, I love Jane Eyre, must-read classic!
I've not read any Hardy, but will add it to the OP. Thanks!
I'm a long-standing devourer of classics, so it always does my heart good to see others taking the plunge. I've dropped a star, and will be keeping an interested eye on things. :)
In addition to the Nicholas Nickleby group read, there is another just beginning through the Virago group, for Emily Eden's two novels, The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House. Anyone who would like to join in is very welcome.
I found a couple of book challenges that relate to reading the classics that I thought I would share:
>18 fuzzi: Loved Jane Eyre as well, and speaking of the Bronte's, enjoyed Wuthering Heights, but not nearly as much as Jane Eyre. I've had on my to read list The Tenant of Wildfeld Hall - which would then cover me for all the Bronte's. Perhaps I'll put that on my classics to read for this year.
Speaking along the lines of romantic classics, I've always loved Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - I've read it several times.
I made a new year's resolution to read ten of the classics I own but have not read. The only crossover with your list is The Innocents Abroad. Here are the ones I'm trying to read this year:
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor
The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
>22 foggidawn: You have some great reading on that list: I loved Death Comes for the Archbishop. It is loosely based on a real person.
A Raisin in the Sun is wonderful; after you read it, be sure to see it on film.
Everything that Rises Must Converge--is that the short story itself, or the entire collection? That particular story is amazingly powerful, and when you're done, go back and read the first paragraph again--as mundane as it may seem, O'Connor sets up the entire story in those first few lines.
>22 foggidawn: Dorian Gray may be my first one from the pile -- I've enjoyed everything else I've read by Wilde (several of his plays).
>23 rretzler: I've heard that from several people, but this year I guess I'm going to find out for myself!
>24 fuzzi: The O'Connor is the entire collection, but I'll be sure to take your advice regarding that particular story.
>18 fuzzi: Oops! Missed J.E. on the list. :)
>21 rretzler: I'm planning to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall this year too.
>23 rretzler: >24 fuzzi: Curious if you read The Great Gatsby as an adult. I read it around 8th grade and also rated it 'meh', but when I reread it a few years ago I thought it was fantastic. It made me want to go back and read some other 'mehs' from jr. high & high school. (But not The Old Man and the Sea. Never that.)
>27 madhatter22: I read Gatsby in 2013, well into my 50s. Here's part of my review:
...The author did make the time and place come alive for me, but I mainly felt sorry for the characters, most of which were selfish and spoiled. Even Gatsby was tightly focused on what he wanted in life.
Probably what made it "meh" for me is that I just didn't like any of the characters. I have to find someone I like in any story, which is probably why I so despised Seinfeld on television. That's my quirk.
>27 madhatter22: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall group read, anyone, anyone?
>27 madhatter22: >24 fuzzi: >26 foggidawn: I read Gatsby just a few years ago as well, so it was at least my late 40s. I think I may have less tolerance now for some of the "classics" than I did when I was younger because I can better define what I like now. But back then there was certainly a lot I didn't know about life that makes me appreciate some books more now. foggi, I really hope you enjoy it much more than I did. I agree with fuzzi; I didn't really like any of the characters either. There was nothing to identify with in the story for me.
>28 fuzzi: fuzzi, funny that you mention that you despised Seinfeld. I used to love it, but I tried to watch it recently and didn't really like it at all. It didn't wear well for me. Other than a few moments that I recall, it will not be a show that I will ever watch again!
>30 fuzzi: Definitely NOT January, and maybe not February because I think there may be another group read of something (that I don't recall at the moment) for February. March or anytime afterward would be fine by me.
The Divine Comedy is a must if you're into allegorical fiction. Good luck on Robinson Crusoe and Moby Dick; I found the former slow and contradictory in places, and the latter too long-winded in places with the technicalities of seafaring and whaling for my tastes, but I acknowledge that this is a personal view. Don Quixote and Gulliver's Travels I liked, also Odyssey and The Illiad. I enjoyed The Canterbury Tales a lot but then England's history from the Renaissance back is one of my things. You could read Beowulf and Frankenstein is turning 200 this year, I believe. Then again, "Frankenstein" in my opinion is the more disturbing when compared to Dracula, so maybe this one's not up your alley (it's a dark alley, this book!).
This is the approach taken by my RL book group, and it's why I'm a member! I just finished reading Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin for our next next discussion. We read Robinson Crusoe about 18 months ago. But we don't tend to read longer books, so no Moby Dick...
I had to memorize big chunks of Hiawatha aged about 10/11, at school in England
"By the shores of Gitchee Gumee
By the Big Sea Shining Water
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis..."
I could probably go on but I won't. Eeek, that has stuck in my brain for 45 years. Horrifying.
>33 CassieBash: thanks for your input. I actually have read both Frankenstein and Beowulf in the last year or so, and liked both. Frankenstein was a challenging read (well, both books were) mainly because there was so much written about thoughts and characteristics, though never boring.
>31 rretzler: >32 madhatter22: let's reconnect in March about a group read, then.
>34 Chatterbox: I recall some of Hiawatha from my childhood reading, but not the whole composition. I kind of like the rhythm of the poem, myself.
How's everyone doing?
Have you read any classics, yet?
I was going to read Nicholas Nickleby, but the local library did not own it, and when I finally got a copy through ILL I realized I'd never finish reading it before it was due...so I'm keeping an eye out for a used copy at the local library sales and our used book store.
I don't have anything lined up for February, yet. I might try one of the shorter books, like The Pickwick Papers or The Innocents Abroad.
I read three new-to-me classics in January:
The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth, from 1812, an important regional novel about Ireland; and Emily Eden's two novels, The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House, from 1860 (though written in 1830) and 1859: both social comedies, though the former ultimately turns serious. Three good reads!
I’m listening to Daniel Deronda by George Eliot. I’m enjoying it. So for it is fairly light entertainment about a pretty young woman Gwendolen’s flirtations. I suspect that the going is going to get a lot heavier.
Speaking of reading classics:
I found a copy of Robinson Crusoe at a used book store a couple days ago, and am determined to get it started soon!
Just started reading The Innocents Abroad, which fuzzi is also going to tackle this month. If anyone else wants to join, we’d be glad of the company!
Thoughts so far:
-I looked at the table of contents and despaired: in my Signet Classic edition, it takes up a full ten pages!
-Who wouldn’t want to go on a trip with the itinerary listed? Sign me up!
-Several typical Twain witticisms have had me chuckling, but my favorite passage so far (I’m 4 chapters in) is the one about seasickness.
>51 foggidawn: oh, you left me standing at the post! I'll start tonight.
Addendum: I want to go, too! And I've read ten chapters.
I’m 18 chapters in now — just read some high praises for the cathedral at Milan, which does look like an amazing structure. I’m wishing I had an annotated version of the book, because I’m sure there’s a lot that I’m missing. (Not enough to go out and obtain said annotated copy, mind!) Sometimes I look things up online, but that doesn’t always enlighten me (still not sure why he was hating so hard on Abdul-Aziz while praising Napoleon III so highly. Politics of the day, I guess). And, from a modern perspective, there sure is a lot of casual racism — which doesn’t really surprise me, I guess. I’m still enjoying some of the anecdotes, but if there are a lot more rants about politics, I may do some skimming.
I am reading a travel book as well
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson
Found an online, annotated version. Reading online is not my favourite, but the annotations are useful to understand a bit more about places, backgrounds, certain outdated words etc.
It's surprisingly easy to read, and I had to laugh about his problems with luggage and travelling light. Could relate to that! But politics, there is something about that as well, and very outdated it is. Maybe nice to know that politics don't last very well.
>53 foggidawn: we're close in how far I've read. They just finished Paris and the guide who was obsessed with silk, ha.
Addendum: map of the tour is here: http://twain.lib.virginia.edu/innocent/webmap.html
>56 fuzzi: Thanks for posting the map! I’m now halfway through the book (just finished chapter 30, Vesuvius), and the continuing struggles with tour guides are some of my favorite parts!
Innocents Abroad update: I’ve finished 45 chapters out of 60, so I’m beginning to feel as if the end is in sight. They’ve left the boat and are traveling overland through the Holy Land now. The initial description of the caravan was nice, but I’m feeling bad for the horses at this point.
>59 foggidawn: you're waaaay ahead of me. I'm reading it on my iPad, which I avoid using in bed as I conk myself on the forehead if I doze off while reading...which happens a lot.
I have enjoyed as much as I've read so far.
>60 fuzzi: I’m powering through it because I’m afraid if I set it aside and read other things, I’ll never get back to it.
ETA: I have also whapped myself in the face with an ereader while reading in bed! Fortunately, I’m reading this book as a paperback.
>62 fuzzi: I've gotten a raised lump on my forehead from doing that, ha!
>62 fuzzi: Ouch!
Well, I finished it! I’m glad to have read it, but I’m certain that I won’t read it again. I’ll be posting a review on my own thread soon.
>63 foggidawn: I've been enjoying it as well, but am having no issue with setting it down for a new shiny book...
>65 fuzzi: I remember starting Robinson Crusoe a few years back and thinking how modern it felt to me - much more so than most 19th century novels.
Well...another one bites the dust...
Peter Pan by JM Barrie
Maybe I would have enjoyed this book more if I'd read it as a child, but as an adult I found it just annoyed me, tremendously, especially the character of Peter. I think this is one case in which the Disney adaption was better than the source. Seriously.
Two months to go, and I've only crossed three off my list...how about you?
Any plans for November? December?
I'm going to try to find a classic to read in December that is topical, a Christmas or winter story that is a classic.
I've already read A Christmas Carol, so that's out.
>74 fuzzi: You might consider Dickens' The Cricket on the Hearth, or one of his other Christmas books. I know Robert Louis Stevenson wrote at least a couple as well: Markheim is set at Christmas, and another of his short stories is titled "The Misadventures of John Nicholson: A Christmas Story," though I don't think I've read that one and thus couldn't comment on it.
Virgil's Fourth Eclogue has been interpreted as inadvertently prophetic and thus a fitting read for the season.
Much of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is set around Christmastime and is available in several modernizations of the Middle English.
I like Seabury Quinn's Roads, a Christmas story giving a fictive origin for Santa Claus that first appeared in the magazine Weird Tales and which you might enjoy. It has been reprinted (I own a nice copy) and thus may be available.
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