Classic Club is a website dedicated to reading and blogging about classic literature. I've been a member for several years. Today I am answering their 50 questions. These questions are being asked by the new crew of leaders for the club.
When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club? I'm not sure exactly when I joined but I think it was in 2012. Since that time I have read 29 classic titles, which means I am way off the goal of reading 50 in 5 years.
What are you currently reading? The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco and Suite Francaise by Irene Nimerovsky
What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it? The last classic I read was Kindred by Octavia Butler. I confess I read a lot of other books besides just classics. (Click on the hyperlink for the review.) The last book non-classic book I finished was a re-read, The Lost City of Z by David Grann, a nonfiction book about the explorer Percy Fawcett and his doomed quest to find the City of Z (El Dorado.) I liked it just as much the second time around.
What are you reading next? Why? Well, I hope to finish The Name of the Rose next since it is my SPIN book for this quarter.A non-classic book I hope to read next is SPEAK, a graphic novel by Anderson and Carroll. It is an important YA story. I read the original years ago and can't wait to see if/how the graphic novel improves upon it.
Best book you’ve read so far with the club, and why? Oh gosh, there are so many but at this moment in time I'll say Bless Me, Ultima. It just knocked my socks off.
Book you most anticipate (or, anticipated) on your club list? The Grapes of Wrath. Can you believe I've not read it before?
Book on your club list you’ve been avoiding, if any? Why? Anna Karenina. It scares me to think of the length and the way the Russian authors would use more than one name for the same person. Eek!
First classic you ever read? When I was a kid in late elementary school I read a whole bunch of classics which were abridged heavily as part of a series called Illustrated Classics. I remember reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as part of that series and I think David Copperfield as well.
Toughest classic you ever read? I might be reading it right now. The Name of the Rose is so dense into Catholic history my mind wanders as I zone out. I once tried to read Beowulf on my own and didn't understand a thing.
Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry? made you angry? Hmm...inspired me: Pride and Prejudice; scared me: Invisible Man (By Wells); made me cry: Persuasion; made me angry: 1984.
Longest classic you’ve read? Longest classic left on your club list? Longest: Les Miserables at 1463 p.; longest on list still unread: The Count of Monte Cristo at 1537 p.
Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list? Oldest: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Oldest remaining on my list: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, c. 1847.
Favorite biography about a classic author you’ve read — or, the biography on a classic author you most want to read, if any? I'd like to read the biography about Harper Lee called I Am Scout by Charles Shields. I read and enjoyed a darling biography, with lots of illustrations, about Beatrix Potter but I can't recall the title.
Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why? In light of the politics of the day under Trump: 1984 by Orwell.
Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any? Not sure if this is a favorite, but I like the version of The Yearling that I own. It is a Reader's Digest publication which had notes on the author and the drawings from the original publication.
Favorite movie adaption of a classic? I own at least one, maybe two of each of Austen's books made into films. I love them all for different reasons.
Classic which hasn’t been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film. N/A, ask my friends and family, I don't pay attention to films or actors unless prompted and then i can't remember names.
Least favorite classic? Why? I really didn't like A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway. Read my review to see why.
Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read. Nathaniel Hawthorne; George Eliott; Alexandre Dumas; Oscar Wilde; and John Steinbeck.
Which title by one of the five you’ve listed above most excites you and why? I've wanted to read Middlemarch for so many years. I've seen the movie and want to read the book.
Have you read a classic you disliked on first read that you tried again and respected, appreciated, or even ended up loving? (This could be with the club or before it.) No, but I've experienced the opposite. I loved Little Women when I read it as a young teen. When I reread it a year ago I found it to be very condescending and preachy.
Which classic character can’t you get out of your head? Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. I love her voice!
Which classic character most reminds you of yourself? I always thought it was Sybylla Melvin from My Brilliant Career but when I read it last year I decided I wasn't so much like her except for her frizzy hair.
Which classic character do you most wish you could be like? Elizabeth Bennet.
Which classic character reminds you of your best friend? Jane Bennet
If a sudden announcement was made that 500 more pages had been discovered after the original “THE END” on a classic title you read and loved, which title would you most want to keep reading? Or, would you avoid the augmented manuscript in favor of the original? Why? Umm...I sort of already experienced this when the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee came out casting Atticus Finch in a bit more negative light as it was set fifteen years or more after the end of To Kill a Mockingbird. If I could, however, I would make a better ending for Mansfield Park.
Favorite children’s classic? Charlotte's Web and Peter Rabbit
Who recommended your first classic?I'm guessing it was my mother. I remember reading 1001 Arabian Nights as a child. I also read Lorna Doone on her recommendation when I was quite young (it must have been abridged.)
Whose advice do you always take when it comes to literature. (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.) All my English teacher friends, Rita S., and Kristin K.
Favorite memory with a classic? So many happy memories but one comes to mind that involved the family---we decided to go see the old movie of To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck at the Indie theater in town. Beforehand we re-listened to the audiobook together as a family. As we drove to the theater we listened to the last little bit of the book. It was a perfect literary moment for me to have my family involved in my passion with me.
Classic author you’ve read the most works by? Jane Austen. I read everything she wrote except some of her juvenilia.
Classic author who has the most works on your club list? Three-way tie: Dickens, Twain, Austen.
Classic author you own the most books by? Austen.
Classic title(s) that didn’t make it to your club list that you wish you’d included? (Or, since many people edit their lists as they go, which titles have you added since initially posting your club list?) Oh gosh, I haven't kept track of my editions of the list. My initial list was 50 titles, as prescribed, and it is has 84 titles now and I'm sure it will be adjusted again and again.
If you could explore one author’s literary career from first publication to last — meaning you have never read this author and want to explore him or her by reading what s/he wrote in order of publication — who would you explore? Obviously this should be an author you haven’t yet read, since you can’t do this experiment on an author you’re already familiar with. Or, which author’s work you are familiar with might it have been fun to approach this way? Hmm...I guess I'd pick Edith Wharton. She was the first woman to win a Pulitzer. That is a good place to start.
How many rereads are on your club list? If none, why? If some, which are you most looking forward to, or did you most enjoy? Three: Jane Eyre, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and David Copperfield. I think I read all of these in that Illustrated Classics for Children series I mentioned before, so I am pretty sure I have only read the highly abridged version of each.
Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish? Invisible Man by Wells, creepy, sinister, and boring at the same time.
Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving? The Lord of the Flies. I wouldn't say I love this book, but I think about it all the time and found it so fascinating how everything fell apart so quickly for the boys. My students all told me how much they hated the book so I had to read it to see if they were right.
Five things you’re looking forward to next year in classic literature? I want to update my list and to do that I will explore: A. Explore this list published by The Guardian Newspaper of the 100 Classic books everyone should read. B. Explore this classics list on BookBub. C. Time Magazine 100 Best Novels
Classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year? Grapes of Wrath.
Classic you are NOT GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year? Never say never, so who knows?
Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club? SPINS!
List five fellow clubbers whose blogs you frequent. What makes you love their blogs? DebNance @ ReaderBuzz; Sue @ Book by Book; Bronwyn @ Brona's Books; Adam @ Roof Beam Reader, Cleo @ Classical Carousel
If you’ve ever participated in a readalong on a classic, tell about the experience? If you’ve participated in more than one, what’s the very best experience? the best title you’ve completed? a fond memory? a good friend made? I attempted tp be the lead on a read-along on Sense and Sensibility but I don't think anyone joined me. Ha! I hope to participate in one in the future. I have a friend who joins me in reading the same SPIN book but we've never made the time to discuss what we are reading other than little comments here and there.
If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why?I think something by Charles Dickens or Wilkie Collins because they wrote their books in installments. That would work well for a read-along.
How long have you been reading classic literature?Not counting my early readings of Illustrated Classics, I seriously have been reading classics for only a little over ten years. I didn't even read them in high school English classes somehow.
Share up to five posts you’ve written that tell a bit about your reading story. Reviews, journal entries, posts on novels you loved or didn’t love, lists, etc. A. As a teen librarian (now retired) I read a lot of YA Lit. For a sample of a YA review: All the Crooked Saints. B. I am a member of two book clubs. For a sample review of a book club selection: Our Souls At Night. C. I am a judge for the Cybils Award for JH/SH Nonfiction. Here is a review I wrote during the review process: Uprooted. D. I am a proud member of the Classic Club. Here is one of my SPIN book reviews: The Yearling. E. I'm a huge Beatles fan and experiencing Beatlemania 50 years after everyone else. Here is one of my Beatles' related blog posts: Beatlemania Part 1.
Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!) What is your one reading passion? I enjoy reading award books, and trying to determine winners ahead of time. As a teen librarian I was always on the hunt for the next Printz winner. I also have a real passion for Pulitzer winners, most are so good. But any award, and I want to read the book! I used to host a challenge to read all the YA-Youth Media Award books.