The Tempest

5e9f81972e2873f12c2288ff880a5c13.jpgThe Tempest by William Shakespeare

Rating: ★★★★★ // The Bard at his finest 

Favorite Line: “Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.”

Review: 

Reviewing Shakespeare feels a little absurd. I sadly have not studied his plays enough to really grasp all that he is saying, but I hope one day to say that I have. All I can really say is if I liked they play or if I didn’t like the play. When it comes to The Tempest, one of Shakespeare’s last plays (many believe to be his absolute last), I really enjoyed it.

Summary (via GoodReads)

In The Tempest, long considered one of Shakespeare’s most lyrical plays, Prospero—a magician on an enchanted island—punishes his enemies, brings happiness to his daughter, and comes to terms with human use of supernatural power. The Tempest embodies both seemingly timeless romance and the historically specific moment in which Europe begins to explore and conquer the New World.

Its complexity of thought, its range of characters—from the spirit Ariel and the monster Caliban to the beautiful Miranda and her prince Ferdinand -its poetic beauty, and its exploration of difficult questions that still haunt us today make this play wonderfully compelling.

The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1610–11. It is set on a remote island, where Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place, using illusion and skilful manipulation. The eponymous tempest brings to the island Prospero’s usurping brother Antonio and the complicit Alonso, King of Naples. There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio’s low nature, the redemption of Alonso, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso’s son, Ferdinand.

I sometimes struggle when reading plays, so I almost always read and listen at the same time. This helps bring the verse to life, while putting the words more firmly into my mind. This version had a little more of a positive impact on me because the lead role of Prospero was performed by Ian McKellen, who is a tremendous actor and he really only needs to voice to perfectly portray the emotion of the character.

The play brings a serious situation into play, but has fun characters to offset the seriousness. It has a bright romance, which blooms a little too quickly for my liking, but after all, it is Shakespeare. Despite the quickness of the romance, I thought the romance was sweet, and it added a nice aspect to the story.

Overall the story is of revenge which ultimately turns into forgiveness after redemption, but like many of Shakespeare’s plays, it explores the supernatural and the physiological aspects of humanity.

What is really unique and beautiful about this play is the epilogue. There, breaking character, Shakespeare has Prospero address the audience. Through Prospero’s voice, Shakespeares talks of his own retirement and of setting his gift of verse free.

I’m going to have to read this play a few more times before I really understand all the different dynamics it has, and maybe then I can write a more intelligent review about it, but as for now, I will just leave you with Shakespeare’s fantastic end:

Now my charms are all o’erthrown,
And what strength I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint. Now, ’tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardoned the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell,
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

*I read this book for my Classics Club challenge. To see my entire list of my challenge Click Here, to learn more about the Classics Club challenge, Click Here

Top Ten Tuesday: Moms in Classic Literature, the best and the worst.

Another Tuesday, another Top Ten list brought to us by The Broke and Bookish blog. This week we have a freebie on “Mother’s Day.” I already wrote a couple of posts about mother’s day, but I didn’t want to skip this week, so I did a mix of my favorite and least favorite mom’s in literature. I stuck with classic lit. for this list, because, well, I like classic lit.

I found this list was a little tougher than I expected, as parents are much more rare in classic lit. than they are in modern stories. If they are portrayed, they usually take a minor role. However, there are some prominent mother’s in literature and some really stuck out to me.

motherchild.jpg

The Best.
  1. Marmee March (The Little Women, Louisa May Alcott)
    • She’s kind to her children, loving to her husband, firm in her beliefs and morals, understanding toward failure, yet persistant that all try their best. I think it would be hard to arguee that she is the best image of a great mother in literature.
  2. Katie Nolan (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith)
    • Hardworking and determined, Katie Nolan gives her children the opportunities she never got to have. Katie spends most of the book trying to scrape together just enough food to keep her children alive, and yet the kids grew up thinking they were rich as kings.
  3. Marilla Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery)
    • Strict and harsh at first (and at times later), Marilla grows into a loving and wise mother to the orphan Anne. It takes her time to adjust to the spirit of Anne, but when she does, she becomes her biggest fan and confidant.
  4. Ma Ingalls (The Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder)
    • Tough to the core and hardworking, Ma shows us what it meant to be a mother in the tough times on the prairie. She is kind, but stern, encourages individuality in her children but demands obedience. To her husband she is supportive and a clear advisor. She set the standards for her children and her husband to live by, and by golly they followed them.
  5. Fantine (Les Miserables, Victor Hugo)
    • Perhaps the most tragic mother in literature is poor Fantine. This is a case where intention shows the heart of the woman. Fantine does all she can to give her child a good home, even if that meant giving her up. Leaving her child behind broke her heart, but she truly believed her daughter would be better without her. Then, due to the cruelty of others, she worked herself to death to provide for her child. She embodies the selflessness that mother’s have when caring for their children.
The Worst.
  1. Mrs. Bennet (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen)
    • Many people have a soft spot for Mrs. Bennet, and I guess I can understand that, but overall, I really dislike her. She’s ridiculous.
  2. The Stepmother (Hansel and Gretel, The Brother’s Grimm)
    • So all stepmothers in Grimm’s fairy tales are pretty bad, but this one is the worst. She convinces their father to leave his children in the woods because she wants more food. She’s terrible.
  3. Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald)
    • Did you forget that Daisy had a daughter? Don’t feel bad because apparently she did to.
  4.  Jocasta (Oedipus Rex, Sophocles)
    • She’s bad in the sense that she ends up marrying her son after killing her husband. It was all a big misunderstanding, but still.
  5. Mrs. Wormwood (Matilda, Roald Dahl)
    • Encourages her brilliant daughter not to be brilliant…yeah, she’s pretty awful.

Life Lessons from the Musketeers

The_Three_Musketeers.jpg

I wrote this review a few years ago on my old blog, but I thought I’d repost it because I really loved this book. 

After years and years of trying to convince myself I didn’t need to read this book because I already knew the storyline, I finally buckled and picked up this timeless classic….I was blown away.

I do admit, it took me a long time to finish this The Three Musketeers. It’s a story I knew so well before I picked it up, so I thought it would be a piece of cake, but this book is so long and is has so much more depth than the “main” story.

I went in waves while reading, I had periods of being completely hooked for days, using every spare moment to read another paragraph, page, or chapter, only to then slump into a dry spell of not wanting to pick up the book and having no interest at all of what happens to our four bold protagonists. When this happens to me, it’s usually because the author goes off the plot and gives long explanations of history and background of the area and I loose my motivation to continue, but here it was different because Dumas does not do that often, and when he doesn’t it’s not for an extended amount of time–for the most part, he stays on plot. The only logical reason I can think of for my on-again, off-again, relationship with this book, is that since it is such a long book, and it has a very complex plot with many different crucial players, it takes a long time to read it right, and after going a couple of weeks with the same story, and then realizing I had only made a small dent in the book, I needed to give my brain different type of entertainment for a couple days before getting sucked into the book again.

Now I can proudly say I have conquered this book, and I am so happy that I can honestly say that I love the story of The Three Musketeers. 

I will not go through and bore you with a critic over the whole book, and frankly, I don’t think I could give it a proper critic after only reading it once, especially since I read it leisurely and not educationally. There is so much going on that it would take a couple reads to analyze all the different moving parts and how Dumas weaves them perfectly together. However, what I will do it take a few of my favorites quotes from the book and tell you briefly why they stood out to me.

1.

“Oh, I see you prefer peregrination. That’s well madame; and there is an old proverb that says, ‘Traveling trains youth.’ My faith! you are not wrong after all, and life is sweet. That’s the reason why I take such care you shall not deprive me of mine.”

This quote is said by Lord de Winters to the infamous lady known throughout the story simply as Milady. She is truly evil. Lord de Winters says this as he is holding Milady captive in England and giving her the choice of exile or a trial. Now, she has quite a past, so a trial would mean the worst for her, so if she has the choice, she would choose exile, even if the thought of that is as bad as death to her.

I like this quote because it could have been said by a number of characters in the book and still be relevant. All the characters either grow tremendously in the storyline or we learn of their past growth that led them to where they are when we meet them, and they all hold true to the proverb Lord de Winters speaks of, “traveling trains youth.” Furthermore, this book is all about self-preservation in the most direr of situations, so the second part of the quote rings true to most of the characters, “That’s the reason why I take such care you should not deprive me of mine.”

Putting the plot of the book aside, I felt personally attached to this quote the moment I read it, because I saw it as a justification of the life I’m living now. “‘Traveling trains youth.” I’m constantly asked why I took a year in Europe, why I travel so much, what I’m planning on doing with my life, and why I made the “unorthodox” decision not to get a career right out of college, and more often than not my answer is rewarded with a sigh or an eye role. Even when in Europe or on my travels, I find many people who think my year as an Au Pair or my job as a nanny, as a waste of time. What I wish people would understand is that I’m still young–I look young, I think young, I act young…I’m young. I didn’t take a year in Europe to run away from a career, I went there to take advantage of my youth, to do things that I can’t do when my youth leaves me, and as Dumas puts it, I went there to train, and I continue to train in my travels. Train for the rest of my life, give me experiences that I could never have unless I put myself out there, on a limb, in a place I had only dreamed of going before.

2.

“Within six months, if I am not dead, I shall have seen you again, madam–even if I have to overturn the world.”

This is said by the Duke of Buckingham to Anne of Austria, the Queen of France. This love affair was one of the saddest because it was doomed from the start, yet the Duke, truly infatuated with the Queen, never abandoned his love for her, nor did he ever do anything intentional to harm her, politically or emotionally. Yet, this quote,  like my first one, could be said by many different characters in the book and no one would doubt it’s sincerity. This book continues to go back to the theme of doing anything and everything for the one you love. If nothing else remains true in this novel, the truth of undying love remains solid through the entire thing.

When I started reading this, I didn’t think it would be as focused on love as it was. I mean, I knew it had romantic sub-plots, but I did not think the plot would focus primarily on the love affairs of the Musketeers and their close companions. I think it can be argued that love is as great of a theme as friendship, even though I believe most would categorize this book in the “power of friends” category quicker than the “power of love” category, especially with the whole “all for one and one for all” thing the Musketeers have going on.

While many of the relationships in this novel revolved around an affair of some sort, the love remained beautiful to the reader because of the way the characters truly still believed in love, and the purity of love. It was clearly a different time and culture when this story was placed, and in the novel marriage was definitely more of a political and social relationship then a romantic one, but the the idea of love was still strong and Dumas did a beautiful job of portraying the power that stands behind it.

3.

“You are young,” replied Athos; “and your bitter recollections have time to change themselves into sweet remembrances.”

This is the last line in the book, before the epilogue, and I found it to be a beautiful ending to this tragic story. I don’t want to ruin any of the details, but this book doesn’t have the happiest of endings–it’s not completely sad, but it’s also not a Disney ending. But this quote, spoken by the always wise Athos, pushes away the sadness and allows room for the reader to see the potential of a happy future–what a beautiful thing to do for your readers.

I guess I can add this to my reasons for holding onto my youth: giving myself time to change bitter moments into happy memories. As Athos says this, the reader understands how much he desires to have this time back–time to change all the hurt he suffered into, at least, a memory less painful. But we, as readers, also understand that Athos is unable to do this, and even though the cause of his unhappiness is gone, he will never fully recover from the hurt and pain put upon him. He is unmendable. His friend, however, one he views as a brother and life-long companion, still has time to put all that has happened behind him and forgive, and Athos, being the eldest of the group, wants to make sure his brother does not fall onto the same bitter path that he chose many years prior to the story.

The theme of forgiveness is not as visible as the theme of vengeance in the book, but the final advice from Athos seems to lean more towards it than towards anything else. He is a man who held onto his hatred and his pain as tightly as he held onto his bottles of Spanish wine. He was unable to let go of the events in his past and they tore him apart emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He understands this pain eats him alive, but unwilling to forgive, he allows it to consume him. While, on the outside, he is the strongest (mentally) of the musketeers and their unofficial leader, he knows he is too weak to fight his own pain.  Nevertheless, his final advice, his final warning, gives the reader a shed of hope that his younger, fresher companion will not follow in his footsteps of living in the past, but step forward, forgiving and refreshing his past, so it becomes a power to push him forward, instead of a weight keeping him in behind.

All of us, young and old, can benefit from this final quote from Athos, remembering that life keeps moving and we can either stay bitter and angry or we can move forward with “sweet remembrances.”

The Three Musketeers is timeless. While not as fast paced as most modern day novels, it packs a punch that is full of every theme a reader could ask for. Dumas adds humor to a drama, and romance to a sword fight, and while there are many new adventurers to admire in literature, there aren’t many who compare to the classic characters of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan.

 

*This is not technically apart of my Classics Club challenge, but it definitely works with the theme. If you want to see the other books on my challenge list, click here. If you want to learn more about the classics club, click here

The Joy Luck Club

7763.jpgThe Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Rating: ★★★★ // Surprising and charming 

Favorite Line: “We are lost, she and I, unseen and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others.”

Review:

What a beautiful book. Honestly, I was not expecting to like this book, I don’t really know why I had low expectations, perhaps it was because I remember not being impressed by one of it’s excerpts I read in an American Lit. classe–who knows, but I really was expecting to be bored. I was not bored…it was precious.

The Joy Luck Club begins with a young Chinese-American woman, who takes her mother’s place at the mahjong table after her mother passes away. With her are three elderly chinese woman, all immigrants to America, and they reveal a secret about her mother that she never knew. It was then she realized she knew very little of her mother, and her realization made the other three woman reflect on their own relationships with their daughters. What follows are short stories in the voices of the daughters about their mothers and their relationships.

This book shows the difficulty of immigrating to a new country. The successes, the failures, the joys, and the false hopes. We see the older generation trying to maintain their culture, all while hoping their children are fully emerged in the American culture. This is a struggle many cultures see and many immigrants go through, but rarely is this struggle put into words as wonderfully as Amy Tan manages to do.

The stories are charming and thoughtful, and while they show the Chinese culture (something I’m not very familiar with) they also show the connection all humans have–we all have stupid fights with our mother, we all have times when our families embarrass us, and we all have people who mean the absolute world to us. It shows connection while showing differences; it shows the individual while showing humanity as a whole.

This book takes only a few hours to read, and I highly recommend it.

You can buy it here on Book Depository at a discounted price!

*I read this book for the Classics Club Reading Challenge. Check out their page to find out more! To see my full list, click here!

The Fall of the House of Usher

5a37e7c2e687af84ad6bba7c777c62ebThe Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: ★★★★★ // Spookily good

Favorite Line: “His heart is a suspended lute; As soon as you touch it, it resonates.”

Review: 

*some very mild spoilers ahead, but it is like hundreds of years old, so not really…. 😉

This mysterious short story is nothing less than expected from the great Edgar Allan Poe. Poe, with his intense vocabulary and lengthy sentences, brings an air of suspense into this story within the first paragraph, even when all he ultimately did was describe a house.

This story follows a man, an unnamed man, who travels to the House of Usher upon request of his childhood friend Roderick Usher. The two had fallen out of contact, yet Roderick pleaded he come to his house, for he was suffering from a mental disorder, and thinking his presence may help his old friend, our narrator answers his call.

Upon arriving, the narrator finds out his friend is a severe hypochondriac, and refuses even to leave his house (despite the house being one of the causes for his severe anxiety and fear). The fear is so strong, Roderick admitted to the narrator that “In this unnerved, in this pitiable, condition I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR.” This fear, the narrator notes, is a new quality to his old friend, and it has changed his entire demeanor and appearance.

“To an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave.”

Along with severe hypochondria, Roderick suffers from the grief which stems from his sister’s illness and impending death. Despite our narrator’s efforts he is unable to completely liven his friends spirits, especially when his sister does ultimately die, and the uneasiness in the house grows into a supernatural creepiness as odd occurrences happen within.

“About the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity – an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn – a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hue.”

I love Poe. As a poet, he is my favorite, and as a short story writer, he proved to be a master of the supernatural. If you haven’t read him in awhile, however, it takes a few minutes to get back into his style. His sentences are long and complex, and his language is elegant to the extreme. The voice is quick, despite the length of the sentences, and it feels as if he was writing quickly, or, if the story was being told orally, the narrater was speaking quickly.

I mentioned his long sentences a few times, but as an example, here is the opening sentence of the story:

“During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.”

Yeah, I’m willing to bet Poe’s teachers never had to tell him to use more commas. But this sentence is more than just lengthy, it is also successfully gives the mission of the narrator, the setting, and the unnerving tone Poe wishes to convey to the reader. It’s truly genius.

This is one of those mystery stories where the ending still leaves you with a sense of unknowing. There are two possibilities that offer an explanation to the end, one is supernatural, and the other is realistic, yet terribly disturbing, and the reader must choose which one they want to believe…personally I choose the supernatural, but I have an inkling Poe meant for it to be the disturbing realistic explanation.

The story only being 15 pages or so, you can easily read it in under an hour. I read it through once, and then knowing I missed a few things, I read it again while listening to an old BBC recording of it, and got a lot more out of it. It may have been due to it being my second time through, but I think it was more because of the cadence of the narrator, as it amplified the eeriness and suspense.

I will always recommend Poe, and this story is no exception, especially if you want a quick suspenseful story, without the commitment of a novel.

*I read this book as apart of my Classics Club challenge, but then I realized it wasn’t actually on my list…oops…regardless, it’s a great classic! To see the rest of my list, click here. To learn more about the Classics Club challenge, click here.

You can find this short story, along with other Poe short stories, discounted here on Book Depository!

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

215575.jpgI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Rating: ★★★

Favorite Line: “The world had taken a deep breath and was having doubts about continuing to revolve.”

Review:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of the most influential pieces of American Literature from the 20th Century. Angelou’s account of her childhood is unlike any other book written in its time, and it opened doors for important dialogue and understanding between cultures and races, and it should be on everyone’s reading list.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Before I continue, I have to admit that I find memoirs very difficult to read. I don’t know why, but I rarely enjoy them. So there were times when I had a hard time with this book, mainly because of the style that is required of a memoir. I also listened to the audiobook version that Maya Angelou narrated herself, and I think that made it even harder for me to get through it. Angelou has a very unique voice, but if you have heard her speak you know she is rather monotonous and her voice is very soothing–this made it very hard to concentrate at times and I had to go back and listen to sections over again because I found myself spacing off.

This book is not what you would call a “fun read.” There are very disturbing sections, and parts of such extreme hatred and racism, it makes you feel sick to think that this level of cruelty existed then and continues to exist today. With that being said, Angelou does bring her humor to the story and she tells some pretty incredible stories, some that will make you laugh out loud, and some will just leave you shocked she got away with what she was attempting.

“There is nothing a person can’t do, and there should be nothing a human being didn’t care about. It was the most positive encouragement I could have hoped for.”

This being a true story, it’s hard to criticize the characters as they are real people, and Angelou makes them come alive for the reader. I found myself having mixed feelings about many of the characters, but after further examination I realized how accurate this was to life. We form many different opinions about people we know, and many of our closest acquaintances are met with mixed feelings from us at one point or another. We see all the characters from her point of view, but we also see them with the eyes of an outsider and the eyes of a grownup, as most of the book is described as through the eyes of a child.

Speaking of the point of view, I was so amazed at how well Angelou described the story not as how she remembered it, but as she lived it at the time. This is an amazing skill of Angelou’s and it really brings power to her story.

As I said earlier, the book was hard for me at times, but I am glad I read it. The final page of this book was one of the most beautiful human experiences I have ever listened to (or read).  I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a classic that should be read by all, and it helped shape literature and the civil rights movement.

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill,
of things unknown, but longed for still,
and his tune is heard on the distant hill,
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

*I read this book as apart of my Classics Club challenge. To see the rest of my list, click here. To learn more about the Classics Club challenge, click here.

The Screwtape Letters

8130077.jpgThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Rating:★★★★★ // A timeless masterpiece

Favorite Line: “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

Review:

I have read this book 3 times now, and it amazes me that each time I read it, it’s like I’m reading it for the first time. This book has the uncanny characteristic of “changing” as you do. If you read it in high school, something’s stick out like a sore thumb and you believe they are the main message in the book. Read it again in college and you see a whole different set of points that seem to be speaking directly to you, and you wonder how you missed them the first time. And then read them again as a young working adult, and you find points that are so clear and relevant to the world today, you almost doubt it is the same book you read 4 and 8 years ago.

If you are unfamiliar with The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, it is a series of 31 letters that were originally published in Tbe Guardian, a magazine in the U.K., from Screwtape, a master demon, to his nephew Wormwood, who is a tempter in training. Screwtape uses these letters to explain the tempting process to Wormwood, and gives him tips on how to properly steer his “patient” away from The Enemy (God) and to the devil.

The Screwtape Letters is such an interesting book. First of all it’s all written backwards, or I should say from the wrong point of view, so it is intended to be a “what not to do” book. For example, when Screwtape informs his nephew to help the patient strive for normality and lukewarmness, because those in the middle are easier to tempt than anyone with passions and strong convictions, we must do the opposite, we must strive to be passionate about the things we believe in.

These letters are kind of like an examination of conscious. As you read them it’s pretty impossible to reflect and think, “oh wait, have I done that?” or to ask yourself, “is that how I act?”  These questions are good to ask because as human we should always be striving to be the best version of ourselves, and acknowledging our downfalls brings us a step closer to achieving that goal.

In these letters Lewis, through the voice of Screwtape, reminds us that while major sins are grave and horrible actions (like murder), the small ones can be just as detrimental to our soul. He also shows that the devil can take good things, such as humility, and twist it to bring you into sins, like pride.

“Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact? All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility.”

C.S. Lewis said that after writing these letters he became spiritually exhausted, and that is not surprising at all. He forced himself to go into the mind of a devil and to examine all the small failures, most assuredly some of his own failures, that could lead you away from God. This practice would be so exhausting and discouraging, but as Screwtape acknowledges as the end of the book, and Lewis found solace in after writing the Letters, God is still more powerful than the demons who fight against him.

This book is full of timeless advice about how to arm yourself against temptation, and while it has been described by some as a religious satire, the processes and the human nature portrayed in the book are so real, the idea of it being satire in is deniable.

While this book is full of countless lessons, I would say the most valuable one teaches us about the trickery of the devil and of sin. The devil isn’t able to force us to do wrong, but he is clever and cunning and can convince us to choose wrong, even when we believe we are choosing good.

“The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers when there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under.”

I highly recommend this book for high schoolers and older, and if you have already read it, I recommend you read it again because you never know what will pop out to you this time.

*I read this book as apart of my Classics Club challenge. To see the rest of my list, click here. To learn more about the Classics Club challenge, click here.

The Classics Club: 50 in 5

The Classics Club is a blog created to promote the reading of classics. I learned about this the other day through another blog post and I decided to give it a whirl. The challenge The Classics Club presents is to read (at least) 50 classic books in 5 years and write reviews on the books you read. Seems pretty cool, eh? Since I’ve been trying to read more classics anyway, this seems like a pretty cool challenge. 5 years seems like a long time, but looking at the page number of some of these book, I think that’s appropriate. It’s a big undertaking, but if this is the push I need to get through my classics list, then I’ll take it!

I started with the classics I own yet haven’t read and then moved to my Goodreads to-read list when I got through those. Most of the books are novels, but there are a couple novellas, a couple plays, and a few works of short stories. All of the books are ones I haven’t read, except for The Lord of the Rings which my book club is reading this summer, so I’m rereading it (counted as only one book).

I’m going to still to be doing reviews on newer books, but I’ll be reviewing the classics as I finish them.

So here it is, the grand list! It’s sorted in alphabetical order by author, not in the order I’m going to read them. My beginning date is today, March 25, 2017, which makes my end date March 25, 2022. Wish me luck!

5o in 5

  1. Little Women by Louise May Alcott (449)
  2. A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich (251)
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (246)
  4. Persuasion by Jane Austin (249)
  5. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin (409)
  6. Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (190)
  7. A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt (192)
  8. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (489)
  9. Evelina by Fanny Burney (455)
  10. Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather (297)
  11. Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather (229)
  12. The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton (718)
  13. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (170)
  14. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (545)
  15. Notes From the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (136)
  16. The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas (528)
  17. Middlemarch by George Eliot (800)
  18. The Last Tycoon: an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald (163)
  19. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (521)
  20. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (182)
  21. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (433)
  22. Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy (518)
  23. Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne (432)
  24. The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway (132)
  25. The Odyssey by Homer (541)
  26. The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo (672)
  27. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (121)
  28. Passing by Nella Larsen (122)
  29. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (223)
  30. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (313)
  31. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (130)
  32. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (720)
  33. The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor (555)
  34. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (244)
  35. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (208)
  36. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (277)
  37. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (237)
  38. The Tempest by William Shakespeare (215)
  39. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (288)
  40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1,216)
  41. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (838)
  42. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1,273)
  43. The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain (848)
  44. Ida Elisabeth by Sigrid Undset (425)
  45. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (240)
  46. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (351)
  47. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (118)
  48. The Once and Future King by T.H. White (640)
  49. The Waves by Virginia Woolf (297)
  50. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (209)

 

If anyone else is interested in learning more about the Classics Club, check out their blog!