I can never resist a survey and The Classics Club posted this tempting 50 Question one last week. After spending a few days musing over my answers I think I’m ready!
1. Share a link to your club list.
2. When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club?
I joined in March 2012 and have read 42/100 books so far.
3. What are you currently reading?
For the Classics Club: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. This has been my long-term reading project for 2014 – I started in January and hope to be finished before Christmas.
Non-club related: Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb (which I’m loving; I think I’ve found a new favourite author) and The Hollow Crown by Dan Jones, a non-fiction book on the Wars of the Roses.
4. What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it?
Phineas Finn, the second of Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels. I loved it, though maybe not quite as much as the first in the series, Can You Forgive Her?
5. What are you reading next? Why?
I’ll be starting Bellarion by Rafael Sabatini soon as it’s my Classics Spin book.
6. Best book you’ve read so far with the club, and why?
I enjoyed my re-read of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and my first read of its sequel, Twenty Years After, but I also loved A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Oh, and Scaramouche by Sabatini. And The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. You didn’t expect me just to pick one, did you?
7. Book you most anticipate (or, anticipated) on your club list?
Probably The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas and Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier, given how much I’ve enjoyed everything else I’ve read by those two authors.
8. Book on your club list you’ve been avoiding, if any? Why?
East of Eden by John Steinbeck, though I’m not sure why I’ve been avoiding it. I know a lot of other bloggers have read it and loved it, but I seem to have convinced myself I probably won’t like it.
9. First classic you ever read?
I read lots of classics as a child and can’t remember which was first, but it could have been something like The Secret Garden, Black Beauty, The Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
10. Toughest classic you ever read?
Clarissa by Samuel Richardson! It was not necessarily a difficult book to read, but I struggled with the slow pace and the repetitiveness. There were parts of the book that I loved, but there were also times when I just didn’t think I could go on!
11. Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry?
Inspired me: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Scared me: Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe. Made me cry: Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.
12. Longest classic you’ve read? Longest classic left on your club list?
The longest I’ve read is probably Clarissa – I think it’s slightly longer than War and Peace, which I’ve also read. The longest book left on my list (after I’ve finished Don Quixote) is Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset.
13. Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list?
The Epic of Gilgamesh must surely be the oldest I’ve read. It’s believed to be 4,000 years old! Most of the classics left on my club list are from the 19th and 20th centuries, but The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe is from 1791.
14. Favorite biography about a classic author you’ve read — or, the biography on a classic author you most want to read, if any?
I don’t read a lot of biographies but I did enjoy Claire Tomalin’s Charles Dickens: A Life. I want to read her biographies of Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen at some point too.
15. Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why?
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas as it’s my favourite classic and I would like everyone to love it as much as I do!
16. Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any?
The beautiful hardback copy of A Christmas Carol with colour illustrations which I was given for Christmas as a child.
17. Favorite movie adaption of a classic?
I have a few: To Kill a Mockingbird, Rebecca and Gone with the Wind.
18. Classic which hasn’t been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film.
Something by Wilkie Collins. The Moonstone and The Woman in White have been adapted before (though not recently) but I think both No Name and Armadale would make great films!
19. Least favorite classic? Why?
I’m not sure I really have a least favourite classic, though I didn’t like either The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger or Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I know most people love them, but neither of them was my type of book.
20. Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read.
Sticking with unread authors on my Classics Club list: Charles Reade, Samuel Shellabarger, Jules Verne, Charlotte M. Yonge, William Makepeace Thackeray
21. Which title by one of the five you’ve listed above most excites you and why?
Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger as it’s a classic historical fiction novel (my favourite genre) and I’ve read some wonderful reviews.
22. 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.)
Emma by Jane Austen. The first time I read it I just didn’t like the character of Emma herself and struggled to see past her superior attitude and the way she treated Harriet Smith. On a second read several years later I found I was much more tolerant of Emma and her faults. By the end of the book I really liked Emma – both the character and the novel – and was so pleased I’d tried again.
23. Which classic character can’t you get out of your head?
Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo.
24. Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?
I’m not sure…maybe Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility.
25. Which classic character do you most wish you could be like?
Melanie Wilkes from Gone with the Wind. I’ve always admired her quiet strength.
26. Which classic character reminds you of your best friend?
It’s not something I’ve ever thought about!
27. 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?
I would prefer to stick with the original ending but probably wouldn’t be able to resist reading the newly discovered pages! I remember reading Scarlett, the sequel to Gone with the Wind, and while it was nice to get a more satisfying conclusion to the story I did sort of wish I hadn’t read it because, really, the ending was already perfect the way it was.
28. Favorite children’s classic?
Watership Down by Richard Adams, though I don’t consider it specifically a children’s book as it has so much to offer an adult reader too.
29. Who recommended your first classic?
That’s difficult to answer as I can’t actually remember what my first classic was, but it was probably my mother who loves reading as much as I do.
30. Whose advice do you always take when it comes to literature. (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.)
I don’t know many people who share my taste in books, so I rely on my favourite book blogs for recommendations!
31. Favorite memory with a classic?
Reading Watership Down for the first time at the age of ten. I started reading it on a Sunday evening when I was feeling miserable about having to go to school the next day and it really cheered me up.
32. Classic author you’ve read the most works by?
I’ve been working my way through Daphne du Maurier’s books over the last few years and have now read sixteen of them.
33. Classic author who has the most works on your club list?
I tried not to include too many books by the same author, but couldn’t resist listing seven by Alexandre Dumas!
34. Classic author you own the most books by?
35. 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?)
I’ve edited my list so many times I can’t remember all the changes! There are some books I put on my original list that I just have no desire to read anymore so there was no point in leaving them on there.
36. 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?
That’s an intriguing question but without having already sampled an author’s work I wouldn’t want to commit to reading everything they had written! Of the authors I’m already familiar with, there are a few that I would have liked to approach this way – for example, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy or Daphne du Maurier – but as I’ve been reading their books out of order it’s too late for that now!
37. 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?
I have five re-reads on my list (plus another two which I’ve already re-read for the club). I’m particularly looking forward to re-reading The Count of Monte Cristo and Rebecca, as they’re two of my favourite books, and also Wuthering Heights to see if I still love it as much as I did when I was younger.
38. Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish?
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I’ve tried twice and couldn’t get past the first few chapters either time. It’s on my Classics Club list as I do want to try it again and I feel more positive about it after reading one of Dostoyevsky’s other books, The Idiot, earlier this year and enjoying it.
39. Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving?
The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham. For some reason I think I’d formed a preconceived idea that I wouldn’t like it, yet it ended up as one of my favourite books of last year!
40. Five things you’re looking forward to next year in classic literature?
I haven’t started planning for next year yet, but I do want to find time for some of the re-reads on my list and I’m also looking forward to trying some of the authors I’ve never read before.
41. Classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, which I do really want to read but keep putting off.
42. Classic you are NOT GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?
None – I don’t want to rule anything out.
43. Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club?
The sense of community and being able to easily find other readers who love classic literature. And of course, the classics spin, monthly memes and surveys like this one…
45. Favorite post you’ve read by a fellow clubber?
I’ve enjoyed lots of my fellow clubbers’ posts and couldn’t pick just one!
46. 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 participated in year-long readalongs for both Clarissa (in 2012) and War and Peace (in 2013) and would probably never have made it to the end of either of those books on my own. I’ve taken part in other classic readalongs too and enjoyed them all, but they are the two I’ll never forget as they lasted a whole year!
47. If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why?
Any of the titles on my list that I haven’t read yet.
48. How long have you been reading classic literature?
As long as I can remember!
49. 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.
Top Ten Tuesday: Needing to read more
Classics Club March Meme: Literary Periods
Best Books of 2013
Classics Club August Meme: A Favourite Classic
Turn of the Century Salon: Introduction
50. Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!)
I’m already exhausted after answering so many questions, so let’s just leave it at 49!