I thought I’d participate in this month’s Classics Club question, which is actually 50 questions. It turns out that 50 questions is an awful lot of questions. Some might say too many questions, but I felt committed to finish once I’d started. It was a fun exercise, though.
- Share a link to your club list.
My List of 50 classics.
- When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club?
I joined on March 23, 2012 (wow, doesn’t feel that long ago) and have read 28 (plus one I haven’t written about yet), which puts me right on track for my end date of March 23, 2017.
- What are you currently reading?
I just started listening to The Stranger by Albert Camus and am currently reading A Brief History of the Celts by Peter Berresford Ellis (which isn’t for the Classics Club).
- What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it?
Lock In by John Scalzi, and it wasn’t my favourite of his. The last classic I read was Cannery Row by John Steinbeck and I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would going in.
- What are you reading next? Why?
I don’t like to plan ahead. I usually just grab whatever catches my eye when I’m ready, but I am planning to read another Oscar Wilde play soon.
- Best book you’ve read so far with the club, and why?
Probably Flowers for Algernon. I knew nothing about it going in, and it was a great surprise.
- Book you most anticipate (or, anticipated) on your club list?
I’m eager to read Down and Out in Paris and London. I love travelogues, memoirs, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, so I feel like it’ll be perfect for me.
- Book on your club list you’ve been avoiding, if any? Why?
I’ve been putting off Walden. I think I could potentially love it when I get to it, but I’m a bit afraid it’ll be a dry read. I also plan to start adding some of The Russians to the list as well, and that’s a bit frightening.
- First classic you ever read?
My dad read The Hobbit to me as a child. The first I read on my own was either The Fellowship of the Ring or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- Toughest classic you ever read?
I’m constantly surprised with how readable most classics are, so I haven’t had to struggle through many, but I’m a wimp and avoid the obviously tough. The first half of As I Lay Dying made my head hurt, though.
- Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry? made you angry?
The Day of The Triffids really stirred all of those emotions. It’s tense, infuriating, heartbreaking, but also hopeful in parts.
- Longest classic you’ve read? Longest classic left on your club list?
I haven’t really attempted any of the bricks out there, so maybe The Moonstone (from before the list started)? I’ll probably attempt at least one Tolstoy before the end, though, and those are quite large.
- Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list?
The oldest so far is The Trial and Death of Socrates: Four Dialogues from around 399 BC. Earliest left are various Shakespeare plays, but I think I’ll read the Iliad and/or the Odyssey before finishing, which are said to be written around 1260 BC.
- Favorite biography about a classic author you’ve read – or, the biography on a classic author you most want to read, if any?
I have Kurt Vonnegut’s biography, And So it Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields, on my shelf. I’m quite excited to get to that, but I think I want to read a few more of his novels first.
- Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why?
I don’t think there is a single classic I’d recommend for everyone, as everyone’s different. I feel like Flowers for Algernon would have wide appeal, though.
- Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any?
I don’t really have many fancy editions of classics, actually. I guess my most cherished would my editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as they’re the same ones my father read to me as a kid.
- Favorite movie adaption of a classic?
Scrooge (1951), the Alastair Sim adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
- Classic which hasn’t been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film.
It feels like most classics have already been mined at some point. Maybe The Kraken Wakes, in the right hands.
- Least favorite classic? Why?
I really, really disliked William Gibson’s Neuromancer when I read it as a teenager. I haven’t revisited it since, so maybe my opinion will have changed after 15 years, but I remember it being so bad that it put me off reading for a couple months. I just hated the writing. He could spend a page describing a telephone, and you would have no idea he was describing a telephone unless he actually used the word ‘telephone’.
- Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read.
Margaret Atwood, Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoevesky, Alexandre Dumas, Franz Kafka
- Which title by one of the five you’ve listed above most excites you and why?
Everyone seems to love The Count of Monte Cristo, so that’s exciting.
- 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.)
I was bored with, and didn’t finish, Nineteen Eighty-Four when we read it in high school, but I re-read it a couple years ago and loved it.
- Which classic character can’t you get out of your head?
I often think about Robert Neville from I Am Legend and how his complete world view was flipped on its head. I love that character arc.
- Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?
Probably Bilbo Baggins. He really resonated with me growing up. Also, I’m a bit short, like to stay home, and love the bling. Or Gollum, depending the day.
- Which classic character do you most wish you could be like?
Most of my favourite characters have some pretty major flaws that I wouldn’t want, but I’ll say Bilbo Baggins again. I may relate with him superficially, but I wouldn’t mind a bit more of his spirit and survival instinct.
- Which classic character reminds you of your best friend?
Gandalf, but I’m focusing mainly on height here.
- 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?
Trouble With Lichen by John Wyndham. It felt like the story had just begun.
- Favorite children’s classic?
The Hobbit, obviously. Starting to repeat myself now.
- Who recommended your first classic?
My dad, he was a big influence on my reading growing up.
- Whose advice do you always take when it comes to literature. (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.)
I don’t think I have a single major source of recommendations. I read a lot about reading, so I draw and compile my recommendations from many sources.
- Favorite memory with a classic?
My dad doing Gollum’s voice while reading to me as a child.
- Classic author you’ve read the most works by?
- Classic author who has the most works on your club list?
- Classic author you own the most books by?
Arthur Conan Doyle, I think. Or Kurt Vonnegut.
- 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 add as I go, and I’ve been adding more science fiction as I go. Despite being a big nerd, I hadn’t read much science fiction, and I’m really enjoying the classics of the genre.
- 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?
I’ve already read quite a few Kurt Vonnegut novels, but it seems like his might be fun to read in order of publication. It sounds like he gets a bit bitter at the end of his life, so it might be interesting (or depressing) to see that transition.
- 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?
Right now only two, but I’m sure a few more will pop up.
- Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish?
I haven’t come across one yet. I tend to finish most novels, even if I hate them and really should drop them. The only novel I’ve left unfinished since starting this weblog is The Sleeping Dragon.
- Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving?
I wouldn’t read a novel that I’d expect to dislike, but I did think I’d have a hard time with Heart of Darkness and I really loved it. I think listening to the audio version, with Kenneth Branagh’s great narration, really helped.
- Five things you’re looking forward to next year in classic literature?
I don’t really have specific goals. I just want to read more from my favourite authors and continue exploring the classics. I’d like to read a classic biography or two as well.
- Classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler. It’s on the shelf.
- Classic you are NOT GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?
Ulysses. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever read this. I feel like most people read this for pride rather than enjoyment.
- Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club?
I was slowly getting into the classics before joining, but it really gave me a push to keep reading at the start. My reading has changed quite a lot since joining.
- List five fellow clubbers whose blogs you frequent. What makes you love their blogs?
Literary Exploration, The Oddness of Moving Things, Beltwayliterature, Entomology of a Bookworm and Avid Reader’s Musings. I should probably explore more of the member’s sites, but these are a few of which I currently subscribe.
- Favorite post you’ve read by a fellow clubber?
I live in the now when it comes to reading weblogs. I don’t have a specific post that comes to mind. Sorry.
- 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’ve considered a readalong, but I enjoy reading at my own pace.
- If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why?
A re-read of The Hobbit or The Chrysalids.
- How long have you been reading classic literature?
First exposed to it as a child. Read what was assigned in high school. Started reading them for pleasure a few years ago.
- 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.
- Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!)
Where do you keep track of your books? I use Goodreads. Feel free to add me as a friend on there.