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Pick-a-Shelf: Monthly -Archive > 2009-06 - Classics - Post June Reviews Here

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message 1: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 247 comments Just staring the thread on behalf of Lynne.


message 2: by Jamie (new)

Jamie I've just finished Anne of Avonlea. 4 1/2 stars

I must say, I'm really loving this series! I wish I'd read these books as a child, as I'm sure I would've loved them then, too. Anne is such a lovable character and I really enjoy reading about all of her adventures. Montgomery's writing is so lovely that I have a hard time putting these books down. In the beginning, I was wondering how much Anne would change as she grew older, since she was so much fun as a child in Anne of Green Gables, but I'm finding that her story is still very interesting - I can't wait to start the next book in the series!


message 3: by Sunflower (last edited Jun 04, 2009 03:37PM) (new)

Sunflower | 174 comments Have just finished Rebecca. Was surprised to find it on the Classics shelf, but thought it was time I read it because it seems to be a favourite for so many people. I must have seen the movie at some stage, which did ruin a couple of the plot twists, but a good read nevertheless. Gave it 4 stars.


message 4: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Sunflower, your book link is just missing the ending bracket: ] . If you edit your post and insert one directly after the number 12873 and before the period, your link will work.


message 5: by Sunflower (last edited Jun 04, 2009 03:40PM) (new)

Sunflower | 174 comments Aha. You're right. Thanks. How do you get the author in there too? Or is that superfluous? BTW I love the way you can edit things on this site. If you make a complete prat of yourself you can remove the evidence!


message 6: by Joy Marie (new)

Joy Marie Just finished The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I happened to check and there is was on the classics shelf....yipee! Although it was long, I thought it was a great and very emotional book. I recommend it to anyone who hasn't already read it. 5 Stars!


message 7: by Jamie (new)

Jamie I was surprised to find A Northern Light on the Classics shelf, which I just finished yesterday. This was definitely a 5-star book. The writing is lovely, the story is so interesting and hard to put down, and the characters endearing. There was so much more to this book than I expected - there's a lot to wrap your head around. Even though I hadn't expected to find this book on the Classics shelf, I think it deserves its spot there.


message 8: by Mita (new)

Mita (mitab) | 104 comments I finished reading Wilkie Collins' Woman in White a couple of days ago for TNBBC and I loved it! It was easy and enjoyable and has a great story. It's like a Jane Austen mystery! I gave it a five star!


message 9: by Tara (last edited Jun 07, 2009 11:26AM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments I read Wuthering Heights and give it 5 stars. I can see why it is a classic!
I enjoyed the many complex characters. I loved how characters shifted from good to mean as the book went along. my feelings seemed to change from like to dislike back to like with most of the characters as I read each chapter. I was utterly engrossed.



message 10: by Cam (last edited Jun 07, 2009 06:58PM) (new)

Cam Have just finished the extremely popular The Giver By Lois Lowry. Now having read this wonderful book can certainly see why it deserves the success of a 'classics' label among many others. It has a story to tell that is both unique and ageless. A book that I didn't want to end, but when it did I'd had my fill. Very satisfying read. 5 stars from me.


message 11: by Joy Marie (new)

Joy Marie Today I finished The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. This was a 5 star book for me. I really enjoyed it. If someone could please tell me why the 3 days and 3 nights of rest are no longer observed during that time of the month, I would appreciate it. I could really take advantage of that kind of rest once a month. :)


message 12: by Kristen (last edited Jun 08, 2009 07:39PM) (new)

Kristen Harvey I read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I give it 4 stars because it was a little repetitive and not as entertaining as I would've liked it to be.


message 13: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Harvey I also read Grimm's Grimmest, which is an automatic 5 stars for the wonderful telling of these old fairy tales. They truly are grimm.


message 14: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 2 stars.

This is another classic that I'm glad to have finally read even though I didn't particularly enjoy it. Now I won't have to feel like I'm missing out when people talk about this book. It just isn't a very pleasant story, and I didn't care about any of the characters - even the narrator. It does contain some elegant writing, but that isn't enough to make me like it. I'm not sorry that I read it, but I'm glad that I won't ever have to read it again.



message 15: by Jamie (last edited Jun 10, 2009 05:02AM) (new)

Jamie I finished Anne of the Island last night - 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book, as I have the previous two Anne books. This one reminded me a bit of Jane Austen's work, mostly due to the focus on romance. I would've given it 5 stars, but it dragged a little in spots so it took me a bit longer to read it than I'd anticipated. It wasn't really a book that made NEED to keep going - well, until the last 1/3 of the book, that is.


message 16: by Marvin (new)

Marvin (mpvernon) My June read was Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov. I've been meaning to read this one for years. I don't think I've ever read such a beautiful book about such a horrible person. Nabokov's prose is incredible.


message 17: by Jen B (new)

Jen B (jennybee618) I just finished The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which I give 5 stars.

I absolutely love this book. The first few times I read this book (as both a student and a teacher), I spent so much time digging into the hidden meanings and symbolism that I lost the overall story. So I was a little worried I'd be disappointed in reading this book purely for pleasure. However, I enjoyed it even more just being able to read it because I wanted to(though I did have an itch to pick up my pen and start circling at each mention of a color). And I think now I can finally ditch the symbolism and just appreciate this book as a great piece of American Literature.

I read that Baz Luhrmann is remaking the movie "The Great Gatsby," so now I'm somewhat interested in seeing it. I'm also looking forward to reading Chris Bojalian's book The Double Bind, which reinterprets the characters of Daisy and Gatsby.


message 18: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Wow, we have completely different ideas of the same book, Jen! I wonder if I would have liked it more if I had read it for a class or a book group and had discussed it with people. On my own, I just didn't enjoy it much. I didn't like any of the characters.


message 19: by Jen B (new)

Jen B (jennybee618) Luann wrote: "Wow, we have completely different ideas of the same book, Jen! I wonder if I would have liked it more if I had read it for a class or a book group and had discussed it with people. On my own, I j..."

Luann, I think maybe part of why I like it so much is that I sort of have a "history" with it. I read it several times as a student, and then I became verrry familiar with it while teaching it. There's definitely a lot about the book that makes for great discussion (probably why it's a HS English staple), and with every discussion, I seem to pick up on new things I've never noticed. But even with a ton of discussion, I know people who definitely don't like this book; they think that the characters are more characatures than anything (which I can understand), and that the story's depressing. I love each of the characters, but since I've read it so many times, they feel so familiar. And I'm kind of a sucker for tragic love stories - and to think that Gatsby does everything he does because he's in love with Daisy...I just find that really romantic!



message 20: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Thanks for that, Jen! I can see where you're coming from. And as I said in my review, it does have some very elegant writing. I'm sure it holds up well to rereading and discussion. If it didn't, it wouldn't be a classic. Isn't it amazing, though, how much it matters where you are in your life when you first read a book, what's going on around you when you read it, and what you bring to the book as a reader.


message 21: by Emily (new)

Emily I just finished 'The Secret Garden' for the thrid time! I'm hoping to finish 'a little princess' this month, although I don't think it's that possible, I'm a slow reader. I also want to read 'Anne of the island', but I can not find it in my local library. Most of my to-read books this month is a classic. I'm trying to catch up with classics this month.


message 22: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 664 comments Just finished The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo and I gave it 3 Stars

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a tragic story, and not at all similar to the version Disney has come up with.

The story centres around the young gypsy girl La Esmeralda and her little white goat Djali. The alchemist/priest Claude Frollo is obsessed with the Gypsy girl and would have her for his own, but his mind is so twisted that he thinks he has been cursed as he can't get her out of his mind. He becomes enraged when he finds out she is infatuated with the Captain of the Guard Phoebus. No this is not a love story as Phoebus has already been engaged to someone else and has no plans for Esmeralda other then a romp in bed. Then we also have the poor hideous creature Quasimodo who sees Frollo as a Father figure so will do as he wishes, but is torn as he also feels love towards Esmeralda.
All these characters plus some more live a tangled web, which results in much tragedy and death.

The story itself is quite good if you can get past Victor Hugo's endless descriptions of things, especially the chapter on Paris. I thought it would never end.



message 23: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 664 comments Also read The Giver by Lois Lowry and I gave it 4 Stars

I am surprised that this book has made it onto the classic shelf as it has not been around long enough to be a classic yet.
This book still has me thinking. I think I'm going to have to re-read it some time in the near future. I think this could be one of those books that the more you read it the more you might question things and speculate about other things. I think this is a very interesting choice for schools to have the students read and I'm glad for it, I think a lot of positive conversation can come from this book.
To me it seemed almost like a young adult version of 1984 mixed with the TV show "LOST". :op



message 24: by Lennie (new)

Lennie (wwwgoodreadscomprofilelennie) | 36 comments I read "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding and I give it 4 stars.

At first "Lord of the Flies" comes across as an adventure story in which several school boys are stranded on a deserted island and left to survive on their own. But then as civilized behavior gives way to anarchy among the group, the tone of the book changes and the story becomes dark and disturbing. "Lord of the Flies" takes a look at human behavior and how ugly things can get when people are put in a stressful situation and the basic instinct of survival takes over. I enjoyed reading this and was surprised to find that a "classic" book could keep me in suspense just like a thriller novel.


message 25: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Lennie, do you watch Lost? Lord of the Flies is one of the books on the Lost literature list. I read it awhile back just because of its connection to Lost. :)


message 26: by Lennie (new)

Lennie (wwwgoodreadscomprofilelennie) | 36 comments Hi Luann!
Thanks for the info--I was unaware that Lost had a literature list so I will definitely check it out since I enjoyed "Lord of the Flies" so much! I don't watch the show since I missed seeing it from the beginning and I'm afraid I've missed so much by now that I won't understand what's going on. Perhaps I'll give it a chance!


message 27: by Cam (new)

Cam Have just finished Revolutionary Road By Richard Yates. Found it quite hard going in the beginning, because I didn't particularly like the characters all that much. Glad I persisted because even though I didn't like them, their interaction & development of personalities & the combination of individuals was what I found to be the real beauty of the book. 4 Stars from me.


message 28: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Lennie wrote: "Hi Luann!
Thanks for the info--I was unaware that Lost had a literature list so I will definitely check it out since I enjoyed "Lord of the Flies" so much! I don't watch the show since I missed s..."


I like the show a lot, but it would be best to watch it from the beginning. In fact, I can't even imagine trying to watch it and understand things from the middle. It's not the type of show that allows for that - although they do have review episodes at the beginning of each season for people to catch up. The first four seasons are out on DVD, though, so you might want to check it out if you get a chance to start from season 1.


message 29: by Lennie (new)

Lennie (wwwgoodreadscomprofilelennie) | 36 comments Sounds like a good idea! I think I'll rent the DVDs from Blockbuster and start watching them. I'm really looking forward to this since I've heard so many good things about the show. Matthew Fox happens to be one of my favorite actors and I would watch anything he is in (as my husband rolls his eyes).


message 30: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments I hope you enjoy it! It's my favorite show currently on TV. I really like that they don't wrap everything up in a single episode - or even in a single season. :) Although that is one reason some people get frustrated with it.

I've also read quite a few classics that I probably never would have read just because of their connection to Lost. Some of them I really loved, and some of them I didn't. But at least now I know what people are talking about when they mention those books. Two of the classics I'm planning to read this month are on the Lost literature list.


message 31: by Lennie (new)

Lennie (wwwgoodreadscomprofilelennie) | 36 comments Thanks, I'm sure I will enjoy it! I might have to have a Lost "marathon" to get through all the episodes but it should be fun!
I viewed the Lost literature list that you had mentioned. There are some books that I've already read and some that I plan to read. I think it's kind of neat when a show can inspire its viewers to read literature.


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2834 comments Mod
My sis also loves this show, but I have never gotten to watch it. Like you, Lennie, I missed the beginning and so need to start from there. Think this might be the summer.


message 33: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jun 16, 2009 11:12AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard. 5 stars.

This play, introduced at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1966, is the play that put Stoppard on the map. It got a great deal of attention, and ran for some time in both London's West End and on Broadway, where it won four Tony Awards (including Best Play).

It is Hamlet as an absurdist farce, concentrating on what are two of the least important characters in Shakespeare's play. It is also the only play I, at least, have ever read that requires knowledge of another play. This is probably only possible because it is a play built on Hamlet. Some familiarity with quantum physics probably helps. A challenging read, but a rewarding one.


message 34: by Lennie (last edited Jun 16, 2009 04:36PM) (new)

Lennie (wwwgoodreadscomprofilelennie) | 36 comments Lyn, it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one who has never seen Lost :)


message 35: by Lynne (new)

Lynne (lmsindel) Okay you guys, you have read some fantastic books this month and really enjoyed them. Now start thinking about them in a different way. Get over to the discussions and answer the questions "What makes them a Classic" and "What character (in the book you just read) would you be?" Come on people, stretch yourselves a little! :)


message 36: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Harvey Read The Hero and the Crown, which I was surprised people considered a classic, although it is an older fantasy novel. Didn't love it, but it was a pretty good story generally.


message 37: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Harvey Also finished Falling Up, which is one of Silverstein's classic collections of silly, children's poetry. I really enjoyed the poems, cracked me up.


message 38: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Harvey Last one for the night, I read The House on Mango Street last night and absolutely loved it. I like the snapshots of different aspects/situations of life growing up in the Latino section of Chicago.


message 39: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 61 comments I read Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry not realizing it was a classic but that's how it's categorized here.

This is a companion book to The Giver. In some ways it paints a darker picture of the dystopian society-not that The Giver was cheerful but on the surface the society seemed to work whereas in Gathering Blue things are much harsher. A young girl named Kira has recently become an orphan. This, paired with a "crooked" leg, causes her to be viewed as a drain on society and she is brought before the village council to determine if she should be "put out in the fields." The council recognizes her talent as a weaver and decide to save her for a special task but of course, this isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I gave this 4 stars. Not quite as good as The Giver but still really well done.


message 40: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 90 comments Tara wrote: "I read Wuthering Heights and give it 5 stars. I can see why it is a classic!
I enjoyed the many complex characters. I loved how characters shifted from good to mean as the book went ..."


Hi Tara,

glad to see you liked Wuthering Heights so much - it really is a great book - and it grows on you more with subsequent readings.


message 41: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 90 comments Susanna wrote: "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard. 5 stars.

This play, introduced at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1966, is the play that put Stoppard on the map. It got a great deal o..."


Susanna, I studied this play at High school and just loved it - he has an incredible wit!


message 42: by Adam (new)

Adam (adaml) Has anybody ever read "le bete humaine " by Emile Zola. Or The "Masterpiece" by Zola. In my journal, I update my ten most loved books of all time. It change's every two years and is a terrific way 2 learn of another persons tastes.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) Natasha - it was a challenging read, but I really did enjoy it.


message 44: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 409 comments I've just finished reading Dante's Inferno and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. It's been on of those books that I've heard refered to repeatedly but never got round to reading (largly due to the fact it is poetry...not a big poetry fan I must admit). But Ciaran Carson's translation of the text was amazing, on the whole the tale still flowed well and was vivid and vibrant and a rather enjoyable combination of many different religious beliefs and mythologies. I am very glad I've finally got round to reading it.


message 45: by Jamie (new)

Jamie I finished a re-read of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone last night - 5 stars.

This was my first re-read of any of the HP books and I enjoyed it nearly as much as the first time. It was fun to revisit the beginning of the saga, and I am glad I got the chance to read it as it was meant to be - the U.K. version. This version felt a lot more authentic to me.


message 46: by Lynne (last edited Jun 19, 2009 11:19AM) (new)

Lynne (lmsindel) Jamie wrote: "I finished a re-read of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone last night - 5 stars.

This was my first re-read of any of the HP books and I enjoyed it nearly as much as the first time. It was ..."

The U.K. version as opposed to what other version? What are the differences? Am I getting ripped off?



message 47: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Lynne - In the U.S. version, the vocabulary has been Americanized a bit. It's not much of a change, but I really did enjoy reading the book as it was meant to be. (A few examples: Parking lot = car park, sweater = jumper, studying = revision, etc.)


message 48: by Tango (new)

Tango I have read George Eliot's Middlemarch. Surprisingly easy to read (all 880 pages of it). Her female characters have so much strength and individuality. I am interested at some of the books that have made it onto the classics shelf - Harry Potter is great but is it a classic yet?


message 49: by Jamie (new)

Jamie I don't know if I would call HP a classic just yet, but I definitely think it will be considered one in the future.


message 50: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Jamie wrote: "Lynne - In the U.S. version, the vocabulary has been Americanized a bit. It's not much of a change, but I really did enjoy reading the book as it was meant to be. (A few examples: Parking lot = car..."

Interesting, and yet didn't the word "snogging" get left in? :)


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