Catching up on Classics (and lots more!) discussion

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2016 Old & New Classic Challenge > Melanti's 2016 Old and New Challenge

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message 1: by Melanti (last edited Aug 06, 2016 01:37PM) (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments This is going to seem like a very random list to anyone other than me. It's sort of a catch-up list.

Old & New School Categories are books I haven't read from this group's bookshelves.
Wild Cards all come from my Audible TBR. Most are classics.
My +2 is just a couple of random Shakespeare plays that I own but haven't gotten around to reading yet.

Old School (From group's bookshelf):
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra - 4 Stars
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - 4 stars
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (521 pgs, 1854)

New School (From group's bookshelf):
Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (399 pgs, 1937)
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (560 pgs 1951)
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (558 pgs, 1957)

Wild Cards (Audible audiobook backlog):
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - 4 stars
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas - 3 stars
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (31 hrs/566 pgs, 1847)
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton - 4 Stars
The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene - 4 stars
Blindness by José Saramago - Print: 1 star and abandoned ,
Audio: 2 stars

Alternates (William Shakespeare):
The Merry Wives of Windsor (320 pgs, 1597)
Cymbeline (384 pgs, 1623)


message 2: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
What a great list. I would read any of these -- well except I tried to read Don Quixote and never did finish it.


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I just listened to the audio of The Caine Mutiny. It's a very good story :)


message 4: by Susie (last edited Nov 27, 2015 12:38PM) (new)

Susie | 754 comments Great list! I've read a couple, but they all appeal to me!


message 5: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments Kathy wrote: "What a great list. I would read any of these -- well except I tried to read Don Quixote and never did finish it."

I had the best of intentions to read it when it was a group read, but I never got around to it. I've just been so busy the last few months! I just had a full week off and read MAYBE a dozen pages during that week. No books read but I finished painting/redecorating the bathroom, installed several light fixtures, did a lot of yard work, did some electrical work, and on and on... Turns out that owning a home is a full time job.

That's why I did audiobooks for my wild cards -- that way I have no excuses for next year. At the very least, I can listen to audiobooks during my commute.

Sarah wrote: "I just listened to the audio of The Caine Mutiny. It's a very good story :)"

That's good to hear. I don't know too much about the book, to be honest. I just was looking at books on sale a couple of months ago, recognized it as a book from this group, and bought a copy.


message 6: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Such a great list, of the six I’ve read it’s hard to pick a favorite to recommend. North and South, The Caine Mutiny, and The House of Mirth, and Doctor Zhivago, I would gladly reread instantly. Mansfield Park and Vanity Fair are also very good but I’ll never think about a reread. Don Quixote, Sense and Sensibility, Out of Africa (on my Century list) and The Three Musketeers are all future reads for me. Again a great list, Enjoy!


message 7: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments It's great to hear so much support for The Caine Mutiny! It doesn't get much love in the revisit threads/polls, so I was beginning to wonder if buying it was a mistake.


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah It's very very good. I can see why it was a Pulitzer winner. I loved it.


message 9: by Desertorum (new)

Desertorum I love Three Musketeers! But I end up DNF Don Quixote, which annoys me greatly...but too little time to waste it on something I just didn´t like at all. And at least now I know what it is about. I hope you manage better!

And I agree that owning a house takes a lot of time. I have now lived 1 year in our house and there is always something that should be done, and then we have dog that takes a lot of time and I train 5-6 times a week BUT all other time I spend reading ;D


message 10: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I think part of the issue is that I used to spend so much of my time away from place reading, when I was at my apartment, I did other things. Now that I spend most of my time at the house, I need to get used to reading at home again instead of looking around for other things to do.

I went camping a few weeks ago and where I usually spend most of my camping time hiking and walking, this time around I just sat down and read all 4 days. It was heaven!


message 11: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I started off the year with my most-dreaded book: Blindness by José Saramago

I managed to finish it in audiobook form - which is better than the 30 pages I managed to choke down in print form.

If you're the kind of person who likes periods and paragraph breaks, I definitely recommend getting the audiobook versions! That way you can't see his lack of punctuation and interminable run-on sentences.

But I still didn't like it very much... Logically, it makes no sense at all. The quarantine methods, the way the disease worked, the way the outside world was - none of it made any sense... And I really like my books to make sense - especially sci-fi books - which is what I'd classify this one as.

If the subject interests anyone, I think The Plague and High-Rise both did a better job of exploring similar themes.

My old review of the print version: 1 star and abandoned
New review of audiobook version: 2 stars


message 12: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
This doesn't sound like the beat way to start off the new Year. Better luck with the next one.


message 13: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Hahahaha

Although I am starting the year of with Middlemarch & I had abandoned it last year too. It however, is reading much better than I remember.


message 14: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments Bob wrote: "This doesn't sound like the beat way to start off the new Year. Better luck with the next one."

Definitely not! My last two books of last year, the book I read on New Years Eve/Day, and this first book of this year were all bad. I've had a string of either bad luck or poor judgement.

I need to read something really good next.

But at least I have the hardest book out of the way for this challenge.


message 15: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Oh dear, hope things improve with your next book! At least this one is out of the way now.


message 16: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "..But at least I have the hardest book out of the way for this challenge...."

Well, at least there is that. Happy reading on the next choice I hope.


message 17: by Melanti (last edited Feb 06, 2016 07:56AM) (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I just finished Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter which was chock-full of the proverbial Catholic guilt.

I don't know why, but I find thoughtful books about religion to be absolutely fascinating - which is probably why I like Graham Greene's writing so much.

4 Stars for this one.

Next up is Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I need something with a happy ending after Greene's unhappy ending.


message 18: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I just finished Mansfield Park and enjoyed it, but I feel cheated out of my desired happy ending.

Austen has a lot to say about the desirability of marrying for money, but it seems as soon as she's said all she wanted to say of the subject, she just rushes through the rest of the plot in summary form.

The novel works fine as social comentary but fails miserably as a romance, IMO.

4 stars for this one.


message 19: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "I just finished Mansfield Park and enjoyed it, but I feel cheated out of my desired happy ending.

Austen has a lot to say about the desirability of marrying for money, but it seems as...

The novel works fine as social comentary but fails miserably as a romance..."


:), True enough.


message 20: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 1919 comments House Of Mirth is the only one I'm likely to be reading this year, so will be interested in your review...

(puts Caine Mutiny on To-Read list... ;o) )


message 21: by Melanti (last edited Mar 06, 2016 07:30PM) (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I just finished my fourth book - The Three Musketeers.

I liked it, but I didn't like it nearly as much as I liked The Count of Monte Cristo. It's a lot less plot oriented and a lot more humor oriented. It's fun - don't get me wrong - but The Count is by far the better book.

3 stars for this one.


message 22: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "... I liked it, but I didn't like it nearly as much as I liked The Count of Monte Cristo. It's a lot less plot oriented a..."

I agree totally.


message 23: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Melanti wrote: "I just finished Mansfield Park and enjoyed it, but I feel cheated out of my desired happy ending.

Austen has a lot to say about the desirability of marrying for money, but it seems as..."


Agreed!


message 24: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I just finished The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and really enjoyed it... If one can be said to enjoy such a unremittingly depressing book, that is.

It actually reminds me very, very strongly of The Awakening by Kate Chopin, which we had as a group read a couple of months ago.

Sure, their motivations are different. Edna is married and wants to be free of her domestic obligations. Lily is free from domestic obligations but seeks after prestige. She also wants wealth - of course- but that's only because being wealthy is the best way to have people look up to you.

I'd say more, but it's so hard to do so without spoiling either one of the books - though I did put some more spoilery things in my review.

4 Stars for this one.


So, 5 books complete, and none of the 5 have had a truly happy ending so far... Well, I guess Mansfield Park technically does, but it's all in outline form, so IMO, it doesn't count. I think I'll take a little break from this challenge and work on another challenge for awhile. My last audiobook left is Vanity Fair, and from what I've gathered, I can't count on that one for a happy ending, either!


message 25: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Definitely time for a Happy Read then.


message 26: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Melanti wrote: "I just finished The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and really enjoyed it... If one can be said to enjoy such a unremittingly depressing book, that is.

It actually reminds me very, v..."


Hmm, you've made me want to try this now. I've only read Xingu by Edith Wharton, as I've never felt compelled to read any of her books, but I'm beginning to think I might like them.


message 27: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I've been busy with group reads the last few months, but finally managed to finish #6: Don Quixote

The first half was sort of like reading the written version of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." It made me laugh out loud countless times.

I was really enjoying it up until the duke and duchess were introduced. Those two were utter jerks.

4 Stars It would have been 5 without the jerks.


message 28: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments I'm glad you finished Don Quixote, I think that's a great analysis of the first half of the book.


message 29: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I just finished #7: Sense and Sensibility

I finally hit upon one book that I picked for this challenge that has a happy ending! Mostly. It's not a un-happy ending, at least.

This one works a lot better as a traditional romance than her Mansfield Park does.

4 Stars for this one.


message 30: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2054 comments True


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