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2018 Old & New Classic Challenge > Bat-Cat's 2018 Old & New Classic Challenge

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message 1: by Bat-Cat (last edited Jul 14, 2018 10:50AM) (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Thought I would give it another try and hope for better results!!! :-)

Old School (1899 and earlier)

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Macbeth by William Shakespeare ~ Finished 2/12/18 ~ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ~ Finished 2/10/18 ~ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

New School (1900-1999):

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf ~ Finished 1/11/18 ~ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov ~ Finished 1/14/18 ~ ★ ★ ★
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

Wild Cards:

Compass by Mathias Énard
Orfeo by Richard Powers
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë ~ Finished 4/19/18 ~ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot ~ Finished 7/1/18 ~ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Alternates:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens ~ Finished 3/30/18 ~ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry ~ Finished 2/25/18 ~ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


message 2: by Matt (new)

Matt (mmullerm) | 820 comments Very nice list, Bat Cat! Good luck with your challenge!


message 3: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 3804 comments This one will work beautifully, Bat-Cat. My hands actually did a little happy dance when I saw you were going to read Orfeo. I think you'll love it! But all of these look good to me. And I still have a hundred or so pages of The Woman in White to read. Meet you at that thread. ;)


message 4: by Veronique (new)

Veronique | 908 comments Never heard of Orfeo but it looks good! Oh and The Essex Serpent is beautiful!
Good luck with your challenge :O)


message 5: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Matt, thank you for the hardy compliment and encouragement. :-)

Kathleen, thank you for your recommendation - it just looked to perfect for me to pass up. Since I've never before seen a happy dance done with the hands, I thought I needed to come up with a vision of what it could have looked like and the results were delightful. Thanks for the visual... LOL. It may be a while before I make it to the thread since I am on Serial Reader day 15 of 101 but I will endeavor to say some things as soon as I reach a point for them to formulate. So far I just LOVE the writing. :-)

Veronique, thanks for the positive endorsement of The Essex Serpent (I have been eager to read that since it came out) and the well wishes. :-)


message 6: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments I haven't heard of most of your newer choices. Except N.K. Jemisin. I haven't read that particular one yet, but I've really enjoyed the other books by her I've read.

Good luck on your challenge!


message 7: by Hailee (new)

Hailee | 365 comments Great list. It's not on my challenge but I'm intending to read The Essex Serpent in 2018 myself. Hope you enjoy the books you've chosen!


message 8: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Melanti wrote: "I haven't heard of most of your newer choices. Except N.K. Jemisin. I haven't read that particular one yet, but I've really enjoyed the other books by her I've read.

Good luck on your challenge!"


Melanti, I have heard her other trilogy was fabulous as well. I chose this because it has won many awards and getting lots of rave reviews

Thanks for the encouragement.


message 9: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Hailee wrote: "Great list. It's not on my challenge but I'm intending to read The Essex Serpent in 2018 myself. Hope you enjoy the books you've chosen!"

Thank you Hailee. I wish you a wonderful year of reading as well. :-)


message 10: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9435 comments Mod
I'm always interested to see what you are reading. Looking forward to following your progress.


message 11: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Thanks Katy. I do have rather eclectic tastes when it comes to reading. :-)


message 12: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1220 comments The Fifth Season is excellent! I need to find the time to read the rest of the trilogy! Good luck and good reading.


message 13: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Leni wrote: "The Fifth Season is excellent! I need to find the time to read the rest of the trilogy! Good luck and good reading."

That's great to hear, Leni, and it serves to confirm my desire to read it.


message 14: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 5044 comments Mod
You have several books I know to be wonderful and several I want to read as well. Here's to success in 2018.


message 15: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments I finished The Woman in White for the Old School category. 5 Stars

I loved reading this book. It was very well written, had a unique structure and plot, had a seductive pace and timing, and kept my interest from start to finish. I read it on the Serial Reader and found myself often reading, just one more...

This was my first Wilkie Collins book and I will definitely be reading more - I can see why Dickens thought of him as a rival. It was, for me, an engrossing and enjoyable read from start to finish. I gave it 5 Stars and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great, intriguing, captivating tale.


message 16: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 5044 comments Mod
I love Collins. He is someone who reads very well after all these years and ought to be more widely known.


message 17: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6556 comments I'm glad you enjoyed The Woman in White. I really enjoyed that one too :)


message 18: by Petra (new)

Petra Collins is a wonderful author. Glad you enjoyed Woman In White.


message 19: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments I finished Macbeth for the old school category. 4 Stars

I enjoyed reading this book, although I still have a bit of a difficult time with Shakespeare's language. It actually started to get easier as I progressed - I would assume as one gets more and more acquainted with it one learns more of the meanings of particular words and phrasings. I will continue to work my way through his works (probably one or two a year) and see if I can continue to increase my appreciation for his mammoth collection of works.


message 20: by Darren (last edited Feb 14, 2018 09:43AM) (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 1870 comments presumably you'll be reading Tale Of Two Cities in March wiv da group...?


message 21: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Bat-Cat wrote: "I finished Macbeth for the old school category. 4 Stars

I enjoyed reading this book, although I still have a bit of a difficult time with Shakespeare's language. It actually started to..."


Congrats on your progress and glad you enjoyed Macbeth! I want to read more Shakespeare too!


message 22: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Darren wrote: "presumably you'll be reading Tale Of Two Cities in March wiv da group...?"

Yes, Darren, that is my plan but i am starting a bit early as my reading tends to be slower than most. ;-) Look forward to discussing it with you and everyone else. :-)


message 23: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Erin wrote: "Bat-Cat wrote: "I finished Macbeth for the old school category. 4 Stars

I enjoyed reading this book, although I still have a bit of a difficult time with Shakespeare's language. It act..."


Thanks Erin. All the best with your reading more Shakespeare too!!! :-)


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

You are doing really well! I finished The Moonstone last week and found it illuminating but unnecessarily long. I am glad you liked Macbeth, I have good memories studying it while acting out for a college drama.


message 25: by Adrian (new)

Adrian | 179 comments Pink wrote: "I'm glad you enjoyed The Woman in White. I really enjoyed that one too :)"

Ok why am i struggling so much with The Woman in White, when everyone else seems to thoroughly enjoy it. It took me about 3 months to get to page 60 and I have no inclination to pick it up again even after 9 months . Hey ho it takes all sorts I suppose.
Great progress btw Bat-Cat


message 26: by Bat-Cat (last edited Mar 31, 2018 07:33AM) (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Finished A Tale of Two Cities

Here is my review:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Arguably, one of the most recognized first lines of all time.

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Arguably, one of the most recognized last lines of all time.

The first and the last, how appropriate for a book about the duality of life - yet a book encompassing the totality and oneness of life as well. A book that spans birth and death, good and evil, forgiveness and punishment, love and hate, sanity and insanity, rich and poor, London and Paris… A book that weaves its way through seemingly discordant events for the purpose of showing that they are all part of the entire landscape and are natural progressions of one another. A book with some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read describing some of the most cruel and brutal events in history. A book that uses metaphors like a movie soundtrack uses music to provocatively portray events and people with absolute perfection. And, a book that offers redemption and transformation to those who choose to invest the time and are open to the abundance of riches it has to bestow. It is truly a book like no other.

This book was not the usual Dickens (at least from what I have thus far read) with their over the top characters and it was not a light read. It took me a while to get into it and a while to start to see what Dickens was up to. But once I did, I can only say that Dickens was an absolute genius and master of the written word. I have no explanation for how he was able to accomplish all that he did in a mere 500-ish pages. I loved the book and feel that it is more than worthy of its fame and renown. I give it 5 stars and beyond and, of course, highly recommend it.


message 27: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 3804 comments Lovely review, Bat-Cat. I've started this a number of times and had difficulty getting into it. What you say makes me realize that I need to take my time with it and it will more than pay off. Sounds wonderful. Great progress on your challenge, too!


message 28: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Kathleen wrote: "Lovely review, Bat-Cat. I've started this a number of times and had difficulty getting into it. What you say makes me realize that I need to take my time with it and it will more than pay off. Soun..."

Thanks, Kathleen. Yes, the book was well worth the effort I had to make to press on with it. The key is hanging in there. ;-) Dickens used copious amounts of metaphors that didn't make any sense for the longest time. When I finally caught onto them I really wanted to start the book over because I knew I would get so much more out of it. But... I didn't. His use of language was simply beautiful and I will definitely be reading it again in the not too distant future. My turning point was at 40% in - if that is any help. ;-)


message 29: by Petra (new)

Petra Wonderful review! I loved A Tale of Two Cities. As you said, Dickens packed a punch in this one. I also think it's the best love story ever.


message 30: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Thanks, Petra. A great love story too. I totally agree!!! :-)


message 31: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Finished Wuthering Heights.

Here is my review:

What a bizarre tale! Yet, ohhhh, so brilliantly intriguing and beautifully written!

I LOVED IT!!!

Being fresh off of this read I am in no condition to write a worthy review (if ever I am) but I wanted to at least say a few things. I realize that most people either love or hate this book (of course, there are plenty of exceptions) and that for a good majority of people these feelings are quite extreme. I, as previously noted, fall in the former category. This book has so many densely packed and woven layers that I don't know if I will ever be able to unravel it adequately. The extremes of life are so vividly described as to be able to evoke passions and emotions that range from the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy - perhaps that is most evident in the extremes of reviews and feelings about this book. Emily Bronte, somehow, successfully takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride with such unfathomable expertise as to have left me spellbound. This alluring ride winds and weaves through some of the most gorgeously descriptive prose I have ever laid my eyes upon and then, without warning, plunges the reader into the most repulsive, vile and deplorable scenes, well again that I have ever read (and I thought Dostoevsky had his way with my emotions - he could have learned a thing or two from Miss Emily). I, quite early on, decided to let go, hold onto the railing and allow her to take me wherever she wanted. I was not disappointed. It was a fabulous ride and well worth the investment.

This is about all I have the ability to come up with at this time. Perhaps some time in the future I will add to this review... perhaps after another reading... or two...

I respect everybody's thoughts and feelings about this book - how could any of them be wrong - but urge those who found it utterly despicable (how could they not) and unreadable to test the waters again and give it another try sometime. One never knows, one just never knows...


message 32: by Renee (new)

Renee | 864 comments Great review of Wuthering Heights. It really does tug at your emotions doesn't it. It's one of my favourite books. I just recently read it myself, and absolutely loved it. I had watched the movie (old b&w version with Olivier) dozens of times, but never knew it only covered about half the book. I found none of the characters particularly "likeable", but the story and writing blew me away.


message 33: by Renee (new)

Renee | 864 comments Great list of books you have there! Some I've read, and some I haven't even heard of. That's why I like looking at everyone's challenges so much. I usually end up adding to my TBR pile because of it!


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Indeed Wuthering Heights is one book that defies description. One of the rare 5 star reviews from me. I agree with your review, it is one thrilling roller-coaster.


message 35: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Renee wrote: "Great review of Wuthering Heights. It really does tug at your emotions doesn't it. It's one of my favourite books. I just recently read it myself, and absolutely loved it. I had watched..."

Thanks Renee,

This was my first exposure to this book - no prior movie viewing either. I'm considering watching one version though, any suggestions on which is the best?


message 36: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Renee wrote: "Great list of books you have there! Some I've read, and some I haven't even heard of. That's why I like looking at everyone's challenges so much. I usually end up adding to my TBR pile because of it!"

Thanks Renee.

Ahhh, the never ending, always increasing TBR pile. So you have the same problem that I do! :-)


message 37: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Kt wrote: "Indeed Wuthering Heights is one book that defies description. One of the rare 5 star reviews from me. I agree with your review, it is one thrilling roller-coaster."

Hi Kt,

Wow, yet another fan - they sure are popping up all over the place. I gave it 5 stars as well but must confess that I am much more liberal with the stars than you are apparently. That's probably not a good habit to be in but I just love to fall into a book and not come back until I fall out the other side. And the longer I am there, the better. :-)


message 38: by Petra (new)

Petra Bat-Cat wrote: "Finished Wuthering Heights.

What a bizarre tale! Yet, ohhhh, so brilliantly intriguing and beautifully written!..."


That's how I felt about this book, too. It was a wonderful read.


message 39: by Bat-Cat (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Finished The Mill on the Floss

Even though I finished this a couple of weeks ago I am now just getting around to posting about it and getting my challenges updated.

Here is my review:

Well, I loved this one too! It seems that I have become a huge George Eliot fan.

I found it hard to get into as I did with Middlemarch and Silas Marner but also found that my perseverance was greatly rewarded. George Eliot is a master wordsmith and intellectual which she combines perfectly with her expansive breadth of knowledge and depth of emotions to create, in my opinion, masterpiece after masterpiece. After this reading, I am beginning to think of her as a female Dostoevsky. Her dives into psychology contain a feminine aspect that is a bit softer and gentler than Dostoevsky's while being no less riveting and impactful. I will definitely continue my march through her oeuvre no matter how long it takes. I have given it 5 stars and recommend it highly.


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