Spending Sundays With A Classic?

No, no you haven’t gone mad and neither have I. I am well aware that today is Saturday and not Sunday. However today seems a befitting day to launch a little something new, that gets me (and maybe some of you if you fancy) back into those classics. It’s also something I will need – oh how demanding of me – I mean I would love your recommendations and suggestions with. Right let me explain…

A few things have conspired with me in the last few weeks that have made me start to yearn for some classics. One factor has been that suddenly August has become really autumnal in the UK (I am hoping it is going to be better for the three day weekend we are all having here) and in London the main view from my windows has been rather like this:

A photo by my good friend Dom Agius (www.domagius.com)

Yes that’s right, rain ready, delightfully dramatic but also most certainly autumnal. The perfect sort of weather to curl up on your sofa or in bed and get curled up with some classics. It seemed most serendipitous then that I had decided that as I was reading so much modern fiction (for a certain something) for a change of scene I would join in with reading ‘I Capture The Castle’ by Dodie Smith for Cornflower’s Book Group which will be being discussed today. (I am supposedly on an internet ban by The Converted One this weekend as I have been overdoing it with work and everything and we have very few free weekends before we head for Brazil, if not I will catch up after.) I will be spilling my full thoughts on ‘I Capture The Castle’ very soon, but getting back to something older, not that it felt dated, had a certain something about it – especially seeing as it was a book I bought ages ago and have been meaning to read anyway. I wondered, have been getting swept up in the modern a little too much?

I had mulled over doing another ‘Sensation Season’ a month or two ago and then again a few weeks ago but I thought maybe it was time for something a bit different. So instead what I am going to do is be ‘Spending Sundays With A Classic’. Not every Sunday mind you just a few here there and everywhere but I will let you know which ones are coming up and when (should I simply give you a few weeks notice or have a sort of schedule, what do you think?) and maybe if you would like to you can join in.

Now before I ask you lots of questions about classics I thought I would share my initial six possible contenders (don’t judge me on not having read them sooner, ha) which are…


  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Is there anyone out there left who hasn’t read those already? I bet I am one of the last people ever to the party of these books, but maybe some people will want a re-read, or I am happy to read alone. This isn’t the definite list of six, just the initial one that called to me from my TBR pile. Now what I want is for you to answer some classic questions and they are these;

  1. What do you define as a classic?
  2. What is your favourite classic of all time so far that everyone on earth should be made to read?
  3. Which classic have you just never really managed to get on with?
  4. Which classic books have you yet to read but really must get around to?

Right… over to you then…


Filed under Book Thoughts

65 responses to “Spending Sundays With A Classic?

  1. Yippeee I only haven’t read Crime and Punishment. Am quite chuffed that I’ve read the rest…

  2. I’ve read all of them except for The Great Gatsby and Emma. Definitely Jane Eyre and my second choice would be Tess of the D’Urbervilles….both brilliant!

  3. I read The Great Gatsby at school and it put me off F Scott Fitzgerald for life!

    That is the only one I have read – I am tempted to get back into reading a classic. Think it might have to be a Bronte, as I have read Jude Morgan’s A Taste of Sorrow and it got me in the mood for them.

    I am going to track down a copy of Jane Eyre.

    Count me in.

    • Oh dear, was it the book or was it reading it at school as I have noticed that I tend to have been put off certain authors and books because I read them, and read them, and read them at school.

      I loved A Taste of Sorrow, it made me want to read all their books. Mind you I dont like Wuthering Heights. Oh should I have admitted that again?

  4. gaskella

    I’ve read all of Fitzgerald (love, love them), but only dipped into the other authors in you’ve highlighted. I would gravitate towards Dostoyevsky, but that’s only because I’m currently reading a contemporary novel set in Russia and that’s got me into that mood.

  5. You’ve got my two favorite books of all time (Jane Eyre and Tess) on that list, so I think it’s an excellent list. I’ve read and enjoyed all the others, too.

    As for classics I can’t get on with, as much as I love the Victorians, I have a love/boredom relationship with Dickens. Loved Great Expectations and Bleak House, but didn’t think much of David Copperfield and Oliver Twist and have fallen asleep every single time I’ve tried to read Tale of Two Cities–this has happened multiple times over many years. I’ve been told Our Mutual Friend is the best Dickens for me to try next, so maybe someday…

    • Dickens is someone that I always think every single reader on the planet loves, and its just not the case, in fact I know some people who loathe his books so it could be interesting to see which camp I fall into.

  6. 1: A classic is a book that was written before you were born, and yet you read it with pleasure. 2:The Idiot by Dostoevsky. 3:I put “A Sentimental Journey” aside once and have not tried again. 4: I think I must get my hands on everything by Walter Scott because the few I have read are so fascinating. And, from you list I haven’t read Great Expectations.

    • Oooh that first point is an interesting one, that means anything before 1982 is a classic for me… and I am not sure I could agree on that one. Will mull that idea over though Sven.

  7. 1. I’m not really sure. I’m quite open about it, but I don’t think that, say, that only fiction from a particular period written by western writers can constitute ‘classics’ which seems to be how it often gets used. I guess in any particular genre you can have ‘classic’ works which are well-known for excellence. I don’t know if you’ve come across the New York Review of Books classics series, but the selections they’ve made are really interesting.

    2. I think my favourite is going to have to be (much as I love Jane Austen and the Brontes) Crime and Punishment (hint hint!) which is just phenomenal, and not hard to read like people think it will be before they get started.

    3. I think On the Road often gets talked about as a classic, and a classic of beat literature, but I hated it. One of the only books that I’ve never bothered to finish. I hated it SO MUCH that it makes me edgy and cranky just to think about it.

    4. War and Peace! I’ve been meaning to read it but just not quite working up the energy for so long… Which is excellent, because it totally ties in with the Team Tolstoy readalong. I really needed something to get my posterior in gear.

    Enjoy your classics! I think those are all excellent books you’ve got there. Although I wasn’t totally sold on The Great Gatsby when I first read it, but on a second reading (it’s only short, after all) I absolutely loved it. Tender is the Night is really good, too.

    Oh yeah, but save the Thomas Hardy for when you’re properly prepared. It’s just the most relentlessly sad book in the world. Ever.

    • I know what you mean about classics seeming to be pigeon holed into a certain style, like the ones I have chosen hahaha, but it just happens that my selection are all books I have been meaning to read for ages and ages.

      I will have a look at the New York Review of Books Classics series and see what titles I may be missing out on!

  8. I think this is a wonderful idea, and although I have read them all, I would still enjoy stopping by for a little conversation. Think that many would do the same.

    It would be too hard to select my favorite classic but my favorite comfort classic read is Trollope. Sitting right next to two lovely shelves with the Barsetshire novels and the Palliser novels now. To my taste, nothing quite like them especially in the dead of winter all curled up with a blanket and good book.

    • I was going to mention Bovary but we are all reading that in a different way so wanted to make it seperate but am glad you have created that read-a-long as that too is another classic I have always wanted to read.

      That Trollope series is one I need to read as I promised my Granddad I would before he died.

  9. lizzysiddal

    I’ll join you for “Emma” – I’ve read the rest.

    1) A classic is a book whose themes remain current.

    2)Everyone should read “War and Peace” at least once, you know, Simon. You should join in chez Dovegrey – then we can all stay in touch when you sail off to foreign shores.

    3) I used to struggle with Dickens until I started to read in the original installments. Suddenly he became much more palatable.

    4) I’m finally going to read some Robert Louis Stevenson in September – starting with “Kidnapped”. It’s a craving has been growing while spending August in Edinburgh. And one day I’ll get round to reading Anthony Trollope.

    • Hoorah, I will sort out some sort of schedule over the next few days.

      Interestingly Robert Louis Stevenson I have never fancied reading and I dont know why. I will have to see what you make of him.

      I would love to join in War and Peace but after The Green Carnation I think, apart from reading these because i have been wanting to for ages, a big read like that will be a nightmare to take with me across Brazil (and add to my luggage allowance severely) and I refuse to buy an e-reader. Hmmm. Sometimes I have to say no.

  10. I’m always up for a re-read of my favourite Emma and it’s high time I finally tried Great Expectations and Crime and Punishment! I’ve read the other three books, but they number among my least favourites – especially Jane Eyre and Tess (though I am a fan of Hardy’s other works).

    • Interesting that Jane Eyre and Tess arent favourites. I will have to see why when you respond to the posts (which I hope you will) when they go up. I wont ask now as it might put me off them and I am quite charged for it at the moment hee hee.

  11. I may join you for ‘Emma’ as well. I’ve only read ‘Pride & Prejudice’ from the Austen’s works. I’ve read the rest and loved all of them. Was really surprised at how much I enjoyed ‘Crime and Punishment’ though. Out of them all I think my favourite is ‘Jane Eyre’! I also recommend ‘Anna Karenina’ (I’m not sure if you’ve read it). The only classics I had issues with were ‘Madame Bovary’ and ‘Therese Raquin’ mainly because I couldn’t sympathise with the main characters.

    • I have read half of Anna Karenina and lost interest with the endless description of the seasons (which I rather naughtily thought could have been edited out) I then lost my copy so as yet have never carried on. Mayve I should?

  12. Of the books in this list, I’ve only read The Great Gatsby and Jane Eyre. I’ve got Emma on my shelves, waiting to be picked up, so I might join you for that one!

  13. Caroline

    I love Great Expectations and Emma is good fun although definitely not my favourite Austen. In hindsight this is maybe because I have seen several televised versions and have forgotten the detail of the novel.I will definitely join you in a reread of these two or dive into the other four for the first time.Looking forward to it!

    • Interestingly Caroline ‘Emma’ is one of the few Austen adaptations I have missed in every guise so I will be coming a fresh to that one. I have heard Persuasion is best. I tried P&P and loathed it (though I love the BBC version and watched it all again with The Converted One this very weekend) so this dip into Austen could be interesting.

  14. I’ve read all of those books Simon, and you are in for a treat!

    I love the idea of reading classics through the Autumn and Winter months – doesn’t it already feel like Autumn has arrived here? I’ve got the lights on and it’s only just gone 7.

    I have just written a long post on my definition of a classic on Random Jottings so I’ll make it succint for you – basically I think a classic is a book that speaks to the human condition and as such is timeless, as well as brilliantly and compellingly written, with characters that come alive, and a quality to it that makes you want to read it again and again.

    Out of the traditional ‘canon’ of ‘classic’ literature I have missed a lot of works in translation, such as Proust, that I’d love to read one day. I’d also like to read much more classic American literature, like Moby Dick, which I hope to achieve during my year in New York. I haven’t ever really hated a ‘classic’ author, though I do find Emily Bronte massively overrated.

    • It did feel like Autumn but the last few days have been much nicer again, yet the classic craving is still very much there.

      Proust scares me silly as does Moby Dick because its such a tome. I agree classics should be timeless regardless of genre… look at 1984.

  15. louise

    I got quite into classics a few years ago and read all of Jane Austen’s books plus several by Brontes, Hardy and George Elliot. I have read three of those on your list (Emma, Tess and Jane).

    In answer to your questions: 1) not sure how I would define a classic but I guess it is a book that stands the test of time, 2) my favourite classic is The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy – very moving. 3) Never got on with Tolstoy – I tried but just had to give up, 4) I’d like to read Portrait of Dorian Gray

    • Dorian Gray is one of the few classics I have read. I liked it a lot though I didnt love it. I was never quite sure why and am still not because in many ways it should be just my cup of tea.

  16. winstonsdad

    1. pre ww2 I d say nowadays ,classics tend to be the books that stay with people over time
    2 just crime and punishment not read .
    3 .not ,not got on have trouble relating to ,some bronte works haven’t struck me .
    4. few dickens left to read ,tristam shandy one must read at some point .

    • oh 3 favourite
      moby dick classic adventure
      walden henry david thoreau -still relevant today the first eco book
      faust goethe – the spring for lot of soul selling fiction and also wonderful insight into the human condition .
      all the best stu

    • I will have to look into all your suggestions Stu! I have not heard of a few of them and that always intrigues me.

  17. For me, a classic would be a book that’s timeless, brilliantly written and most people can relate to at some point in time or the other – maybe not the whole book, but the characters, the emotions and maybe parts of their lives? Too trivial a definition?

    My favourite classic – that’s a tough one! Think it would have to be Catcher In The Rye. I love Holden Caulfield to bits.

    I’ve not yet read Jane Eyre, or Emma (albeit I want to read both). Read my first Austen this year (Pride and Prejudice), which in itself is kind-of embarrassing. Reckon my next Austen will be Persuasion or Northanger Abbey though.

    Loved Gatsby when I read it, so hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as well!

    • Ooooh interesting, I really didnt like Catcher in the Rye, but we cant all like the same books of course. I just didnt gel with it. Maybe I will re-read it one day and get it.

      I still, bar the first firty pages of P&P which I didnt like, have yet to read anything by Ms Austen.

  18. Deb

    Classic: At least 50 years since its publication and still in print today; continues to be read in college & elsewhere; has the critical consensus of being a “classic.”

    Favorites: I’ve read all of the books on your list, but find myself returning again and again to PRIDE & PREJUDICE, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (one of the few Thomas Hardy novels with a relatively “happy” ending), and Trollope’s THE WAY WE LIVE NOW (almost anything by Trollope as a matter of fact–I like him way more than Dickens).

    I have never been able to make it through WAR AND PEACE. I love ANNA KARENINA though, so perhaps that balances me out where Tolstoy is concerned.

    Still waiting to read all of REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST. One day I will get around to it!

  19. I haven’t read any of them! Though I want to read Jane Eyre and Emma before the year is out.

    1) In general any books that are older and very famous, preferably loved. Though I know there’s a conditioning in that, ie books we’re told are famous.
    2) I’ve read only a few Austen, so at the moment Pride And Prejudice is my favourite. I think everyone should give it a go, but definitely as an adult, not in school.
    3) Persuasion. I couldn’t see what others did, I found it boring.
    4) Most of them! I really want to get through all the Bronte’s and I’ve taken an interest in Zola and Tolstoy from blogs.

    • My Mum, who is an English teacher, thinks very much like you do on the first point. Classics are books we are conditioned to believe are classics. I must ask her what she thinks are the clasics actually.

  20. I love to hate Hardy, not as much as I love to hate D H Lawrence mind you, but quite a lot all the same. Tess is high on my list of worst ever books. I much prefer Ruth by Mrs Gaskell (same kind of theme).

    I love Jane Eyre and Emma and enjoyed The Great Gatsby though not as much as Tender is the Night. I’ve never read Crime and Punishment.

    My three favourite classics – not very original but… – are Pride and Prejudice, and David Copperfield, and Middlemarch. I am also very fond of Adam Bede, and North and South. All highly recommended.

    I guess the classics I can’t get on with include: Tess, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude the Obscure – well you can’t say I haven’t given Hardy a chance!

    I’ve never read any Russian literature so I am excited by dovergreyreaders Team Tolstoy and hope to get the time to join in.

    • Hahaha ‘I love to hate Hardy’ really made me laugh! I didnt like Lawrence, mind you I have only tried one.

      I wanted to do Team Tolstoy but with The Green Carnation and then flying off to Brazil not long after for a few months I just cant fit it in… to my luggage or my time haha.

  21. Of your six contenders, I’ve read all but Great Expectations and Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I’m a particular fan of Jane Eyre and Emma.

    I think of classics as books that have survived generations to be still relevant and known to many readers today. It doesn’t mean that the books that didn’t ‘survive’ were necessarily less worthy, however.

    Favorite classics: Emma, Bleak House

    I like Austen generally, but Sense & Sensibility didn’t win me over.

    There are so many classics that I need to get around to, and it’s been one of my reading goals this year to read a bunch of classics. I’m reading Middlemarch now and another highly praised classic – East of Eden – is on the reading horizon for this year.

    • Thats the interesting thing Christy, I read some of these forgotten classics and I think they are just as good as the ones, in some cases better, that have become so renowned now. Its very interesting with publishers like Persephone and Bloombury bringing forgotten classic to the fore again.

  22. One of the books I must get round to is on your list of 6 – Great Expectations. Sigh Dickens can be so hard to psych yourself up for. I also really want to read something by Thomas Hardy eventually. And Emma is absolutely going to get read this year.

    Classics are hard to define. I think there’s the old classics (Victorian and pre) and such a thing as a modern classic and I’d put people like Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison and Graham Greene under that category. Also genre classics tend to be a little different from the main canon (and the more recent additions to canon to increase the diversity of the list of books regarded as classics). They should be books that have their names passed down through the ages that have their titles uttered with either starstuck awe, fear or joy.

    I’m going to be really predictable about my favourites and say ‘Rebecca’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Jane Eyre’ and something by Greene – ‘The End of the Affair’, ‘Brighton Rock’…

    • Yes modern classics is an interesting one as is the classics of the future. I guess that time will tell one way or the other in those instances. I wonder fi at the time people thought Dickens, Austen etc etc would become classics?

      • I am pretty sure that the “Harry Potter” series will become a classic, because there is so much reality in it beyond all the phantasy and sorcery.

  23. Great minds think alike or fools seldom differ – take your choice but we have both chosen the same topic I see for a post. Can it have anything to do I wonder with those marvellous new OUP editions?

    I love reading classics and have read the five you have listed. I would recommend that you try Anthony Trollope, he is simply wonderful, and Barchester Towers would be agood one for starters.

  24. M

    I understand what you mean. I was in English major in college and even before then, loved mainly classic literature. During and since grad school (in which I did not study literature, unfortunately), I’ve been reading more modern fiction and nonfiction. This is great, because it’s widened my reading horizons. But it’s not so great because the classics have been relegated to the back burner.

    I’m actually trying to get back into the classics now. I just started Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy yesterday, and I have A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf up next on my list.

    Of the ones you listed, I haven’t read Crime and Punishment only, though I don’t remember anything of The Great Gatsby, and would be interested in reading along with on those two. I loved both Jane Eyre and Emma (Austen being one of my all-time favorite authors, how could I not?). I’m not a fan of Dickens – I read most of his works, with the exception of A Christmas Carol on my own, in high school and college. Then I read A Christmas Carol for a college class, and realized even with class discussion and my professor’s witty comments, Dickens still wasn’t for me. Tess is what made me put both Far From the Madding Crow and Jude the Obscure on my to-read list. It’s got some odd points, but I generally liked it. The main feature, for me, was Hardy’s writing.

  25. Ed

    For me a classic is a book which has stood the test of time, be still in print 100 years after publication and still worth reading in spite of changes in taste.

    It is hard to pick a favourite, but I would toss up between ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘The Odyssey’.

    I did not get along with Gogol’s ‘Dead Souls’.

    As for the last question, I must the last person not to have read ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

  26. I’ve only read two of those but would always be willing to re-read Great Expectations or Jane Eyre. In fact, GE is one of my all-time favorite classics along with David Copperfield. If I had to choose one from your list to read that I haven’t, it might be Emma just because it’s the only Austen I haven’t read yet.

    • I always find it interesting when people have books they would re-read because I have so few. It always seems an extra special recommendation when someone says they would re-read a book or has done so once or several times.

  27. Interesting selection, Simon. I have read all but Crime and Punishment (I’ve read Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky but remember little about it). I would be interested in rereading Emma and Great Expectations with you though as both are beloved favourites of mine. In fact, I’ve been planning to reread Great Expectations for one reason and another (more on that later) so that’s a definite.

    Dickens and Austen definitely define the classics for me; both were the first classic authors I read (the other way around and minus classic children’s authors) and both remain favourites especially Bleak House, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

    The Great Gastby is a book I really, really do not get along with although it is beautifully written. I studied it ad nauseum and became sick and tired of it being held up as fully definitive of American literature and the American Dream; there are so many wonderful U.S. classics that are overshadowed by Fitzgerald i.e. Steinbeck or Alcott or Cather or Pynchon or Hawthorne.

    Classics themselves are so tricky to define. I’d hesitantly say that they have to be at least a century old to be defined as a classic whereas The Great Gatsby and To the Lighthouse would be Modern Classics (from the Modern period) and Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie and Beloved by Toni Morrison are contemporary classics even though they are nearly thirty and twenty-five years old, respectively. That’s convoluted of me but I think that the book has to be both timeless and stand the test of time whilst having a quality of prose that makes the reader speechless whenever they pick it up. The literature student in me can’t umbrella them all under the one category “classics”, however, and I have to shelf and read them within their literary periods.

  28. Charlotte

    I’ve read all of those apart from Crime and Punishment (although I’m planning to read it one day!)
    I’m not sure what I define as a classic. Old, well-loved, timeless etc
    Jane Eyre and Tess are 2 of my all-time favourite reads and everyone should read them both and also Middlemarch by George Eliot is fabulous.
    I never managed to get into Moby Dick, actually I hated it. It bored me to death.
    I’ve got lots of classics I want to read but I really must pick up Romola by George Eliot.

    • George Eliot is an author I have always been a little bit intimidated by and one for some reason in my head I think of as boring. I am sure my thoughts are wrong and seeing your comments make me aware I need to rethink.

  29. I’m going along with the commenter who said that classics must be at least 50 years old, just so I can include my favorite book of all time – To Kill A Mockingbird. Otherwise, I tend to think of classics as being older than that. My definition of classics? The books we are told are classics!

    Hated Moby Dick and Middlemarch (both school reads) and Madame Bovary. I cannot bear to even get into any William Faulkner. Virginia Woolf does not ring my chimes, and I strugged and failed with Thomas Wolfe (You Can’t Go Home Again).

    Favorites include The Grapes of Wrath, Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Dr. Zhivago, Wuthering Heights. Loved Les Miserables (however I read an abridged version so I guess that is cheating). Also loved Tess and The Return of the Native. I know TROTN is not on many readers’ lists, but the atmosphere and the setting at the beginning of the book(the pagan fire on the hilltop and the lone figure waiting, waiting…) really drew me in.

    Of your list, I have read all but Emma. (However, I have read three other Austen books.) Would love to re-read Jane Eyre. I have already re-read The Great Gatsby, another favorite. My problem is that I read so many classics as a teenager and now can’t remember them.

    • I would count Rebecca as a classic too but I think there are quite a lot of people that would take us to task with that one, maybe.

      I read The Grapes of Wrath and really didnt like it, and it wasnt a classic you read at school and then dont like it. Why is it that we tend to be really put off the books that we studied?

  30. Well, before I get to answering your questions, I want to just let you know how lucky you are to have access to those beautiful UK editions of the VintageX series. They are all so pretty looking!

    1. I normally think of a classic as something that’s stood the test of time (ie, at least fifty years old….although I do sometimes call things “modern classics” if they’re younger than that). They have to be enjoyable to many different types of people through many different time periods. That’s what makes literature timeless.
    2. Ugh this is such a cliche, but I love love love War and Peace! Russia! Napoleon! Balls! Duels! Its so fun and also so educational. The runner-up/sometimes it’s tied depending on the mood I’m in/ is Middlemarch. The perfect novel, in my opinion.
    3. Well, it barely fits my definition of classic, because it’s only 49 years old, but I was never able to get through Catch-22. Too weird for my taste.
    4. I also want to read something by Dostoevsky. And Dickens’s Little Dorritt. Those are next on my wish list, I guess?

    • Also meant to say: I think that you’ll really really like Jane Eyre. You’re in for quite a treat.

      • I am very much looking forward to Jane Eyre. In fact that might be the one I turn to first. Oooh I have some planning to do!

        I do love the Vintage books and I also love the Oxford University Press ones. In fact I am just a bit of a cover whore (as the rest of The Green Carnation judges might back that up, we had a very funny conversation about that yesterday).

  31. Jane Eyre is an absolute favorite of mine. Truly a remarkable read. I’m sorry to say I have not read any of the others you have up. However, I do have Crime & Punishment on my TBR shelf. Having said that…

    1. I’ve never defined it for myself, but I would say this is one arena I give way to the scholars. Classics seems to have a requisite age to them as well as have a timeless quality to the story/message.

    2. Jane Eyre and, though it IS modern, To Kill a Mockingbird. Jane Eyre had some wonderful turns and big surprises that were delivered in a classy and elegant manner unlike many out today where one might feel hoodwinked (Elegance of the Hedgehog and the dry cleaning van is all I’m going to say about that one). To Kill a Mockingbird’s message about prejudice, bigotry and hypocrisy are, sadly, always relevant.

    3. Last of the Mohicans. Try as I might to read this bit of Americana I can’t get past the first chapter. The writing is atrocious. House of the Seven Gables I’ve read to completion but only because I had to for a class.

    4. Ana Karenina and Crime & Punishment. The copy of AK I have is a bit off in translation so it’s been a wee bit difficult for me to sit down with it and commit myself there; C & P just keeps getting shoved back in the pile while I immerse myself into my “late in the summer escapist reads”. 🙂

  32. Eva

    Definitely make sure you get the Pevear & Volokhonsky translation of C&P! (And any other Russian work, really)

    I can’t pick a favourite classic, so I’m no help to you there. lol But I had to read Great Expectations twice and loathed it both times…Dickens and I are not friends.

    I’m about to read Henry Fielding for the first time (Tom Jones), and I’m quite excited: I hadn’t read much 18th century lit before this year, and I’m surprised by how modern it feels!

  33. mee

    I’m planning to read Jane Eyre this year. Maybe if the timing is good we can read it together 🙂

    From the list I’ve only read The Great Gatsby, but that was a required reading in school and I didn’t quite like it (like some of the commenters above!)

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