Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fifty Classics Club Questions: 26-50

Part two of my answers to the ginormous question survey thingie from the Classics Club.

26.  Which classic character reminds you of your best friend? Lassiter in Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey.  Always five steps ahead, always knows what needs to be done, and will ride to the ends of the earth to avenge a wrong done to someone else.

27.  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?  All these things where I have to choose ONE are getting very tiresome.  I want more for ALL my favorite stories!  I always want more!  Sometimes Often I make up more in my own head because I'm loath to leave beloved characters.

28.  Favorite children's classic?  Hmm.  I kind of take issue with the whole idea of "children's classics."  First, because a lot of people think old books are all clean and nicey-nice, so kids can totally read them.  (Granted, when I read The Count of Monte Cristo at age 11, I didn't understand any of the stuff about drug use, missed the sexual undertones, and blithely fell in love with the adventurousness of it all.)  Second, because a lot of people think that any book that has a child protagonist is only for kids and is beneath adults.  (Books like A Little Princess and Anne of Green Gables and The Jungle Book have a lot to say to adults too!)

Or is this supposed to mean, like, picture books?  Then I'd say the original Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry.  These are the original Thomas the Tank Engine stories, and they are far superior to the modern stories.  They're quirky and funny, and the trains have train-ish problems, not just interpersonal problems that any sort of character could have.  We bought this complete collection at a library book sale for only $5, and it is splendid.

29.  Who recommended your first classic?  My mom.  She used to read aloud to my brother and I for an hour before our bedtime every night, and she usually read something a reading level or so above us so that we'd get to experience books we might not otherwise be quite ready for.  Stretched our vocabularies and imaginations beautifully.

Later, in high school and so on, she introduced me to classics simply by owning them and saying, "Sure, you can read any of my books."  That's how I first read Jane EyreRebecca, and The Big Sleep.  I'm doing something a bit similar for my seven-year-old now -- I've got particular book cases that I've told him, "You can read anything on here.  These are all books I love.  Pick what interests you."  He's currently finishing up From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler :-D

30.  Whose advice do you always take when it comes to literature. (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.)  I'm not sure I have anyone whose advice I always take.  I don't know anyone who has exactly my taste.  I'll try anything my mom recommends, though.

31.  Favorite memory with a classic?  Just one.  Really.  One most favorite memory.  Well, one of my many favorite memories of reading a classic is the first time I read The Fellowship of the Ring.  I read it after seeing the movie for the first time in the theater.  While I read it, my fiance (now husband) wrote down a list of all the different kinds of fantastical creatures in it so I wouldn't get confused by orcs versus goblins and so on.  He'd read it before, several times, and I hadn't, and it was such a sweet thing for him to do.

32.  Classic author you've read the most works by?  William Shakespeare -- I've read 17 of his plays.  Next would probably be L.M. Montgomery (8 "Anne" books and 3 "Emily" books), Raymond Chandler (7 novels and 2 volumes of other collected works), and A. Conan Doyle (the entire Holmes canon and The White Company).

33.  Classic author(s) who has(have) the most works on your club list?  Elizabeth Gaskell (4) and William Shakespeare (4).

34.  Classic author you own the most books by?  Also William Shakespeare.  I have a volume that contains all of his plays, poems, and sonnets, unabridged.  I also have two separate copies of Much Ado About Nothing, a really old, pretty copy of Romeo & Juliet, and fifteen separate copies of Hamlet, not counting two graphic novel retellings.

35.  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'm totally adding to my list as I go -- right now it has 74 titles!  I figure I'll just keep adding things to it, and when I've read 50, I'll trim off all the things I didn't read.  And maybe start over with them!  But I really don't know anymore what was originally on there and what wasn't.

36.  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?  Hmm.  I haven't read anything by Baroness Orczy, or Anne Bronte, or Edith Wharton, or Leo Tolstoy...

37.  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, there are fifteen.  It was the fact that you could do rereads (plus that you could change your list as you go) that convinced me to join the Classics Club!  I've enjoyed all my rereads so far, and I'm really excited to start rereading Persuasion with a friend's read-along in the new year.

38.  Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish?  I answered this already, in a way, but yes.  I couldn't bring myself to finish The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner OR Cousin Phillis and Other Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell.  Both of those were before the Classics Club, though.

39.  Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving?  I don't tend to read books I think I will dislike.  Back in college, I had to sometimes, but that's a long time ago, and I can't remember any specific instances that relate to classics.  I didn't expect to love the Harry Potter books, but I don't consider them classics yet, so they don't.

40.  Five things you're looking forward to next year in classic literature?  A friend hosting a read-along of Persuasion here starting January 5.  Me hosting a read-along of Little Women in March and a read-along of Hamlet in July.  Beyond that, I have no concrete plans.

41.  Classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?  Yeah, but see... I don't plan what I'll read in advance unless I'm hosting or joining a read-along.  So... who knows?  Possibly Moby-Dick just cuz I'm psyched for In the Heart of the Sea and that might give me the impetus to read it at last.

42.  Classic you are NOT GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?  War and Peace.

43.  Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club?  Meeting other bloggers who are as passionate about literature as I am.

44.  List five fellow clubbers whose blogs you frequent. What makes you love their blogs?  Ruth at A Great Book Study, Emily at Classics and Beyond, Dale at Mirror with Clouds, Carissa at Musings of an Introvert, and Ruby at We'll See How This Goes.  All of them read a wide variety of literature and are interested in trying new authors and books.  And they all write interesting, thought-provoking book reviews.

45.  Favorite post you've read by a fellow clubber?  Again with thinking I have one favorite!  I can't think of a favorite and I'm not going to go digging for one and claim it's my favorite.  Pass.

46.  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?  So far, I've only participated in read-alongs that I myself hosted.  Those were for The Lord of the Rings, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Hound of the Baskervilles.  They were amazingly positive experiences, and I love how many things we all taught each other through our discussions.

47.  If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why?  Hmm.  A read-along for Don Quixote would be cool if someone else was hosting it.  It would give me incentive to read it at last.

48.  How long have you been reading classic literature?  For as long as I could read, so probably 28 years or so, in one form or another.

49.  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.  Okay.  One, two, three, four, five.

50.  Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!)  Do you ever get tired of discussing books?  And the answer is, no, I don't.


  1. Can you see me jumping up and down with glee? Little Women and Hamlet?! Oh, I cannot wait! I'm in for both and thanks for the heads up. I'll try to join Persuasion too but I have a pretty full January, so we'll see. I really want to do more read-alongs this year (although I did quite a number last year) because I think they really help you dig into the book and appreciate it much more.

    Your best friend sounds very cool!

    And it's comforting to know that someone else makes up extended plots in their head. ;-)

    Great responses and all the best for the upcoming reading year!

    1. Hee! I'm glad you're on board for both :-D I'm getting really excited for Hamlet in particular. Because I have So Very Much to say about it.

      I've decided to do fewer reading challenges in 2015 -- really just the Classics Club, I think. That leaves me free for more read-alongs. Yay!

      My best friend IS very cool. Especially since she loves westerns just as much as I do.

      Some books just demand more story. This is why I joyously gobble up Sherlock Holmes pastiches.

      Happy reading!

  2. A readalong of Persuasion!! I'm there.

    #38: I'm not sure if there's anything I failed to finish, but man, I find Charles Dickens to be tedious.

    #32 & 34: Well, depending on how you define classics, I'd say I've read the most by C.S. Lewis and have the most books by him. And I do consider Lewis to be part of the classics.

    1. Yay! The more the merrier for read-alongs, right?

      I also find Dickens tedious. The only book of his I really love is the one everyone says is unDickension: A Tale of Two Cities. But I keep plodding through the others. I figure it's like eating potatoes -- unpleasant, but nutritious.

      I personally think something can't be considered a classic unless it's more than 50 years old. So C.S. Lewis' books count, as far as I'm concerned.

  3. Hey, thanks for listing me! I'm really honored.

    (BTW, Did you know that I always check your blog for read-alongs or other reading events?)

    I want to reread Persuasion b/c I want to give it another try, but I don't know how January 5 will work out. I am going to look into it.

    And I just finished LW, so I am not sure I'll want to reread it by March. I read somewhere else that you were doing this, and I was so bummed b/c it would have been fun to read it w/ others.

    And a read-along of Don Quixote...that is really tempting. I really enjoyed DQ, but it is such a commitment b/c it is so long, especially if you read both parts. It's been three years since I read it.

    1. You're welcome! And aww, that's cool that you check my blog for news about read-alongs. I check yours for challenges and such too! You're definitely one of the people who made me decide to join the Classics Club, and also why I tried out reading challenges this year for the first time.

      Since you've re-read LW so recently, you could totally join the discussions in March anyway. Skim through the chapters if you feel you must refresh your memory, or whatever.

      Perhaps some year you'll decide to host a DQ read-along? Or find someone who's doing one :-)

    2. Oh, wow! I had no idea about the challenges.

      And that would be great to join the discussion on LW. I have lots of notes in my copy.

      And I'll think about hosting a read-along some year. I've never done one before.

    3. Notes! Excellent. Looking forward to your contributions :-)

  4. I own a volume of Shakespeare's plays too. I completely forgot that when I was listing the most works owned by an author! And... I had not heard of The Heart of the Sea. Feeling! Excited! I'll need to finally finish Moby-Dick!

    1. Hee. It took me wandering around looking at my books to make me realize that took the cake, hee.

      Doesn't THOTS look great? In a "wow, this is stressful and terrifying" way, lol.


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