Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Classics Book Tag

Jillian tagged me with this rather enchanting blog tag three months ago.  Thanks, Jillian!  I don't think I've ever done a blog tag devoted entirely to classics.  I'm sorry it's taken me so long to fill it out.

1. An over-hyped classic you really didn't like:  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.  I loathe it for its deliberate, gleeful cruelty.

2. Favorite time period to read about:  America's Wild West and the Jazz Age both fascinate me.

3. Favorite fairy tale:  "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "Cinderella" are high on my list.

4. Most embarrassing classic to admit you haven't read:  The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  Everyone talks about how it's one of the best early mysteries, but I just haven't read it yet.

5. Top 5 classics you want to read:  Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather, The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper, The Once and Future King by T. H. White, The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.

6. Favorite modern book/series based on a classic:  Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay is a fantastic modern retelling of Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster mixed with various other things.

7. Favorite movie version/tv series based on a classic: The Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson is pretty hard to top.

8. Worst classic-to-movie adaptation:  Possibly the 1969 adaptation of Hamlet starring Nicol Williamson.

9. Favorite editions you'd like to collect more of:  I'd like to have a matching set of all of Patrick O'Brien's naval novels about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin.  I own all of them, but most of them are matching trade paperbacks... and three aren't.  It bothers me they don't match.  Or, one day I could trade up for this wonderful edition:

10. An under-hyped classic:  More people need to read The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

It took me a very long time to fill out this tag, so I'm not going to tag anyone.  If you'd like to do this tag yourself, go right ahead :-)  It's certainly a fun one!


  1. Oh, I haven't read that Moonstone either, and I only purchased a copy b/c a friend raved about it.

    For #5: I've read Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop and Lewis' Screwtape, but I haven't read the other three in that group. You'll have to tell me about Deerslayer b/c I once read half of Last of the Mohicans and I had to quit. I've heard positive things about Deerslayer, so maybe that's the place to start. Anyway, Anne Bronte is promising, and I look forward to reading her, too.

    1. Ruth, I've had a copy of The Moonstone for years, but just never seem to find the right time to read it. One of these days.

      I was at a bookstore yesterday, and I decided that, since I've wanted to read The Screwtape Letters for 17 years now, I was going to go ahead and buy a copy. So I did. Now let's see if I can find time to read it!

      I'll definitely post about Deerslayer when I get to it, as it's part of my Classics Club list.

  2. I read the Moonstone a few years're really not missing much. I was disappointed. Of course, your mileage may vary.

    1. Stanley, yeah, I hear good and bad about The Moonstone. I want to read it to decide for myself, and also because I love mysteries and it's such a seminal mystery story that I want to read it just because of all the things that came after that I love.

  3. The Blue Castle is definitely under-hyped although not in the blogging circle I frequent . . . which is why I read it. I'd had a totally wrong understanding of what is was about, and so I was totally surprised (which I LOVE).

    Cinderella and The Twelve Dancing Princesses are my favorites too. I like Princess of the Midnight Ball and I love Entwined for retellings of the latter.

    I guess I won't be reading Mice and Men. That sounds awful. I haven't been able to really get into serious American classics. I tried The Sound and the Fury. NOPE. You know how I feel about The Great Gatsby. I wasn't crazy about the Henry James novel I read in college. I slogged through The Deerslayer and the Last of the Mohicans. Boring, boring, boring. Moralising. Flat. One dimensional characters. The writing made you dislike or despise everyone to varying degrees because everyone was so one-dimensional. Sanctimonious. And the racism is possible some of the most overt I've ever read; it is no implicit "this is how they thought" kind of thing. The Last of the Mohicans had a great concept. But every aspect of the writing was boring. As for the Deerslayer. I don't know how that many boring words could be printed. Those books are long. And um, Natty Bumpkin is basically preaching his white supremacy to his Native American friend the whole time. Literally. As if moralising isn't bad enough. I'd've smacked him and abandoned him. Some friend.

    I'm still going to try to make an effort, but I think I'll always prefer the younger, lighter American classics and British classics.

    1. Livia, that's so true -- many, many bloggers I read rave about The Blue Castle, and I'm glad they do! I had never heard of it before Heidi Pekarak and some others gushed about it, and wouldn't have read it otherwise. I forced my mom to read it a couple years ago when she visited for Christmas, and she was also aghast that we had never read it earlier in our lives.

      How fun that we both love the same fairy tales! I want to read Princess of the Midnight Ball, but I hadn't heard of Entwined before. Will have to see if the library has it.

      Yeah, really, spare yourself the misery that comes with Of Mice and Men. I read it in high school and loathed it, so then I read it again a couple years ago because I've been discovering that some things I disliked as a teen, I like better now. NOPE. It's loathsome. Skip it.

      Henry James is a tough nut to crack. I'm not a big fan, though The Turn of the Screw was pretty cool.

      I'm definitely going to have to try James Fenimore Cooper for myself!

      So what younger, lighter American classics do you like?

    2. I guess I didn't only mean classics, I like some more modern US writers/series too, like ND Wilson and The Penderwicks.
      For classics, Louisa May Alcott, Katherine Patterson, Grandma's Attic (should be classic, certainly a classic series for me), stand alones like Understood Betsy.

    3. Livia, I see. I'd like to read the Penderwick books -- one of these days!

      LOVE the Grandma's Attic books. I have the whole series. So good. I haven't read Understood Betsy, but I read everything by Alcott I could get my hands on when I was a kid. I've read a few of Katherine Patterson's books, and I'm sure Bridge to Terebithia will be considered classic junior fiction/middle grade fiction in a few decades.

    4. I've read Bridge to Terebithia (my favorite?), Lyddie (didn't care for), Jacob Have I Loved, and Jip. I think you would like the latter if you haven't read it. I'm not sure I'd recommend it for its actual age group though.

      Understood Betsy is younger middle grade or perhaps younger than middle grade. Its super sweet with Little House and Grandma's Attic vibes.

    5. I feel like I read Jacob Have I Loved as a teen, but I'm not sure. Never read Jip -- I'll keep an eye out for it. And for Understood Betsy!

  4. I've never read Of Mice and Men but I really didn't like East of Eden so I'm not feeling any great pull to read it. As for The Moonstone, it has been years and years since I read it so while I remember I enjoyed it I can't remember specifics. However, I recently reread The Woman in White by Collins and thought it was fantastic. The Blue Castle is wonderful too. I reread it regularly when I was a teenager. I believe The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is on my Classics Club list so I'm sure I will get around to it in the next eon or so.

    1. Jennifer, yeah... there is nothing whatsoever that I would recommend about Of Mice and Men. Ugh.

      I wish I'd read The Blue Castle as a teen! I would have loved it. But at least I did find it eventually.

  5. Yes, yes yes to The Blue Castle (you might like to check out the plagerism controversy with an Aust book here -

    And I hope you get to The Moonstone soon - it really is that good.

    1. I also have two non-matching titles in my O'Brian series that bug me too. I so wish they had done more movies. I really loved the one they did.

    2. Brona -- how funny that we both have two non-matching O'Brian titles! Are they the last two? Are the last two just maybe not available in that set? Weird, weird, weird.

      How interesting about the Colleen McCullough book and Blue Castle. The only book I've read by her is Tim because I love the Mel Gibson movie. I ended up preferring the movie, but there are some things from the book that have stuck with me for like a decade -- just details like a description of cicadas and bits of dialog that pop into my head whenever I think of the book. So I think she's a very strong writer. Buuuuuuut, yeah, plagiarism is uncool.

    3. My non matching titles are Master & Commander and The Far Side of the World because they're movie tie in covers & the only one available to me when I was reading the series.

    4. Brona Joy, oh good! There's hope I might find matching copies one day then.


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