Sunday, December 14, 2014

Two More Challenges for 2015

The Goal - to read a minimum of six classics between 1 Jan - 31 Dec 1015 .

The Categories

1. A 19th Century Classic — any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2.  A 20th Century Classic – any book published between 1900 and 1965.  Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic.

3.  A Classic by a Woman Author.

4.  A Classic in Translation.

5.  A Very Long Classic Novel — a single work of 500 pages or longer.

6.  A Classic Novella — any work shorter than 250 pages.

7.  A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title.  

8.  A Humorous or Satirical Classic.

9.  A Forgotten Classic.  This could be a lesser-known work by a famous author, or a classic that nobody reads any more.

10.  A Nonfiction Classic.  A memoir, biography, essays, travel, this can be any nonfiction work that’s considered a classic, or a nonfiction work by a classic author.

11.  A Classic Children’s Book.

12.  A Classic Play. 

For more info check out the link above.


The rules of the Pre-Printing Press Challenge:
  1. All books must have come out before 1440, when the printing press was first invented.
  2. Books chosen for this challenge can overlap with other challenges.
  3. Books can be translated into the language of your choice.
  4. All the books you've chosen must be read by December 31, 2015.
  5. You can read 1-3 books, 4-6 books, 7-9 books or 10 or more books if you're feeling particularly ambitious.
  6. The choice of books is up to you. There are no set reading lists, and you don't have to set one when you join.
More info at above link

I am starting small with the two books that are on my shelf. 

Beowulf - Anonymous
The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Intros: Lila by Marilynne Robinson

" the child was there on the stoop in the dark, hugging herself against the cold, all cried out and nearly sleeping. She couldn't holler any more and they didn't hear her anyway, or they might and that would make things worse. Somebody had shouted, Shut that thing up or I'll do it! and then a woman grabbed her out from under the table by her arm and pushed her out onto the stoop and shut the door and the cats went under the house. They wouldn't let her near them anymore because she picked them up by their tails sometimes. Her arms were all over scratched, and the scratches stung. She had crawled under the house to find the cats, but even when she did catch one in her hands it struggled harder the harder she held on to it and it bit her, so she let it go. Why you keep pounding at the screen door? Nobody gonna want you around if you act like that. And then the door closed again, and after a while the night came. The people inside fought themselves quiet, and it was night for a long time. She was afraid to be under the house, and afraid to be up on the stoop, but if she stayed by the door it might open."

Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a church in the small town of Gilead in Iowa - the only available shelter from the rain - and ignites a conversation and a romance that will reshape her life.

What did you think of the opening paragraph? Would you keep reading?

Tuesday Intros is a meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea which bloggers can join in with by posting the first paragraph (or two) from a book of their choice. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Reading England 2015: The Reading List

I am not usually so organised but I do have a plan for this challenge 

  • to read the books that I have on my bookshelf or kindle.
  • to make the counties where my forebears lived a priority to visit. ( marked with *)
And as I'm enjoying seeing what other bloggers are planning on reading I thought I'd share mine.

Bedfordshire *

John Bunyan ? - unless someone can tell me of another author from this county.


Our Village by Mary Russell Mitford


Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray


Maurice by E.M.Forster


Rambles Beyond Railways by Wilkie Collins (thanks Jane)

Cumbria *

Helbeck of Bannisdale by Mrs Humphrey Ward

Derbyshire *

Adam Bede by George Eliot


Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope


The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy


To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Kent *

The Chronicles of Pop Larkin by H.E.Bates
Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham

London *

The Odd Women by George Gissing
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Nottinghamshire *

Sons and Lovers by D.H.Lawrence


Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett


Queen Lucia by E.F.Benson
Mapp and Lucia by E.F.Benson

Yorkshire *

Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Library Loot & Put on Hold

Every year I see brave bloggers undertaking the Double Dare Challenge - to only read from their own shelves for the first three months of the year. While I know I should do it my library visits are so much a part of my life I also know I simply could not stay away for that length of time.

However, when I saw a post from Lory @ The Emerald City Reader  inviting anyone to join her during January reading only our own books that seemed achievable as it's holiday time here and the month always goes very quickly. I do have to make one exception as the book I plan for Reading England I don't want to buy and it will be a library book.

Until then I have a few library books to finish! 

Gwennie's Diary by Gywnne Peacock is the record of a young New Zealander who sets off to see the world and meet her Yorkshire family in 1939.

The only library book I had left at home and commonsense told me not to bring back any more. But when it comes to books saying no is so very hard and now there are three more which I may, or may not, get read before the end of the month.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson - an unforgettable story about a girl living on the fringes of society. 

The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett - a novel of timeless love and dangerous obsession. Antiquarian bookseller becomes obsessed with finding the origins of a Victorian miniature that reminds him of his dead wife.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey - How do you solve a mystery when you can't remember the clues?


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Linda @ Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they have checked out from the library.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reading England 2015

Reading England 2015 Challenge hosted by o @ Behold the Stars.

The Goal - to travel England by reading, and read at least one book per however many counties  of England you decide to read.

The Rules:
  • This challenge begins on the 1st January 2015 and ends on 31st December 2015, but of course if you really get into it then keep it going :)
  • You can sign up any time between now and the end of 2015. Only books read after 1st January 2015 count, though.
  • Choose a level (below), but do not feel obliged to pick your books or even your counties beforehand. 
  • Because this is a classics blog, I'd encourage people to read classic novels, but how you define classics is up to you.
  • You are not limited to English authors. Henry James, for example, is American but his novel The Turn of the Screw is set in Essex, and so he counts for the challenge.
  • It would be grand if you blogged about the books you read for each county but you don't have to. If you do, you don't have to feel obliged to give any information about the county in general other than, maybe, "This is my review of which is set in the county of x". You could also include a description of the landscape in your posts, but again you don't have to.
  • You do not have to read the books in their original language, translations are accepted (I only read in English so I would never dream of making other people read in their second language!)
  • Audio books, Kindles, and whatnot are accepted too.
  • Poetry, plays, biographies, and autobiographies count as well as novels 
The Levels:
  • Level one: 1 - 3 counties
  • Level two: 4 - 6 counties
  • Level three: 7 - 12 counties
  • Level four: 12 + counties

o has added a list of titles under their counties which will be a great help.

As this will probably be my one challenge for 2015 I am going for Level 3: 7 - 12 counties.

I was so excited when I first read this challenge as it fitted perfectly into the plans I was struggling to formulate for the blog's future. I know I want change, I know I want to focus on the classics .......and I love the 'you don't have to' of this challenge - no pressure. I will be blogging but in the future in more of a journaling way rather than reviewing .

For now I'm having fun sorting through my books and planning my itinerary.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Classic Club 50 Questions Survey

This has been hard work! Originally I thought I'd break the survey down over two or three posts but once I got started I just kept going and have really enjoyed reliving my Classics journey. And I'm loving reading every else's too.

1. Share a link to your club list

My Classics Club list

2. When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club? (We are SO CHECKING UP ON YOU! Nah. We’re just asking.) :)
I joined the Classics Club on the 9th March 2012 and committed to reading 60 classics in five years. So far the total is 38/60.
3. What are you currently reading?
November is AusReading month so at present I'm reading an Australian classic - We of the Never-Never by Mrs Aeneas Gunn.
4. What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it?
I have just finished No Name by Wilkie Collins which I'll be writing a post for this coming week. I did enjoy it  but not as much as his two better known novels The Woman in White and The Moonstone.
5. What are you reading next? Why?
Next up is Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton because it was my Classics Club spin winner.
And for obvious reasons Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens.
6. Best book you’ve read so far with the club, and why?

Germinal by Emile Zola and The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot.
I never like making these choices and there are so many I could name but these two do stand out. Both of them made a big emotional impact on me and both of them I finished knowing I would be rereading some day.

7. Book you most anticipated on your club list?

Definitely Germinal - I'd been reading glowing posts about it for so long yet it still took me two years after buying a copy to finally read it. 

8. Book on your club list you’ve been avoiding, if any? Why?

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
It's big and when I think of all those confusing Russian names .....

9. First classic you ever read?

It's so long ago I don't really know - possibly Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery but I wouldn't have been aware that it was 'a Classic'

10. Toughest classic you ever read?

11. Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry? made you angry?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott did all of those things when I first read it - I was about 12 years old.

12. Longest classic you’ve read? Longest classic left on your club list?

The longest title left on my list is Kristin Lavransdatter  by Sigrid Undset at 1144p.

13. Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list?

Oldest I've read would be Shakespeare.

Still on my list - Beowulf.

14.  Favorite biography about a classic author you’ve read?

I love author autobiographies and biographies. Three of my favourites are
  • Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man by Claire Tomalin
  • Morgan: a biography of E.M.Forster by Nicola Beauman
  • The Brontes by Juliet Barker
15. Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why?
When people start telling me what I should be doing I switch off! Not for me to tell anyone what they should be reading.
16. Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any?

My very old edition of Peter Pan retold by May Byron for Little People with the gorgeous illustrations by Mabel Lucie Attwell
17. Favorite movie adaption of a classic?

Gone with the Wind
18. Classic which hasn’t been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film. 

Nothing I can think of!

19. Least favorite classic? Why?

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway - I had a feeling I wouldn't like this author and I didn't. 

20. Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read.

From my current list Sigrid Undset, John Galsworthy, Sir Walter Scott, Angela Thirkell, William M Thackeray.

21. Which title by one of the five you’ve listed above most excites you and why?

Kristin Lavransdattar by Sigrid Undset is a trilogy - medieval historical fiction set in Norway. I've wanted to read it for a long time but I have to buy a copy and other titles keep taking priority.

22. Have you read a classic you disliked on first read that you tried again and respected, appreciated, or even ended up loving? (This could be with the club or before it.)

I read Charles Dickens when I was young and decided he was too slow and longwinded for me but added him to my CC list and read Our Mutual Friend which I loved and then Bleak House which I also loved. Time changes many things.

23. Which classic character can’t you get out of your head?

Maggie Tulliver from The Mill on the Floss

24.Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?
25. Which classic character do you most wish you could be like?
26. Which classic character reminds you of your best friend?

Never given a thought to questions like this. I'm quite happy being me!

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?

I think I would let sleeping dogs lie unless the original ending had left me completely dissatisfied.

28. Favorite children’s classic?

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A.Milne

29. Who recommended your first classic?

They appeared every year in my Christmas loot so I guess I can say Santa did!

30. Whose advice do you always take when it comes to literature. (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.)

Fellow bloggers.

31. Favorite memory with a classic?

My father reading The Wind in the Willows to us - he did wonderful voices and really made the story come alive.

32. Classic author you’ve read the most works by?

I'm not sure - probably Charles Dickens or Thomas Hardy

33. Classic author who has the most works on your club list?

I tried not to have too many of any authors but Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Trollope and Emile Zola all have three.

34. Classic author you own the most books by?

E.F.Benson - I picked up a set of 7 of his books at the Book Fair in 2013.

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 can't answer this one - my list is in a constant state of change and I've added far too many to list.......even if I could remember which ones they are.

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?

This isn't something I would decide to do without having read something by the author and liking him/her enough to want to attempt it. I would far rather do as I plan with Emile Zola - having read Nana and Germinal I am going to start at the beginning of the The Rougon-Marquart series and read them in the recommended order.

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?

I was never much of a rereader before the Classics Club and only added two to my original list. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre I read as a teenager and thought I might appreciate them more now. I read WH last year and it was nothing I remembered it and I'm seeing the value of rereading more now and will definitely be having more on my second list.

38.  Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - I loathed it. Too many people with the same name and so boring!

39. Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving?
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
40. Five things you’re looking forward to next year in classic literature?
  • Finishing my first CC list of 60
  • Joining the readalong of The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy .
  • I haven't committed myself yet but I'm seriously considering taking up Fanda's Literary Movement Challenge
  • Beginning The Rougon-Marquart series by Emile Zola
  • Generally just enjoying all the events held by the Classics Club and by its members.
41. Classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

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

I don't have anything that I feel that strongly about.

43. Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club?

Being part of a community - it inspires and motivates and keeps my enthusiasm high.

44. List five fellow clubbers whose blogs you frequent.

Jane @ Fleur in her World
JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

I never like singling out a few from the many I read and enjoy. :-(  

45. Favorite post you’ve read by a fellow clubber?

No one particular post but a blogger who writes wonderful posts that are always a pleasure to read and I wish I was capable of writing myself - o @ Behold the Stars

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?

I've participated in several readalongs and prefer the longer ones which are an excellent way to read the chunksters that keep getting pushed to the bottom of the TBR. The two best experiences have been Musashi in 2010 and Clarissa in 2012. Both very long books that aren't easy reading but sharing the experience was very motivating and kept me going when I longed to give up.

47. If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why?

The Brothers Karamazov - I'm avoiding it!

48. How long have you been reading classic literature?

All my life on and off  but it's only been in the last six years that I've taken it as something more than just reading. There is purpose and appreciation, the search for understanding - I read so much slower these days which is definitely a good thing.

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.

The First Classics Club Monthly Meme
Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett - a review
A Classics Challenge Prompt - musing on The House of Mirth
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K.Jerome - say it with pictures
Classics Club - I'm Halfway!

50. Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!) Pass!