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Category Archives: classics challenge

Classics Club – December Check-In

classics club check inI don’t normally do these posts (and I’ll readily admit that I’ve been really bad about working on this challenge), but when the update post showed up in my inbox this morning, I figured what the heck. Mostly because this month has actually been semi-successful on the reading/listening front when it comes to this challenge.

In the last two months, I’ve finished up the Lord of the Rings trilogy that I had listed in my classic scifi/fantasy category. however, I have to admit, I can’t say that I was a huge fan. I enjoyed the Hobbit, as well as the first book in the trilogy – but The Two Towers and Return of the King were just too much for me. I’ll be the horrible person who admits that they liked the movies better – in general, they flowed better. I’m almost halfway through listening to Brave New World (in my dystopia category). I should have it finished in the next couple of days. And to finish out the year, I have Slaughterhouse Five lined up for my next listen.

Overall Challenge Update: Overall I’ve read 14 of the 50 books in my original challenge (16 out of 52 if you consider the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as 3 books, not 1). Although, I am WAYYY behind on writing reviews, so that is going to be my goal for 2016 – getting caught up on those, as well as continuing to read my books. I do need to get my ass into gear because September 2017 is rapidly approaching and that is my end goal date.

Cheers to a solid 2015 reading year and looking forward to 2016!

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in classics challenge

 

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The Classics Club – Classics Spin #9…the results are in…

classicsclubThe Results are in…

Last week I posted the 20 books that I had randomly selected for Classics Club Spin #9 – with the purpose of me picking up a book that had been on my Classics Challenge list that I was hesitant to read (although when it comes to classics in general, I sometimes struggle with them). Anyways, the results are in and the lucky number drawn was….2. Number 2 correlated to Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. On my list of classics, this fell under the sub-heading of Utopia/Dystopia Classics.

fahrenheit 451From the description:
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock

Anyone interested in joining in with me while I read (or maybe listen to) Fahrenheit 451?

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in classics challenge

 

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The Classics Club – Classics Spin #9

classicsclub

The Classics Spin is a bi-monthly challenge hosted by The Classics Club to encourage individuals to read a random book off their pile for their classics challenge (a bit more about the challenge can be found HERE). The Classics Spin will run from April 6 (date of spin) until May 15th.

My 20 books are:
1. Brave New World
2. Fahrenheit 451
3. The Chrysalids
4. The Catcher in the Rye
5. The Two Towers
6. The War of the Worlds
7. Neuromancer
8. The Red Badge of Courage
9. Looking Backward
10. Invisible Man
11. The Iron Heel
12. Slaughterhouse-Five
13. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
14. Dandelion Wine
15. The Handmaid’s Tale
16. The Running Man
17. Little Women
18. A Room with a View
19. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
20. The Member of the Wedding

What number will be rolled?

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2015 in classics challenge

 

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Classics Retold Review – Emma – Jane Austen

classics retold

EmmaEmma
Author: Jane Austen

Description:
‘I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.’

Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.

Review:
I have to say that this is probably one of my favorite Jane Austen (only slightly behind Pride and Prejudice). Of all the characters in the various Jane Austen books, I found the ones in Emma to be the most relatable. While all of them were bound by the various society dictates, there was a quirky-ness that shone through with Ms Austen’s descriptions and the development of the story.

It’s hard to say exactly what I really enjoyed about the book, there wasn’t one specific thing that I can say, yes, it was this scene, this person…but rather it was the amalgamation of everyone together. It was like seeing a stained glass mirror…while each part is individually created when its built and is pretty on its own, it is the final product that make people ohhhh and ahhh.

But I always find it hard to write reviews of these classics, because they are classics for a reason…so I’ll leave my review of Emma at that, but since I did listen to the audiobook, I need to address the narration a little bit. I have to admit when I saw that the only version of the audiobook that my library had had a male narrator (Michael Page), I was a tad skeptical, since Emma is told from a female POV and I can’t remember a classic that i’ve listened to, off the top of my head, that has had a male narrator. So it was a completely new experience for me. But I was pleasantly surprised. There was something smooth and flowing about his narration. I know that i’ll be checking out more books narrated by him in the future (and taking a peek, it looks like he had a pretty decent backlist).

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Audiobook Review, classics challenge

 

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Classics Review – Dracula – Bram Stoker

draculaDracula
Author:
Bram Stoker

Narrators: Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley
Run Time: 15 hrs and 28 minutes
Producer: Audible, Inc

Description:
The first and most terrifying of all vampire stories.

Jonathan Harker has a job to do. The young lawyer must go to the mysterious country of Transylvania to work for a man he knows as “the Count.” At first, Jonathan is excited by the chance to travel and meet new people. But after his arrival in Transylvania, he begins to wonder what’s going on. People act strangely upon hearing he is going to visit the Count. When Jonathan arrives at the Count’s dark, deserted castle, he too begins to feel afraid. Soon after meeting his host, Jonathan begins to feel trapped in a horrifying nightmare. Only this nightmare is real and he can’t wake up.

Why Dracula?
Nowadays you can’t enter a bookstore without running into a vampire novel of some shape/size/description. From books like The Historian (literary fiction), to the Paranormal Romances of Christine Feehan, Kresley Cole and Kerrelyn Sparks. Each author brings their unique perspective to answer the question what is a vampire. So it seemed like a good idea to go back to the beginning (or at least almost the beginning). And so, here I am…lol!

Review:
So I went into Dracula pretty much blind – I knew the basic premise (I mean who doesn’t) and the fact that it was told in an epistolary type format (which, BTW, i love that word!) Other than a vague recollection of character names, I didn’t know anything else. I will admit that I was expecting more of a horror novel than what I got. It turned out to be rather…academic (for lack of a better word) in the telling of the story. There was some emotion at times, but ultimately, it was very stark. But that isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it…in fact there was something almost addicting about the story – whether it was the writing or the narration of the audiobook, i’m not quite sure. I do know that friends of mine have had issues getting going with it – but I was pretty much sucked in from the beginning.

I can also see why Dracula won the best audiobook category for Multi-Voiced Performance this year. While it wasn’t the one in the category that I picked, it was in my top 3. i really like the cast of narrations – with some of my favorites like Simon Vance who was the voice of Jonathan Harker and Katherine Kellgren, to more well-known movie stars, like Tim Curry. Each voice was unique (because they were pretty much done all by different people). the quality of the audiobook was great – I know that I will be checking out more books produced by Audible in the future. Overall, 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2013 in Book Review, classics challenge

 

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Classics Review – The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

great gatsbyThe Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Narrator: Jake Gyllenhaal
Run Time: 4hr 52 minutes
Produced By: Audible Inc

Description:
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Written in 1925, it is often referred to as “The Great American Novel,” and as the quintessential work which captures the mood of the “Jazz Age.”

The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed prosperity during the “roaring” 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers.

Why I Chose The Great Gatsby:
So this is one of those books that most American students read in high school, but since I went to school overseas, it was never on a required reading list. But when I was putting together my classics list for the challenge, it seemed like a good book to include – I mean, its on reading lists for a reason right? (I’ve yet to actually figure that reason out, even after listening to it). And since there is a movie remake of it that was just released starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey McGuire – I figured it was a good time to listen to it. I have to say though that I was decidedly underwhelmed with it.

Review:
This is one of those books that isn’t long – and the audiobook is only like 5 hours long – but those 5 hours seemed to drag. I just never felt like I was connected with the characters; I couldn’t care about them. I get that it was supposed to highlight the decadency of the 1920’s and the Jazz age – all the parties; the soirees; anti-prohibition etc – but it just didn’t work for me. I honestly about cheered when the climax of the book played out because I knew that I was almost done and that the goal of knocking it off my list was behind me. I find it hard to even write a constructive review of the book because I didn’t struggle with it so much. So this is about it…

Even the narration by Jake Gyllenhal – an actor who I enjoy – didn’t improve on the experience. I found his narration to be a bit lacking in places. The first hour or so was very dull and you could tell that there were some issues with him developing the characters voices – but he did soon settle into a good rhythm and the narration improved – but by then, I just didn’t care…
I do have to wonder why this book is still on high school reading lists – because if I was still in high school, I probably would have rebelled against reading this or just skimmed it enough to BS my way through any class discussions/papers on themes…it wouldn’t be of interest to me. I guess that is why I never took any American Literature courses in college…

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Audiobook Review, classics challenge

 

The Classics Club – May Meme

classicsclub1I haven’t really participated in the monthly meme’s being held by the Classics Club before, but I happened to be sitting at my computer pondering a blog post for today (to review or not to review is the question?) – when the email popped up with this months topic/discussion point. So what the heck – here it goes:

Tell us about the classic book(s) you’re reading this month. You can post about what you’re looking forward to reading in May, or post thoughts-in-progress on your current read(s).

For the most part since I have been doing this challenge, I have been picking books at random to read, depending on what kind of mood I am in. However, the stars seem to be aligning and I have 2 books on the pile that I plan to read/listen to this month – Dracula and Middlemarch.

Middlemarch is one of those books that even though it is on my list, I am scared to read since it is a chunker. However, it was voted on as a monthly group read in one of my Goodreads groups – and we have a whole reading plan laid out for it – so hopefully, I will finish. I plan to read it, however, I also have the audiobook cued up on my ipod should the need arise to listen (I tend to enjoy classics more that way).

The second book I have lined up for May is Dracula. I was originally going to hold off and do this one around Halloween and line it up with horror as a theme for the month. However, the audiobook of this popped as a nomination for the annual audiobook awards in the category that I am reviewing (multi-voiced narration) – so I plan to start listening to it as soon as I finish my current listen. I have to admit that I am excited but skeptical at the same time – I’ve never listened to a classic that has had more than one narrator before. So it will be something completely new for me.

Hopefully, May will be a successful month in working towards my classics challenge goal.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in classics challenge

 

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