Classicsathon Wrap Up 2018
In August, I participated in Classicsathon hosted by Lucy The Reader. It was a blast and I picked up loads of books I would not have picked up before. I started off with a pile of four books.
These four books were to meet very different goals. “To Have and Have Not” by Ernest Hemingway was the first of the group. I had read “Old Man and the Sea” back in high school and did not enjoy it one bit. I remember putting him under one of my least favourite authors of all time and figured I would never read anything by him again. On a recent trip, I got to travel and explore two places that Hemingway called home in his lifetime. I decided I owed Hemingway another try since it had been half a lifetime ago that I read his work. My tastes have changed, and my mind has opened to reading a more diverse selection of books. Based on where I was going I decided to read “To Have and Have Not.” I enjoyed it more than “Old Man and the Sea”; the book was packed with action, but there were dialogues I could not follow, one story line that I still do not understand why it needed to be in the book, and I found transitions nonexistent at many parts. I would give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars. I was told there are many others I need to read by him. I do intend to give him another go; just not right away.
Next on the list was a book I remember enjoying in high school. I remember enjoying the themes discussed in “1984” written by George Orwell. I have no idea how I liked this book back in high school. I had a very hard time getting through it and at several parts I just wanted to stop. Interestingly enough a few months ago I tried “Animal Farm” again after loathing it in high school. I actually enjoyed it much more the second time. As a said earlier, I think tastes, and your perspective and viewpoints can change. I would give it a 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Emily Brontë’s “Complete Poems” were a pleasant surprise after not liking Wuthering Heights when I read it first earlier in 2018. It was so beautiful and vivid. I enjoyed it so much that it might go on my list as one of my top three favourite books I have read this year. I have started the book over again and I am reading a poem a day or so because I just want to keep revisiting them and diving deeper into these beautiful little masterpieces. These poems are a perfect example on how just because you do not enjoy one piece of work by an author does not mean you will not enjoy something else or works in the future. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would!
The last of Jane Austen’s six main novels I had to read finished off my initial list for the month of August. “Persuasion” was a disappointment for me. I found the first third of the book very slow and dull. I had tried reading this many years ago and felt the same way but had given up only after 20 pages. It is why I kept putting it off until it was the last of the six to read. I am sad as it is in my bottom three out of the six. I am still not sure of its placement in the bottom. I want to read all of them again to get a good placement for it. I am disappointed in this ranking as I know it is many people’s favourite work of Austen’s; even over “Pride and Prejudice.”
I honestly planned on stopping there. I did not think I would have time to read much more than that with all the activities I had planned. I had three backups that I planned on reading and actually went with completely different books once I had finished my initial four. Classics are pretty well-read pieces of work. For that reason, I am going to just give you the book, author, rating out of five stars and possibly, a sentence or two.
1) “To Have and Have Not” by Earnest Hemingway. 2.5 stars.
2) “1984” by George Orwell. 1.5 stars.
3) “The Complete Poems” by Emily Brontë. 5 stars.
4) “Persuasion” by Jane Austen. 3.5 stars.
5) “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis. 5 stars.
6) “Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal” by The Brontës. 4 stars. Each section was a little different. By section ratings: Charlotte-2 stars, Bramwell-3.5 stars, Emily-5 stars, and Anne-5 stars.
The next two I bought in Canada via recommendations of Canadian classics from a college student in Montreal and a young man in Toronto, respectively.
7) “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” by Mordecai Richler. 3 stars.
8) “Wenjack” by Joseph Boyden. 2.5 stars.
9) “Daisy Miller” by Henry James. 3 stars.
10) “The Horse and His Boy” by C. S. Lewis. 4 stars.
11) “Prince Caspian” by C. S. Lewis. 4 stars.
12) “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C. S. Lewis. 3.5 stars.
13) “The Silver Chair” by C. S. Lewis. 5 stars.
14) “The Last Battle” by C. S. Lewis 3.5 stars.
During Classicsathon what I enjoyed most was discovering more authors and stories I had never heard of. The side effects of this have been felt on my book shelves. My once very organized, but thin, classics shelf is now stuffed to the brim. I had to take off all of the classics I have already read and put them in a bin under my bed. With that, I have plenty of “new” classics to read on my shelf that is still overflowing. Many of these are “new” authors to me. Some of these authors are Shirley Jackson, Alexandre Dumas, George Eliot, E. M. Forster, Thomas Hardy, and Henry James. Some authors I had heard of but had never picked up one of their books. Some of these authors were Margaret Atwood, Daphne du Maurier, Rudyard Kipling, and Elizabeth Gaskell.
I am sad I could not complete the impossible task of reading every classic I owned in August, but I am excited for October because it is Victober which means a Victorian readathon with some more fun challenges. I have already started picking out my “to be read” pile for the month. I cannot wait to share what I will be reading.
I hope next year there will be another Classicsathon as I had so much fun and explored, learned, and discovered so much more in the world of classics.