Friday, July 1, 2011

Top Ten Classics I Intend to Read... Eventually

I have taken this post idea from Carrie at Reading To Know, who in turn got the idea from Bluerose's Heart. Each one of our lists differ, so when you're done checking mine out be sure to click the above links and see what ten classics made these ladies' lists.

On Reading Classics
Over the last decade I have read quite a few classics and I know that is all due to the ladies in my book club. They are the ones that encourage and challenge me to read the classics, both modern and ancient.

When it comes to classics I am reminded of a quote by C. S. Lewis:
"It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones."

Of course I'm not always very good at following this reading-rule-of-thumb, but I do try to keep it in mind and broaden my reading to include old as well as new, non-fiction as well as fiction, and the challenging read as well as the light and easy. My "Top Ten Classics" list includes some very old reads as well as a couple more recent "classics." It includes some challenging reads and some less challenging, but somehow they are all books I've known I should read and intend to read... eventually.

My Top 10 List (in no particular order):

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
 I've enjoyed Jane Eyre, but the depressing story of Heathcliff and Catherine is one I just haven't rushed to read... Yet so many people love this book and insist I must read it... One day I will.
2. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I started reading The Grapes of Wrath in high school. I enjoyed Steinbeck's descriptive writing, but was turned off by a particular character in the story. Even so, everyone says this is a must read classic and so I know I really should get to it sooner than later. I managed to read East of Eden, so how much worse could this one be?

3. The Thousand and One Nights by Anonymous
 Ever since the early 90s when I first saw the Disney adaptation of Aladdin I have wanted to read this book. I think it could be a very interesting read.

4. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I cannot believe I have not read this novel. I mean, I love a good mystery and who could be better than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!?
 5. Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace 
I've never really thought about reading Ben-Hur, but if Anne Shirley enjoyed it so much she couldn't put it down for Geometry I think it must be worth the time.
6. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens 
Another read I started in high school, but never finished. If it weren't for my book club I doubt I would have ever finished a Dickens because of my experience in high school... But since then I have read and loved no less than three Dickens novels. I will one day return and finish this story.

 7. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
This story has always struck me as weird, but I've heard by a good friend that it is definitely a worthwhile read. I hope one day to see for myself why she likes it so much.
8. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
This is one novel that I know I must read. I know it will be a challenge, but I think I'll be glad I read it when I'm done.

9. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Saw the movie, loved it. Know I will probably love the book even more. Sadly can't say I've ever read any Dumas. Really to be a well-read reader I should read at least one and this one interests me the most.

10. Silas Marner by George Elliot
Read and loved Middlemarch years ago. I have since heard that Silas Marner is also an very good read. I've put off George Elliot for a while because she's not exactly a breeze, but perhaps in 2012 I'll get this one off my TBR list and onto my review shelf.

So that's my top ten list. Have you read any of these? Any thoughts of encouragement or discouragement about reading them in the next year or two? Are any of these books on your list? Leave me a comment and let me know, or better yet, leave a link so I can check out your own "Top Ten Classics I Intend to Read" list.

Happy reading!


Mary G said...

I read Vanity Fair in college on a long weekend; all my friends were agonizing over it in English Lit (which I'd waived) and I figured it couldn't be THAT bad. Reading it for fun was ... fun! I really liked it. Silas Marner is excellent -- altho we're big Eliot fans around here. Brontes I'd rather not read -- too dark for me (I've read Wuthering and Jane Eyre -- creepy). I think I'm going to check out Arabian Nights ...that could be a fun read-aloud!

Audrey said...

I read *The Hound of the Baskervilles* in grade school. I remember enjoying it though the 'hound' was a little creepy. :)

Carrie said...

Fun! Loved The Count of Monte Cristo. I read that one at Jonathan's insistence and it was awesome. I think you WOULD love it!

Maybe we should try Grapes of Wrath together. Pick a month, invite people to join in, etc., etc., etc. That or Vanity Fair. I keep thinking I should read that one too. But then I didn't care for the movie so I hesitate.

LOVE that C.S. Lewis quote! It's really good advice. Now if I'd just TAKE it!

Anonymous said...

I love Wuthering Heights! I've read it multiple times and almost can't put it down. If you like Gothic, you'll probably like it. I don't think it's really that depressing. As for The Grapes of Wrath, ugh, I hated it. I mean, I it was like slugging through mud. I don't think I'd bother, seriously. Granted, I was pretty young when I read it. As for Ben-Hur, I liked it pretty good, although it gook me about a year to get through it! I should make one of these lists of my own.

Marie said...

I hated Wuthering Heights- if there's one to skip, it's that one! I can't figure out why everyone loves it so much!

FleurFisher said...

I re-read Oliver Twist earlier this year, and flew threw it much more quickly than I had thought it would. And I'm working my way through The Count of Monte Cristo very slowly in installments, an approach that is working well for me so high. Then, with the exception of Silas Marner and Wuthering Heights, my classics tbr would look very much like yours. I want to read Vanity Fair soon, because my mother has been telling me to for years, and she is usually right about these things.

Cozy in Texas said...

My goal was to read Dickens this year, but so far I have so many books on my pile that I haven't delved into any.

Anonymous said...

Don't bother with Wuthering Heights--I loved Jane Eyre, but was not at all a fan of Wuthering Heights. I felt Heathcliff should be locked up in a tower somewhere like Mrs. Rochester. On the other hand, it was nice to have read it and have an opinion about it, even if not a positive one...

Hound of the Baskervilles, though, is my favorite Sherlock Holmes book. Wonderful.

Alyce said...

I tried reading Wuthering Heights and failed, but liked Jane Eyre. I read an abridged version of 1001 nights when I was a kid and loved it, so I do plan to read the full version at some point. Good luck with your reading!

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Wuthering Heights and Grapes of Wrath are on my list as well.. along with, some Russian lit, some more Austen, possibly some more Orwell... so much to read!

Good luck with the list.

Bluerose said...

1001 Nights just got added to my list! Can you believe I didn't even know it existed?! I really want to read Gulliver's Travels, too. :)