Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Armchair BEA: Classics


I wasn't planning on two posts in one day, but classics are one of my favourite types of books to read, so I couldn't let the opportunity to write about them pass!

My love of classics started in childhood with Frances Hodgson Burnett. I lost count of the amount of times I read The Secret Garden, but more particularly, A Little Princess. I was an imaginative child and I loved the way that Sara Crewe used her imagination to help her get through tough times.  Alongside these, I read many abridged/children's versions of classics and soon started to love classic adventure stories too.          

As I grew older, I was introduced to many more classics in school.  I had a wonderful English Literature teacher who taught me to love Shakespeare and I continued to try them out on my own.  When I was 16, George Orwell was my hero, as I read 1984 at just the time when I was becoming interested in politics too.  It helped that my older sister was doing an English Literature degree when I was in secondary school, and was able to introduce me to lots of different classic books.

Now, as an adult, I still love classics and I'm getting to the point where I want to reread all of the classics I read as a teenager, to see if they feel any different.  These are the classics I particularly enjoy:

   

1. Anything Bronte - I am an intense person, so the Brontes speak to me in this regard!  Whilst I like Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, Charlotte Bronte remains my favourite, and Villette is probably my favourite book, ever.

2. Anything Gothic - My love of classic gothic literature started with Dracula, The Woman in White and Carmilla.  I've not read enough of this type of classic to satisfy me yet, but am hoping to read The Mysteries of Udophlo and then Northanger Abbey soon.

3. Epics! - I love a good epic, no matter where they come from.  I count Gone With the Wind as a classic, I loved this for its epic-ness, along with Anna Karenina and A Tale of Two Cities.  I suspect A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth will become a classic with time.

4. Politically Motivated Classics - I'm thinking of 1984 and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch.  I need to read some more books like these.

If you enjoy classics, you should really join The Classics Club.  I'm challenging myself to read 72 classics in five years, I've just finished book 9.  The list of books I plan to read is here and my reviews of classics I've already read are here.

Link me to your classics posts :)
Or, I'd love recommendations...

24 comments:

  1. Ooh, I'm excited to hear you mention loving Villette! I've been meaning to read it for ages and this may just be the push I need :) Have you read The Count of Monte Cristo? I LOVED that book! I really want to read his other works as well, but these books are just so big...

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    1. Villette is awesome but it is a bit harder to read than Jane Eyre - the narrator doesn't give much away.
      The Count of Monte Cristo scares me, I'm encouraged to see you enjoyed it :)

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  2. I need to get onto more Brontë novels. I'm doing the classic club challenge as well I thought about going for 200 books in 5 years but decided on 100. So far I've only done 27; highlights include P&P, Crime and Punishment and rereading Gatsby, Heart of Darkness and Lolita

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    1. I'm planning on doing a second list once I finish the first, so I'm sure you'll get to the second 100 :)

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  3. I just might have to sign up for the classic club challenge! I, too, have much love for Shakespeare :) He just changed so many things, including the vocabulary of the English language :)

    Lexxie

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    1. You should sign up, it's a wonderfully supportive community and it keeps me focused on reading classics alongside more modern books.

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  4. The Classics Club has been one of my favorite things about blogging :) It's so great to be able to chat with others about those great books!

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  5. A Suitable Boy will definitely be a classic. It will be an injustice if it isn't.

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    1. I couldn't agree more! I can't wait for A Suitable Girl to be released.

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  6. Vilette is probably next for and I adore anything by Wilkie Collins. I am re-reading The Moonstone right now. Thanks for sharing.

    http://mwgerard.com/armchair-bea-introduction-and-classics/

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    1. I love Wilkie too, The Moonstone is great!

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  7. Great post, Sam! I had wonderful teachers who introduced me to the classics, and I could not be more grateful. I've also been itching to re-read some of those books that impressed me so much in my formative years. Namely, A Tale of Two Cities. Good stuff!

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    1. How classics are introduced are so important. I'm always conscious of that as a teacher, I try to inspire children with the stories, rather than the language features necessarily (I teach eleven year olds).

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  8. I read an abridged play of Dracula when I started high school, and I enjoyed it, so I really should pick up the book. My GCSE English teacher was incredibly passionate about the classics, but we didn't have any time on the course to actually read them, which is a shame, but not an excuse as to why I didn't pick them up on my own accord! I do love Shakespeare though, although I never remember his works when I talk about classics because my brain seems to solely focus on books and not plays or poetry!

    Thanks for stopping by my post! :)

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    1. My GCSE teacher was similar, she used to lend me copies of classics and that's how I really got into them.

      I always forget Shakespeare too...

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  9. Ah The Woman in White...still one of my all time favourites. The Classics Club is such an amazing thing. I love having that push to return to classics after my degree.

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  10. Classic literature is my favorite genre (if they even are a genre) to read, hands down. Charlotte Bronte is near the top for me, but Shirley is my favorite. Something about that book tugged all my heartstrings and I fell in love.

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  11. Ah, The Woman in White is such a good book. I absolutely loved 1984, too (I had wanted to read it for so many years, but only just did so recently - part of me is glad that I waited, as I'm not sure I would have appreciated it as much when I was younger. Its politics are still so incredibly, and terrifyingly, relevant today).

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  12. only recently did I discover The Secret Garden , and loved it a lot. In the gothic style, I LOVE Rebecca!

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