12.29.2011

#25: Read 10 Classic Books

I was always an avid reader. I was that kid who read everything she could get her hands on. Yes, that included every book that was assigned. I found some I never would've read that I really enjoyed (The Count of Monte Cristo, All Quiet on the Western Front) and others I found horrid (Siddhartha). Okay okay. I didn't finish Siddartha. I finished Anna Karenina for AP English my junior year out of spite. I wanted to prove that I could do it. Especially once most of my class didn't finish it. I HATED that long, long book. I wanted to read ten classic books before I turned 30. I wanted to pick a mix of books that were on English teachers' book lists, things a lot of people I knew had read in middle or high school and classic works by black authors.

This list was just like a trip back to school. There were some I loved and wished I read earlier and others I never want to even think about again. Let's start with the highs. Number one hands down is.... PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!!!!!! I love this book!!! I want to read it again and again and again! It's so awesome!! I also loved Their Eyes Were Watching God. Awesome. The Grapes of Wrath. I did NOT expect to love this book! I was marginally optimistic about the first two but this was the sleeper hit! So good! I'll tie these at number two! The top three are COMPLETELY different books set in different times, different countries but they have one thing in common: they're all incredibly well-written.

I really liked Oliver Twist but it would come in fourth on the list of the ten books I read. Invisible Man was the most thought-provoking for me, though it got off to a slow start. After the first 150 or so pages (there were 400 more), it was quite good.  It's number five. Coming in at number six, Uncle Tom's Cabin. It was just there for me. I liked it at times, other times didn't. Overall, it was fine. Number seven: Lord of the Flies was similar but more toward the don't like side.

Number eight is Catcher in the Rye. Not at all my kind of book. Overly-indulged rich kid goes around doing whatever he wants. Stream of consciousness. It made me exasperated with people who relate to this book. No thanks. Number nine is The Great Gatsby. I know! It's a true classic. Whatevs. I couldn't connect with the characters or relate to them. That normally doesn't matter to me. But in this case, the characters all felt frivolous. Number ten is Catch 22. I picked it because I've seen the cover blown up to poster size on the walls of Barnes and Noble. It took me months to read. MONTHS. No more picking books like that. Yech.

Overall? This was a great goal! AND my reading bug is officially reignited! For my 35 before 35 (LOLOL), I'm going to read 35 more classic books that I've never tackled. I only need 5 more. Suggestions?

6 comments:

mrstdj said...

You already know I'm a nerd, and yup, I was an English major in college. I concur with most of your commentary here. I'm surprised that you didn't like The Great Gatsby though. Hmm, a few other classics I'd suggest are Brave New World by Huxley, Sister Carrie by Dreiser, and As I Lay Dying by Faulkner.

Sparkling Red said...

Good for you! I always say to myself that I should read more of The Classics, but do I get around to it? Not so much.
A few years ago I tackled Moby Dick. I enjoyed parts of it, but it was VERY long, and I quit a few chapters before the end. Melville was bipolar, and he wrote some of the chapters during his manias, which explains the obsessive detailing of whaling facts and methods. If you want to learn a lot about whaling, this is your book.

JeLisa | Blogging Ever After said...

I keep trying to get into the classics and just can't! I have so many of those books that I've started and never finished. :/

Jameil said...

mrstdj... I've already read Brave New World but I'll look into the other ones!

red... I'm going to pass on whaling. Sheesh.

jelisa... lol some of them are incredibly slow starters. i'm sure you'll get one you like one day!

Not so Anonymous said...

I haven't read "All Quiet..." or Western Front. On the others I agree with you except on Catcher in the Rye. It's one of my "classic" faves. I think the fact that I can't really relate appeals to me...wierd? maybe.

Jameil said...

nsa... Ooh! Interesting! Not relating appeals to you. Sometimes that works for me. In this case it really really didn't. Maybe I was going through something similar at the time. LOL