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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Required Reading

One of my goals for 2010 is to read 12 classics. (Last year I read 12 non-fiction books) Having done the majority of my schooling in Europe, my list of English classics that I have read is sorely lacking. (That said, I've read a bunch of neat classic Spanish books!) I consider it to be an important part of my intellectual development, and the fact that I have never read a one of Shakespeare's works bothers me not a little.

Ideally, my goal is to purchase these 12 books that I plan to read this year, so that after I have read them, they can take up residence in my home. :-) These cloth covered Penguin classics that Anthropologie sells are beautiful, but I am looking for something a little more vintage and a little less $$$$$. I'm a sucker for vintage hardcover books, but I'm finding that true classics are really hard to find. Any suggestions?

I've read pretty much everything that Jane Austen has written (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, etc) , Frankenstein, and I've also read Jane Eyre. I need some other suggestions friends! Here's what's tentatively on my list this year:
  1. Great Expectations
  2. A Tale of Two Cities
  3. Oliver Twist
  4. Wuthering Heights
  5. Hamlet
I know there are tons more, so which would you recommend? They don't have to be particularly interesting, just classics. :-)


Mrs. 5C January 13, 2010 at 5:16 PM  

Dracula! I read it to try to get over my ridiculous fear of vampires. It didn't work, but it was a GOOD book.

jen January 14, 2010 at 11:39 PM  

how funny! Dracula was what came to my mind as well :) I really don't remember a thing about the storyline or anything…just that I read it on my spring break senior year (while all my friends were out riding jet skis with the Swiss guys who were visiting. Yes, I was (am) a nerd!
how about Phantom of the Opera? again…I read it and barely remember it!
Not sure really what the definition of a classic is, but if you haven't read all of Louisa May Alcott's yet…Eight Cousins & Rose in Bloom are both good ones from her.
Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is another oldy/goody and not too long!
anyway…hope you come up with a good list! I think I'm going to go for the 12 non-fiction books this year!

Megan January 15, 2010 at 10:41 AM  

I would definitely recommend To Kill A Mockingbird. I loved that book. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is also a great book for any woman to read.

Emily Kate January 15, 2010 at 3:19 PM  

Thanks for your comments on my blog the other day! Now I get a chance to return the favor. I love books (I got a few of those gorgeous Anthropologie books for my birthday!) and majored in English Lit because I'm a nerd...

I don't know what your taste is, but here are my suggestions:

- Middlemarch (George Eliot). It maybe be long, but it's like Jane Austen on crack! One of the best-written books I've ever read, ever!

-Great Expectations (Charles Dickens). An iconic classic, and my favorite Dickens book. Bonus: You can watch the movie as a reward!

-The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald). Such excellent writing...

-1984 (George Orwell). I hate to get political, but this is a good warning to all of us.

-A Room with a View (EM Forster). Romantic (in my opinion), and it's short!

If you are going to read any Shakespeare, I would get a version that has notes/explanations... Really helps you understand context because he can be a little dense!

I can recommend plenty more if you are interested, but I'll stop there for now.

PS - It's awesome that you set goals for yourself like this. My favorite task for reading is to alternate classics with new works, a la CS Lewis who said: "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." He was mostly talking about scholarly works... but I have repurposed it to fiction/nonfiction as well. :-)

Jenny @ Words on Wendhurst January 21, 2010 at 10:25 AM  

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I am scared to read Dracula....but intrigued at the same time. These are all really good suggestions!

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