Book Club Friday! Let's Talk Classics . . .

Friday, April 22, 2011
Of Woods and Words

End the week with bookish chat. I share what I'm reading, you share what you're reading. If you've written a bookish post yourself in the last week or so, slap the above book club button on it and link up below!

I'm still working my way through Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. I'm still enjoying it, but I had to agree with my commenters from last that Italy was the best part of the book. Funny, when the talk turned away from eating, my interest started to wane. Can we please talk about pizza some more? No? Bummer . . . I'm just starting in on the Indonesia section and am finding it much more interesting than her time spent at the Ashram in India. Although there were plenty of important lessons embedded in the India section, I just didn't find it as gripping as other sections.

The other day, I finished up a short story and asked Andy to read it over, to make sure it made sense. "You know what you should read?" he asked when he'd finished reading my latest work. I shook my head. He went over to the bookshelf and pulled out Hemingway's Complete Short Stories. "This!" he said.

Now, I'm not a huge Hemingway fan. While I admire his work, it's never resonated with me. He just more a "boys will be boys" sort of writer and I find men, in general, like his writing way more than women do. Like, way, WAY more. Still, I believe there are lessons a writer can learn from anything they read, so I cracked open a random short story and started reading. I still don't love Hemingway. But I do admire him: for his style, for his storytelling, for his success.

All this talk of Hemingway got me thinking about classic books. Since my junior year of high school, I've been working through the College Board's list of 101 Great Books for the college bound. I'm officially in my fourth year out of college (how can that be true?) and still have 37 books left to read on the list. In that time frame, I have read a fair amount of classics not on the list, but still, 37 left to go? Yikes! For a long time, I was pretty focused on checking off books on the list, but lately I've found I need to mix up my reading a little more (some chick lit, some bestsellers, etc.) to keep both my reading and writing mind refreshed. 

Among my classic favorites: anything Austen, Shakespeare, Henry James, Bronte, and du Maurier. Accessible, well told stories are truly timeless.

Do you read the classics? Why or why not? What are some of your favorites? If you don't read the classics what's your favorite book genre?

Happy Friday!


  1. I haven't gotten to "Eat, Pray, Love" yet, but I've heard about it from so many people that I guess I need to add it to the pile.

    I was a Hemingway fan in my younger years and worked through pretty much everything he wrote in high school.

    I've read quite a few of the classics. Now I'm a much more eclectic reader, but they still find their way into my reading pile. For entertainment reading, I tend toward murder mysteries (just finished the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson) and the occasional chick lit. I like a lot of non-fiction as well, especially "people" stories--biographies, autobiographies, stories of personal journeys for lack of a better term.

  2. I don't make much time for real book reading these days- mostly how-to books (How to Stay Sane, How to Not go Berzerk, How to Fool People into thinking you're normal, etc.) but I went to a very Classically based college so the classics were required reading even if you were, say, a chemistry major (which I was NOT, btw, in case you couldn't guess). I did take a fiction book down off the shelf and pretended for 3 seconds that I was about to start reading it. I don't even remember the title. Does that count?

    Happy Friday!

  3. Eat Pray Love, I'm still on the fence about that book. I loved Italy and Indonesia, but I wanted/expected MORE from the book itself. The movie = terrible.

    I don't read the classics, I don't know why. I've always wanted to and we have some leather bound classics in the office so maybe now I'll give them a shot. They're classics for a reason right? They MUST be good.

    Just finished Water for Elephants...did you read that one yet? Eeveryone told me it was sooo amazing but I wasn't totally impressed. It was good but not amazing.

    Still on The Help...I'm thinking good thoughts : )

  4. I am a complete sucker for the classics. I have read Austen and the Bronte sisters until blue in the face. And of course a million others....

    I like to imagine myself in those periods. These books are escapes and the words they use are so much more expressive than contemporary language....

  5. strangely, i really love hemingway, and all of the american expats from the 20s. though i'm a crazy feminist, i really love that they lived in and wrote of a time where men were men, and women were women, etc.

    i guess the reason why i like it is because though delineation of the sexes has always been present in fiction, this is the first era when men wrote of WANTING women, and being beguiled by them, and working violently to get them. it's sort of empowering for the ladies of the time.

  6. I sure love Hemingway, when I can get past the chauvinism. I started reading "The Paris Wife" about his time with Hadley, his first wife, and I was really enjoying it but then it was due back at the library so I haven't finished it yet :) I will let you know how it goes. As far as classics go, I like to intersperse them in with my non-fiction and my chick lit!


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