The Classics Club:
My answers to the 10 Year Celebration Questionnaire
The Classics Club is ten years old, so they asked their members to answer a questionnaire.
1. When did you join the Classics Club?
On 1/1/2016, as announced here
2. What is the best classic book you’ve read for the club so far? Why?
Between 1/1/2016 and today, 8/17/2022, I have read 233 classics, so picking a favorite is too hard.
I will just highlight my last three big discoveries:
Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell (1933)
It was neat to read his nonfiction, with the same quality of details and characters as in his fiction.
The Bride Wore Black, by Cornell Woolrich (1940)
Major discovery, I so enjoyed the structure of he book and the psychology of the characters.
I like reading classics that are no longer super famous. Many of his books have been made into movies, but most people don’t even know he was the original writer, like Rear Window.
So Big, by Edna Ferber (1924)
I was very impressed by this historical portrait of Illinois, and again, great details on the evolution of characters.
3. What is the first classic you ever read?
Not too sure, maybe Les Misérables (1862) –when I was 10 in 6th grade. I know, my Mom was Hugo’s fan and she made me read classics way too early.
I remember reading Anna Karenina (1878) when I was 11, in 7th grade. Insanely too young!
4. Which classic book inspired you the most?
Not too sure about inspiration, but my favorite, which I read also in 7th grade, and again 10 years ago, and again this summer, is probably Le Grand Meaulnes, by Alain-Fournier (1913).
I read it before joining the Club, that’s why I didn’t consider it for question 2 above.
5. What is the most challenging one you’ve ever read, or tried to read?
Probably In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust (the 7 volumes, 1913-1927).
Volumes 3 and 4 were challenging for me, but all the over volumes were worth it. I’m considering rereading it all.
6. Favorite movie adaptation of a classic? Least favorite?
Not sure, I don’t watch many movies.
7. Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?
Maybe Francie in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith (1943) .
For her refuge in books when life was not easy
8. Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving? Respecting? Appreciating?
Nothing comes to mind. I think if there’s a classic I expect to dislike, I will not even try to read it, as there are so many that attract me, from many countries.
9. Classic/s you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?
I’m going to try The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Stern (1767).
I put it on my list because of a video I watched where Salman Rushdie highlighted how important this book was for him.
And then the books I haven’t read yet in my 3rd list.
Favorite memory with a classic and/or your favorite memory with The Classics Club?
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of Sherlock Holmes, and to all of Hercule Poirot.
Thanks so much to all the folks at The Classics Club. Neat community.
The Classics Spins are fun incentive, and I enjoy the authors presented on a regular basis.
And to many years!
I will soon talk about my 4th list, as I’m approaching the 137th book of my 3rd list – yes, it was freeing to discover you can have as many books as you want on your list!
📚 📚 📚
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT DID YOU THINK?
IF YOU ARE MEMBER OF THE CLASSICS CLUB,
WHAT BOOK DID YOU GET FOR THIS SPIN?
MY FULL CLASSICS CLUB LIST IS HERE
I’m not surprised you couldn’t pick just one favourite out of 233 classics.
Good luck with Tristram Shandy, I’m not brave enough to tackle that
we’ll see how it goes
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Interesting that you have read the Bible as literature. A good idea! Which translation did you read? If I ever did this, it would have to be in the language of the King James Version. And have you included the Apocrypha? Some rattling good yarns in there!
Yes, I thought it would be a good idea to reread it all more as literature (as universities do), and in fact, I listened to all of the OT. I used the very first ever audio recording (yes, King James version, available now on YouTube, by Alexander Scourby.
The channel I used is no longer in existence, but all the books read by him are here: https://www.youtube.com/c/YouBibleChannelLitchfieldAssociates
It was a very interesting experience, very different from my studying or meditating reading of it.
As for the NT, it gave me the opportunity to read the recent translation by an Orthodox (I’m an Orthodox Christian) scholar: The New Testament, by David Bentley Hart. Fabulous mastery of Greek. Great explanations on how and why he translated the way he did.
Interesting list. You have read over 200 classics, that is great. I don’t think I will ever come that far. I recently read a few Cornell Woolrich novellas which I liked very much. This one was not one of them, so something to enjoy in the future. I have only Read Saratoga Trunk by Ferber but always wanted to read more. This is on my list.
I have not read Les M but watch the latest movie version. I found it terribly boring and will not even try to read it. Anna Karena is on my list though. I have a wonderful, older copy of the book with some illustrations inside. Should make for even more enjoyable reading.
I’m getting in years, and have read way more than 200 classics. This is just since 1/1/2016.
Wow, I had not even heard of Saratoga Trunk (not even the movie!), I need to check this out, thanks.
Les Misérables is actually an amazing portrait of France, with amazing characters. Maybe have a look at this book by David Bellos on it, that will help you enter it: https://wordsandpeace.com/2017/06/07/booktube-david-bellos-and-les-miserables/.
Anna Karenina is quite dramatic, curious to see what you think
Yes, good luck with Tristram Shandy, I was completely baffled when I had to read it in college, but I’d like to give it another try. I have a feeling though it will turn out to be the kind of meta-fiction that just annoys me (I do not always get along with Salman Rushdie and the like, either). Thanks for your answers, always an inspiration.
Ah, I didn’t even know it was meta-fiction. I have to say, this is a word that will make jump onto a book. Now I’m even more intrigued
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I do hope you will love it. As I recall there is one page that is just blank (or was it black?) and this was very innovative at the time, though now it’s just run-of-the-mill modern art (or non-art, as some may say).
Interesting. Yes, way modern at the time!
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I loved Le Grand Meaulnes, when I read it as a teen and really should read it again. I have Tristram Shandy to read so thank you for the Rushdie promp, I’ll have a look for it!
It was in this wonderful talk about “his great books”: https://youtu.be/hgT1A5KqCik
My favourite memory with a classic has to be my dad reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien to me has a child as a bedtime story. What I didn’t realise until I read for myself at about seven-years-old was that he left out the scary bits! 😊
It is hard to pick a favorite, isn’t it?
Good luck with Tristram Shandy.
Such a great challenge. I finally did it and here are my answers to the questionnaire.
The latest attempt on Rushdie has spurred me on to re-reading his Satanic Verses, which I’ll probably do here in another couple weeks. Loved the 3-4 books of his I’ve read till Quichotte, which I stopped half-way.
Thanks for visiting my blog, btw! Adding your blog to my blog roll.
Thanks, just followed your blog too!
Oh wow, I thought Quichotte was quite good, but I had just reread Don Quijote before launching into it, so it probably helped: https://wordsandpeace.com/2019/09/19/book-review-quichotte/
And I did a read along with another blogger on The Satanic Verses. Feel free to add your comments.
You can find the links to each post at the very end of our pre-read discussion: https://wordsandpeace.com/2021/11/01/the-satanic-verses-read-along-pre-read-discussion/
I definitely need to read more by him
I also recommend his nonfiction. I read this collection: https://wordsandpeace.com/2021/07/21/book-review-languages-of-truth/