Weekly Geeks – Week 3, 2009

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Weekly Geek Task Three:

In the third Weekly Geeks of 2009, let’s have fun with the classics. For our purposes, I’m defining a classic as anything written over 100 years ago and still in print. (If your memory needs jogging, see: Classic Literature Library for examples.)

For your assignment this week, choose two or more of the following questions:

1) How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don’t get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!

Apart from a few I read at school I have read very few classics. In fact, I have read three: Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights (which I finished reading yesterday). I always feel that I should read more of them, and I’m going to try to in the future. Older books are a lot of effort for the reward given – I much prefer more modern books. Perhaps I’m just not reading the right ones?

I’m afraid I haven’t read any classic that I could recommend to someone else, as I haven’t liked any of them enough. I look forward to seeing which books other people recommend though, as I’ve committed to reading 9 classics this year (thanks to the 999 challenge)

2) A challenge, should you choose to accept it: Read at least one chapter of a classic novel, preferably by an author you’re not familiar with. Did you know you can find lots of classics in the public domain on the web? Check out The Popular Classic Book Corner, for example. Write a mini-review based on this chapter: what are your first impressions? Would you read further? (For a larger selection of authors, try The Complete Classic Literature Library).

I’ll do this later in the week, and do a separate review post for it.

3) Let’s say you’re vacationing with your dear cousin Myrtle, and she forgot to bring a book. The two of you venture into the hip independent bookstore around the corner, where she primly announces that she only reads classic literature. If you don’t find her a book, she’ll never let you get any reading done! What contemporary book/s with classic appeal would you pull off the shelf for her?

I guess it would have to be a modern day classic like The Color Purple or To Kill a Mocking Bird. I don’t really know what classic appeal is though, as for me classics don’t appeal at all!! I only want to read them so I can do well in general knowledge quizzes!

4) As you explore the other Weekly Geeks posts: Did any inspire you to want to read a book you’ve never read before—or reread one to give it another chance? Tell us all about it, including a link to the post or posts that sparked your interest. If you end up reading the book, be sure to include a link to your post about it in a future Weekly Geeks post!

I’ll come back and do this once more people have recommended a book. Hopefully someone will inspire me to read a classic or two!


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15 Comments

  1. Lynda says:

    The Colour Purple and To Kill A Mockingbird are wonderful modern classics.
    If you’re daunted by older ones – try audio books as a good introduction.
    My answers are here:
    http://lyndasbookblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/weekly-geeks-24109.html
    Have a good weekend ;0)

  2. Sandy says:

    I was never required to read classics in school (a fact that is starting to irk me, the more I think about it!) so I am grossly inept at talking about them. I really do want to appreciate them, and I’ve made it one of my goals for 2009. I read “Fathers and Sons” by Ivan Turgenev last year, and found that I liked it, even though it was very subtle. Like you, I just finished Wuthering Heights, and even though I appreciated it, I was so glad to get through it! I am now listening to Pride and Prejudice on audio…don’t know yet if that is a good move. The jury is out on that one. Also awhile back I read “The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins. With all of these, I struggle with the prose a bit. I have to REALLY focus, and sometimes I have to do some research online for analysis because I don’t always “get” it myself. I’m going to keep trying though!

  3. Jackie says:

    I think audio books may be the way for me to go.

    I found a copy of Fathers and Sons online here:
    http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/ist/fas.htm
    So I’ll read the first chapter for task two of the challenge and report back!

  4. Word Lily says:

    I’m sad that you haven’t really enjoyed your past classic reads! Hope you find some you enjoy, perhaps through this Weekly Geeks! :)

    The Color Purple was great, indeed.

  5. Sandy says:

    I don’t know if it will help or hinder you, but here is my review of Fathers and Sons:

    http://sandynawrot.blogspot.com/2008/11/fathers-and-sons-by-ivan-turgenev.html

  6. pussreboots says:

    To enjoy the old books you have to look for ones that are close to the genres and authors you currently enjoy. If you like romances, go for old romances. Adventure, go for adventure. So on and so forth.

  7. Kerrie says:

    Hopefully some of the suggestions people make in their posts will help you to decide which 9 books to read.

  8. Marg says:

    I just finished listening to Great Expectations and think that the fact that I listened to an excellent narrator really helped my enjoyment of it! It’s definitely something worth trying.

    LOL @ wanting to do well at General Knowledge quizzes.

  9. Ali says:

    >>I don’t really know what classic appeal is though, as for me classics don’t appeal at all!!

    I guess in that case the trick would be to pick the modern books that bored you to tears and hand them to Myrtle for assessment?

    Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Fathers and Sons! Be sure to either do another Mr. Linky for the post or leave a comment on the Weekly Geeks site so we don’t miss it!

  10. claire says:

    Oh I hope you find classics that you’ll enjoy soon. I loved all three books that you didn’t like so much. But of course books are relative. :) What kind of books do you enjoy now? Why not look for classics that are similar to those? Btw, I also liked The Color Purple and To Kill a Mockingbird. :)

  11. Jackie says:

    My favourite books of all time are: A Fine Balance, Fingersmith, Random Acts of Heroic Love, Ingenious Pain, The Clan of the Cave Bear and Duncton Wood.

    Which classic would you recommend to me knowing this?

  12. Suey says:

    Oh, To Kill a Mockingbird! Of course! A perfect choice for a more modern day classic.

    I do hope you enjoy The Moonstone. And that you find more classics you like in your reading this year!

  13. Dreamybee says:

    Gosh, I really liked Great Expectations but hated Wuthering Heights, so I don’t know what to recommend! Maybe some Sherlock Holmes mysteries or Lewis Carrol? Failing that, I would recommend the next books in the Clan of the Cave Bear series! I really liked those too.

  14. Great Expectations was OK, as was Pride and Prejudice, but not amazing enough for me to rave about them.

    I’ve read three of the Clan of the Cave Bear series, and loved them all! Number four is sitting on my bookshelf, and will be read very soon!

  15. Kristina says:

    I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve never read any of the three classics you mentioned….guess I should join the 999 challenge??

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