Friday, September 17, 2010

Reading the Classics- A Challenge

I don't know if it's just me, but I tend to read more when it's cold and rainy (or in some case for others, snowy). There is nothing like curling up on the couch with a warm blanket, cup of coffee or hot chocolate and a good book. Now that summer is drawing to a close, I can feel the leaves turning around me (or as much as they do in Southern California) and it makes me crave those days.

I have plenty of books on my TBR pile that will keep me busy all winter, and even through the next year, but that doesn't keep me from buying new ones. How can you resist the great books that are on the horizon in YA/Teen literature? I know I can't.

Too many books are already calling my name on my shelves, and each time I finish one, I can't decide what to read next. That is why I'm going to help myself and add a change to my least once a month.

Recently Barnes and Noble gave away a group of classics each week in ebook format. I think I've mentioned on this blog, I'm not a huge lover of classics but I hope to change that in the coming months. I downloaded many of the books they offered, excited to get a free ebook, no matter what it was! Of course, now that ebooks are everywhere, the classics are easy to come by for free. You only need to look as far as Google Books or Project Gutenberg to download most of them. You don't even need an Ereader (though if you have one, you can easily get these ebooks on your device), only a computer and in some cases Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) which is a free program. Because the classics are old enough for the copyright to expire, it is not stealing, but considered public domain now. The reason I was so excited about Barnes and Noble's offer, their books are formatted properly, fixing all of the errors that occur in the scanning process. Sites like the ones I listed above, do not--but here's a tip. Project Gutenberg is a little cleaner usually--but that shouldn't stop you from reading books that have shaped the literary world for decades, if not centuries.

So I give you my challenge. I will be reading one classic a month and then posting a review of each one. Hopefully I'm able to get through each in a timely manner (I seem to read classics a little slower than modern books).

Anyone interested in playing along?

Here is a list of the books I downloaded in the past few weeks that I will choose from each month. Looking at this list, it really is amazing how many of these books have been made into moves (some several times) and how many by Disney.

Journey to the Center of the Earth- Jules Verne
Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens
Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens
Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
Man in the Iron Mask- Alexandre Dumas
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume I & II- Arthur Conan Doyle
Gulliver's Travels- Jonathan Swift
King Soloman's Mines- H. Rider Haggard
Canterbury Tales- Geoffey Chaucer
Cannecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court- Mark Twain
Fairy Tales- Hans Christian Andersen
The Jungle Books- Rudyard Kipling
Prince and the Pauper- Mark Twain
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde- Robert Louis Stevenson
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea- Jules Verne
Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Writings- Washington Irving
Time Machine and The Invisible Man- H.G. Wells
Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde
Frankenstein- Mary Shelley
Woman in White- Wilkie Collins
Main Street- Sinclair Lewis
Portrait of a Lady- Henry James
Wings of the Dove- Henry James
This Side of Paradise- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Beautiful and Damned- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Metamorphosis and Other Stories- Franz Kafka
Uncle Tom's Cabin- Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne
Persuasion- Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen
Room with a View- E.M. Foster
Wuthering Heights- Emily Bonte
Mansfield Park- Jane Austen
War of the Worlds- H. G. Wells
Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
Emma- Jane Austen
Peter Pan- J.M. Barrie (this one isn't very fair to have on the list. I adore this book)
Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson Burnett
Wind in the Willows- Kenneth Grahame
Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- L. Frank Baum
Tarzan of the Apes- Edgar Rice Burroughs
Adventures of Tom Sawyer- Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass- Lewis Caroll

So, let me know what I should read as the first book of the challenge starting in October. Should I go for something that fits along with Halloween like the Legend of Sleepy Hallow or Frankenstein?

What are some of your favorites from this list?


Anonymous said...

My favorites are anything by Dickens, Collins, the Shelleys, and the Brontes. Also, I love Lewis Carroll.

Tami Klockau said...

Thanks, Medeia! I can't wait to jump into a lot of these! I can't believe I call myself a writer, yet haven't read a lot of the "greats".

Alea said...

I would totally go for the F Scott Fitzgerald ones! Somehow I call the Great Gatsby my favorite book and I think I've read like one other of his. #fail

My friend loves Jane Austen but yeah I don't know. I feel like I need to read more classics too but honestly sometimes when I try they are pure torture!