In order to do something different each week of the year, I have a list of challenges to undertake...

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Week 19 - Read a Classic Novel

Despite being brought up in a library (mum was the librarian at a local small branch library, so school holidays were often spent there) and consequently becoming an avid reader with thousands of books at my disposal; the Classics have more or less passed me by.

One reason for this being that our 'O' level Eng Lit book was Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge - a more turgid and depressing read for a teenage girl you could not hope to find. This has served to put me off anything that falls into the category of 'school set text', which many of the Classics fall into.

Another reason is that there are so many contemporary authors who write pacy thrillers/whodunnits; absorbing travelogues; sci fi/fantasy and block busting page-turners that I just don't always fancy having to concentrate hard on a style of writing from a couple of hundred years ago.

But with mum, my colleague (also a librarian) and my big sis collectively being appalled that I haven't read any Proper Books combined with a break in the sun to fill, and - the clincher - being able to download many Classic titles onto the Kindle for free, I thought I'd better give it a go.

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was suggested as a good yarn, so it came with me on holiday, and I took myself back two hundred years to Regency England to gossip with the Bennet sisters, visit the Netherfield ball, flirt coquettishly with the gentlemen and watch Elizabeth and Mr D finally get it together. Ahhhh!

I've not seen the adaptation on film/TV, so I was going in blind, so to speak, and it did take a little while to get my head around Ms Austen's looooooong sentences and slightly unfamiliar phrasing and vocabulary, but I must say that it was well worth the effort.

An excellent tale!

So that's my week 19 Challenge: done!


  1. Read that in High School, but not since and haven't seen it on film either. Don't seem to get much time to read these days or have the motivation, even though I read my childhood away. I do still take time when I can and am in the middle of an Erica James novel and daughter gave me another for Mother's Day.

  2. Similar experiences to you only ~I~ was the librarian. A great 'honour' from about 4th year onwards at school. My best mate and I got to wear a little badge and be allowed to stamp books and take library cards at lunchtime. No truth in the rumour we only did it in order to be able to loll around in the warmth when it was cold and wet everywhere else.

    Mayor of Casterbridge here too, along with Miller's 'Death of a Salesman'. Guess who got into a hell of a lot of trouble for refusing to read it on the basis that I was meant to be studying ENGLISH Lit and Miller was not British!

    Still haven't read all the 'proper' books one is meant to either :}

    PS to Susan, love Erica James as much as Marcia Willet. Have you read The Garden of Delight?

  3. Big Sister is officially no longer appalled! I recommend Emma next...

    1. Nah, try the Erica James. About gardening, and Italy, and is funny and sad, so what's not to like.

      Hobbit runs away and ducks ...... sorry Helen!

    2. No need to run - I read anything I can get my hands on, provided it is printed on good old-fashioned paper (no e-readers here, thank you very much!). The last book I couldn't put down was Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Erica James is new to me, I'll put her on my must read list straight away.

      It just seems a shame to miss out on some of the classics because they forgot to tell you at school that, for instance, Dickens can be really funny!

      So many books ... so little time...