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Category Archives: Classics Challenge

Reading all the classics I should have read in high school and college.

Through the Looking Glass

I’ve completed another book on my classics list, Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

Pre-read Thoughts:  I’m using The Jabberwocky poem for my NaNoWriMo Novel so I should read this book.  Bonus points for it being on my classics list.

Post-read Thoughts:  Not as crazy as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but still a little out there.  Even reading the entire book, The Jabberwocky doesn’t make anymore sense, but I guess that’s the point, right?


Robinson Crusoe

One more book crossed off my Classics Challenge list last night.  Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe was the oldest book on my list (Moll Flanders being the second oldest and my next read).  So here are my pre- and post-read thoughts:

Pre-read thoughts:  This was published in 1719!  That was 294 years ago and people still read this.  Seriously, do we really have any contemporary authors that are capable of 200+ year longevity?  If you say Stephenie Meyer I will track you down and punch you in the throat.  Focus! Thoughts about this book other than the almost 300 years that have passed since it was published…Dude gets stranded on an island for years and years.  As long as he doesn’t start talking to a volleyball named Wilson, I’m good with this.

Post-read thoughts:  STOP GETTING ON BOATS, DUDE!  This should have occurred to Robinson well before the ill fated trip that left him on the island.  I like the undertone of “will to survive” and figuring out how to tame the goats, etc.  I found it a little blasé about killing the feral cats and the other things he found unnecessary or bothersome.  I’m cool with him killing what he needed to eat or for safety, but randomly killing stuff and the multiple mentions of having done so came across as superior and egotistical.  Overall, I thought RC had a pretty huge entitlement and ego factor going on despite his come to Jesus conversion.  He came across as selfish to some degree.  I’m sure in 1719 and beyond, the causal use of people, animals, and things was common, but I found his treatment of Xury, the various people he befriended or partnered with, the cats, the goats, the mutineers, etc. to be there simply to make his life better.  Interestingly, there is somewhat of a religious spin on this.  Basically, RC felt if he was properly and diligently praying, God was providing for him to make surviving easier.  I found it parallel to tossing virgins in the volcano to appease the gods for a good crop.  I couldn’t really figure out the cannibals…were they only coming to RC’s island to eat other humans?  Didn’t they eat human flesh on their own island?  There was a span of like 15-16 months where they didn’t come to eat so if they didn’t eat human flesh on their island what the heck were they eating?  If they were eating humans on their island, why spare the Spanish dudes?  Friday was kinda cool, but if I were writing the story, Friday would finally break bad and eat RC for being an ass.

Random–I did a little research on the book after reading it and find it somewhat funny the first editions were published with RC as the author making folks think it was a true story…maybe it was and Defoe decided to capitalize on it?

Take 2: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

One of the downfalls to sitting up really late at night reading when you have been awake since really early that morning is you forget you sort of set up a specific format for sharing your thoughts about that book.  In looking over my initial post about my latest finished classic, I realize I didn’t give you my initial thoughts or really clarify my post-read thoughts.

Well, we certainly can’t have you missing out on my gems of intellectual book talk…I give you Take 2 for A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court:

Initial Thoughts:  Mark Twain…Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, that frog story, funny dude.  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was a movie right?  Didn’t that have Martin Lawrence in it? <Looks up movie info for future blog post.>  WOW! I have obviously lost IQ points.  I’m not a drug addict and I drink very little so the brain damage couldn’t be from that.  Yes, I absolutely need to read classic books by smart people to restore the lost IQ points.  Martin Lawrence…geesh.

Post-read Thoughts:  Yeah, not really funny and I thought Twain was funny.  Maybe it’s a different kind of funny that I don’t get?  I did comment in my original post that I found parts of the story to be ranting for the sake of ranting.  I did like Sandy and her dragging ol’ boy out to rescue the Piggy Princesses.  That could be some pretty deep commentary if you think about it and back in my smarter days, I could have probably written a 10 page paper on how that story line alone was sexist or the socioeconomic  status of women throughout history/literature.  Instead, I came away with:  it’s long, there’s a lot going on, and it’s ranty.

I’m hoping the fact I pulled out a word like “socioeconomic” proves there are still some synapses firing in my head…

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

As part of my Read the Classics self challenge, I just finished A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court.  Lawdy, it was a long book.

I found there to be a lot going on in the story and sometimes it felt more like Twain was lashing out at the nobility, the time, and the Catholic Church.  The passages seemed to be there for no other reason than to rant and didn’t really serve to further the story.

I’m really wondering what I’ve gotten myself into with my goal to read the classics.  I may take a breather and read something a little more contemporary before I dive back into my classics…

20000 Leagues and A Christmas Carol

Due to a revision on my site, I’ve started a page dedicated to the “Read the Classics Challenge” and added a drop down menu to collect all the related blog entries.

#1:  Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea – Jules Verne

Initial thoughts:  Isn’t this the Journey to the Center of the Earth guy?  (scans list–Yep!)  Brenden Frazier and The Rock.  Shouldn’t be too bad.

Post-read thoughts:  Verne used the word “rapidity” a lot.  I would have probably shanked Capt. Nemo after about day 10.  Crap, what have I gotten myself into with this stupid challenge.

#2:  A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Initial thoughts:  Well, at least I know the gist of the story…Grumpy man pisses on Christmas then sees a bunch of ghost who show him some crazy shit and the Grumpy old man wakes up happy, happy, happy.  (OK, maybe I’m watching too much Duck Dynasty.)

Post-read thoughts:  Yep, that’s the way I remember the story going.  He used “rapidity” too, but only once.  Maybe twice.  Reads more like a poem than prose.

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