Back in October I put out a call for a fun challenge for the month of November. I suggested that we all choose a classic novel to read. If you didn’t see that post yet, you can find it HERE.
Today is the day to start reading folks. It’s now November and the days are getting short, cold, and perfect to curl up with a great book that may have been written over a hundred years ago.
Do you know which one you’re going to start? Are you still trying to decide? That’s ok too. The day’s over half over and I have a small stack that I’m trying to narrow down, as well. If anyone needs help deciding or wants some suggestions, I’m happy to help. Comment on this post or jump over to my Facebook or Twitter if that’s better for you. You can always email me through the contact form for a more private conversation. And if I can’t help, I can try to point you to the right person.
Before I list out the books on my “maybe” pile, I’ll recap the challenge a quick as I can:
- Read a classic book in November. What’s a classic? That definition is very broad, so whatever it means to you is fine. For me, I’m trying to choose a book pre-1923. Those are in the public domain and easy to obtain. They’re also the biggest chunk of the “Literary Cannon” (read that as: Dead White Dudes, with some Dead White Women). But really, anything not too recent and something beloved by many is a good choice.
- Write a review/reaction post. At the end of the month (November 24th) everyone joining in the challenge will post what they thought about the book and anything else they want to write about the experience of reading a classic. I’d also like everyone to email a link to the post to me a few days before the 24th. Then I’ll send these links out to everyone so we can put the links in our own posts. I want this to be a sharing type thing and get readers jumping around to many different blogs.
- Have fun. This challenge is meant to broaden our reading if classics aren’t exactly our thing, or to at least try a new author we might have overlooked before. It’s not meant to be a chore though. If a book isn’t working for you, feel free to move on to another. If you read one fast, you can read a second (or third, etc.) That may make for a better post at the end of the month anyway. Just try to enjoy yourself. No one’s going to be policing you and you can also back out at any time.
That’s a picture of my choices. Still not sure which I’m in the mood to read though.
- We by Eugene Zamiatin – This is one that I feel I should really choose. It shouldn’t take me too long to read and I think I’ll enjoy it. I ordered it earlier this year after reading up on it, but one thing lead to another and I didn’t start it yet. If I read this, I’ll need to pick a second though. It won’t last me all month.
- The Master of Ballantrae and Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson – I’ve read Treasure Island, Jekyll and Hyde, and Olalla, but not much of RLS’s other work. These two look good to add a little action and adventure to my reading and with classics I haven’t run into that much in the past.
- Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy – I enjoy H.G. Wells work, so I didn’t want to read him this month. Try something new right? Bellamy’s another early sci-fi author I discovered while looking into the early days of the genre. This one caught my attention and it’d be fun seeing what the “future” was like for an author in the late 1800’s.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – No, I haven’t read Charlotte yet. I read her sister Emily though, as you may have seen early in the year. I have higher hopes of enjoying this one over Wuthering Heights…but I may not choose this one this time around. We’ll see.
- Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs – How many people have read Tarzan? I don’t think I know anyone, at least no one who I’ve spoken about the books with. Seems like one of those characters we know from film and Disney more than anything else. I’ve wondered what he’s like in original form.
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – Yes, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice. And now, it really wasn’t my cup of tea. But, I haven’t written off Austen just yet. I’m sure I have a place for her in my reading life, I just need to give her a few more tries. Through some help from Austen fans, this seems to be a good choice for my next try. And by the way, Emma will likely be my last Austen if anyone wanted to put a list together.
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton – I added this one to the list only an hour or so ago after after talking with Justin Bogdanovitch over on my Facebook page about Wharton’s work. I’ve read Ethan Frome and The Glimpses of the Moon, but it’s been awhile since I’ve read her. I feel I should give her another go soon. With this book being her Pulitzer winner…and it being the first time a woman won the prize…it’d be a good choice to expand my reading of Pulitzer winners, classic female authors, and Wharton in general.
What book do you think I should choose from these? Your input will be considered, though ultimately it’ll come down to whether or not the book grabs me in a few pages…unless they all fail, then I’ll have to try harder with them all.
Ok, let’s do this people! Let’s all grab out books and start the challenge!