It’s So Classic – A Tag!

Excited to be tagged by Hamlette from The Edge of the Precipice!  This tag is all about classics and originally from a blog called Rebellious Writing.

It’s So Classic Tag

Rules:

1. Link your post to Rebellious Writing (www.rebelliouswriting.com)
2. Answer the questions
3. Tag at least 5 bloggers.

    1. What is one classic that hasn’t been made into a movie yet, but really needs to?
    This was a recent Top Ten Tuesday…I stand by all my answers but will add one more:  Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev.  I rated this book very highly and feel it would appeal to anyone who enjoys costumes dramas, while offering a new perspective.  (We need more Russian literature adaptations in general.  Just sayin’!)

    2. What draws you to classics?
    It is hard to put a scientific answer to this, because I got into classics at a young age and they became a core part of my life.  If anything, I love them most of all for sentimental reasons.  Apart from that, it’s the depth of the writing, the complexity of the characters, and the different perspectives which I value so much. Also, the time-travel feeling you get when you’re reading them…

    3. What is an underrated classic?
    I feel Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White is hugely underrated, compared to Dracula and Jane Eyre (and I love those two, too, don’t get me wrong :)).  The Woman in White is an incredible tale of sisterly love, domestic abuse, mistaken identity, and, of course, romance.  If you haven’t read it, give it a try!

    4. What is one classic that you didn’t expect to love, but ended up loving anyway?
    Well, “love” isn’t quite the word, but I was surprised in a good way by Arthur Miller’s famous plays, especially The Crucible. It’s a worthy classic and gave me a new respect for plays.

    5. What is your most favorite and least favorite classics?
    Most favorite: It definitely changes over the years, but currently: Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin.  I know, I know, I’m a broken record…  But I love it so much, and it makes me sad it’s not very well known outside of Slavic countries.  I hosted a read-along of it several years ago, and most readers enjoyed it greatly.  Maybe it’s time to do another one?!

    Least favorite: I have incredible loathing for Franz Kafka’s The Castle.  It’s especially annoying because I otherwise love Kafka, and so I forced myself to finish The Castle because I wanted to read all of his fiction.  One of the worst reading experiences ever. 
     
    6. What is your favorite character from a classic? Or if that is too hard, one is your favorite classic character trope (e.g. strong and silent, quiet sidekick, etc.) 
    Not hard at all… Sherlock Holmes!  Last year I did an entire podcast episode on why he’s my favorite…check it out if you’re interested.

    In general, my favorite trope is the Loner, who may or may not be Intellectual, but is usually Misunderstood.  🙂  That covers Sherlock Holmes, Prince Myshkin (from Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot), Razumov (Conrad’s Under Western Eyes), Jane Eyre, Frodo Baggins (The Lord of the Rings), and many others. 

    7. What’s a popular classic that you felt wasn’t actually that great?
    The Odyssey.  I understand why it’s popular; I just couldn’t find anything to like about it, personally. 

    8. Who is your favorite classic author? 
    Wellll…currently my top three are something like:  Franz Kafka, Joseph Conrad, and Jules Verne.  I wouldn’t say I have favorites, though; it’s too hard to choose.  🙂

    9. In your opinion, what makes a classic a classic?
    Another past podcast episode!  🙂  [Not trying to promote the podcast (which is on hiatus), just FYI.]  Universal themes is a big factor.  I also think it has to do with culture.  Each culture has its own set of classics that aligns with its values, and if/as subcultures become more and more prevalent, there will be fewer books universally loved or considered classics.  That’s my prediction, at least.

    10. Relating to newer books, what attributes does a book need to have in order to be worthy of the title “classic”?
    I haven’t read a ton of newer books, but “modern classic” makes me think of three novels by Kazuo Ishiguro:

    1. The Remains of the Day (1989)
    2. An Artist of the Floating World (1986)
    3. A Pale View of Hills (1982)

    These books involve what you might call common, almost universal history (WWII), plus themes many people can relate to – change, loyalty, betrayal, old age, fear, family, etc.  They are written in a clear, simple narrative mostly devoid of trendy words or phrases that could be considered “dated.”  He gets to the core of what people care about.  It’s immersive, because it draws you in even if you have a different background than the protagonists.  All these things make them classic-worthy, I think.

    That was fun!  I tag these bloggers, if they haven’t done it yet and are interested:

    1. Beth at Beth’s Bookish Thoughts
    2. Cirtnecce at Mockingbirds,Looking Glasses & Prejudices…
    3. Brian at Babbling Books
    4. Catherine Marie at Elle Lit Des Classiques
    5. Sharon at Gently Mad

    Also, if you’re reading this and would like to do the tag, please feel free to jump on board!  A couple of you are on still hiatus (?), and I had to resist the urge to tag many more…but I still want to hear what you all think!

      My Blog’s Name in Books – TBR!

      Saw this neat meme/tag on O’s blog, On Bookes:

      The rules:
      1. Spell out your blog’s name.
      2. Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter. (Note you cannot ADD to your TBR to complete this challenge – the books must already be on your Goodread’s TBR)
      3. Have fun! 

        noonlight
      Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
      On the Eve by Ivan Turgenev
      Open Heart by Elie Wiesel
      The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee
      The Last Days of Pompeii by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
      The Inheritors by William Golding
      Getting to Green: Saving Nature: A Bipartisan Solution by Frederic C. Rich
      Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
      The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

      reads

      Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
      Either/Or by Soren Kierkegaard
      Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald
      Death and the Dervish by Mesa Selimovic
      Shackleton’s Boat Journey by Frank Worsley

      With 500+ TBR books, this was easier than perhaps it should be.  I tried to choose a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and ended up surprising myself with a few titles I’d forgotten about (whoops!).

      And now the moment of truth… have any of you read any of these books?  Which would you recommend?!

      Tolkien Blog Party 2017 – Tag!

      With Hobbit Day (Sep 22nd) rapidly approaching, I was excited to see that Hamlette is again hosting a Tolkien Blog Party this year!  This will be my first time participating.  Though I haven’t often mentioned J. R. R. Tolkien here, I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  There is so much to unpack in Tolkien’s universe of Middle Earth, and I find I discover something new every time.

      The Tolkien Tag 2017

      1. How long have you been a Tolkien fan?
      Oh wow… it must be something like 9 or 10 years ago now!  I played violin in a community orchestra, and we were learning music from The Two Towers.  The conductor, Mr. D., tried to select a wide variety of music, including film scores from newer movies like LOTR and Pirates of the Caribbean.  I am forever indebted to his open-mindedness, because some of the other musicians were not too keen on Rohan’s theme or the March of the Ents.  😉  For me, it was a turning point.

      I had heard of LOTR but knew basically nothing about it.  Inspired by our music, I picked up this one-volume book at the thrift store and embarked on a multi-month adventure, watching each film after reading each book (to my poor parents’ suspense!!).  Though the books were difficult for me, it was an incredible experience as a whole.  To this day, The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite film, because seeing it all come to life on the screen was that light-bulb moment, when you realize you’ve discovered something beautiful and unique. 

      2. Has your love of Middle-earth affected your life?
      Yes, absolutely.  These are just few of the ways:

      • CommunityThe Lord of the Rings is one of my few mainstream fandoms (along with Star Trek).  LOTR was the first time I felt a big connection with other people over a book/film.  I eagerly anticipated the Hobbit trilogy as well, and – from the pre-production news to the final release at the theater – followed the excitement with family members, coworkers, and others online.  I think the story, themes, characters, and setting make the War of the Ring a universal tale almost everyone can relate to.
      • Poetry – I did not much like poetry before reading LOTR.  During that time, however, I came to love it and appreciate the part it played in the story.  One of my favorite poems is “The Sea-Bell.”  Tolkien led me to poetry, and I’ve since read and written a lot of poetry…it’s become an important thing in my life.
      • Sewing – Watching LOTR reminded me how much I love costumes!  I had fun sewing hobbit, elf, and Gondorian clothes some years ago.  Sadly, I only have a few pictures of those projects left.

      3. If you had to take the One Ring to Mordor, which character would you choose for your sole companion?
      Well, I think Tolkien proved that Sam is the best choice.  🙂  However, if I didn’t know that already, then I’d have to say either:

      • Gandalf.  He knows the way, he knows the languages, and he has superpowers!  (Oh, and he has The Hobbit on his resume.)
      • Elrond.  I always felt Elrond should’ve volunteered.

      4. Which is scarier, Shelob or the Balrog?
      The Balrog is extremely terrifying, but I think I could face it.  I don’t think I could fight Shelob – the sight of her would make me faint.

      5. Which two towers do you think Tolkien was referring to in the title The Two Towers?  (i.e. Orthanc, Barad-dûr, Cirith Ungol, Minas Morgul, or Minas Tirith)
      Barad-dûr, for sure.  The movie implies Orthanc is the second one, but when I was reading the book, I felt like it was one of the other ones.  I’m going to say Minas Tirith for the second Tower.

      6. Whose wardrobe would you like to have?
      I would say Eowyn, except I don’t care for billowy sleeves.  So I’d have to say Thranduil, king of woodland elves and woodland fashion.

      7. What do you think an Ent Draught would taste like?
      A delicious iced tea.

      8. Where in Middle-earth would you like to live?
      Always the Shire.  What can I say…I like being safe and snug and cozy!

      9. Do you have any Tolkien-related opinions that surprise other people?
      I think Viggo Mortensen was miscast as Aragorn.  *ducks tomatoes*

      10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the books or movies.
      “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” (Gandalf)

      ~~~

      “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
      “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

      ~~~

      BOROMIR:  My father is a noble man, but his rule is failing, and our people lose faith. He looks to me to make things right and I would do it. I would see the glory of Gondor restored. Have you ever seen it, Aragorn? The White Tower of Ecthelion, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, its banners caught high in the morning breeze. Have you ever been called home by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?
      ARAGORN:  I have seen the White City, long ago.
      BOROMIR:  One day, our paths will lead us there. And the tower guard shall take up the call: “The Lords of Gondor have returned.”

      ~~~

      THEODEN: Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. How did it come to this?

      ~~~

      I’m afraid most of my favorite quotes are the mournful ones…however, nobody writes sad stuff as well as Tolkien.

      That was a fun tag.  Thanks to Hamlette for putting this together!
       

      The Bookish Tag

      Saw this over at Kristin’s blog Wool and Wheel…it’s been a while since I did one of these, so I thought it would be a fun interlude to reviews.  Feel free to fill this out on your own blog, or in the comments – would love to read your answers!

      1. What book is currently on your nightstand?  Right now, there’s The Heart of the Antarctic (Ernest Shackleton), the Bible, my Nook, and my tablet.

      From my 2014 Powell’s trip.  On the left is Albanov’s In the Land of White Death,
      an excellent polar (north) memoir which I haven’t reviewed but highly recommend.

      Heart is turning out to be a lovely read so far – more informal and relaxed in tone than South.  Maybe it’s the pre-War zeitgeist, or Shackleton’s personal optimism at this earlier point in his experience.  His excitement over the ponies is rather sobering…considering he didn’t bring them on the Endurance, I can only imagine how badly things will go on the Nimrod.  (But, I digress.)

      2. What was the last truly great book that you read?  An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I’d recommend it to nearly anyone; it was that great.  The Japan he wrote about may be somewhat fanciful, but it’s his poignant portrayal of humans and their relationships that is really timeless.  It’s also a masterful example of how social attitudes (e.g. classism, patriarchy, and political correctness) can change in just one generation.

      3. If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?  Well, of course, I’d like to meet T. E. Lawrence.  I wouldn’t have any questions planned, just hopefully have an organic conversation about books, music, maybe politics (maybe not).

      4. What books might someone be surprised to find on your shelves?  I have an antique, one-volume William Shakespeare: Complete Works.  I don’t love Shakespeare, but a relative gifted it to me and I treasure it as a beautiful edition of Hamlet and other stories I might enjoy if I tried more of them.  😉

      5. How do you organize your personal library?  I got a new bookshelf recently, smaller than the old one, and everything fits nicely.  Top-left corner is “to read” books.  Then, from left to right and on to the second shelf, my fiction is roughly sorted by era, with some non-fic history books at the very end.  I used to sort by author, but there is something aesthetically delightful about Bronte next to Pushkin, Verne next to Doyle, and T. E. Lawrence next to Fitzgerald.  Most of these are paperbacks, since I prefer soft to hardcover.

      On the lower shelves, I have a number of other books that don’t fit in the classic paperbacks category – some Mass Media, Trixie Beldens, large hardcovers (complete Sherlock Holmes !!!), notebooks, and mega textbooks that I’ll probably never open again.  I also keep my scraps of writing on my bookshelf, which includes most of the handwritten draft of an adventure-romance novel that needs some TLC at some point…

      6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?   I’ve been meaning to read The Scarlet Letter for ages – I love Hawthorne, have read most of his other works, but still haven’t got to this one. There’s several I’m a little embarrassed never to have read (yet)…The Odyssey, 1984, Shakespeare in general…  But these days I’m very selective about what I spend time on reading, so I prioritize books that sound the most promising.

      7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?  The last book I abandoned to the “to-finish” list was On the Nature of Things by Lucretius. I hadn’t expected to like it, though, based on reviews.  The last book I expected to like was The Republic by Plato.  That one got sent to the “not-finishing” list…an exaggeration, since I’ll no doubt attempt a different translation.  But the beginning at least wasn’t the work of genius I was expecting.

      Vilhelm HammershøiThe Collector of Coins

      8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?  I’m drawn to stories of stamina, psychology, philosophy, and human behavior – especially where these things intersect.  I have a soft spot for stories about loners, people alone in their perspective or beliefs compared to the majority surrounding them.  The characters that really get to me are the ones who have personal issues and are struggling to find healing or closure. I fall for books that are about people doing something extraordinary, something out of the norm, something bigger than themselves (or is it? that is always the question…).  Most of my favorite books, fic and non-fic, remind me of the Christian life in some way.

      I stay clear of the inverse of the above.  😉

      9. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?  I honestly don’t know.  Currently, I recommend The Metamorphosis (Kafka) and Magellania (Verne) to anyone who’s interested.

      10. What do you plan to read next?  Probably Peter-Pan (Barrie), or The Secret Agent (Conrad), and thus finishing out the Read London challenge.

      Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I didn’t "click" with

      Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

      Saw this over at Hamlette’s blog, and thought it would be a fun trip down memory lane.  Here goes – and hope I don’t tread on any toes.  😉

      1. Werther from The Sorrows of Young Werther.  
      2. Everyone from A Passage to India.  (Sorry, Forster.)
      3. Irene Adler from “A Scandal in Bohemia”. 
      4. Erik from The Phantom of the Opera.  In all fairness, I am meaning to re-read this.  During my first read, I definitely found book!Erik to be less likeable than Webber’s version.
      5. Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby.  I get the impression one is supposed to like him, but I was left unimpressed.  (I was also shocked that his undisguised racist commentary never gets mentioned in mainstream circles).
      6. Everyone from Dragonwyck.  When I was in middle school, a friend recommended it to me, on the basis it was similar to Jane Eyre.  My mother cautioned me that it sounded like a romance novel, but in my blissful ignorance I wasn’t quite aware what that meant.  (Hint: think Edward and Bella in 1800s Dutch New York…)
      7. Mary Russell from the Mary Russell series. 
      8. Aragorn from The Return of the King.  Specifically ROTK, and maybe TTT, because I thought he was pretty cool in The Fellowship of the Ring, but less interesting as the story progressed.
      9. Ahab from Moby-Dick.  I’m not sure antagonists are supposed to “click” with you.  I do know that Gregory Peck’s portrayal brought a much-needed human/charismatic element to the character, whereas Starbuck, though different in the book from the movie, is still compelling apart from his film version. So with that in mind, I’d say book!Ahab didn’t “click”.
      10. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.  *gasp*  Don’t click away!  😉 She is probably the best-loved heroine in literature.  I just can’t honestly say I found her more interesting than many others. 

      I’m sure I’ve listed someone’s favorites…well, the good news is, after six (and not necessarily in the above order), I found it super hard to list the last four!