Monday, January 05, 2015

50 Classic Club Questions

More surveys! I like them. I can't help it.  50 Classic Club Questions took me over a month to do though.  Not a lot of one word answers. December was just so busy!  I'm hoping for a quiet January. Here goes, 50 answers to 50 Classic Club questions:

1. Share a link to your club list.

2. When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club? (We are SO CHECKING UP ON YOU! Nah. We’re just asking.) :)
I joined the Classics Club in January 2013 and have read 15 titles so far.  I need to do better.

3. What are you currently reading?
Friend of my Youth, by Alice Munro is what I was reading when I started answering the questions, now I’m reading The Tale of the Body Thief, by Anne Rice.  I'm also making slow and careful progress through Emily Dickinson's complete poems.

4. What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it?
I had just finished reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater when I started, I've read a few books since then, most recently Specials by Scott Westerfeld.  Both books are not classics, but they were both fantastic.

5. What are you reading next? Why?
I almost never know what I'm reading next.  I've been considering Cloud Atlas, Little Dorrit and Death of a Salesman.  We'll see.

6. Best book you've read so far with the club, and why?
It's kind of a four-way-tie between Alias Grace, Slaughterhouse-Five, Lives of Girls and Women, and Their Eyes Were Watching God.  All had strong lead characters, all were brilliant stories.

7. Book you most anticipate (or, anticipated) on your club list?
I was really anticipating both Alias Grace and Slaughterhouse-Five.  They both have such an aura of prestige (or something) about them.  I'm excited to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and the Austen novels I haven't read yet.

8. Book on your club list you've been avoiding, if any? Why?
Anna Karenina.  It just looks so scary.

9. First classic you ever read?
For the Club? or ever in my life?  For the Club it was actually The Velveteen Rabbit.  In my life, it might be The Magician's Nephew in elementary school.  I can't think of anything before that, though I did love to read as a kid.

10. Toughest classic you ever read?
Umm.... this is difficult for me.  The only "tough" classic for me that I can think of was tough because I didn't like it.  Classics (excluding modern classics), I think have an inherent degree of difficulty just because of the language.  They become tough for me when I am not connecting to the story at all.

11. Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry? made you angry?
I think 1984 did all those things.

12. Longest classic you've read? Longest classic left on your club list?
I'm pretty sure the longest classic I've read was David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens.  That was way back pre-blogging. The longest classic left on my list is also Dickens, Little Dorrit.

13. Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list?
The oldest classic I have read is probably The Orestia.  Left to read is Medea, by Euripedes. Anything Greek is probably very old.

14. Favorite biography about a classic author you've read — or, the biography on a classic author you most want to read, if any?
I don't read a lot of biographies in general, but I did read - a very long time ago - Jean-Jacques Rouseau's Confessions.

15. Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why?
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, as a modern classic and something by Shakespeare. Why?...  Because everyone should read something by Shakespeare.  There's a reason he has endured for so long.  Also, The Handmaid's Tale is just one of my favourite books and I always recommend it.

16. Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any?
I never thought about it before, but I do really like my edition of Slaughterhouse-Five. It's a reprint of the first edition from 1965.

17. Favorite movie adaption of a classic?
Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.  I feel like that movie captures everything I love about Austen's classic.  Thompson and Winslet are perfect as Elinor and Marianne.

18. Classic which hasn't been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film.
Umm.... None.  They've either all been made or need to be left alone.

19. Least favorite classic? Why?
Vanity Fair.  I hate on this book a lot.  It's just so shallow.

20. Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read.
Off the top of my head:
Anne Brontë
L. Frank Baum
Arthur Conan Doyle
The Grimm Brothers
Jules Verne

21. Which title by one of the five you've listed above most excites you and why?
I'm excited to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  Anne is the only Brontë sister I haven't read.  I don't know why and I don't know why I'm excited to read this book.  I just am.

22. Have you read a classic you disliked on first read that you tried again and respected, appreciated, or even ended up loving? (This could be with the club or before it.)
None that I can think of.... In general, if I read a book and dislike it, I'm not going to spend my time re-reading it.  There are so many other books out there to read.

23. Which classic character can’t you get out of your head?
Offred from The Handmaids Tale. Its been over a decade since I read this book, but every so often, I find myself thinking about her.

24. Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?
Billy Pilgram.... because he's crazy! (not really). I don't know.  An Austen heroine who likes to read?

25. Which classic character do you most wish you could be like? 
Billy Pilgram, because then I could meet aliens!  Again, I don't know...

26. Which classic character reminds you of your best friend? 
Marianne from Sense and Sensibilty reminds me of a couple of friends, who have too often fallen for the wrong guy.

27. If a sudden announcement was made that 500 more pages had been discovered after the original “THE END” on a classic title you read and loved, which title would you most want to keep reading? Or, would you avoid the augmented manuscript in favor of the original? Why?
I'd love to know what happened to Offred from The Handmaid's Tale.  Did she get a happy ending?  Did she die?  I wouldn't be able to resist reading the discovered pages.

28. Favorite children’s classic?

29. Who recommended your first classic? 
I don't know. A teacher probably. 

30. Whose advice do you always take when it comes to literature. (Recommends the right editions, suggests great titles, etc.)
My Hubby, more because he knows what I like.  I also pay attention to the blogs I follow.  Way back, before I became a more active blogger, I followed blogs just so I could discover new books.  I tried to vary the blogs I followed so I'd be exposed to different genres, new and different authors.  It worked a little too well.  My to-read list has exploded in the last 5+ years.

31. Favorite memory with a classic?
Falling in love with Jane Eyre and knowing that I would always want to read classics.

32. Classic author you've read the most works by?
Probably Virginia Woolf.  I took a class in University that focused completely on her.  We didn't read all her books, but I read most of them.

33. Classic author who has the most works on your club list?
Jane Austen.  I tried to only include one or two books per author, but part of my personal classics goal is to finally read all of Austen's novels.

34. Classic author you own the most books by?
I think Dickens, especially if you include ebooks.

35. Classic title(s) that didn't make it to your club list that you wish you’d included? (Or, since many people edit their lists as they go, which titles have you added since initially posting your club list?)
My list has changed a bunch of times.  The most obvious one, I think, is when I decided to read Carrie by Stephen King and added it to the list.  I figured, if Alias Grace is a modern classic, Carrie is a modern horror classic.

36. If you could explore one author’s literary career from first publication to last — meaning you have never read this author and want to explore him or her by reading what s/he wrote in order of publication — who would you explore? Obviously this should be an author you haven’t yet read, since you can’t do this experiment on an author you’re already familiar with. :) Or, which author’s work you are familiar with might it have been fun to approach this way?
Vonnegut might have been interesting to read that way, but I've already read Slaughterhouse-five. H.G. Wells too, but I've read a bunch of his books already.  I've only read short stories by Hemingway, so I could potentially do that with his novels.

37. How many rereads are on your club list? If none, why? If some, which are you most looking forward to, or did you most enjoy?
There are 10 re-reads on my list, which is probably why I bumped my list to 60 instead of 50.  I'm very much looking forward to re-reading The Handmaid's Tale.  I've only re-read three of that 10 so far, I think I enjoyed them all equally.

38. Has there been a classic title you simply could not finish?
I think just a few months before I decided to join The Classics Club, I tried to read Crime and Punishment.  My son was an infant and I was looking for my next middle of the night read (I read the bulk of Pride and Prejudice this way after I had my daughter.)  I couldn't get into it.  I tried a little while later and couldn't do it again.  It might have just been me though.  I remember trying to read a couple other books at about that time and not being able to get past the first few pages.  I should try to read it again.

39. Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving?
If I don't think I'll like a book, I don't read it.  Sometimes I think I will like it and then I don't, but that's different.  There are too many books out there for me to spend time reading something I think I won't like.

40. Five things you’re looking forward to next year in classic literature?
1) Re-reading at least three classics from my list.
2) Reading more poetry.
3) More spins (they keep me reading).
4) Maybe finally reading Anne Brontë.
5) Catching up on my list.

41. Classic you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?
Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller

42. Classic you are NOT GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?
Anna Karenina

43. Favorite thing about being a member of the Classics Club?
Reading others' reviews and learning about classics I'm unfamiliar with.

44. List five fellow clubbers whose blogs you frequent. What makes you love their blogs?
I enjoy all their blogs for basically the same reason.  I like the selection of books they read and I like their reviews.

45. Favorite post you've read by a fellow clubber?
Umm.... Nothing comes to mind.  Sorry.

46. If you've ever participated in a readalong on a classic, tell about the experience? If you've participated in more than one, what’s the very best experience? the best title you've completed? a fond memory? a good friend made?
I've never done a readalong on anything.  I can't make that kind of commitment.

47. If you could appeal for a readalong with others for any classic title, which title would you name? Why?
I'd probably enjoy a readalong for The Handmaid's Tale, because I love the book so much.  I'd also probably enjoy an Austen readalong, but like I said, I don't have that kind of time to commit.

48. How long have you been reading classic literature?
My whole reading life? Elementary school?  Since I've know what classic literature was.

49. Share up to five posts you've written that tell a bit about your reading story. Reviews, journal entries, posts on novels you loved or didn't love, lists, etc.

50. Question you wish was on this questionnaire? (Ask and answer it!)
Yikes!  This was a pretty thorough survey that seems to have taken me over a month to answer.  After thinking about it, I think my question is: What keeps drawing you to classic literature?
I think it is the idea that a story can be timeless.  That it can endure 50, 100, 1000 years, and even more.  I like reading the stories and discovering why they have endured.  I like loving them the way someone 100 years ago loved them and that maybe someone 100 years from now will love them too.

WOW!  That was a lot of questions, but an interesting and fun journey.


  1. Death of a Salesman is really good. I read it for class a few years ago & need to reread on my own. :) What keeps drawing me to the classics is the idea that they were written by history. I like reading the actual words of people in the past -- seeing through their perspective.

    1. I actually decided to go with Death of a Salesman. I wish I could read it in one sitting, but life isn't letting me.

      That's one of the reasons I enjoy classics too, the historical perspective/context can add to the effect of the story.

  2. Great post. Here are a few random thoughts: Like you, I love to discover good books from bloggers. Classic readers seem to find the best books, I think. I want to read AK, too, but I feel intimidated by it, as W&P did me in. I have Death of a Salesman on my list as well.