It feels like a very natural, and sociable, way to read some of the books I really want to read but never quite get to.
Let me explain.
The basic premise is simple:
“Read seven works of Classic Literature in 2012. Only three of the seven may be re-reads.”
But what makes this interesting is what comes next:
“I’ve organized this challenge to work a little like a blog hop. I hope this will make it more interactive and enjoyable for everyone.
Instead of writing a review as you finish each book (of course, you can do that too), visit November’s Autumn on the 4th of each month from January 2012 – December 2012.
You will find a prompt, it will be general enough that no matter which Classic you’re reading or how far into it, you will be able to answer. There will be a form for everyone to link to their post. I encourage everyone to read what other participants have posted.”
So I’ve been through shelves and lists, and now I’ve narrowed down a long list of titles that I want to read or re-read to just seven books:
The Painted Veil by W Somerset Maugham (1925)
I must confess that I love the film, but I have never read this, or indeed any Maugham. Time to put that right.
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (1866)
My mother loves Mrs Gaskell, but she lacks the short-term memory needed for keeping track of novels these days. But she loves watching television adaptations of classic novels, so my plan is to read the book and watch the mini-series with my mother. We did the same thing with North and South earlier this year, and it worked beautifully.
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (1841)
I began reading The Old Curiosity Shop last year, but though I was enjoying it life and other books distracted me. It’s time to go back to the beginning and see it through to the end.
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (1922)
I remember seeing the film at school when I was about fourteen. It was an end-of-term post-exam treat! I loved it, and I went straight to the library to find the book. I loved that too, and now it’s time for a re-read.
A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe (1790)
I picked this up a little while ago and the mixture of gotic plot and rich description looked wonderful. But I had commited to reading another gothic novel for the Classics Circuit, so I had to put this one aside.
The Warden by Anthony Trollope (1855)
The first time I tried Trollope we didn’t get on, but I knew that it was just the wrong book at the wrong time. several people have suggested that The Warden is the best book to start with, and so that’s where I am going to start again.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery (1848)
My mother has been telling me that I should read Vanity Fair, that it was a wonderful book, for years. And she’s generally right about these things.
And now I just have to work out what to read first …