Reading Classics-Updates on book lists.

This is a short post on reading updates based on this post about my to-be-read shelf of books.

It featured these novels:

  1. Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  3. Emma by Jane Austen
  4. The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli (Incomplete)
  5. The Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
  6. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
  7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  8. Silence by Thich Nhat Nanh
  9. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Incomplete)
  10. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

These are the additional ones not mentioned in the book list that I did read from that date to now:

  1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  2. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  3. The invention of the Hugo Cabret by Brain Seznick
  4. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman
  5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I have been reading a lot. And I’m not really sure when I read this wonderful book The Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson.

Mostly, my reading theme has been a craving for good old classics. I really like books that are definitive of the genre because they do not cease to amaze. I can read them over and over again and there would be a wonderful trickling of magic streaming underneath that I hadn’t caught the last time. Or I would read something that wasn’t so important to me the last time but now makes a lot of incredulous sense. Dr. Samuel Johnson said that the only test of literary greatness is ‘length of duration and continuance of esteem’. He also put a number to this– he reckoned that the necessary ‘length of duration’ was a hundred years.

I am looking forward to reading more of these finest pieces of English Literature and quite a melting pot of them in terms of variety of genres too. Here are the books that are top-most on my TBR shelf and will be devoured soon:

  1. The Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens- This is the book laying origin to the quotation “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. I can’t wait to read this book because it will give me a lot of perspective on the French revolution and life in London and Paris during the 1800’s. This novel is the reason for my late attachment with Charles Dickens. I had read an abridged children’s classic of this book when I was a child and absolutely abhorred it! Since then, the feeling has remained entrenched in my mind, associating abhorrence with Charles Dickens and I have been biased against Charles Dickens till I recently picked up A Christmas Carol and loved it. I am very excited to read all his works including The Pickwick Papers now.
  2. I’ve got The Awakening by Kate Choplin. This is a novel dealing with sexual passion and the personal emotions of women. I am not really sure whether I will be able to connect with this book and have been afraid of picking it up for a while.
  3. North And South by Elizabeth Gaskell simply because I found that Charles Dickens edited her works for his magazine “Household Words” and the fact that they were writers in the same age (1850s) makes it exciting to read and compare their works. This was the “preliminary note” for the magazine:

    “We aspire to live in the Household affections, and to be numbered among the Household thoughts, of our readers. We hope to be the comrade and friend of many thousands of people, of both sexes, and of all ages and conditions, on whose faces we may never look. We seek to bring to innumerable homes, from the stirring world around us, the knowledge of many social wonders, good and evil, that are not calculated to render any of us less ardently persevering in ourselves, less faithful in the progress of mankind, less thankful for the privilege of living in this summer-dawn of time”
    – Charles Dickens

  4. I want to deviate and read some fantasy fiction so the 4th position is a blank place-holder for one of those (I haven’t decided which).

Happy Reading!

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