Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Five

I’m no longer keeping track of how many days I’ve been sick—it’s a ridiculous number. Anyway, I’m back to reading after having my fill of Netflix, synopsis writing, and query tidying.

I finished Jane Eyre yesterday. I had plowed through most of it very quickly. And then I hit the section where Jane meets St. John (if you haven’t read the book, it’s the name of a man who’s her cousin and wants to marry her). Ugh. That section dragged on and on. I had to force myself to read it. Of course, as soon as Jane bailed on St John, the narrative picked up and I was hooked again. I suspect Ms. Bronte could have used a bit of judicious editing at that point. (I know, I speak sacrilege to some—sorry.)

Now I’m trying to decide what to read next. My only two rules are:
1. It has to be a classic.
2. It can’t be Russian. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Russians. But they make me so depressed, and that’s not fair to my family. My plan is to read the Russians when the kids are grown.

I’ve read a ton of classics—I was a lit major back in the day when each class required the reading of one to two novels/oeuvres per week. It was like drinking from a literary firehose. But there are still so many great books that I haven’t read. So in the manner of the Friday Fives, which I haven’t done in a longer time (Sorry, Andrew), here are the choices that I’m considering:

1. Don Quixote—Cervantes (When Ariel was assigned this for a class, she read portions aloud to me. Hilarious and clever.)

2. Vanity Fair—Thackeray (I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Thackeray.)

3. Tender is the Night—Fitzgerald (I’m a FSF fan, but I haven’t read this one.)

4. The Moonstone—Collins (Arguably the first mystery novel ever written)

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray—Wilde (I love Wilde’s wit.)

Readers, help me, which shall I read? BTW, if you have a personal favorite that’s not up here, feel free to list it. If I haven’t read it, I’ll consider it.


  1. Ummm ... Vanity Fair. I read that one for the first time a couple years ago. It was fun!

  2. I think it's hilarious how I'm associated with the posting of these Friday Fives. Keep it up. :)

    ..And I'll have to post my favorites sometime soon. What do you classify as a classic? Time period or author?

  3. Andrew,

    "Classic." For me that means "old" (which means I can get it for free on my Kindle) and "beautifully written."

  4. Hi, I have read Jane Eyre recently and I do agree with you on St.John's episode. Regarding books, I suggest Don Quixote...

  5. Hmm, Picture of Dorian Gray? Nice and chilling!

  6. I loved Ethan Frome but its not very long and I am not sure if you are looking for something more on the "epic" scale. From your choices I loved Dorian Gray so that would be my suggestion. I am a new visitor I found you from another blog!

  7. Picture of Dorian Gray! Loved it. :)

    For some reason, I also REALLY like the Moonstone when I picked it up and read it on a whim in 8th grade. This might possibly be an effect of my having read very few mysteries. So I really enjoyed it as the mystery deepened. However, Alz read it in college, I think, and she thought it was boring. Haha. So maybe take my rec with a grain of salt?

  8. Ok, Wilde is witty, but Dorian Grey is not...its interesting but not nearly as entertaining as The Importance of Being Earnest:D

    I love Jane Eyre! I need to see the 27th movie adaptation of it now, haha.

  9. Am a fan of Fitzgerald, so of the books you listed, I'd pick his. As for other suggestions, how about "The Ivy Tree"? It's been a lot of years since I last read it, but if I remember right, it was written by Mary Stewart. (but I could be wrong; sometimes my rememberer leaves a lot to be desired) Or Dante's "The Divine Comedy", or "Of Human Bondage", by Somerset Maugham. And when you're ready to tackle the Russians, (so to speak)I recommend Dostoyevski.

  10. Hmmm, I'd say Dorian Gray or Don Quixote.

  11. Ooh I like number one and five! They are a bit heady, but worth the read, for sure!

  12. Sadly, I haven't read ANY of those. I am no help! Hope you pick a winner. :0)

  13. Andrew McPhersonApril 2, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    Ah, but Mrs. K, isn't "beautifully written" more or less subjective?

  14. Andrew,
    Sort of subjective, maybe. Anything thought to be in the canon of literature has stood the test of time because it's considered either "beautifully written" or significant in terms of its influence.

  15. I never knew there was a given "canon" for literature. That interests me.

    But surely some pieces of literature that didn't to stand the test of time and somehow still manged.

  16. Andrew,
    There are some books considered part of the canon that I don't like. But that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't well written. (For example, I'm not fond of Robinson Crusoe, but it is well written and has been very influential over the course of history). Granted, there may be some exceptions, but most of the books that don't measure up fall by the wayside because there are so many books.

    You know, that might make a great Friday Five--name five classics that are supposed to be "great" that you don't like. (For me, it'll be hard to keep it to five. :)

  17. This is a great list of classics. However, I feel bad because when I'm forced to read something for a class I never enjoy like if I were to read it on my own. :-/

  18. I am just reading this and I am a bit of a literary fraud, reading much about books but not having read the actual books, especially the classics. That said, I think you will enjoy Wilkie Collins. Woman in White was really good, have not read Moonstone. As an incentive, if you are into that sort of thing, BBC has some really great adaptations of both.