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On the classics.

In an attempt to become a more interesting and well-rounded person, I’ve decided to start reading proper books again.

I used to read a lot, and I used to read good, serious books (including such titles as Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, A Suitable Boy, Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird, Love in a Cold Climate and, probably unwisely, The Handmaid’s Tale, when I was only 11), but lately I seemed to have taken a bit of an easy road and gone for a slightly less highbrow genre of literature – mostly just a whole bunch of crime novels, each with a significant amount of gratuitous violence to offer up.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that (except, possibly the gratuitous violence part), because they’re fun, and I enjoy them. But I used to enjoy the other stuff too – with the added benefit of a much fuller vocabulary.

So, with that in mind I’ve decided to start reading some good books. First on the list – and begun today, whilst waiting for a meeting to begin – is Tess of the d’Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy. Also on my planned list are The Pilgrim’s Progress, Les Miserables, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

My question is this: what would you recommend that I add to the list? Or what would you urge me to avoid at all costs?

Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

In summary: getting culture and stuff. Maybe.

This entry was published on September 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm. It’s filed under Rest and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “On the classics.

  1. I would avoid Tess. It’s pretty harrowing – won’t make you respect/like men any more. I’m reading Bleak House at the moment. It’s long but good. And Hard Times is great too but maybe that’s a Dickens overload. Or the Picture of Dorian Gray by Wilde that is great and has just been released as a movie here!

  2. Definitely The Pilgrim’s Progress – it’s fab (despite John labelling it as ‘a bunch of people with strange names going for a long walk’. He said the same thing about The Lord of the Rings!

    Have you read ‘Rebecca’ or ‘Portrait of a Lady’? ‘Frankenstein’ is good too šŸ™‚

  3. Rachel Nellist on said:

    I would avoid anything by Thomas Hardy, purely because I dislike him. I seem to remember he wrote a whole nook of poetry about his sadness at the death of his first wife but he was already shacked up with a new one weeks after she died. He’s miserable!! Gone with the wind, my copy has fallen to pieces i’ve read it so often! xx

  4. I agree with the above comment, Thomas Hardy is miserable! Les Miserables, on the other hand, is a wonderful book, one of my favourites! Enjoy!

  5. I agree with Julie – Les Mis is fantastic! I’m reading it for the first time at the moment (after seeing it at the theatre 3 times) and it’s brilliant.

    Tess certainly isn’t the most cheerful book, so brace yourself! The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, however, is really good. Should incorporate your love of crime novels with the kudos of reading a “classic”. It’s a good’un! šŸ™‚

  6. Coming back to comment super later here but I’m in the middle of reading The Woman in White that Kate mentioned and I am LOVING it. I literally use every spare minute to read another page – standing waiting for the metro, over lunch while slurping noodles, with a bowl of cereal in one hand, while I’m waiting for the bathroom to be free in the morning… so good!

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