the loss of the classics.

Friday, January 13, 2012

i don't hear much about the long-standing classics anymore.  books like a tale of two cities, crime and punishment, david copperfield, anna karenina... and the one pictured, of course, pride and prejudice.  i tend to skip right over them and go for what's on the new york times best sellers list, what people are bringing up in book clubs, what's featured on the big table in the front of barnes and noble, popping up on the homepage of amazon.  you know... the hunger games trilogy (and twilight, who could forget the twilight series?), the help, the other boleyn girl.  these books have brought me great entertainment.  still, i feel like i'm missing out.  outside of a 19th century british lit. class, i haven't read any of these books that i should be reading.  why do i say should?  well, they're of a simpler time (i think we all want things that remind us of a simpler time.  am i right?).  add to that, they're beautifully written--i mean, they have stood the test of time.  not to mention, so often, they're beautiful.  i mean, just the book itself (if they're an old edition, anyway).  steve's over my shoulder pulling one off the shelf right now--leather!--and he's adding: the character development in them!  (his three all-time favorites are pride and prejudice, les miserables, and brothers karamazov).  why don't i (or we, if you're guilty too) read these more?  i know there are a handful of you who do read these classics... who pick up hemingway for fun, and peruse the shelves of used book stores as a hobby.  good for you, and i really mean that.  the rest of us?  pathetic!

i'm going to start.  beginning with pride and prejudice.  i am seriously ashamed to say i haven't yet read it.  steve's ashamed of me too!  and i'm reading it from a book.  a book that you can hold.  not a screen!  look at me go!  what's next?  some dickens perhaps!  or a little thomas hardy!  bronte even!

it's gonna be good.

what classics have you read for fun?  none of that i-had-to-for-class stuff!

104 comments:

  1. good for you...pride and prejudice is one of my favorites, read it every year.

    I've been trying to read a classic every six months...especially since for some reason i didn't read a lot of them in school.

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  2. LOVE Pride and Prejudice. I think it takes a few minutes to get used to the language, so different than today, but then you can become so absorbed! Some other favorites are Persuasion, and Jane Eyre. Mansfield Park is also good. Actually, you could read through all of Jane Austen and probably feel pretty good about that :-)

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  3. None, sadly. I've considered it, and I really should just do it, but I'm currently a college student so I've got my head buried in business textbooks all the time. I'm just making excuses, I think. Like I said, I really should just do it.

    Go you for biting the bullet and just doing it. How many times can I say that in one comment?

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  4. I had to read a lot of these in college because I majored in English, but I also obviously really enjoyed it because I chose to major in English.

    What I wanted to say here is that even when some of these books can be dry and feel really long (Hey, Dickens), I think they're still so important to read and know because we're still talking about them all these years later, and they still carry cultural weight that's important to our society!

    I'm into Shakespeare. That guy is cool. Enjoy your reading!

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  5. Paul gets on me ALL THE TIME about this! He's the type to pick up The Iliad or The Odyssey for fun, though. The last classic book I read (I guess this counts) was East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Seriously amazing book! It looks thick and intimidating, but once I got into the storyline I couldn't put it down.
    This is actually one of my resolutions this year, to read more classics! My Kindle helps me in this dept. since I can get them for free (although I do miss out on the smell and beauty of old books..boo)

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  6. Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorites. I picked it up by accident before a trip once and was forced to read it out of boredom. It's so moving and awful and wonderful.

    In our bookclub we rotate the kinds of books we read. Non fiction, fiction, classics, contemporary... and I have to admit, whenever we get to a classic, I groan. Even though I'm an English Lit major--it's so fun and easy to breeze through Bossypants instead of trudging through War and Peace. But I'm sure that the latter is better for my brain.

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  7. I struggle with this too! In fact it is possible the only classic I've ever read "for fun" was Les Miserables. Yikes!

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  8. i think if you are starting with JA-you should start with Persuasion-love it. I have to say-in my old bookclub we tried to choose books that were a bit more challenging than the top 10-ones that need a month to savour and linger on- we read 'new' classical writers like William Faulkner-have you read him?

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  9. I never really liked Dickens- he's so stinkin' wordy!- but then I read A Christmas Carol last year. It is absolutely wonderful and a super quick read. I liked it a lot more than Tale of Two Cities. Also- sorry Steve- I only got half way through Brother Karamazov and gave up. Did the same thing with Crime and Punishment. I'm no match for Russian lit, I guess.

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  10. I just read Pride and Prejudice for the first time since high school and it was delightful. I knew the gist of the story, so it wasn't a struggle to comprehend all of the details of what was happening, even though I still got lost in some of Austin's long and wordy sentences. Mr. Collins has some of the best lines in that novel, but, as predicted, Mr. Darcy stole my heart.

    I'm hoping to read more classics soon. Good luck and I know that you will enjoy them!

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  11. I recently read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. So good! My favorite classic is Wuthering Heights. It's one that I can read over and over again.

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  12. I hear ya! I'm guilty of the same "fad reading". But if I buy a new modern book I try to even it out by also buying a "classic" (they are always really cheap in paperback). Im trying to read my way though Steinbeck, Faulkner, and Hemingway. I also love anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I know these are more contemporary than say, Pride and Prejudice but I still consider them to be classics. Just try to balance your reading list and it will be a cinch to incorporate classics into it. Have a grand day :)
    -Janell

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  13. started jane eyre and just could not keep going. (hanging head in shame) and now reading a "new" book on my nook! the fallback plan.

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  14. So, I strongly dislike Jane Austen. I know, how crazy, right? I just can't do it. I barely made it through P&P.

    That's okay because I LOVE American classics like "The Scarlet Letter," "The Awakening" and my favorite, "The Great Gatsby."

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  15. @robyn, faulkner is intense! i tried absalom absalom but... sadly... couldn't really make it through. no, scratch that... i gave up!

    @amber, i am proud to say i LOVED wuthering heights!

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  16. and so far, in p&p, mr. bennet is the bomb. that man! so witty! and putting up with mrs. bennet! sainthood! but i think in the end, it'll be mr. darcy.

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  17. I'm a literary loser. I love the NY times best sellers, and the dumb tween sensations like Hunger Games, Twilight. I can't believe I just admitted that. Wyatt on the other hand genuinely loves to read classics (snob!), so I felt justifies buying all those pretty Penguin Classics like you have pictured. I'll try, emphasis on try, to get through one this year:) Am I lame that I find them a little boring?

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  18. One of my aims at the end of last year was to read more classics, I started with Mdame Bovary, qhich I loved and then tried Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, which seemed to take me an age to read.

    i don't know why but it did, so I left it for a bit and then found it even harder to get back in to. Maybe it is the fact that not much happens and its all in the writing and instead I needed a massive thriller of a book--but I finished it hoorah!

    Although now I don't want to start Vanity Fair, what happens if the same thing happens again?

    Sorry for the essay!

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  19. Jane Eyre was a childhood favourite. So intense. I don't read enough classics, but I find they crop up a lot in modern day fiction. They are the building blocks, the foundation for today's stories.

    My mission this year is to read Dostoyevsky ... eep!

    http://unpublishedworksofme.blogspot.com/

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  20. yaaaah...i haven't read any outside of school. i'm in the pathetic category. :-/ i cannot find the time to sit and read now that mason is on the move!!! and i know that's a lame excuse...i could read after he goes to sleep, but that's my precious trashy-tv-time!!!! and then when i lay down in bed i am usually snoring before my head hits the pillow. this was a long way of saying, i feel guilty and i'm going to try to do better. you have me motivated.

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  21. Unfortunately I haven't read any for fun, as of recently :( . I'm hoping that once school is over and done with (or I stop getting books for christmas from NY Best Sellers List) that I'll be able to read more!

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  22. I love pride and prejudice! Great classics! Enjoy them! It's making me want to go read them again now !

    xo.Britt The Magnolia Pair

    :)

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  23. I've read several for fun. Les Miserables is probably one of my favorite books ever! (Although you can skip some parts. Authors back then got paid by word....so they really tried to stretch it out.)

    When I was getting my masters in reading education we had several conversations about the classics. Some teachers thought kids needed to read them and some thought that just because they are old doesn't mean something more recent hasn't been written that's just as good. It was really interesting to hear both sides.

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  24. I haven't really read any of the classics either but I spotted some really cool copies of Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre at the library so I think I'll start with those :) I have a resolution to read 100 books this year so why not add some classics to that list.

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  25. P&P and Les Mis are two of my favorites as well. Such amazing books! In reading P&P, you really get to understand how Elizabeth's heart changed and their love is more meaningful. East of Eden is probably my favorite book- AMAZING. My husband and I read it every couple of years. I highly recommend!

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  26. I just bought this exact book- it was on an endcap at TJ MAXX of all places... i bought it b/c it looked really cool and i figured i'd use it as decor when i am finished and b/c i too... have never read it. crazy!it was a good $12 buy for me.

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  27. I HIGHLY recommend Gone With The Wind. Oh boy. It's a little "newer" than some of the other classics, but it's my very favorite.

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  28. I fell in love with Mr. Darcy my Junior year in high school, after my Mom let me skip school to stay in bed and finish the book. Enjoy!

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  29. I kept all of my books from 12th grade British Lit. just for that purpose. They were my favorite books I read my entire high school career. And my favorite courses in college have been studies in British Lit. In between reading some interesting new titles, I take a step back and revisit my favorite books.

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  30. I feel like I've done a decent job of reading classics, but it went into overdrive the summer I lived in Sweden. The only English books I could find were classics, so Jane Eyre, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Great Gatsby and The House of Mirth. Aside from the last one, they were all thoroughly enjoyable, and I also highly recommend To Kill a Mockingbird and A Tale of Two Cities (althought ATTC is the only Dickens book I've ever liked). Happy Reading!

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  31. PS In college, I took a Chinese literature class and we read The Story of the Stone... it is a serious page turner!

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  32. I've read P&P a bunch, but also Jane Eyre. Love that book for some reason. A bit dark at points, but I think I've read it about 6 times. None of the film adaptations do it justice.

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  33. I adore Jane Eyre. I first read it in high school English and had a love/hate relationship with it. Hard to start, then hard to start, then so emotional. Now, it's my go to book.

    This year I'm going to fiddle with Dostoevsky, as well. My dad was a Russian Lit. prof. and I speak a little, so I hope I love it! First on the list is Notes from Underground, because it's short... :)

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  34. Sad to say I don't think I have read very many classics either...maybe in my precious downtime from work and grad school I will check a few out :)

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  35. I need to read more classics too! But I can say I've read Pride and Prejudice three times and it's my absolute favorite book. It's amazing. After you finish that you should read Great Expectations, and The Great Gatsby. If you haven't read both already. They're awesome.

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  36. I got my Bachelor and Master degrees in English...and may get a Doctorate someday...so I read lots and lots, especially for our comprehensive exams. I'm not hugely into Austen, and while my husband loves the Russians and Dickens, I have a hard time getting through them. I LOVE twentieth century literature and adolescent lit. (Don't knock The Hunger Games as literature...I do have to question Twilight though. ;)

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  37. I'm getting back to the classics as well! They feel good. And the last two pop culture books (one was a very popular series... I won't get into that debate) nearly destroyed my love of reading. So I'm starting with my two favorite books of all time: 'Catcher in the Rye' and 'Tess of D'urbervilles'. Not quite where you're headed, but I'll get there!

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  38. I'm so excited for you. I just got chills thinking about that book. That book is a prime example of how a love story should be.

    I was just asking around for new books to read, but I might have to dust off my old copy of Pride and Prejudice and some wine (which will not be dusty) and have a date with Mr. Darcy tonight.

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  39. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book. I love Lizzy - so strong, yet still so feminine. You should try Jane Eyre too!

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  40. I agree, it's a shame hardly anyone reads the classics. I have read pride and prejudice an absolutely love it!

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  41. I likes Pride and Prejudice but I think Mansfield park was much easier to read and much more entertaining. Have fun reading it! I agree with Lauren- Jane Eyre is awesome. Especially for the ladies who like older men (wink!)

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  42. I think about this all the time because my English program in high school was HORRID. In college, I'd barely read any classics, and certainly not the books my English classmates had been required to read.

    So I made a rule for myself, one that I followed for a long time: read something "entertaining" like the books you mentioned; then read something classic. I did this to build my library in both directions.

    I'm a book blogger now, so I have to stay more current, but every once in awhile I'll give myself a break and revisit a favorite classic or find a new one. The best is going to used bookstores and finding old editions of those books. Then it feels even more authentic to read those amazing, amazing words.

    reverie

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  43. the last two books I read were Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Loved them both! Most of the classics I love, I did have to read for class b/c I got my BA in English...that's a lot of reading! But, like you, I want to read more classics for fun. For some reason I started looking at them as something from a past life. I thought maybe, now that I've been out of undergrad for a few years, I may not be smart enough to comprehend or enjoy them. How will I know if it's good if I don't have to write a research paper on it?? But I loved reading these two books, and I'm excited to continue the trend! PS-- I strongly recommend Wuthering Heights, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Sound and the Fury, Love in the Time of Cholera (and/or 100 Years of Solitude), and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Oh yeah..and I was a big fan of Heart of Darkness...but I'm of a small population on that one, I think! :) Happy reading!

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  44. I'm guilty of not reading period. Over the past two years it's been snippets of baby books and baby magazines. How sad is it that I had to put "read more" on my to do list. Before babies, though, I read all the time. Pride and Prejudice was good but A Tale Of Two Cities is my all time favorite book.

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  45. Guilty. But I have read some Hemingway. I always have plans to read them, I have many in my possession. But other things distract me, just like you. I will eventually get around to them, someday...

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  46. We were recently living in someone else's house for a month... they had the most impressive library I have ever seen in real life... so I decided I would pretend to be cultured and read some of their stuff. Much to the shock of both hubs and myself, I read Mansfield Park in a week. Loved it. Like, was more hooked on Mansfield Park than I was reading Twilight. And that is saying a LOT.

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  47. I love classic books. "Jane Eyre" in particular is a favorite. I remember really disliking it in high school, but when I reread it after I fell in love.
    Also love "Pride and Prejudice" and anything by Hemingway or Steinbeck.

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  48. go girl! pride and prejudice is one of my favourites too. love it and should read again anytime soon :)

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  49. first, let me preface this by saying i've never commented on a blog of someone i don't know personally. shame, i know. however, i am a high school english teacher and i just MUST comment now :)

    enjoy p&p. and then read "jane eyre" [of you haven't]. i just finished teaching "gatsby" and, though it's not MY personal fav, if you're into love triangles and bloody fights and drinking...you'll love it :) then you really should read "grapes of wrath." well, maybe wait until you're out of the weepy stages of motherhood, it's depressing, but beautiful. and i'm assuming you've read it, but if not then you MUST read "to kill a mockingbird" [talk about character development!]

    okay. i'm done.

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  50. Yes, I agree... I need to read more classics as well. I felt this way, too, when I first got married... and so I borrowed The Scarlet Letter from the library. Now it's one of my favorites!

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  51. I love Jane Austin and the Bronte books because that time period is so amazing and comes from such an interesting perspective! I can't say I've read a lot of the others but I will say that Crime and Punishment is anything BUT simple! Oh those multiple names for each character. Not easy. Good luck though!

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  52. I have major Dickens love. My Mom read his works to us when I was little and I remember laying in bed and letting it all wash over me. I probably didn’t get half of what was going on. As an adult it feels homey when I read his books. Does Hawthorne count as a classic author? I’m all over him. Nice and soupy. Russian lit is my downfall but I could read Fathers and Sons over and over. And I love Jane Austen so yay, I think you’ll enjoy Pride and Prejudice. Sidenote. I prefer scratching my eyes out over reading anything by Virginia Woolf. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t care.

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  53. Did you know that the author of the Brothers Karamazov was the first to use third person...he said, she said, etc...instead of first?

    I didn't either. But my dad told me over Christmas because he was rereading it for fun.

    Yeah, he's the one you really wrote this post for. I'm all about my Picoult and The Help. Sorry.

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  54. ooo gosh i LOVE classics. some of my favorites are the scarlet pimpernel by baroness emmuska orczy (favorite!), around the world in eighty days by jules verne, austen of course (although i'm ashamed to say i've never read emma!), the hunchback of notre dame, the wind in the willows... so many. but there are A LOT that i haven't read, too. i must get on that. i'm excited to hear about your classics reading project!

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  55. Recently finished North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, who I believe used to collaborate with Dickens in his weekly publication. A little less, detailed, in comparison to Dickens. Good read nonetheless.

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  56. I feel the same way. Recently Moby Dick has been calling my name. Over and over again. Must. Read.

    I think my favorite old classic is All Quiet on the Western Front. It might be because I read it during the hottest days of summer a few years ago... lounged on the couch with the fan blowing directly on me. I can seriously still feel the sluggish heat and I only stopped reading out of human necessity (food, etc).

    The Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy is also incredible. I think you would appreciate it since you're a mother. It really pulls on your heartstrings. Slowly at first, but by the end of the book the amount of tears (happy and sad) you've cried will astonish you.

    OH! And another classic would be Lolita (which I think your husband read?) and Reading Lolita in Tehran, which I loved even more than plain Lolita. That was a seriously incredible story. Modern, based in truth, but dreamy and amazing.

    :)

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  57. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Wait, that's not a classic is it?

    :) Just kidding.

    Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote; Little Women - Louisa May Alcott; Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte; The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald; Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte; The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne.

    I read these classics & many more like 15 years ago in high school. (god, that makes me feel old.) They're fun to re-read from time to time.

    The Diary of Anne Frank is also a must-read. Probably not considered a "classic", but a beautiful, touching story nonetheless.

    Hope this little list helped. It'll definitely keep ya busy for a while... :)

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  58. I've tried to be a non-school classic reader but it just doesn't really work. I think that means I must be white trash. I tried to read The Count of Monte Cristo and never finished it.

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  59. I've been adding classics to my reading the last few years and I swear I appreciate and enjoy them more as an adult. I reread lord of the flies and Jane eyre. Both amazing. But my favorite book ever is East of Eden by Steinbeck. You have to read it!!! Plus there is a movie about it with James Dean!

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  60. ok basically all of you have suggested jane eyre-- done. that's next on the list! and yes, i loved to kill a mockingbird and east of eden. i guess i'm not a total loser when it comes to classics (but mostly a loser).

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  61. I feel you! I had seen both movies of Pride and Prejudice before I picked up the book. I really enjoyed the story, the language is so unique and these days I'm not really used to reading British English, but I found the book interesting and I'm pleased with myself for tackling it.

    Another classic I loved was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. My grandfather grew up in the neighborhood where the family lived in the story. It's not nearly as old as Jane Austen's era, but at least 40 years old and defintiely a must read!

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  62. Ooh I love Pride and Prejudice... I also love Tale of Two Cities (that one's a good one to listen to on cd or whatever)...uh... let's see... I love Jane Eyre too. Also a good one.

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  63. good for you! the classics are my favorite. I've read some bestsellers because I thought I was missing out, but I would rather read Pride & Prejudice than something new on the front table of B&N.

    I hope you update us when you've finished P&P, it's so great!


    smappleby.blogspot.com

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  64. Pride and Prejudice is a classic and one of my favorites. If you're down for watching the 5hr movie (Colin Firth version), then you'll love the book. Some don't like it, but I couldn't put it down after a bit.

    I'm currently working on Jane Eyre, slow but steady! Enjoy your reading!

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  65. Oh, yes! I love this post!

    Thomas Hardy is amazing; I especially enjoyed Far from the Madding Crowd.

    Ever since I've had children, it seems I read books about only them, but I'm working on branching out, branching out to way back when. (Good parenting books - I mean, REALLY good: Simplicity Parenting, Raising Cain, Heaven on Earth...)

    Is Flannery O' Connor considered classic? Her short stories are damn good.

    Gah. I need to read more fiction. (old and classic) Thanks for the reminder.

    And enjoy Pride and Prejudice! It is so good. My husband (who generally likes to channel his reading energy into woodworking books and the instructables web page, really loved it, so much! So much that he agreed to watch the monstrously long BBC movie with me after he finished.)

    Once you start reading to Parker, it gets even better! I love classic children's literature, picture books and otherwise. Parenting really topped out, for me, after we started really exploring books together. Well, topped out sounds pessimistic, but you know what I mean.

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  66. Ha! For me, I have to make an effort to read MODERN literature! :) I'm a classics girl... started on Dickens and Austen when I was 11 or 12.
    Pride and Prejudice is wonderful, but I think Persuasion is my favorite Austen. I adore Dickens (A Christmas Carol is actually my favorite). Les Mis is beautiful. I love C. S. Lewis, and Tolkien. Jane Eyre... wonderful. I love George McDonald.

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  67. If you like Pride and Prejudice (which is probably the book I have reread the most times in my life... except maybe Harry Potter) I would suggest checking out some other Jane Austin classics, like Sense and Sensibility.

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  68. I agree! That's why I love the school where I teach! We only do the classics :)

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  69. I used to love the classics...I have a few on the screens:-)

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  70. Growing up, my parents had bookshelves upon bookshelves of classics, and my world basically revolved around those books... so this post makes me super duper happy. I love that they're releasing so many classics nowadays with the most gorgeous book covers! My best friend gave me this for Christmas and it's the prettiest book I own:
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/barnes-noble-leatherbound-classics-alices-adventures-in-wonderland-and-other-stories-lewis-carroll/1106658833?ean=9781435122949&itm=3&usri=alice+in+wonderland

    I suggest:
    Anything by Charles Dickens is a must. I also love, yes, Mr. Hemingway, very much. Also - Huckleberry Finn/Anything by Mark Twain, Sherlock Holmes, Dorian Gray, The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre, Little Women, The Great Gatsby, Les Miserables, Hans Christian Anderson, The Odyssey (I'm obsessed with Greek History/Mythology), To Kill A Mockingbird. I could go on and on, and I know I'm missing a whole bunch of favorites.

    You can come over and borrow books from my collection anytime. I wouldn't mind at all.

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  71. One of my very, very favorite books is "the sun also rises" by hemingway. You should check it out if you're interested in reading some of his work!

    P.S. I love this post, I was an english major in college and I love reading old stuff, but so often I get sucked into reading what's new and exciting (and half the time sort of awful).

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  72. Jane Eyre. Hands down my favorite book OF ALL TIME. If you can read the first chapter and NOT be completely hooked, you are probably dead inside. It's so perfect and so beautiful...ahhh, I just love it!!

    I also really loved "The Scarlett Letter," but that was partly (mostly?) because of the English class I took while reading it. It's a bit more difficult to read, but so good.

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  73. Bronte, Bronte, Bronte!! Jane Eyre is my absolute favorite book, and I am a huge fan of everything from New York best sellers to scifi to the classics! It is simply the best!

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  74. Just have to say that Jane Eyre is my all time favorite classic! I haven't read them all but I have read a lot! Also, LOVE Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mockingbird.

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  75. last year for some reason i was reading about hemingway on wikipedia and i saw this picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HemingwayLoeb.jpg) and fell in love. i decided to read the book he wrote around the time the photo was taken (the sun also rises) and i was hooked.

    i decided that i had not read enough of the classics so i made a goal to buy at least one classic for every "new" book i bought. and i'm so glad i did. and i would say my favorite so far is mansfield park.

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  76. the great gatsby is a nice shorter read, a bit of a mystery if you will. i liked it back in high school.

    catcher in the rye is a little dark but was one of my absolute favorites.

    pride and prejudice makes me swoon! oh mr. darcy, oh my oh my. if you've ever seen bridget jones diary collin firth's character is based off mr. darcy's character (his last name is even darcy in the movie) aaaannnd, once your done you can reward yourself the a&e version of pride and prejudice, its long but so good, SO gooood, AND collin firth plays mr.darcy. yum.

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  77. I know I'm late to this comment thread, but have to recommend:

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    I just love it.

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  78. I did an English literature degree and it sparked a love of classics that has stood the test of time in my own life. Yup, I'm in a bookclub and I love the modern pageturners as well, but the classics? They're my bread and butter. My favorites to recommend are Middlemarch by George Eliot (I love that she wrote under a male pseudonym) and Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery. Alexander Dumas books (Man in the Iron Mask, 3 Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo etc) are the olden day equivalent of modern 'it' books, as are Charles Dickens. All of Austen is fantastic - Persuasion and Emma are my top picks.

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  79. Pride and Prejudice is the book that I read when I am between a series or waiting for the next book to come out. I never get tired of it. I hope you enjoy it. I agree that after you read it you need to watch the movie with Colin Firth in it.

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  81. Jane Eyre and Frankenstein are my favs. Read them over and over. Even though Frankenstein just rips my heart out, so sad!

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  82. crime and punishment is good and the idiot, the brothers karamazov too. :-)

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  83. bleak house by dickens is super long, but it does not dissapoint. :-)

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  84. I've added audio books to my "read more" mission. Since my son was born, I've had no time (or hands!) to read, but I reignited my audible account and have whipped through tons of books during our walks, nursing, car rides, etc that I never would have finished. Plus, as a new mom, it's wonderful to be read to...

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  85. Love Pride and Prejudice:)) It is a lost art, reading the classics! I will say most of my classic reading was forced reading--required curriculum in high school and college. After college I decided I needed more culture so and maybe be able to answer some Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit questions so I endeavored to read more of the greats. I, like you, started with Pride and Prejudice, which I found delightful. Because I paint for a living I do partake in the audio book version a lot of the time, killing 2 birds with 1 stone, and shamefully I will admit if it weren't in this form I may not have made it all the way through a few of them. Have fun on your cultural journey, read a little to Parker maybe it will stick with him:)

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  86. Oh man, you are speaking my language!
    My book club gets continually annoyed at me because I am always choosing the classics and they want to read popular fiction.
    On my favorites list:
    Persuasion is my Jane Austen favorite--read it after P & P when you are fully immersed in Jane's language.
    Tess of the D'Urbervilles
    The Yearling
    Heidi
    How Green was My Valley
    Have fun reading!
    Love from,
    Greta

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  87. Oh yeah, and The Grapes of Wrath and To Kill A Mockingbird. If you read it in 9th grade, read it again!
    Seriously.
    OK, I'll stop.
    Love from,
    Greta

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  88. Way to go, Bridget!Pride and Prejudice is a great place to start. My all time favorite novel is Brothers Karamazov! Like you, I can get caught up in the current best-sellers. I liked the Help and the Hunger Games series, but now I am back to Robinson Crusoe. And I don't miss the new stuff.

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  89. I lived in China for awhile and one of my proudest accomplishments was managing to work my way through the communication barriers and get a library card. The selection of books in English: strictly classics. It was the best inconvenience ever. My ultimate fav: Little Women. I also really like Wuthering Heights.

    Hmm - you've inspired me to dig out a classic!

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  90. i could not agree more sister. i have often bought classics when i have found tattered copies at yard sales or in used book stores. and the smell and feel of a real live book, especially a ripe one from the library is so authentic. and vintage. sadly, these classics remain largely untouched on my bookshelves as well. maybe i will pick up pride and prejudice too? the ladies bronte next? here's hoping...

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  91. so many comments! i doubt you'll read all the way down here to the bottom...but if you do... i like:
    wuthering heights
    jane eyre
    east of eden (my fave)
    a room with a view (another fave)
    age of innocence (i LOVE edith wharton)

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  92. I'm proud to say that I read Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, and...wait for it, wait for it...are you read? To Kill A Mockingbird - all. for. fun. :D However, my cousin bought me the complete set of Jane Austen novels, and I have not read them yet. I started reading P&P, but never finished it. That's possibly even more shameful than not having cracked it open at all. I do plan to read through her entire collection, though. I want to read more classics, yet I find myself buying up more recently published books. I read somewhere today that you are what you read, and I think that is very true. I think everyone could do with a little classic reading now and then. Perhaps I will make this a goal - read so many classics this year. On to deciding how many...

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  93. You've never read Pride and Prejudice?! Ahh! I think you'll like it. I read Jane Austen's six other novels in my spare time. Lady Susan is my favorite, after Pride and Prejudice, because it is the most openly satirical and therefore laugh-out-loud hilarious. I also read Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy in my free time last year. It was pretty good.

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  94. I read Jane Eyre last summer and it has since become my favorite book of all time. I'm mad at myself for waiting so long to read it!!!

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  95. I'm Austrian and English is not mother tongue, but I love reading the classics.
    P&P was the first one, I've read all Austen novels, but my favourite will always be Persuasion (love the BBC adaption with Ciaran Hinds!).

    I also love Jane Eyre (you should watch the BBC adaption with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson, it's perfect!!) and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (again- watch the BBC series, it's more than perfect!!).

    Thomas Hardy wrote some marvellous stories - ie Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge or Jude the Obscure.

    Happy reading!

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  96. Count of Monte Cristo. Without a doubt best book I've ever read. It's amazing.

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  97. I loved Pride and Prejudice, at one point I read all of Jane Austen. On the other hand there are a lot of other classics that I never got around to reading, I should really read more.

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  98. Hi, Perhaps you should start an online bookclub....we may make it through all the classics (even the Russian ones) if we knew others were suffering too and if we could discuss them and their impact on us??????

    Lisa from honibun@blogspot

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  99. See the problem is, the classics were compulsory read in school, so that automatically made them a bore... even if they are not... if you know what i mean. Plus I like certain kind of books and rarely get out of that "cirlcle".
    Maybe I should/could try one of the classics? Like Wuthering Heights or Little Women? Tried Crime and Punishment in highschool as a must, and seriously it is a real crime and punishment to make kids read it.

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  100. if Steve is ashamed of you for not reading Pride and Prejudice he will be SUPER ashamed of me!! I was named after Elizabeth Bennet (I go by Libby though) because it is my moms all time favorite book.......never read it, never watched the movies, I fail. I've tried watching the movie before and had 0 desire to continue past 5 minutes, haha

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  101. I loved Pride & Prejudice - got it from the library but would like to own it so I can re-read it at a moment's whim. Please let us know how you find it!

    I've had a copy of Anna Karenina sitting around for, oh, probably two years. It was next to my bed or a while and now on my desk. I've never gotten farther than the first 10 pages in it, but somehow it makes me feel smarter to have it around I think. Ha! I will tackle it, someday...it might take me another few years though. If only it wasn't so many pages!

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  102. Look what I spotted this morning on Chenin Boutwell's blog! Baby lit books! Never too early for the classics!

    http://www.fudgebananaswirl.com/babylit-board-books/

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  103. I really love the classics! I don't get to read as much as I'd like to (or should), but when I do I always reach for the classics.

    My favorites are Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice and The Sun Also Rises... and, yes, a lot of my friends think I'm crazy for it. =P

    xx Melina

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  104. Pride and Prejudice is wonderful, so is Emma if you're in the mood for more Austen after you finish P&P. I read a lot of classics in high school and college and I too sometimes feel guilty for not reading classics now that they're no longer 'required reading.' I think it's just that, honestly, reading the classics can be more difficult than reading the latest novel on the NYtimes bestseller list, you know? Definitely more rewarding though, too... worth the extra effort for sure. Thanks for reminding me. :)

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