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August 23, 2006

Back-To-School Classic Challenge






Labor Day is just around the corner and I've decided to get motivated and read some classics that have been lingering on my shelves for far too long. I hope to get through most of these before the holidays. Wish me luck!


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller CURRENTLY READING

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck FINISHED

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury FINISHED

Emma by Jane Austen

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath FINISHED

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller FINISHED

One of Ours by Willa Cather GAVE UP ON

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Mother's Recompense by Edith Wharton GAVE UP ON

The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty FINISHED

Old Jules by Mari Sandoz Didn't realize this is nonfiction (biography); substituted with
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells FINISHED


Brave New World by Aldous Huxley FINISHED

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

22 comments:

  1. Oh definitely, good luck!

    I have a ton of classics on my shelves that I really want to get to as well. Maybe I'll join you in this challenge!

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  2. Good list. It was brought home the other day to me that I really need to get off my butt and read Fahrenheit 451. Its not like its a long book or anything. I am assuming that by "holidays" you mean all the holidays that are coming in the later part of this year and are not trying to read all these books by Labor day. If you could do that I would be mighty, mighty impressed! And would assume you're unemployed. ;)

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  3. Thanks for good wishes, Heather! I think I'll need all the luck I can get with some of these. But you notice I don't have Moby Dick on the list, so that's a plus, imho. I plan to start with Catch-22 and I'll see what appeals to me once I finish that one. You are more than welcome to join me in this challenge, if you like.

    Carl,

    I know what you mean about Fahrenheit 451. It's such a slim book. I can't believe I've never read it! Yep, by holidays I mean Thanksgiving and Christmas (I figure I'll try to finish most of these by the time my daughter graduates from college in mid-Dec.). No way in the world could I finish more than one, maybe two, by Labor Day! I like to savor my books, which is good as I'm somewhat of a slow reader.

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  4. LOL Don't blame you for avoiding Moby Dick. Biggest waste of (my reading) time I've ever seen! It was okay the first 100 or so pages. But then he just lost me then. It got really boring reallllly fast.

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  5. Hehehe, I have a feeling my hubby may chime in on this topic, Heather. It's his all-time favorite book. Ugh. I lasted about 100 pages, too. Maybe if I skip all the parts about the whale... ;)

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  6. I've been meaning to read Portrait of a Lady for ages. I also have The Good Earth and Fahrenheit 451 (I'm another one who has never read it) waiting around in the stacks. Someday..

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  7. I loved The Good Earth! And I've always been meaning to read Catch-22, but I never have. I've join you in our quest.

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  8. Hi Les,

    What a list! Sad to say, I only read Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury) off of your line up, so I think that qualifies me for the No Classics Club. :) I have read one here and there, but always wondered how and why they ever became "classics" and so that never inspired further classic readings. I am encouraged by your challenge and look forward to reading your reviews.

    Happy Reading!

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  9. Of the books you listed I've only read The Good Earth & Brave New World.(I admit I am woefully behind on classics). Sounds like you have a great reading plan for the rest of the year.

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  10. I read some of the books on that list. I especially like Pearl S. Buck. My husband and I had the privilege of visiting her home in Pa. some years back. Even my husband, who reads mostly theology books, enjoyed the time we spent there.

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  11. I am trying to read more classics, too! I recently bought Brave New World, and I plan on reading Henry James soon, too. It is funny as I was thinking today about Mari Sandoz (did I ever mention I live in Omaha?). I was thinking I need to read more local authors, but I have never given Sandoz a try. I was also thinking about Bess Streeter Aldrich. So many books to read....!

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  12. I'm with Joy. I've read Fahrenheit 451 and that's it. Looks like a good list. What are you going to read first? I think I have 7 of those (not including F451, which is my eldest son's favorite book - we have several different copies because he kept upgrading till he got a signed copy) and I'd love to read along on at least some of them.

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  13. Well, I used to read this blog all the time, and with all my computer switching and changing, I only noticed yesterday that I had stopped reading it! oops.

    Anyways, I decided to do some classic reading myself, but only 3: "Little Women", and Austen novel, and something that I have forgotten right about now. Oh, and I am going to buy myself War and Peace for Christmas. My reading goal for next year. :)

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  14. Thanks for all the great comments, folks! I'm always surprised to hear that I'm not the only one who hasn't read a large number of the classics. I plan to read Catch-22 first. No particular reason. It just jumped out at me. After that, I'm almost certain to read Fahrenheit 451. I'll keep y'all posted on what my current read is. I'm going to stay away from the library and my bookshelves and concentrate on this large stack.

    Danielle - Yes, you mentioned you live in Omaha. (You may not have seen my response to your blog entry on 8/15.) I had never heard of Sandoz until I took a Great Plains Lit. class at UNL several years ago. That was the first time I'd heard of her, Cather, and Aldrich. You should read A Lantern in Her Hand someday. It really gives you a sense of what this area was like years and years ago.

    Nancy, I'd be thrilled if you read along with me. And I have to ask, did your son meet Bradbury or get the book from a dealer? What a thrill if he did meet him in person!

    Kailana - glad you found your way back to my blog. :) Good luck with War & Peace!

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  15. Wow, you have some great books ahead of you. I was especially fond of Fahrenheit 451, Emma, The Bell Jar, and Brave New World. I'm interested to hear about One of Ours because I fell in love with Cather's The Professor's House in the Spring semester.

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  16. Andi - I remember how much you enjoyed The Professor's House. I haven't read it yet, but loved O Pioneers! and Death Comes for the Archbishop. My Antonia and The Song of the Lark are quite good, too.

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  17. Les,

    Sorry so slow. Hubby bought a signed copy of F451 off Ebay. I had it all nicely boxed but not wrapped when the eldest, Daniel, started digging one day . . . and was thrilled to find it. But, I wrapped it and gave it to him for Christmas, anyway. LOL

    I think I have Catch-22, around here. I'll look and hope it didn't disappear. A lot of things are disappearing around here, lately.

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  18. Very cool, Nancy. And speaking of signed books, stay tuned...

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  19. Oh, Les, you've put together a wonderful list! I, too, want to get back to the classics, but I can't seem to get off this contemporary fiction merry-go-round. Just when I think I'm done, I'll hear a chorus of praise for a new book and the next thing you know, it's on my nightstand calling to me. I think I need help! Your list has two of my all time favorites -"The Good Earth" and "Emma".

    Nice to see you making good progress!

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  20. Thanks, Lotus. I'm pleased to be making progress on my list. I've had some winners and a few stinkers, but it's been an enjoyable month of reading. I know what you mean about the contemporary fiction merry-go-round. I'm having a very difficult time NOT reading The Thirteenth Tale right now. So much chatter about it and it's sitting here on my desk, tempting me to break my challenge. Will it win? ;) I loved The Good Earth, too. Emma is still in my stack, so the verdict's out on that one.

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  21. Gosh, yes, everyone's talking about "The Thirteenth Tale" so I can imagine how hard it must be for you to have it sitting there knowing you probably won't get to it for a while, or will you break down and read it? :))) It will be interesting to see what you do. Also, I'll be waiting to hear what you think of it. I don't have my copy yet.

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  22. Oh, Lotus. You have no idea how tempted I've been to read TTT since I bought it! I only have a few more books in my Classic Challenge to read, but they're so BIG! If I stick with my plan, I won't get to TTT until November! But maybe the hype will have died down a bit. I'm not one to read what "everyone else" is reading, for fear of too much hype and the inevitable letdown.

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