October 8, 2006

Classic Challenge Recap

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: 2classic
Function: noun
1 : a literary work of ancient Greece or Rome
2 a : a work of enduring excellence; also : its author b : an authoritative source
3 : a typical or perfect example

Finished! I decided to devote only one month to my
Classic Challenge and have to say that I'm quite pleased with the final results.

# of books selected: 13
# of books finished: 7
# of books abandoned: 3
# of books untouched: 3

Favorite read: The Good Earth (followed by The Bell Jar and Brave New World)

Least favorite read: The Optimist's Daughter (followed by Death of a Salesman and Fahrenheit 451).

I hope to make this an annual event, as I truly enjoyed the experience.


  1. Les ~ Good for you! Isn't it rewarding to complete a challenge, even when it's self-imposed? With all the chatter about classics, I'm thinking about throwing one in sometime. We'll see.

  2. I like how you established a boundary-one month-and also gave yourself permission to abandon a book. Somehow, I feel compelled to finish what I start even if it's taking my joy. You certainly read a lot in a month! I've enjoyed reading your reviews.

    I'm going to Amazon now, to buy a copy of The Book Thief. I started The Thirteenth Tale and can't put it down, so let's talk when we're done.

    Finally, are you still considering a Big Book Challenge? Have you read The Crimson Petal and The White? It's huge, but I loved it.

  3. Joy, yes it sure was rewarding to finish and do as well as I did. I probably could have read the remaining three on my list, but they were all quite long and it would have taken me many weeks. Plus, I had The Book Thief and The Thirteenth Tale calling to me! Good luck with your attempt to read more classics. There are some great books out there.

    Bellezza, I hadn't decided on a single month goal until I brought The Book Thief and The Thirteenth Tale home! As I mentioned to Joy, I don't think I would have had too much trouble finishing the other 3 in my list, but those darned new books (and all the hype for them) wouldn't leave me alone.

    I used to finish every book I ever started, but over the past few years have given myself permission to quit after a noble attempt of at least 50-100 pages. Some of my favorite books have taken that long to get interested, but others have been such duds that I feel there's no need to waste my time, especially with all the books I'd rather be reading. Life is too short and my TBR stacks/lists will all be waiting for me.

    Yay! Another positive remark for The Thirteenth Tale. I can hardly wait, but I'm still savoring The Book Thief. I didn't get to read much yesterday, but wound up wide awake until midnight, so I snuck a few chapters in until I finally felt sleepy.

    Yes, I'm still considering a Big Book Challenge (probably one a month, beginning in 2007) and I have The Crimson Petal and The White in my stack. Glad to hear you loved it. My hubby did, too, as I recall.

  4. You did great! Glad to see some were so good. I'm going to keep going with mine until the end of the year, since I only read 2 books on my list. My reading is really slowing down. At least the quality is still good!

  5. PS: I loooooved The Crimson Petal and the White too. Michel Faber has a new book of short stories out...I think called The Apple, and it has a short story sequel in it. I have to try to find it. I've actually been thinking of rereading that at some point soon. It was SO good.

  6. You go girl! That's quite an accomplishment. I like the idea of one big book per month. Still haven't decided exactly what to do about that, but one a month sounds manageable. Good thinking.

  7. Anonymous6:00 AM

    Congrats, Les, I have great admiration for the fact that you set this challenge for yourself and what's more, you finished it - a wonderful accomplishment in my book!

    I just read your review for Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth" and if you don't mind, I think I am going to put it on my list of books to read for booklogged's classic challenge. I read it once when I was much younger and I have always wanted to read it again. Ofcourse, the challenge being in Jaunary, so much can change in the interim, but for now, on my list it goes. Thanks, Les!

  8. Heather, I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity. I'm happy to read when I can, but I don't set any goals to read a certain amount each year. Some months are better than others, but I try not to let it bother me. BTW, I'm glad to hear another positive comment about The Crimson Petal and the White. My dh enjoyed it, too.

    Nancy, yep, it's decided. I'm only going to attempt one big book each month. I'm getting a bit antsy to start! Guess that's a good sign, eh?

    Lotus, thanks for the congrats. It sure feels like an accomplishment, especially since I've been disappointed with a lot of the classics I've read over the years. Good luck with your classic reading. I may be able to help with ideas. Stay tuned for my Thursday Thirteen list this week.

  9. I think I'm going crazy. I thought I left a comment the last time I was here, but I guess not. I sure loose a lot into the black holes in my mind. Those holes are increasing in their gravitational pull.

    Anyway, Congratulations Lesly. You really did a good job on those classics. I look forward to the chunkster challenge. I'm read one right now that I couldn't put off until the first of the year. It's an Oct. bookclub selection.

  10. I think getting antsy is a good sign. I'm eager, too. In fact, The Once and Future King has 639 pages, so you could say I've already plunged in, but I have so many more fat books that I feel comfortable waiting to make up a chunky book challenge. There are plenty left to spread out, next year! :)

  11. Thanks, Booklogged. I see you're reading The Historian. It is big! I need to get my Chunkster/BigFatBook list up soon.

    Nancy, I was surprised that I had so many big books lying around. I guess I've been putting them off, but not resisting the urge to buy them. Should be a fun challenge!


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