July Read-a-Thon Update: Day 16

I’m getting a lot more reading done this Read-a-Thon. The June one was shorter, yes, but I also just have way more reading to do, and I have to prioritise it, because it’s for class!

Still loving my re-read of the Sherlock Holmes canon, and I’m really enjoying a lot of the reading for my non-fiction writing class–have read a couple of memoirs I would not have picked up on my own.

Number of pages I have read so far:

  • 61 pages from Detection by Gaslight: 14 Victorian Detective Stories by Douglas Greene [Ed.]. Notes: no update.
  • 26 pages from On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz. Notes: no update.
  • 150 pages of A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Notes: finished.
  • 141 pages of The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Notes: finished.
  • 229 pages of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Notes: still reading!
  • 232 pages of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Notes: finished.
  • 52 pages of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet Washington. Notes: I’m behind on this one—I ought to be at 100 pages—but I’m getting through. Still a difficult read.
  • 100 (manuscript) pages of my friend’s WIP. Notes: finished.

Running page count: 991

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July Read-a-Thon Update: Day 14

So swamped! Just started my third class for the summer, so that’s another pile of reading on… Whew!

Page count to this point:

  • 61 pages from Detection by Gaslight: 14 Victorian Detective Stories by Douglas Greene [Ed.]. Notes: no update.
  • 26 pages from On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz. Notes: no update.
  • 150 pages of A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Notes: finished.
  • 141 pages of The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Notes: finished.
  • 145 pages of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Notes: just trucking along…
  • 232 pages of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Notes: finished. I was uncomfortable with Bechdel’s use of pejoratives in describing her father’s sexuality, but aside from that, this was a brilliant work—I blasted through it in one day, because I didn’t want to stop reading.
  • 38 pages of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet Washington. Notes: this is a hard read, emotionally, but it’s been on my list for a while, and I’m gonna be reading it for a class on scientific racism.
  • 100 (manuscript) pages of my friend’s WIP. Notes: finished.

Running page count: 893

Under-Appreciated Classics

Last Tuesday, I participated in the Top Ten Tuesday post that the Broke and the Bookish puts on. The theme was classics, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what classics I wanted to include. I ended up consulting several lists around the internet of classics and picking the ones I’d read more than once and really enjoyed.

As I was going through the lists, I kept coming across titles I had read and enjoyed that seem a bit more obscure. These are titles that I don’t think get talked about as much—on top 100 lists, or even top 250, they rarely make the cut—and I wanted to highlight a few:

  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. I can’t quite describe why this one has stuck with me, but I read it years back for a course. It took a bit to get into, and there’s some controversial parts that Hardy wrote deliberately ambiguous, but once I was in it, I was hooked. I powered through this one (got ahead of the class and had to double back) and ended up really loving it.
  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I’m a bit sad I hadn’t got to read this one before now—it’s so good, I feel like I’ve been missing out. It’s got great touches of humour, the characterisation is interesting and well thought out, and it’s an early entry in the detective lit genre that is not always mentioned as being the forerunner it was.
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen. Yes, this was on my Top Ten list, but I think it bears mentioning again. This really is my favourite Austen book, and I think it mostly only gets read by Austen enthusiasts, folks who read Austen’s more obscure work. Everyone knows Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, and many know Emma—if only because of the Gwyneth Paltrow film—but Persuasion is definitely less widely known or considered. Yet, it’s my favourite.
  • The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. This is an apologetic, and is thus not for everyone. However, I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I feel that it asks some very interesting questions about humans and humanity.

If you’re looking for a readable, enjoyable classic, I highly recommend one of these. Give them a try; I don’t think you’ll regret it.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Classics to Come Back to

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My favourite edition of The Hobbit

 

This week, I’m joining in on the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday, a chance for people who like books and lists to share on a theme.

This week’s theme is classics—10 classics you love, or 10 you’ve meant to read, or whatever—and I’m sharing classics I’ve read more than once because they’re so good. Without further ado…

  1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I admit that this choice is at least partly due to loving the Muppet film adaptation so much, but the book is short, fun, funny, and heart-warming, and it’s a great one to come back to when I want to feel good about the world.
  2. Persuasion by Jane Austen  – I really think this is a terribly under-appreciated book. Ask the average non-Austenite to name 1 or 2 of her books, and you will invariably get back the ones that have made been made into successful adaptations: Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility—which are both lovely, but I think that Persuasion outshines them for sheer enjoyability. It’s a bit more staid than many modern books, but I really think it’s the best of Austen’s works.
  3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This one is a bit slow at the start, but it’s another book that I think really shines. Like Persuasion it’s a novel of its time, but it also tells a story that I think modern audiences can continue to appreciate today.
  4. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. Most people consider the Lord of the Rings a classic—probably because it’s so darn hard to read—and discount The Hobbit, which is silly of them. Yes, it’s a children’s book, but it’s a classic nonetheless.
  5. Emma by Jane Austen. The most well known and widely read of Austen’s books are my least favourite (it’s terribly hipster of me, and I’m not even sorry). Emma Woodhouse is often considered, upon a first reading, to be an unpleasant sort, selfish and meddling and silly. But those are the reasons I like her. She’s more real to me for being just a bit unpleasant. Austen said in a letter “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”, but it is, of course, not at all true.
  6. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  There’s nothing that quite compares to reading the book. There are several very faithful adaptations, and some…less faithful ones (and then the Disney one, which…yeah). I prefer the book over them all. If you enjoy the adaptations, give it a read.
  7. Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The Scottish Play! This one is twisted and odd, and has some very under-appreciated side characters. It’s associated with a ton of tropes and inside theatre jokes., and it’s just really good.
  8. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I dithered over whether this book or A Little Princess out to take this spot, but I ended up going with The Secret Garden because I’ve read it more often, the film adaptation was really good, and I just enjoy this one a fraction more. Not very scientific, but there you have it.
  9. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. This is a play, but it’s still a great read. It’s a bit like Romeo and Juliet, but better, less silly, and considerably more funny.
  10. Dracula by Bram Stoker. I have an illustrated edition that’s rather lovely. This one drags at some parts, and it’s a very odd book, but I very much enjoyed it, and it’s very much worth reading as one of the foundations of modern vampire myths.

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This is the edition of Dracula I’ve got

Honourable Mentions:

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
  • Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

Book Finished: Faces at the Bottom of the Well

I finished my third book for the June Read-a-thon: Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell.

It fulfilled a prompt and a challenge off the Treesofreverie Prompts & Challenges list: “Read a book you’ve been meaning to read” & “Read a book written by or focusing on POC #weneeddiversebooks”.

Now, I’ll move on to Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman for “Re-read one of your favourite books”.

Book Finished: The Rose That Grew from Concrete

I finished my second book for the June Read-a-thon: The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur.

It fulfilled a prompt and a challenge off the Treesofreverie Prompts & Challenges list: “Read a book you’ve heard a lot of good things about” and “Read a poetry book”.

Now, I’m working on Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell for the prompt “Read a book you’ve been meaning to read” & “Read a book written by or focusing on POC #weneeddiversebooks” and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman for “Re-read one of your favourite books”.

Book Finished: Letters to a Young Poet

I finished my first book as part of the June Read-a-thon: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke! It was a bit of a struggle, and I don’t especially like the translation I had (by M.D. Herter Norton), but there were some moments of joy from lovely language that I’ve quoted on my Tumblr—you can read those here.

It fulfilled a prompt off the Treesofreverie Prompts & Challenges list: “Read a book you’ve had lying around unfinished”.

Now, I’m working on Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell for the prompt “Read a book you’ve been meaning to read”.