Classics Club Membership Reviews

I couldn’t think of an easy way to link my reviews of my (eventual) 50 classic books the way that the Classics Club requests, since I do a simple round up at the beginning of each month. I do separate the contemporary from the classics, but I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to do a quick recap of all of the classics to update my membership!

If you want to know more about the Classics Club, you can go here! You are welcome to start your challenge, pick your number of books, and set your time period at any time!
For my membership, I am trying to read 50 books within two years. My deadline is December 24, 2016. You can read my projected list of books here. It’s already changing, though!

The Awakening

the awakening

Rating: ****

This is the first novel from my list of 50 Classic books that I read! It was a short, but good one that I had always meant to read, but never did.

Daisy Miller

DaisyMiller

Rating: ***

This novella by Henry James was fun look at cultural expectations placed upon women, which A Portrait of a Lady, which I read earlier in 2014, explored more in depth. (This novel was also read as part of my 50 books)

Little Men

little men

Rating: ***

I’m sorry. I can’t not compare this to Little Women. It’s like half as good, so 3 stars was a generous rating.

Cranford

book recommendations cranford

Rating: ****

This short(er) novel from Gaskell was much more fun and lighthearted than North and South, the only other novel that she wrote that I have read. I enjoyed the fist person narrative about the “quiet” country town that was anything but quiet. It was full of quirky characters who had a touching dedication to helping their neighbors–no matter how silly the circumstance might be.

The Beautiful and Damned

book recommendations the beautiful and damned

Rating: ***

I really wish that I had read this before I read a biography of the Fitzgeralds’ since it is semi-autobiographical. It was a little predictable because of that. I also wish that I had read This Side of Paradise first, since it was Fitzgerald’s breakout novel.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

book recommendations lady chatterley's lover
This novel was very interesting because I read it immediately following The Beautiful and Damned. The novel takes place during the Jazz Age, also, but it takes place in the UK. It dealt a lot with social classes, like The Beautiful and Damned, but it referred to World War I and the class changes a lot more than Fitzgerald. Money was discussed at length in both novels. Lady Chatterley’s Lover is much more explicit with sex than The Beautiful and Damned, which danced around the topic much more. Honestly, I was completely shocked that this novel was published in the 1920’s, due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes and language. Lady Chatterley’s Lover does mention jazz, dancing, and bobbed hair in passing, but it more about what love, sex, and intimacy means to men and to women. Lawrence wrestles with the three (love, sex, and intimacy) to see where and if they overlap with each other, plus how men and women might view them differently! Women and aristocratic women, specifically, are held to a different standard in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, as opposed to The Beautiful and Damned, where the men seem to be falling over themselves to make the American women happy.

Madame Bovary

Madam Bovary

Rating: ***

I didn’t love this, but I didn’t hate it. It’s not on my list of books to recommend to anyone, anytime soon. Honestly, I didn’t find Madame Bovary very sympathetic. I know the point that the author was trying to make, but it got lost among the tedious whining and immorality of Emma (Madame Bovary). I know that social conventions were different when the novel was written and where it was written, but that doesn’t change the fact that the main character was written in such a way that I really wanted her to be unhappy.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

the talented mr ripley

While I enjoyed the novel, I hated the fact that the novel ended on a cliff hanger! You have to read the entire series to get the whole story! I couldn’t bear 3 more novels of reading the tedious thoughts of the main character. He’s actually kind of boring for a murderer.

This Side of Paradise

this side of paradise

Rating: ***

I wanted to read this novel because it was the novel that gave Fitzgerald his start. Again, not my favorite book, but I can appreciate it for what it was, a portrait of the “lost generation.”

The Sound and the Fury

the sound and fury

Rating: **

Ok, I love Faulkner. Sanctuary and Absolom, Absolom are two of my favorite novels ever. This one, however, I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I’ll try it again some day!

Adam Bede

adam bede

Rating: ***

I did enjoy this novel, however it was not Middlemarch. It wasn’t close. It felt like an early Thomas Hardy novel. The rural setting, unrequited love, odd/far-fetched situations, and may an attempt to make commentary on social mores and hypocrisy left me feeling like I really did just read something along the lines of The Mayor of Casterbridge (minus the the whole wife selling thing…).

I definitely enjoyed it, but I guess I was looking for something either along the lines of Middlemarch or something more original than an early Hardy novel with a slightly happier (only slightly) ending. So, if you DO want more Hardy novels, read this.

I Capture the Castle

IMG_5694 (1)

This novel was a reread for me! You can read all of my thoughts from a book club link up here! (Josie enjoyed it, too!)

Wessex Tales

wessex tales

Rating: ***

Some of these stories were insanely creepy. I can see why they are included in anthologies with Poe. I also think this was my last Hardy novel (well, short stories) to read!

The End of the Affair

the end of the affair

Rating: ***

This was an interesting novella. I can appreciate it for what it is, but it is not at the top of my recommendation list.
I honestly enjoyed the novella a little bit more in hindsight when I looked up some more information about the author and criticism of the novella. Putting it in context would have made the novella more entertaining, but I was afraid of spoiling the book!
It didn’t hurt that I listened to the audio version read by Collin Firth… 🙂

The House in Paris

the house in paris

Rating: ***

It took me a while to get through this book. The prose was very thick, so to speak. There were beautiful details and insight into human nature, but the French characters who spoke broken English made it harder to understand the middle part. I am glad I read the book, but I would not recommend that anyone rush to read it immediately.

The Convenient Marriage

the convienent marriage

Rating: **

Just not funny. I prefer Heyer’s funny novels. All these villains and “silly” women kind of rub me the wrong way.

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

February 2015
January 2015

December 2014

November 2014
October 2014
And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

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  • It looks like you are on a great start to achieving your goal! I love Kate Chopin; I teach Story of an Hour to my juniors and they really like it, as well. It’s more modern and easier to read, so they actually pay attention to it!

    • I applaud you for teaching juniors, especially Kate Chopin! I’m glad they like it. I used to think I hated English, even though I always loved to read. Then, I had a REALLY good junior English teacher, plus my college freshman English teacher sold me on being a major. I never looked back!

  • Melissa

    You’ve already made a great start!

    • I replied to the wrong post. That’s what happens when you write so many book posts, I guess! I’m glad that I’m starting strong! I wish I had started the challenge last year because I think I read like 10-15 classics over the summer!

  • What a great list of books! I read The Awakening and Madame Bovary last year and while I was intrigued by these women who were discovering themselves and striving to be independent, it was disappointing how they fell apart over a few bad romances. I would love to read some of the jazz age books.

    • I agree! They did let themselves be totally defined by their romances. I did “Jazz Age January,” so that pushed me to read a lot more than normal from that era, plus I didn’t even get to all of the ones that I want. I usually gravitate towards contemporary books set in the Jazz Age, but it was actually more interesting to read more Fitzgerald. I need to read some more Hemingway!

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