Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Classics Bookclub

Classics Bookclub
5 Minutes for Books is hosting a "New" Classics Bookclub for 2010 whereby participants choose their own classics to read and link up their thoughts and reviews on a quarterly basis. Well, it's the end of the first quarter and time to report on our classics progress!


At the start of the New Year, I identified the following titles as my goal for reading the classics:



Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

The Three Musketeers by Dumas

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I read both The Three Musketeers and The Scarlet Letter. Two out of three isn't bad! Here is a short synopsis of my thoughts concerning each:

The Scarlet Letter: I read this novel at some point in my middle school or high school career. I really didn't remember much (a span of a couple of decades or more will do that) so I approached the re-read with no preconceived notions. I liked the book okay; I really liked the contrast drawn between open acknowledgement of wrong and the misery and lies of hidden sin. I couldn't help but think of Ps. 32:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.


Hawthorne certainly draws a picture of the wasting away that comes from keeping silent! Overall, though, I thought there was so little action that the reading grew almost tedious, a little surprising given the short length of the book.

The Three Musketeers: Y'all know I loved The Count of Monte Cristo so I was really excited about reading another of Dumas' novels. I liked the Musketeers but I didn't just love them, not like the Count. The story itself wasn't exactly what I thought it would be but really, all I knew of the Musketeers came from the Mickey Mouse version. Dumas' Musketeers are courageous to the point of reckless and that same recklessness evidences itself in various dalliances with the ladies, most of whom are married! There is adventure and duels and intrigue and much "swashbuckling" (whatever that is!). I did like it but it didn't supersede The Count in my estimation.

I certainly plan to continue reading the classics! Next on my list:
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Next quarter we'll see how far I get!

Did you read any classics this quarter? Link up your thoughts over at 5 Minutes for Books! Want to join us? It's not too late! Go see what classics others are reading and maybe you'll find one you want to read for our next installation in the Classics Bookclub!

7 comments:

  1. I know that I read The Scarlet Letter in high school, but I honestly don't remember much about it. Same with The Age of Innocence, too!

    If you're interested- The Diane Rehm show on NPR is discussing The Scarlet Letter as part of their next "Readers' Review" tomorrow-- http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-03-31/readers-review-scarlet-letter-nathaniel-hawthorne

    If you don't have a radio station that carries it, you can listen online in real time, and even call in if you want! :)

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  2. I also read The Scarlet Letter in high school. Rereading it now would be interesting. I haven't read anything by Dumas, but since you enjoyed the Count so much, maybe I will one day (I also think of the Three Musketeers as cartoon characters, or a candy bar)!

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  3. Scarlet Letter is on my list -- which I made for the whole year.

    This review made me laugh -- swashbuckling indeed!

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  4. I remember I read The Three Musketeers when I was about 25, and decided I should have done it when I was 15. I was so irritated by them and thought they were acting like toddlers! My sister gave me the Count of Monte Christo for Christmas, so I'd like to read it this year. But since she promptly 'borrowed' it to finish reading herself, I have to get it back first!! :D

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  5. I may have to get to the Scarlet Letter sometime soon, I read it in school a long time ago and don't remember much.

    I much prefer The Count of Monte Cristo over The Three Musketeers or the following books.

    I read Pilgrim's Progress (for the 3rd time) last month. Some good points to that book. I found the Hazelbaker edition very readable.

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  6. Umm, Wowsie!

    I really needed that!

    Thanks!

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  7. I know that I read The Scarlet Letter in high school, but I honestly don't remember much about it. Same with The Age of Innocence, too!

    If you're interested- The Diane Rehm show on NPR is discussing The Scarlet Letter as part of their next "Readers' Review" tomorrow-- http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-03-31/readers-review-scarlet-letter-nathaniel-hawthorne

    If you don't have a radio station that carries it, you can listen online in real time, and even call in if you want! :)

    ReplyDelete