Posts tagged ‘classics’

March 30, 2012

30 day book challenge- Day 30- Your favorite book of all time

To me, my favorite book of all time could only be a one which answered all the questions of this challenge with the exception of being overrated, a book I have hated, the first book I remember reading or a book that disappointed me.

It is the best book I read last year, which makes it also a book I read often. It is (sort of) in my faovrite series, as well as being a guilty pleasure that inspires both happiness and sadness in me and sometimes even tears. Highly underrated, it is a book I though I wouldn’t like but did, not to mention being my favorite classic and my favoured work by my favorite author. It is a book that more people should read and one that should be on every college reading list as a warning for the ignorant and small minded not to mention that it contains some of my faourite quotes. It is my favorite book that  turned into a movie (which was also partially desecrated), is favorite book from childhood which made me fall back in love with reading at a time where I was bored with its predictability. It has changed my opinion, has a surprising plot twist and in a nutshell is my favourite book title of all time.

In case you hadn’t already guessed from the picture to the side, my favorite book of all time is the short story ‘The Painted Veil’ by W. Somerset Maugham and the title is taken from for a Shelly sonnet. The story follows a very shallow Kitty who marries the highly intellectual Walter Fane, a bacteriologist who lives in China and who falls madly in love with her. The marriage, on Kitty’s part is motivated purely so she can be married before her younger sister, and to get away from her mother. Bored with life in Hong Kong, and a husband whom she doesn’t understand, Kitty begins an affair with the well-regarded Charles Townsend. Caught by her husband, Kitty is forced to choose between accompanying her husband or being scandalously divorced by him. What follows is Kitty’s growth into a woman and her gradual realization of her own mistakes and shallow nature without making her into a different human being, a hero or something amazing- simply a real woman realizing things about herself. Beautifully written, Somerset Maughan manages to write a book that is both incredibly interesting and spectacularly well written. A real triumph, and thus my favorite book of all time.

Also, I love the film with the exception of their slightly change to the plot: 

March 10, 2012

30 day book challenge- Day 11- A book you hated

Heart of Darkness- I have already reviewed this book, so I won’t bore you to death with details of it, but suffice to say that this book continues to make me want to bash my head against the floor. This sparknotes video on the main plot details is more interesting that this book. Enjoy (just don’t read the book).

March 8, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge Day 10 – Favourite Classic Book

For a blog that combines both my love of literature and my love of horses, it has taken rather a while before I’ve written about a book with horses. But on the 10th day of this challenge, with my favourite classic book on the line I must admit that it is Black Beauty that fills this spot. The front-runner of all later horsie based novels, Black Beauty was the reason I wanted a black horse through pretty much all of my childhood (much to the joy of my parents). Written by Anna Sewell, Black Beauty follows the life of a horse from being a foal through numerous adventures and owners. Other than being a great way of teaching children animal rights, and how to treat horses this book, for reasons unknown to me, remains my favorite classic- perhaps not the most sophisticated novel, but still beautiful and classic nonetheless.

Wanton Creation

I remember many years ago, before I had truly delved into classic literature, my view of it – I believed that it was all kind of the same, and that together it formed this kind of wall of intelligent writing and thinking which I figured people either break through or they don’t. Of course, now a bit older and wiser, I know this is a load of nonsense, but I think what has really made reading some of the classics a joy over the last few years is just how much each of them vary, and just how timeless many of these stories really are.

The Picture of Dorian GrayThere is one classic though that has really captured my imagination more than the rest, and has also managed to inspire my writing in different ways. The Picture of Dorian Gray, the only novel ever published by Oscar Wilde, caught me off guard when…

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March 3, 2012

30 day book challenge- Day 6- A book that makes you sad

Atonement is definitely the saddest book  i’ve ever read. Divided into four parts and set in the period of the the second World War, the story hinges on the actions of 13 year old Briony Tallis, an aspiring writer and selfish young girl. Briony drastically changes the lives of several people when she accuses her sister’s lover of rape and consequently lives seeking atonement, particularly from her sister, leading to an exploration on the nature of writing and the effect of one person’s actions. Ian McEwan is an absolutely breathtaking writer and the book left me with a deep sense of sadness and regret. I think what is most accurately captured here is the mind of a 13 year old girl. There are very few books which so accurately capture the complex, selfish simplicity of a 13 year old mind whose understanding of consequence is very much non-existent. Instead of painting the Briony as simple, or heroic or anything else McEwan paints her as a little mean, self-obsessed and precocious- which is wonderful because it is so easy to identify with. Without a doubt the most heart-wrenching and touching book that I’ve ever read.

March 1, 2012

30 day book challenge- Day 5- A book that makes you happy

Book 1 that makes me happy- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Secret Garden is a timeless classic which reminds me of my childhood. Mary Lennox, previously living a spoilt life in India (anything that even mentions India gets my attention) is sent to live with her uncle Archibald Craven. There she finds a secret garden, a young boy and a whole new personality. It is a beautiful story, and the film, more beautiful still.

Book 2 that makes me happy- the Little Princess, also by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Burnett’s work reminds me of my childhood, where optimisim was the theme of the day. Here, Sara Crewe, also a child raised in India, is sent to boarding school so that her father can fight in WW1. When he is killed in action she must learn to survive under the cruel Miss. Minchin with only a servant girl as her friend.

With both books beautifully written, I’m pretty certain the reason they make me happy is that they remind me of a time when everything seemed like it would have a happy ending.