For May the hosts of The Classics Club have asked members to “Tell us about the classic book(s) you’re reading this month. You can post about what you’re looking forward to reading in May, or post thoughts-in-progress on your current read(s).”
And as usual I have to pick a point of contention, mostly just because I’m a pain in the ass, but think about the wording of the question. It really only works if you answer the meme early in the month or if you predominately read classics. By time this posts I will have finished, and hopefully posted about one classic +and have finished reading two (Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which isn’t even part of my Classics Club list) and will hopefully be part of the way through a third, The Canterbury Tales among other books I’ve read this month.
Yay for another book that counts for multiple challenges (Mount TBR, Back to the Classics and The Classics Club)! (It’s a doozy, sorry for the length!)
Ever since I read In Cold Blood and Other Voices, Other Rooms, I’ve wanted to read more Capote, but I haven’t. Throw in the fact that Breakfast at Tiffany’s has such an iconic place in popular culture, I had to read it at some point. Now I just need to see the film.
I didn’t realize this when I bought this copy, but it contained the novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and three short stories: House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar, and A Christmas Memory. So for my response I’ve just written a paragraph about each under a subtitle and you can see the opening/closing lines of each at the end of the post and my recommendation is for this collection as a whole.
One thing that will always impress me about Truman Capote is his openly writing about homosexuals in his works. Writing during the height of the lavender scare in DC he was not only an open homosexual, but he included them openly in his works, but more shockingly he didn’t denigrate them. He just included them as characters.
I chose this novel because it has an awesome name. I had a vague idea of what the book was about, but didn’t have any particular views going into the book and didn’t realize it was nonfiction (or mostly so apparently) until after I finished reading and verified it because I wasn’t quite sure.. I knew it was an ‘adventure’ of sorts and thus I stuck it into my Back to the Classics challenge as a Classic Adventure and it conveniently qualifies also for my Mount TBR and my longer term The Classics Club Challenge.
It only took about two days to read the book and what I primarily noticed was that people are really interested in Orwell. I had multiple people ask me what I was reading on the T. I assume this is because Orwell’s name is in pretty large letters across the cover and that portion stuck out of my back pocket. It was a bit strange, but it was nice to talk to strangers. I feel like most people have only read Animal Farm or 1984 like me, but those who have read most (or all) of Orwell say that this one is his best work and it’s interesting as it’s his first ‘full length’ work.
For April the hosts of The Classics Club have asked “Who is hands-down the best literary hero, in your opinion? Likewise, who is the best heroine?” And although I have major issues with the separation of hero and heroine, there is no need to separate the two into gender based categories or if you’re going to separate them make a point and call it a ‘shero’, my answer is below.
I really wanted to write about Bone Cartwright from Bastard Out of Carolina, and I guess I could write about her, but I tend to restrict the monthly memes to this specific reading list. If not there’s no telling who I’d write about, so I’ll go for another character with a story similar to Bone’s. Although hero isn’t the first word to come to mind she is one. Wikipedia has a great line which sums up her existence:
In modern movies, the hero is often simply an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances, who, despite the odds being stacked against him or her, typically prevails in the end.
I’m choosing to equate the word hero/heroine with the word survivor. From the moment of Celie’s introduction in Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Color Purple, as she is being viciously raped, the reader is aware her story and her life will be a struggle for survival and existence.
Looking back, I’ve realized that this novel is sort of like a proto-’Love Actually’ – in that it is a network of love stories with interconnecting people who are only revealed slowly throughout the book. I felt the author did a great job at this even if it did cause me no end of frustration for the first couple hundred pages. I kept asking myself where this book was going and why the sisters from the beginning of the novel just disappeared, but they eventually reappeared and tied the story together.
Although the book clocks in at over 880 pages, it didn’t feel as if it were 880 pages. I believe this is a credit to the story and the language the author used. Her writing was not difficult to read and there were many beautiful passages and great descriptions, just look at how many quotes there are in my Additional Quotes section below. The one line that just made me laugh and think oh wow that’s me was
“When a conversation has taken a wrong turn for us, we only get farther and farther into the swamp of awkwardness.” (146)
It is just the perfect description of what happens when I pretty much ever open my mouth. I mentally thought ‘honey I’m mired in the swamp of awkwardness and am like the swamp lights (will-o’-the-wisps) that trick you into the swamp and then you die because you get lost, but without the death and lots of awkwardness.’