Meme, The Classics Club

The Classics Club – August 2012 Meme

I don’t usually participate in memes, other than the random ones I do in my head, but I think I’ll participate in The Classics Club meme as it’s only once a month and it’s such a great community. If you haven’t checked it out, click the image to the right! Or click here. (I feel like most of you regular commenters are already a part of it!)

My instinct was to say one of the Jane Austen novels. I’ve read each of them at least once and most of them at least twice and I did read my favorite already for this challenge, Mansfield Park – but I decided not to go with Jane Austen.  My next thought was to go with one of the ‘young adult’ novels that I love like something by Madeline L’Engle, J.K. Rowling or Louisa May Alcott, but I vetoed that too.

And then I realized rather than choosing my favorite classic of all time, I’m going to choose my favorite classic I’ve read for the challenge so far. I don’t read a lot of classics in general, as you can see by my very short re-read list for this challenge, so I’m using this challenge to broaden my classic (primarily Western) literature reading.

And I settled on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as my favorite classic so far in this challenge. (And it is really high up there on favorite classics – definitely top three I’d say.)  And let’s face it, it was closely followed by Agnes Grey – and surprisingly by Anna Karenina.

I settled on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for two reasons. The first, is when I started reading Anne Brontë, I knew nothing of her and only that Charlotte and Emily’s sister and yet her writing inspired me to look into her history and her writings.  It got me truly excited about The Classics Club project and I needed that sort of inspiration to commit to the long-term project. And the second is the story captivated me, like Jane Austen, but also scandalized me like Charlotte and Emily. Anne, this seemingly meek and quiet sister, wrote about subjects you couldn’t imagine her knowing about, let alone experiencing, and this fascinated me! (It also doesn’t hurt there was a bit of family drama involved with Charlotte being over-controlling, but I guess she was the survivor so it was her prerogative.)

You should definitely check out my three-part mini-series on Anne Brontë:

And to see my review of books read and books to come for The Classics Club click here.

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19 thoughts on “The Classics Club – August 2012 Meme”

  1. Great idea to narrow your choices… I wish I had thought of that. I’m getting the feeling that I should give Anne a shot. She’s the only one I haven’t read yet, and I probably should have put her on my list….

    But I also wanted to say that I’m not surprised that Anna Karenina was in consideration…. I love that book and considered it myself. – Sarah

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    1. Thanks Sarah! You definitely should check out Anne, I fell in love and bought a physical copy for my permanent shelf (I read the free pre-1923 version on Kindle). Anna Karenina only lost out because I was sort of bored with the ending (and it didn’t help someone ruined it for me), he got a little too poetical/theoretical at the end and it just put me off enough to bump it out of the top place so far!

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  2. Such a great pick, Geoff. “Seemingly meek and quiet sister.” That’s what I find intriguing about her too! She was steel, it seems. I’ve read both of her novels.

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    1. I’m definitely looking forward to others reviews of Anne’s works. She’s alway forgotten.

      I’ve never read Thoreau and Have always been slightly intimidated by him. We’ll see though I believe I’ve selected at least one of his works for The Classics Club.

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  3. I just read Agnes Grey last month and it was my first exposure to Anne. I think she is way underrated! While I can see why Charlotte and Emily have more fans (from my readings of Jane Eyre, Villette, and Wuthering Heights), there was something so…passionate under the surface of Agnes Grey. I was also drawn to the way she pointed out the difference in social class. In some ways, I think she is a little…deeper than her sisters? That make sense?

    That being said, I haven’t read Tenant yet, but I just got a beautiful new edition. I might have to read it. 🙂

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    1. I think that’s what makes her great. Emily and Charlotte wrote about what could have been with an almost supernatural twist (and anyone whose ever been on the moors at night can totally see this) but Anne wrote about what was and provided incredibly insightful commentary. Not to mention how far ahead of her time he was about women’s rights and education!

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  4. I’m woefully uneducated about the Brontes and am so looking forward to The Tenant–it’s on my cc list. The only Bronte work I’ve read is Wuthering Heights, which I rather disliked!

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    1. Anne definitely provides something neither of the other two offer. She’s more in line with Jane Austen and actual observations rather than fantastical observations. It took me a few reads before I truly appreciated Wuthering Heights – I’m sure it helped I lived in Yorkshire for two years as well though.

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