Sunday, 20 November 2011
A Classics Challenge
November's Autumn, and the challenge is to read seven classics in 2012. Each month there will be a prompt to encourage participants to write about their current book. Although only three re-reads are allowed, seven suitable books are easy to find, with several coming off the shelves. My chosen books are from the twentieth century, but I might allow myself a brief flirtation with the nineteenth if I feel inclined! In which case, Trollope, Mrs Gaskell or Wilkie Collins would be the most likely candidates. Some classic crime would also be a possibility, or even some classic science fiction!
The books I plan to read are:
Margaret Kennedy, The Constant Nymph (1924): this is a re-read. I read it when I was in my teens, and loved it - having, I think, first seen it referred to in another book, though I can't remember what. But I seem to remember another character measuring herself against Tessa's behaviour, and being very influenced by her, after seeing the stage adaptation. I wonder who it was?
W. Somerset Maugham, The Gentleman in the Parlour (1935): I've read many of Maugham's novels, but had never seen this travel account before. The style looks very readable.
Dorothy Whipple, Someone at a Distance (1953): I'm been saving this up for a while, it's one of the fist Persephones I bought. I think people would agree that, since its reprint, it has achieved modern classic status?
Sylvia Townsend Warner, either Mr Fortune's Maggot (1927) or After the Death of Don Juan (1928) - both are on my shelves.
Barbara Comyns, The Vet's Daughter: I don't think I've read this! I've loved her work ever since I came across a copy of The Skin Chairs and bought it for its title.
Elizabeth von Arnim: I like her writing, and there are several I haven't read. All the Dogs of My Life (1936) appeals to me greatly and, although I'd have to buy it, it would be easy to pass on.
Monica Dickens, Mariana (1940). Another book by an author I like, and another Persephone Classic. Dickens is a wonderfully immediate writer, and I rather expect to fall in love with this one. Also not on my bookshelf.
As an alternate, I'd like to include Rose MacAulay, possibly even a re-read of The Towers of Trebizond, which I adore, but perhaps Told By an Idiot, for the fun of something new.
I'm desperate to get on to my twentieth-century reading! Everything I want to read right now was published before 2000. Everything I ought to be reading, admittedly, because the TBR pile is mostly review books, is recently published and rats! if I haven't missed the publication date. Ho hum. Actually, I'm sure it's better for authors if there's still someone writing about their books after all the hype is over...