The Classics Challenge is hosted by You, Me and a Cup of Tea and this month’s theme was: Read a British Classic.
Serenity: This month our task was to read a classic written by a British author. Since I had previously missed out on reading North and South, I grabbed that one off my shelf.
One of the things I love about (most) classic books is that there are so many layers to them. If you want to just read for story, by all means go ahead! And if you want to study the social, political, religious aspects, those might there too. Maybe it’s even just the cleverness of the dialog that gets you time and time again. Whatever it may be that draws you back, in my mind the definition of a classic that I’ve come up with is that it’s a book that stands up to repeated readings. Forget time period and how long ago it was or wasn’t written. If a book can handle repeated readings and still be one that you find interesting and intriguing, there are your classics.
North and South is a perfect example of a book with layers. In my mind it was a bit of a “grown-up” Jane Austen. Not that Austen’s works aren’t intricate. They are. But they by and large ignore the goings on in the country at large in favor of focusing more narrowly on a particular family/heroine. No so in North and South. While there is a focus on the family and the heroine’s struggle, there are also family relationships, social relationships, economic relationships…all interwoven together throughout this book. It was truly one that I wanted to sit and soak into a bit more than I was able at this point.
My only complaint was that the ending felt a bit rushed. All this long drawn out angst on Margaret’s part of “oh, how could he ever love me??” and then BOOM, it all falls into place. Not exactly enough in my book. So for that, I initially was thinking four charms, but the rest of the book is just so wonderful, that I think I have to go with 5.
Now off to watch the BBC version and see how it compares, now that I’ve actually read the book 😉
Cocktail Phoenix: The British classics task had me hovering around several choices for a while and I just couldn’t decide which book I wanted to read. And then it suddenly hit me: what would be more British classic than William Shakespeare? So I decided to read a Shakespeare play I hadn’t read before, which was [book:Othello|12996].
I’ve read my share of Shakespeare but every time I’m impressed by the way he could write characters, especially the ones that manage to twist everything and everyone in a way that suits their purposes. Case in point: Iago.
I saw Othello on an open air stage a few years ago and I liked it quite a bit, but I don’t remember Iago being quite so manipulative. It was a very enjoyable read but then, I have always liked Shakespeare, except for some of the history plays.
This was also one of the tragedies that ends with quite a lot of deaths, reminiscent of Hamlet, where practically the whole cast ends up on the floor in the end.
Then there was of course also the romantic element with unrequited love, jealousy, wrong accusation.
All in all, I quite enjoyed it!