Classics Challenge – November

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Hello folks! November has come and gone, and once again we are just a tad late with our update. You’ll have to excuse this little mishap – life has a tendency of getting in the way lately.

The task for this month was to read a classic by a male author.

Cocktail Phoenix: For this month, I chose to pick up a classic I started a really long time ago but never finished, namely Patrick Süskind’s Das Parfum: Die Geschichte eines Mörders (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer).

The story is interesting with a very odd and unique main character. The writing is good and narrates the story well, if mostly in indirect speech, which isn’t for everyone. However, it is the kind of writing and story that makes me want to put the book down after a few pages, needing a small reprieve. I stopped reading for a while because of that very reason and then new, shiny books were vying for my attention and Das Parfüm was forgotten – for a while at least.

This does in no way take away from the fact however that this is an enjoyable story. A twisted and odd one, granted, but enjoyable nonetheless. Grenouille is a main character unlike many others and his thought process isn’t always on the “normal” side. Considering that the main character and the story are special, it was easy to pick up the book again and jump straight back into the story without needing to read back for pages and pages to refresh my memory.

What I really like about the writing is the description of the various smells. Grenouille is known for his exceptional nose (and the fact that he’s a little bit of a psychopath) and the various perfumes and creation processes are interesting to read about.

All in all, weirdness aside, this was a good story and I rate it with a 3 1/2 charms.

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Serenity: This month I attempted to read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. It had been on my list for a while because I was given it years ago as part of a set with Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Prince and a Pauper. This was by far the worst of the four. I actually enjoyed the others, but this was not at all the same. Twain is known for writing stories that have undercurrents of various themes (mostly social commentary), but Connecticut Yankee was not that way. It was social commentary with an undercurrent of story.

Did it have something to say? Probably, but I wouldn’t know as I kept falling asleep while reading it. To me, this is a book for deep thinkers and philosophers, or for an English class to study. It’s not for those (like me) who are looking for a nice hobby and something to take their minds off of things.

So, one charm for me because I abandoned it, but that’s not really a reflection on the book. Mostly just my enjoyment of it, as I’m sure it’s probably well written and deeply insightful. Just not my cup of tea!

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Next month it will be a classic written under a pseudonym.

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