Winter Classics Challenge

Today I finished the Winter Classics Challenge! Thanks to A Reader’s Journal, who sponsored this challenge and renewed my interest in the classics.

This challenge encouraged participants to read 5 classics in January and February 2007. I ended up reading seven classic novels from 12/27/2006 through 2/11/2007. My reads included:

1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
I finished reading this one on 12/27/2006. Technically, it was not read in January or February…so I’m adding another classic read below! I just couldn’t wait to read this one until January. I rated it a 4.75/5. Great book about a young man torn between following the conventions of his time or following his heart. Wharton draws the character Ellen perfectly…a woman who is ahead of her time; a free spirit in a time when women were supposed to be pretty things on a man’s arm. The only reason this one didn’t get a 5/5 was because the ending disappointed me.

2. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
DNF – Did not finish this one…I hated it. The dialogue is circular and repetitive; the writing is just plain bad (filled with adverbs and adjectives). I know it is satire and supposed to be a ‘must read’ kind of book; but I longed for some action, any action, any plot at all that would pull me in. I’m adding another book to my list for this challenge to substitute for this one.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I finished reading this one on 1/2/2007. A wonderful classic that I can highly recommend. A story about love and marriage…and the barriers to them! Lizzy’s prejudice shadows her regard for Darcy. A sometimes tragic, mostly comic view of what happens when gossip distorts the facts. Rated 5/5.

4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Excellent book! Finished reading this on 1/18/2007. Highly recommended…a story about an Oklahoma family who moves West during the Great Dust Bowl Migration of the 1930s. Rated 5/5. To read my review of this book click here.

5. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Not my favorite Austen novel. The first half of the book is rather slow, a bit dry. Luckily for the reader, the second half picks up and moves along nicely. Catherine, the MC, is a silly girl – a bit of a drama queen with a tendency to let her imagination run wild. Austen pokes fun at the novel in this story, and there are moments of humor that gave me a chuckle. Rated 3.5/5.

6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
I finished reading this book on 1/12/2007. A splendid novel which I rated 4.75/5. To read a review of this book, click here.

7. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
I finished reading this book on 2/11/2007. A compelling and tragic novel, rated 5/5. To read a review of this book, click here.

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    • Anonymous on December 27, 2006 at 14:43

    I’ve added your name to the list of participants for the classics challenge. So happy you are joining us. I look forward to reading your thoughts about the books you’ve chosen.
    Love the way your new house is looking. I especially like all the windows in the kitchen.

    • Anonymous on December 29, 2006 at 06:39

    I finally read Catch-22 recently as part of the Winter Stack challenge and once I got in it I did enjoy it, a bit crazy, but I guess the times were like this. The Color Purple is a favorite of mine, I hope you will like it too.

    • Anonymous on January 10, 2007 at 13:34

    Wendy, go right ahead and change a book. Absolutely no problem.

    • Anonymous on January 11, 2007 at 20:06

    Great going, Wendy, I’ve only finished one of my five classics, but hopefully, I’ll be done with the second by the weekend.

    • Anonymous on January 12, 2007 at 09:52

    I didn’t enjoy Catch 22 to much either… I always feel bad about giving up on a classic, but there are too many good ones out there to waste your time with the ones that don’t appeal to you.

    • Anonymous on January 13, 2007 at 03:27

    Hi! I read your comments on the TBR Yahoo site and assumed I’d been here, but this is my first time. What fun! You have a beautiful home. 🙂
    Good going on your classics!

    • Anonymous on January 13, 2007 at 11:26

    Sara – I felt bad about giving it up for about 2 minutes; then I was just so happy to read something else I liked better!
    Joy – Thanks for visiting my blog…and for the compliments on my house!

    • Anonymous on January 14, 2007 at 21:31

    I have been drooling to read Age of Innocence for so much time now. Thanks for that blurb. Good luck with all these challenges! I am stuck on this amazing novel the Red and the Black. But as good as it is every ten pages I get a phone call or something.

    • Anonymous on January 15, 2007 at 11:12

    LOL, Nessie. You need to unplug your phone *grin*

    • Anonymous on February 15, 2007 at 22:06

    You finished. I’m still working on my last two. I have to get cracking.
    By the way I really liked Suite Francaise–I have a review on my site. I also loved Angela’s Ashes if you go for your non-fiction alternates. Everything I’ve read by Kotlowitz was great but I haven’t read the one you have listed. Happy reading.

    • Anonymous on February 16, 2007 at 00:17

    You go, girl! I’m going to go read your review on Suite Francaise. I have finished book 1…I’m taking my time with this one; and reading her notes in the Appendix as well. I can’t help but feel sad that this work in progress was cut short by Nemirovsky’s untimely death…what a waste.

    • Anonymous on February 16, 2007 at 19:46

    Fellow classic challenger here. I recently read P&P and found it hard to get into, but just started Northanger Abby and find it much more amusing. I’m not far into it yet, but look forward to picking it up everyday, and felt more compelled to finish P&P. I really wanted to love P&P because I loved BridgetJones, and maybe I’ll try again.

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