Classics Book Tag

Feeling classical today, and so I thought, why not a classics book tag?
Originally  from it’s a book world
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Julien Sorel in great torments about something

1. An overhyped classic you really didn’t like:
I have to come clean, here, I honestly struggle with Dickens, so I would probably go for Great Expectations. Maybe I was lacking concentration at the time, but it felt so tedious…will have to give him another try, someday, because I’m sure I’m missing something.

Oh, and Stendhal ‘s “le rouge et le noir” (The Red and the Black). Read it at school but not for a class, out of spite because I had a lunatic french teacher that wasn’t interested in reading classics “because he couldn’t seriously be expected to read the same books every year” (so instead he made us read uninteresting, long forgotten authors, and spent most of the lesson trying to convince -mainly- himself that they actually had some interesting themes). So I read alone what we were supposed to read (often in that very class, because that’s Nerd Resistance for you!) But I could have skipped Stendhal, honestly.

2. Favorite time period to read about:
To read about I think any period in history, but for the style I’d probably choose the beginning of the 20th century, for Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, and so many others. And Marguerite Duras, a bit later.

3. Favorite fairy-tale:

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Also, is there a cooler sport than hair climbing?

Mh. I don’t know if I really have a favorite original fairy tale, they are certainly interesting, but a bit too gruesome for me to say I have a favorite. In what, most horrible?. Maybe Rapunzel because I loved the idea of a girl named after a salad, growing up (my love for salad has early roots -no pun intended). For retellings, and new fairy tales, I love both The truth is a cave in the dark mountains, and The sleeper and the spindle, which is a mash up of snow white and the sleeping beauty with a feminist twist,both by Neil Gaiman.

4. What is the most embarrassed classic you haven’t read yet:
Most of Dickens, most of Proust. I know…
Oh, and Moby Dick actually, started it, and i don’t remember disliking it, i just never picked it up again. Shameful!
And so many others. Though I don’t know if I feel more embarrassed that I haven’t read them or happy I still have so many great books to read. It’s definitely a mixture. Except Proust. Don’t feel happy or excited about him at all.

5. Top 5 classics you would like to read (soon):
Well, I guess i should pick Moby Dick up again, now that I ve mentioned it . Then the ones really want to read soon are Middlemarch, by George Eliot, Villette, which is one of the last books by the Brontës i haven’t yet read.

I also want to try some Thomas Hardy (maybe Tess of the D’Urbervilles, when I’m cheerful enough not to be utterly depressed by it, which, from what I heard of it, might actually be never). And The woman in white, by Wilkie Collins. Thank God this is only a top five, the list is much longer then that.

5b: top 5 classics you would like to Reread:
Well first there are the classics I constantly reread when it’s raining outside and I just want a good, cosy book, so that would be Jane Eyre (but also the Tenant of Wildfell hall), all of Austen (I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve read persuasion). I also read the Lord of the rings trilogy about 20 times I think during adolescence, now I read it a bit less but I still find myself just “quickly looking for a detail” because I’ve had a bet with my brother as to whether or not Elrond says something to Bilbo or whatever, and emerge a few days after, having gone through the 3 books. It really doesn’t help that i have them all bound together as one volume, you just can’t stop. (Yes, I have no willpower, was there any doubt left?)

Then in the classics I don’t reread that much but want to, there is Marguerite Duras, and Oscar Wilde. Oh, Frankenstein, also. I read it ages ago and don’t remember anything from it. (This tag does nothing good for my TBR, I’ve come to realize).

6. Favorite modern book/series based on a classic:

I don’t know if it counts  because it is not a retelling, rather loosely based on, or as Smith calls it, an homage to Howard’s End, but I just love Zadie Smith’s On Beauty so much I’ll just decide it counts. And, of course, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, in which she imagines  the story of Bertha Mason, Rochester’s wife in Jane Eyre, before she is the mad woman in the attic (I hope that’s not a spoiler for anyone, it’s hardly recent news:)

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This is rapidly turning into an excuse to post as many beautiful covers as possible

7. Favorite movie version/tv-series based on a classic:
I don’t watch that many film adaptations of the books I’ve read, mostly because I know I will get angry at their character depiction, or omissions, and I am pathologically afraid of seeing my mental image of a character replaced by the one of the film. (I’m sure there’s a specific name for that somewhere). Right now I can’t think of a film I’ve enjoyed more than the book, but there must be some.

(still not finding one)
Hmpf, no films, then, I’ll pick the BBC miniseries, a lot of those are brilliant, there is of course the 2005 Colin Firth version of pride and prejudice (I’m only human) but also their version of North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell (which is a brilliant book, read it, and then swoon at Richard Armitage’s Mr Thornton).
In less stricktly faithfull adaptations I recently discovered (late as ever) The Lizzie Bennet diaries on YouTube, which is a modern retelling in the form of a “fake vlog” (or something, I don’t really know how to depict it). The modern parallels, the story construction and the characters are brilliant (and hilarious!).

8. Worst classic to movie adaptation: 

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even putting an image of the movie hurts my heart, so I’ll put this glorious edition of the trilogy instead

Mh, yes, let’s rant. The Northern Lights film, I mean, I won’t even go into all of the things that went wrong there.

There’s a few really bad Jane Eyre’s adaptations out there, for example the version with Ciaran Hinds (don’t know the date, can’t be bothered to search it), where his Rochester just yells constantly, it’s so strange it’s actually comical some time.
And I could go for hours but I won’t. Be nice. (or at least try).
9. Favorite edition(s) you’d like to collect more classics from:
I don’t have that many collections, because I get most of my books from the public library (that’s the result to the equation “student budget+limited storage place for you), but I love the penguin cloth-bound edition. I have bought Moby dick (which despite its gorgeousness I didn’t finish, shame on me for generations to go), Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion (as my previous copies of those two were falling apart, surprisingly).
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10. An under-hyped classic you’d recommend to everyone:

In English literature maybe Howard’s End, it seems very few people I talk about books with actually have read it. In modern classics, any Paul Auster but specifically The Brooklyn Follies.

In French literature there are so many authors who for some reason aren’t read – or even translated, I suppose it depends on the whims of English editors. In any case, I would say Marguerite Duras’ l’Amant, inspired by her growing up in Vietnam (then Indochine, the French Colony), it is about a very young french girl and her relationship with an older Chinese man. It is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever- and probably will ever – read.
Consider yourself tagged if you want to do it!
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