Wednesday 27 June 2018

Classic Club Memes Are Back!

Over the years I have participated in many of the Classics Club events, including the monthly meme. The Club has decided to revisit some of the memes to allow newer members to have their say and for older ones to contemplate the classics journey they've been on over the past 6 years or so.

In May we revisited the very first meme question 'What is your favourite classic book? Why?' and for June we have been invited to mingle and highlight another Classics Clubber on our blog.

Reading – Auguste Renoir (1890-1895)

In the interest of efficiency and economy I will combine both memes in the one post.

Mostly, though, it's because my favourite classic has not changed since I first answered this meme in 2012  - Persuasion is my all-time favourite classic, and probably always will be. However several new-to-me classics have been added to my favourites list, since 2012, thanks to the Classics Club.

A pure delight was discovering Their Eyes Were Watching God thanks to a CC sync reading experience in 2013. I haven't had a chance to reread it yet, but I really, really want to and I still find myself thinking about Janie on a regular basis.

There is a readalong of Testament of Youth currently underway out there in blogger-land which I was very tempted to join in simply to experience, once again, the bittersweet pleasure of this classic memoir about WWI.

A surprise addition to my favourites list was Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Once considered by me as my least liked Austen, it has now catapulted it's way into my top 4.

I was first alerted to Wallace Stegner thanks to a TV book show here in Australia that read and raved about Crossing to Safety. Although not really a classic since it was only published in 1987, it does, however, fit into my idea of a modern day classic. Four years later I read Angle of Repose with doubts and many reservations thanks to the controversy surrounding the provenance of the story. But you cannot deny an amazing story about an amazing woman. Mary Foote/Susan Ward has stayed with me all this time and I now believe this is a book that is worthy of a reread.

Beauty is a Sleeping Cat hosted an Angela Carter's reading week four years ago. I read through the short stories in The Bloody Chamber. I became a little (okay a LOT) obsessed and I'm curious to see if her stories will have the same affect on me with a reread.

Thanks to Fanda and her annual Zoladdiction Month in April I discovered the joys of Emile Zola. I've now read four books out of his Rougon-Macquart series. The rest are on my TBR pile (I hope that Fanda plans to host her Zoladdiction for another 17 yrs!)

Adam @Roof Beam Reader informed me many years ago that Wilkie Collins wrote many more books than just his famous ones The Woman in White & The Moonstone. I've been slowly working my way through his back list ever since. What an amazing writer of the human condition.

Thanks to various CCspin books and readalongs I have also 'discovered' Willa Cather, Elizabeth Gaskell, Victor Hugo and just this week, Angela Thirkell.

I cannot imagine a time when Persuasion or Jane Austen will ever be toppled from its top perch in my heart but I'm happy to spend the rest of my reading life looking for contenders.

Now on to the June question.

Books By the Cup is a recent discovery of mine and I'm still making my way through her older reviews with great delight. You can find her Classics Club list here. But it's her Instagram page that I adore - she obviously has a beautiful set of classic books that go together nicely with her tea set!

My favourite post to date is The Age of Innocence where she discusses what Newland might have learnt if he had actually read his copy of Middlemarch.

If that wasn't enough to impress, then her love of Austen that shone through in her Sense & Sensibility review was the clincher!

Breaking News

Overnight our Classics Club world has changed.

After six years, our wonderful, long-standing moderators have decided to hang up their collective hats. A call has now gone out for new moderators to continue to run the club. If you think you have something to offer the classics community then please consider applying for a role.

I'm sure we will always read the classics with or without a club, but as this post has highlighted, the classics club has the ability to bring together readers, bloggers and classic authors in a way that may not happen otherwise.

Personally, I have discovered so many new-to-me classics thanks to the club. I would hate to lose this wonderful resource and the sense of community that surrounds it.

A huge thank you to Adam, Melissa, Sarah and Allie for holding the fort for so long in and around their own major life changes and bravo to Jillian and Heather for starting the classics club ball rolling.

Although I have been blogging for nine years, I really only got serious about it, seven years ago. Discovering the Classics Club not long after that made a huge difference in the way I understood blogging. Finding a community that I felt comfortable hanging with changed my attitude to what I was doing and encouraged me to keep on trying.

Viva la Classics Club!


  1. I'm SOOOO HAPPY The Classics Club inspired so many people. Adam, Melissa, Sarah, and Allie were so generous to do all the work they did to keep it going. Whatever happens, we've found a niche. And we are READING! Me too! Even though I was rarely active in the club, I followed a great many people, and every one was kind and inspiring. We still have our community. I'm excited to see if people take on The Classics Club: The Next Generation. :)

    Your Persuasion was my Gone with the Wind. But it is being seriously challenged by Testament of Youth. YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO MAKE VERA HAPPEN AGAIN. Sending bug hugs! xxx

    1. You must be thrilled to see how far and wide your original CC idea has spread Jillian. Certainly it was your enthusiasm for GWTW that encouraged me to reread it a couple of years ago.

      Not only do I have to reread ToY but I really must read my copy of ToF.
      My Persuasion & your GWTW may never get toppled from their top spots, but its fun trying to find a contender!

  2. After reading your excellent post on Classic Club and how it brought so many people together....I've decided to add some classics to my #20BooksOfSummer list!

    1. Excellent! I look forward to seeing what you pick.
      Do you have a favourite classic of your own?

  3. I'm tryng to read only books from my TBR the classics I select have been on my virtual book shelf for ages. My favorite classic? That would mean that I would re-read it (..and I never re-read books)...but for Edith Wharthon's Age of Innocence I'd make an exception! I loved book and the film with Daniel Day-Lewis and Michele Pfeiffer was memorable.

    1. One of my favourite book/movie combo's too and certainly my favourite Wharton (to date).

      I now only try to keep the books that I have already reread or plan to reread one day. (There are a surprising amount of those) Most of them are classics or special edition books. The rest, even though I have loved them, I pass on to family and friends.

      Now if I could only convince you of the joys and merits of rereading :-)

    2. Reading a non-fiction now that is not what I expected. It can happen.
      Not wasting any more time with this book. I wil now start to
      Re-read...yes I a classic that I have forgotten about..a high school must read that I hated then
      Never coul I understand why English teacher assigned a group of teenager girls DEERSLAYER by J.F. Cooper. What was he thinking?
      Let’s see what I think of it now....can I find one tidbit of redemptive meaning in that book? I will let you know.

    3. Yikes!!
      You don't start off with an easy one.
      Twain wrote at the beginning of an essay on Cooper: "In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record."

      Good luck!

    4. Just started to do some research about the French and Indian War (backdrop)...and now I will enter this literary classic. Will I survive? According to Mark Twain...I have bit off perhaps more than I can chew! :)

    5. 'Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper
      C'est fini!! (see blogpost)
      #ReRead Challenge!!


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