Monday, August 6, 2012

Classics Club Meme: My Favorite Classic Novel



For the first meme of the Classics Club, we've been given a question to answer:  What is your favorite classic novel.  Seriously, how does one pick?  The one I've read the most times?  If so, I'd have to choose this:


Beloved by many, Pride and Prejudice started my obsession with all things Jane Austen.  I'm now a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and I'm already planning my third trip their Annual General Meeting (this year it's in New York City!) 

Or how about the one I've loved the longest?   Which would be this one:


Jane Eyre, the first classic I read in college, which started my love affair with Victorian literature.  It's definitely a candidate. 

Or, depending on your definition of a classic, it could be this one: 


I loved this story after watching at PBS Mystery! adaptation when I was in the eighth grade.  I've read the novel many times, listened to the audio, and watched pretty much every adaptation since.  But is it really a classic?  Most people wouldn't consider it literature, but it has endured.  

If that's your definition of a classic, then I'd also have to consider this one:


I read this for the first time in the sixth grade.  I think it was about the same time the movie aired on television, I can't remember if I saw the movie first.  Probably.  Of course a lot of it went right over my head but I still loved it.  I think I finished it in two days.  (I'm a fast reader). 

Again, many people don't consider it a classic because it doesn't have any metaphors and it isn't really taught in schools.  

And I can't forget another candidate:


This is the book that started my love affair with the works of Charles Dickens.  He's definitely over the top sometimes, but this novel has everything -- romance, mystery, satire, social commentary, and so many enduring characters.  If I had to choose only one book to take into exile, it would probably be this one.  

Which is my favorite?  I have to say all of them -- it just depends on the day and my mood.  It's like choosing a favorite food or a favorite child.  I love them all, plus a whole lot more -- I haven't even included anything by Maugham or Trollope or Steinbeck or Edith Wharton. . . . I could go on for days.   Well, that's why I started blogging!  

What do you think, bloggers?  Do you have ONE favorite classic novel, or are you like me and refuse to make that decision?  Which are your favorites?

45 comments:

  1. I could never choose just one. I can't even choose between Pride & Prejudice, Emma, or Persuasion! Trollope would be on my list as well - and the choice is just as hard with his many books (The Last Chronicle of Barset or He Knew He Was Right or even his Autobiography?).

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    1. it's a tough choice for me between P&P and Persuasion, but I forced myself to choose. I love Trollope too, couldn't even narrow it down to choose one.

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  2. Hey, I remember that PBS version of Rebecca! I was in high school when it aired. Loved it, and the book, although I haben't thought about it in years.

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    1. The one I saw was YEARS ago, not the one with Charles Dance. I think it starred Anna Massey as Mrs. Danvers. She also narrates an excellent audiobook version.

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    2. Yes, it was Anna Massey, and she was superb. Jeremy Brett was the definitive Maxim, and Joanna David was also perfect as the 2nd Mrs. de Winter (she's also the mother of Emilia Fox, who played the same role in the Charles Dance version). The excellent, faithful screenplay was written by Hugh Whitemore. It first aired in 1979, is unfornately not available on DVD, and in my opinion is the best screen adaptation of the novel ever made.

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  3. I was SO close to putting down Bleak House on my list after naming Jane Eyre as first and Pride and Prejudice as second, so it seems we have something in common. I haven't read Rebecca or Gone With the Wind yet, but they're both on my list for The Classics Club. Great choices at any rate. :)

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    1. Rebecca and GWTW are just WONDEFUL, you'll be sorry you didn't read them sooner. I need to reread GWTW, soon.

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  4. I understand how difficult it is to choose which one is one's favourite. I don't feel like joining the propmt because I cannot choose! But your post gives me a brilliant idea. Yes, why don't put them all together? Haha.

    By the way, I love Pride and Prejudice as well. It's the second book by female author that I read. The first was Agatha Christie. I have never read Gone with the Wind or Beak House yet, but someday I will. I must. Nice choices.

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    1. How could I forget Agatha??? I think I've read every single one of her mysteries, except the Tommy and Tuppences which bored me. I love Murder on the Orient Express. Aargh.

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  5. Oh, I was expecting you would include one of Zola's in this post.. :)

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    1. My list just got longer. Must update!!

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  6. Mine has definitely changed with age. 'Jane Eyre' as a teenager, 'Pride and Prejudice' during my twenties and thirties, but now it would have to be a Dickens, although whether that would be 'Bleak House', 'Our Mutual Friend' or 'Little Dorrit' would vary from day to day.

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    1. I loved OMF and LD but if it's Dickens I HAVE to go with Bleak House. For me it is the definitive Dickens work.

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  7. Great Expectations is one that I fell in love with in secondary school, and could read over and over, year after year.

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    1. I somehow managed not to read Dickens in high school but finally got to it in college. Great Expectations was my first Dickens and I loved it.

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  8. Did you know that they're bringing a musical adaptation of Rebecca to Broadway this season?

    It's true.

    If you ask me, it could be either the best thing ever, or a total shitshow. I'll keep you posted.

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    1. IS NOTHING SACRED? I'm having visions of a chorus line made up of multiple Mrs. Danvers. Scary!!!

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  9. If asked my favorite classic, I would be tempted to give A Tale of Two Cities and/or Les Miserables but I really have no interest in ever reading them again. But they made huge impressions on me when I *had to* read these in high school.

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    1. I'm leaning toward books I've read more than once and would want to read again. That's why I didn't include any Zola -- I loved Germinal but I don't know if I can read it again and again.

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  10. I did choose just one, but I could have chose many, many more. I adore Gone with the Wind too, must have read it at least five or six times. And as much as I loved Jane Eyre, Villette is my favourite Charlotte Bronte book.

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    1. Somehow Villette didn't do anything for me. Many people love it but I still prefer Jane Eyre.

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  11. I'm completely with you on P&P, Jane Eyre and Rebecca but I decided years ago never to read Gone with the Wind. It was my m-i-l's comfort book! I love Trollope too and Galsworthy but I'm not sure if his books count as classics.

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    1. I understand not wanting to read a book because of an association with another person, but I'm afraid you're missing out!

      I've read The Forsyte Saga and liked it. It's endured, so I don't see why you can't count it as a classic, if people count Rebecca and GWTW, why not?

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  12. I have been having trouble deciding what to choose myself... which I why I haven't written my post yet. How do you choose? I have read half of your choices (and enjoyed them, particularly P&P) and I think the rest are on my List!

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    1. I just picked the ones I've read the most. Of course I keep remembering others that I've forgotten, like A Room with a View. . . I don't know how people can narrow it down to just one!

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  13. I settled for 'a favourite' instead of 'one'which would have been impossible.
    Love all your choices - Bleak House is the only one I haven't yet read but looking forward to it soon.

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    1. Great idea -- I suppose it would have been a more entertaining post if I'd just settled on one and wrote about why I loved it. How can we be expected to choose just one?

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  14. I couldn't pick just one either! P&P, Jane Eyre and Bleak House all made my list as well. I went for a top 10 list, then added two more, then thought of two more later. I suppose that just means I've read a lot of great books!

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    1. I feel lucky to have read so many great books too. I'm always happy when I find a new author I love but then I despair when I have their entire catalog to read as well. I'm hoping to read all of Trollope and Zola someday but it may never happen.

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  15. My favorite is Wuthering Heights, but it stands alone and apart--while I have no hesitation naming it, I can't name any after it because I love so many. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and Gone with the Wind are favorites as well, and I obviously need to read Bleak House soon as well!

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    1. Sadly, I was unable to fall in love with Wuthering Heights. Maybe I should have read it when I was younger. I listened to part of it on audio and hated the reader, and I think that had something to do with it. I should really give it another try someday.

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  16. I had a hard time narrowing it down to just one title, but I think I skated by the question. ;)

    I love this list. I've actually read all of these (go me!). I think I'm going to have to try Bleak House again, since I wasn't the biggest fan of it the first time I read it.

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    1. I fell in love with Bleak House after the BBC miniseries. It was just masterfully done. Of course they had to trim a few things but it was just a brilliant adaptation, they really captured the essence of the book.

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  17. I might have trouble sleeping tonight as I try and figure out what I would choose as my favorite classic. I am not even sure I could narrow it down to a single author. And I know as soon as I pick one I am going to remember a better one. I think my sense of classics tends to trend more 20th century. I can't pick a title, but I think I would choose Edith Wharton and E.M. Forster.

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    1. See, now I have already changed my mind. Willa Cather!

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    2. I keep remembering books I forgot to include. I'd be in big trouble if I was going on a space voyage or a desert island and had to pick just one.

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  18. How could you choose just one? Even deciding on a favorite author is hard. Gone with the wind is very underrated and definitely on my top 5 list! I return to it every now and then...it's my ultimate comfort book. Bleak house and Rebecca are the only ones that I haven't read. Dickens and I have a strange and love/hate relationship. As for Austen...I have two more novels of hers to read and I think I'll be very sad when the last page of the last novel is turned. On a happier note, there are so many great classics to discover so I'll say that my favorite one has yet to be read :).

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    1. Rebecca and Bleak House are both brilliant, though totally different. And when you finish JA, take comfort in the thought of Anthony Trollope and his 47 novels. Also Elizabeth Gaskell, especially North and South and Wives and Daughters.

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    2. Loved North and South! I'm happy that I found a cheap Collins edition and hope they also have Wives and daughters there. Have to check! Trollope was that prolific? I had no idea. It's hard to even know what to begin with :)

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  19. My absolute favorite is Gone With the Wind, but I'm currently reading Rebecca, and it is SO GOOD. :)

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    1. Rebecca is WONDERFUL. I read it again last year and it's really beautifully written. Du Maurier doesn't get enough credit for her writing.

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  20. It's amazing how similar our long-time favorites are. The big exception is Dickens--I started out with Oliver Twist and David Copperfield and Pickwick Papers, and read them 2-3 times as a teenager, and didn't encounter Bleak House until college.

    I fell in love with GWTW as a 16 year old, and read it constantly, it seems for about 5 years. I've only read it three times since then, the last time was last year. I find I like it less with each reading, so it might time to hang it up.

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    1. I love Oliver Twist too -- it's so sad and the melodrama is over the top, but I still love it. I liked DC too, Aunt Betsy is hilarious.

      I still haven't read Pickwick yet but I'll get there. One of my online groups is reading Barnaby Rudge next month so that will be my next Dickens.

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