On the fifth day of bookmas, my true love gave to me… 5 classics from 2016. Merry bookmas! I am finally on holiday and very excited about it, but last night I went to the theatre and didn’t have time to finish this blog post, so it’s a bit late. Sorry! Now I just need to find things to do to fill up the WHOLE WEEK until Christmas! Blogging is definitely going to be one of those things… and I should probably finish some books as well 🙂 Today I will be talking about five of the classics that I read in 2016!
Firstly, I would just like to briefly talk about the beautiful edition that I have of Jane Eyre. It’s the Roads edition and I need more of them; they are all so gorgeous! Anyway, after that almost completely irrelevant side note, back to the book itself.
Jane Eyre is an orphan and this book follows her life from when she was a young child all the way up to being a young adult. There’s drama, despair, beauty and a great deal of passion. The characters are complex, the writing comprehensive and the pacing not too slow. I will admit that it definitely takes a while to pick up the pace, though. I started this at the very end of 2015 and read about 50 pages at the beginning of December. I then put it down until the middle of January, when I picked it back up again with the intention to read about 50 pages a night before bed and finally finish it. I did that for the first two days and then I was hooked- I finished the other 400 something pages in two days after that. It sparked my newly re-found love for classics, although I still stand by one thing: don’t read a classic just because it is a classic, read it because you think you will enjoy it.
Often when we think of classics we think of old books that everyone knows. In a way, that is what classics are supposed to be. But classics can also be any book that is over 70 years old (although you do get modern classics as well, which kind of do need to be known by everyone to count). At the moment we live in 2016, which means that any book published before 1947 is a classic. Herland was first published in 1935 and is a lesser known book by Charlotte Perkins Gilman who also wrote The Yellow Wallpaper.
Herland is about three men who go exploring after local legends when away from home. They come across a closed off country where there are no men. It follows the different experiences and attitudes of the three men towards this society as they start to explore it. Although this female-society is ‘better’ than the normal society, that does not make the book one of female superiority. Simply, the female-society was so cut off from the rest of the world that they do not have modern machinery and such to pollute their lands. That being said, you would have to read the novel yourself to draw conclusions; don’t just base your opinions off of mine.
The book is definitely an early piece of feminist literature, but definitely needs to be taken within the context of the time period in which it was written, as the author considers comparing women to men a compliment. More importantly to me, for although feminism is important (or equalitarianism more so in this day and age), one of the things I most enjoy reading about, whether fictional or non-fictional, is the social dynamics between men and women. I love reading scientific articles on it, fictional ponderings and what-ifs and basically anything I can get my hands on.
This is an incredibly short book and I definitely recommend trying it out and making your mind up for yourself about whether this is a good book or not!
Animal Farm by George Orwell was one of the books that I read for school last year (as in last academic year, so the beginning of this year). It made me realise that when the teacher allows me to read the book at my own pace (aka, within a month and not for an entire semester) I can actually enjoy reading books for school. It definitely makes me feel better about my plan to study English Literature as a part of my degree.
I am writing so much about these books, which looks really nice, but to be honest, I wouldn’t like to read all of this text and it takes forever. I am already late posting this and will probably be late posting day 6 as well (it is currently 21:28), so here is one of my favourite quotes from this book instead:
“Let’s face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.”
Not sure whether I agree with this statement, but it definitely felt like it last week when I was spending literally every free moment I had either studying for exams or procrastinating studying for exams.
Finally, I’m actually featuring a book that I read in the second half of the year! This is probably considered a modern classic, but I believe it is now 75 years old. I read The Hobbit when I was younger (I read the first three chapters) and really didn’t like it, so I put off reading these for a very long time. I finally decided to pick up the first one this summer and I was very pleasantly surprised, or at least happy if not surprised, that I did enjoy it. It wasn’t an incredible revelationary moment or anything (I don’t think that’s a word, but anyway), but I am definitely going to continue reading the story and I think the story might grown on me!
A quote I really like from this book is:
“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
Something about the slightly-confusing way of writing in the book makes it all the more interesting. I also hadn’t realised how many phrases were coined in this book: ‘all that glitters is not gold’ and ‘all who wander are not lost’ are phrases that I have used my entire life without knowing where they came from!
This is another book that I read in school. It made me realise that I can actually enjoy comedies if their humour is akin to mine; that is, if the humour is sharp, mean and occasionally a little risque. All meant in the best possible way and with no offense caused, of course.
Much Ado About Nothing features Beatrice and Benedick who I actually quite like as characters (something surprising to me, as I normally detest at least one of the main protagonists in Shakespeare’s plays).
One of my favourite passages has to be:
“Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps. ”
That is it for bookmas day 5-onday-6! Merry bookmas and I apologise for getting behind already. Happy reading, Keira x.