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Tag Archives: James Joyce

The Classics Club 77

Jillian over at A Room of One’s Own, had the amazing idea of hosting a book club of sorts, which she has called The Classics Club. Each person picks a list of classics they want to read over a certain period of time (say, 100 classics over a period of five years). It’s a very stress-free project; each person picks their own books and sets their own pace. I’m going to reward myself with five full snickers bars for every couple that I finish along the way. I’m a lover of classics and there are so many I have yet to read, so I am jumping in to join Jillian and the other participants.

My current goal is to read the following 77 classics over the next 2 years. Some of the books on the list will be re-reads for me, but I either read them so long ago (when I was a kid/teenager) that I have forgotten almost everything about them or they are part of my “thirty books to read thirty times” list.

Most of the books will receive a full review here on the blog but if it is too overwhelming (or underwhelming), you may have to check over at goodreads for the short informal review.

Anyone is welcome to join the Classics Club, so if you’re interested, just click on the Classics Club link at the top of this page to be taken to the sign-up page on Jillian’s website (or click here to get more detailed information).

Start date: March 23, 2012
Goal finish date: March 23, 2014
Books in blue = re-reads
Linked books in green = read (links will take you to full blog posts or goodreads reviews)

*The books are in chronological order (more or less)

  1. The Mahabharata and Ramayana in original
  2. The Thousand and One Nights 
  3. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
  4. The Iliad By Homer
  5. The Aeneid by Virgil
  6. Metamorphoses by Ovid
  7. Gargantua and Pantagruel by Françoise Rabelais
  8. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  9. The Complete Works of Shakespeare
  10. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  11. The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  12. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
  13. Reveries of a Solitary Walker by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  14. The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade
  15. The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  16. The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal
  17. The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox
  18. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  19. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
  20. Dead Souls by Nikolay Gogol
  21. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  22. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  23. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  24. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  25. Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  26. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  27. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
  28. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  29. Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert
  30. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  31. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  32. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  33. Erewhon by Samuel Butler
  34. Hunger by Knut Hamsun
  35. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  36. Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
  37. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
  38. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
  39. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  40. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
  41. A Passage to india by E.M. Forster
  42. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
  43. Howards End by E.M. Forster
  44. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
  45. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  46. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
  47. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  48. Rashomon by Akutagawa Ryunosuke
  49. Ulysses by James Joyce
  50. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  51. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
  52. Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann
  53. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  54. Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
  55. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  56. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
  57. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  58. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  59. The Apes of God by Wyndham Lewis
  60. The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil
  61. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  62. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  63. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  64. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  65. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  66. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
  67. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  68. The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
  69. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  70. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  71. The Death of Virgil Hermann Broch
  72. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  73. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
  74. The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzákis
  75. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  76. All About H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani
  77. The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

Do check back from time to time to see the progress and the reviews!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Book Reviews, Books, Poetry, Thoughts

 

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On Writing: A Memoir of the Book

On Writing: A Memoir of the CraftOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book is great and if you like writing, it is probably a must read.

I could write a summary of the book, it is easy enough to summarize and there are only a few important points that King presents, but then I dont want you to get it for free. 🙂 Go and read the book yourself, it is worth it.

Rude? As King says, “…if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

Here is are a few excerpts from the book that might inspire you to take my advice –

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, mostly fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read. It’s what I do at night, kicked back in my blue chair. Similarly, I don’t read fiction to study the art of fiction, but simply because I like stories. Yet there is a learning process going on. Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.

It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but “didn’t have time to read,” I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner.

Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows.

Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head. Even when no one is listening(or reading, or watching), every outing is a bravura performance, because you as the creator are happy. Perhaps even ecstatic. That goes for reading and writing as well as for playing a musical instrument, hitting a baseball, or running the four-forty. The sort of strenuous reading and writing program I advocate—four to six hours a day, every day—will not seem strenuous if you really enjoy doing these things and have an aptitude for them; in fact, you may be following such a program already.

If you feel you need permission to do all the reading and writing your little heart desires, however, consider it hereby granted by yours truly.

I love this book because it agrees with all my preconceptions. Feels nice to be on the right track. It is also quite inspiring when it comes to kicking you into putting on your writing cap.

I couldn’t resist putting in this anecdote about James Joyce as well:

One of my favorite stories on the subject—probably more myth than truth—concerns James Joyce. According to the story, a friend came to visit him one day and found the great man sprawled across his writing desk in a posture of utter despair.

“James, what’s wrong?” the friend asked. “Is it the work?”

Joyce indicated assent without even raising his head to look at the friend. Of course it was the work; isn’t it always?

“How many words did you get today?” the friend pursued.

Joyce (still in despair, still sprawled facedown on his desk):

“Seven.”

“Seven? But James . . . that’s good, at least for you!”

Yes,” Joyce said, finally looking up. “I suppose it is . . . but I don’t know what order they go in!”

Of course, the book is not intended just as a writing manual. Even if you never intend to write, the memoir is a wonderful graphic tale on King’s life and like all his stories, it does not lack in imagination or entertainment.

Meanwhile, let me get down to some actual writing…

View all my reviews

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Book Reviews, Books, Creative, Thoughts

 

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