Thanks to Charlotte over at Pages and Plays (books and theatre; what more would one want?) for tagging me in this, I’m going through a classics hoarding phase right now, so it’s very suitable!
An over-hyped classic you really didn’t like
I don’t know if Mill on the Floss or Jude the Obscure could be described as ‘over-hyped’, but I didn’t finish either of them. I can’t even remember what they were about; only that they were too descriptive, too tedious, and I had better things to do physically in the countryside (the garden is screaming for attention even now), rather than reading about it.
Favourite time period to read about
The Greek obsession is still going strong (picked up yet another Aeschylus, despite the fact that I already have four volumes of Greek tragedies that I have yet to read), but I also love anything Japanese or Chinese. I read Moving the Mountain by Li Lu around five years ago, and it broke my heart. It documents his childhood and role as one of the leaders of the student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, sparking my interest in China’s ancient and modern history, but also a deep admiration (I bawled my eyes out) for the students who had the courage to stand up – against the government and tanks, for God’s sake – for what they believed in. Beautiful, but so, so tragic.
Favourite fairy tale
I didn’t read too many fairy tales when I was younger – Rupert Bear was my only true love – but one does come to mind. One was a weird one about a servant girl having a conversation with a potato, and then becoming a princess because this potato was the king of all potatoes. You guys probably think I’m weird now – you should have met me eight years ago.
What is the most embarrassing classic you haven’t read yet?
There are a lot of classics that I’ve yet to read – the problem of being a book hoarder is that the eye gets distracted rapidly. Admittedly, I’ve only ever read one Dickens novel (David Copperfield), and I’ve not read The Great Gatsby. Yet. Or Emma. Or Tess of the d’Ubervilles. Or The Scarlet Letter. I should stop now.
Top five classics you’d like to read soon
Wuthering Heights (I’ve already read it, but The List demands I read it again.)
Crime and Punishment (It’s been lingering)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (I’ve been hearing mixed views on James Joyce. He seems to be like Marmite, so I’m interested to decide my own opinion)
The Cherry Orchard and The Seagull (I read Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and enjoyed it, but didn’t get on to his other work)
Favourite modern book/series based on a classic
I feel like I’ve read something based on a Greek myth? No concrete title, alas. I also read Robert Icke’s new adaptation of Uncle Vanya, and that was brilliant. Totally different to the original, but with a similar, more charged atmosphere.
Favourite movie/TV series based on a classic
Sherlock Holmes is a classic, right? I’m a big Sherlock (with the Cumberbooty being in the titular role, obviously) fan, and I’m looking forward to the variety of ways Moftiss want to give me a heart attack. There was also a Macbeth adaptation (BBC, directed by Rupert Goold) that I first saw in an English class, then re-watched at home, and DAMN was that incredible. Spooky, creative and unlike anything Shakespearean I’d seen before – Goold definitely seems to have the Midas touch.
Worst classic to movie adaptation
There was a certain A Christmas Carol adaptation that bored the pants off me. Other than that, I don’t watch that many book-to-film adaptations; I prefer to watch complete trash like Real Housewives and Dance Moms, and then entertain myself by calculating the number of IQ points I lose per minute.
Favourite edition(s) you’d like to collect more classics from
Penguin are obviously enjoying the immense power they have in being able to remotely control where I spend my allowance, because I’m lusting after several of their ranges. The first, their Little Black Classics (pocket-sized beauties of ridiculously cheap prices) the second, Pocket Penguins, (again, pocket-sized books that I enjoy coordinating with my clothing) and finally, the Penguin Clothbound Classics are elegantly soothing – there’s nothing like a clothbound book to hug when there are no eligible humans around.
An under-hyped classic you’d recommend to everyone
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a dystopian novel that was actually the inspiration for 1984, and although I haven’t read it for a year or so, I remember that I couldn’t put it down. Philosophical and a gripping read. And Russian! What more could you want?
That’s all, folks! Feel free to do this tag if you’d like.