Weekly Geeks 2009 – #3 The Classics

wg-sticky-url6This week’s Weekly Geeks is all about the classics. Do you love ’em? Hate ’em? Or are you somewhere in the middle? I have a rocky relationship with classics. Of the one’s I’ve read, I enjoy them enough I guess, but overall they’re just not my thing. Classics of SF/F like The Lord of the Rings, Rendezvous with Rama, The Time Machine…love all those! But what are considered to be the “true” classics if you may, they really don’t work too well for me. I’ve enjoyed what Shirley Jackson I’ve read and Mary Shelley, Byron, Stoker, etc. but once again, those are mostly in the SF/F/H genre. 

I’ve tried Austen (which I enjoyed but wasn’t wowed by), I’ve tried the Bronte’s (whom I really couldn’t stand :/, sorry!!), and a few others, but it’s the last thing that I really want to read. I think I get bogged down in all of the society, name dropping stuff. There are too many characters that aren’t distinguished! 

Now there’s one author from the Classics that I love and that I would recommend to anyone as a starting classic, and that is Charles Dickens. I don’t know what it is about his stories that separates him from so many of the author classic authors for me, but his novels are just amazing. I think the fact that they were originally written in serial form is a big thing because he had to leave his readers wanting more. He also captures the essence of humanity and the “layman” like no one else has for me. Just a fantastic writer.

Of new books that could be recommended to lovers of classics, I would have to agree with Becky and recommend Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale. I said after I read it that it reads like a gothic classic and I still stick with that.

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19 Responses

  1. I’ve always really struggled with Dickens. He’s an author I really *want* to like, but I can’t seem to get there. I quit A Tale of Two Cities halfway through (though I do feel like I should give this one a second shot since it was *ack* assigned reading) and spent a summer struggling through Great Expectations (great beginning, great end, but oh, the middle…). I am, however, a great fan of A Christmas Carol, but I’m not sure that counts. Do people exist that really don’t like A Christmas Carol? I dunno.

    Maybe now that I’m older, I’ll have to give him another shot to win me over. But which one will make me love him (er…don’t say Great Expectations ;-))?

  2. Like you, some of my favorite classics are in the sci fi/fantasy/horror genre. Of course I would argue that those are true classics and no different than any other classics, but that might be just me.

    I know Megan hated it, but Tale of Two Cities was my favorite read of all my high school reading assignments. Loved it.

    I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of Jane Austen, but I’m not sure how much that is affected by how much I love the films. Same with A Room With a View.

    I read Tom Jones years ago and was highly entertained. Of course I was pretty young and all the sex was probably part of the reason. It was pretty comical as well.

    It is the classic plays that I have the most affection for. Shakespeare’s comedy, Oscar Wilde’s plays, Moliere…all great stuff!!!

  3. Megan, Definitely Great Expectations! :p Kidding. In all honesty I’d recommend A Tale of Two Cities. Give it a go again. It was the first Dickens that I read and it still remains my favorite. It’s such an incredible book (in my humble opinion).

    Carl, I totally agree with you. That’s why I put “true classics” in quotes. I think that Stoker, Shelley, and Wells are every bit as much of classic authors as Austen. Tale of Two Cities is my favorite Dickens as well. I read it in 8th grade in an honors english class and have been in love with it ever since. I adore the BBC adaptations of Austen’s novels, but for some reason the books just don’t do it for me. I’ve yet to read A Room with a View but I love that movie too. As for Tom Jones, sex will do that to a book if you’re an adolescent boy :p Love Shakespeare and Wilde’s plays…totally forgot to mention them!

  4. haha, yeah, classics… I so don’t get along well with them! I want to like them, but I just don’t! I used to try and force myself to read them, but they are just not my thing, so I only have a few ‘select’ ones on my TBR pile. Like you and Carl, though, I like the sf/fantasy/horror ones. I am more likely to read a classic from those genres than like Austen or whatever. I do own a complete set of Jane Austen novels, but I don’t like romance novels from this era, it is highly unlikely that I am going to like them from that era either… And women were treated like objects… I love Charles Dickens, though. My favourite is Great Expectations, though! Oh, and Shakespeare, of course. I just felt he was too ‘overdone’ in school…

  5. That’s funny, of all the classics you mentioned, I am the least keen on Dickens and the most keen on Jane Austen.

  6. Kailana, the sf/f/h classics are definitely my favorites…they’re the only ones that I’d say I truly like aside from Dickens. Sounds like we think the same when it comes to classics!

    Kim, Wow! We finally found something that we disagree on.

  7. I preferred Shelley/Tolkien/etc. as well! Unfortunately I didn’t like Dickens as a kid, but I think that he deserves a re-read 😀

    Btw, I mentioned you in my WG post!

  8. You really should read Dumas. The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my all-time favorites. But I thought The Three Mustkateers was wonderful too…..and one of these days I’ll get to The Man in the Iron Mask!!

    Loved Great Expectations, but that’s about my extent of Dickens.

  9. Marineko, thanks for mentioning me! You have a great blog by the way…I had never been to it before! That’s what weekly geeks is all about, right? Dickens definitely deserves a reread! I think you’d like him seeing as we seem to have the same taste in classics.

    Steph, I really do need to read Dumas I guess. For some reason, I’ve always just stayed away from him. But it looks like I don’t need to do that!

  10. I so agree with you on Dickens capturing the essence of humanity! I just love him.. 🙂

  11. I can’t even remember my thoughts on man in the iron mask which i know I read in JR High..
    I hope you are right about Dickens.. I know I really do enjoy the movies from his novels (be they old and black and white mostly) But I have here one of his that most ignor that I thought I’d try The Old Curiosity Shop and I have DAvid Copperfield.. so I am hoping. They are books I am sure you have to be in a certain mood to read.. I think I am going to give the Curiosty Shop a try soon (like after the small book I am reading now) I hope it grabs me enough to read it

  12. Interestingly I love Austen and Charlotte Bronte but have never been able to enjoy Dickens. I will give him another try though, perhaps with David Copperfield.

  13. But Shelley and Stoker are true classics. Without them, where would sci-fi be!

    I agree with Stephanie about The Count of Monte Cristo. That’s a fun one!

  14. I’m with you on Dickens, but I do like Jane Austen. And the Lord of the Rings is one of my favourites, like, ever. I haven’t read Dracula but remember enjoying Frankenstein in my first year at university.
    Happy Weekly Geeks 🙂

  15. Another WG-er was writing about all the different genres represented by the broad category of “classics.” From what little I know about your reading preferences, it doesn’t surprise me that you wouldn’t be into the Brontes and the like. Would you read anything like that in modern lit? I probably wouldn’t.

    What about H.P. Lovecraft? I haven’t read him (and he’s 20th century, but early 20th), but my husband says he’s about as close to a true Classic in SF/Horror as you can get.

  16. I think these questions have really opened up a great conversation! I list Frankenstein and Dracula, Poe and Lovecraft among my favorites, as well as children’s classics.
    Have you read “The House on the Borderlands” by William Hope Hodgson?

  17. This has been some interesting conversation going on here! When it comes to classics, I seem to love them or hate them. I can’t think of a single one, I’ve just been lukewarm about. I loved Dracula, and hated Frankenstein. I loved Of Mice and Men, and hated The Red Pony. I loved Wuthering Heights, and couldn’t even get through Austen. The only Dickens I’ve ever read was A Christmas Carol, which of course, I loved (I mean, how can one not love that, right?). But I’ve been hesitant to try any more, because Rich so despised Great Expectations. Which is so totally funny…seems as if all the people whose opinions I implicitly trust just don’t agree when it comes to classics.

  18. so you’re saying that you read Jane Eyre and didn’t like it??
    I usually love children’s classics, and sci-fi even although I should read a lot more of those!

  19. […] Original post: Weekly Geeks 2009 – #3 The Classics « Stuff as Dreams are Made on […]

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