Not Just A Classic

I don't generally read a lot of "classical" literature. I value my reading time and don't like the notion of reading a book because  1) it is on a list 2) it is essential to read this book if you want to consider yourself well-read and 3) it is filled with moldy old notions that no longer ring true. 

There are exceptions to this rule--thus exists this category full of classics that I have both read and enjoyed. 

MiddleMarch by George Eliot

2021

This is my second reading of Middlemarch, a forever book, that remains on my shelf to be read time and again.

One of my favorite Mr. Brook's quotes: "I went into science a great deal myself at one time; but I saw it wouldn't do. It leads to everything; you can let nothing alone."

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

A classic book and Ms. Woolf's most well known work. The book details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares to serve as hostess at a party in London after the first World War. This novel will also find itself in another category as one of my projects is to add a few classical titles to my reading repertoire- I am starting with the "W's"as authors such Woolf, Waugh, and Wharton have always intrigued my reading self. 

I picked up a used copy that was quite marked up. I was intrigued because this reader seemed to be pulling occult references out of Woolf's writing but alas she/he quickly lost steam and apparently interest in the book. Mrs. Woolf's novel actually turns out to be less about the party preparations than it is a "stream of thought" perspective from different POV of various characters as the narrative shifts from Clarissa to the minds of others both known and unknown to Mrs. Dalloway. The novel looks into the stream of consciousness of various men and women across many classes at a particularly challenging moment in British society as the nation struggled to recover from the first World War. 

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Look at me--I managed to sneak in another classic--one that I have always meant to read but never did. It is about a woman's infidelity. It was shocking for its time--especially that a woman wrote about infidelity in the late 19th century. Pretty readable for a classic--hate me if you must but I found the ending a bit of a cop out. I wanted the author to give her main character more strength of mind--but maybe that is just a side effect of looking back through 21st century goggles.

Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner

I don't often read "classics" but when I do I hope to always find gems such as this one. Very readable for a "masterpiece". Wallace Stegner was a contemporary of Avis Devoto and was great friends with her husband. I mention this because I love when my categories and book choices serendipitously collide. At the beginning of 2020 as I finished my reads for the category "To the Letter" I read As Always, Julia which is a collection of letters between Julia Child and Avis Devoto. I highly recommend both of these books for separate reasons.

Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.