Weekly Geeks 2009-03

I haven’t done a Weekly Geeks since Dewey’s passing, but in this new year, I’ve decided to rejoin the weekly meme with a subject close to my heart, the classics.

We were asked to choose two or more questions from the list and these are the ones I chose:

1. How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don’t get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!

I have loved classic literature since I first picked up Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear in 7th or 8th grade, shortly after I was reading Pride & Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. I think that sums up my favorite classics. For someone who has little experience with the classics should probably start with Great Expectations by Charles Dickens or A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens because those are classics that are easy to read and get into with their wacky characters. I would love for others to fall in love with Jane Austen as well, probably start with Pride & Prejudice or Sense & Sensibility.

2. Let’s say you’re vacationing with your dear cousin Myrtle, and she forgot to bring a book. The two of you venture into the hip independent bookstore around the corner, where she primly announces that she only reads classic literature. If you don’t find her a book, she’ll never let you get any reading done! What contemporary book/s with classic appeal would you pull off the shelf for her?

Myrtle, Myrtle what are we going to do with you? I think you need to spread your wings and check out Cold Rock River by J.L. Miles and Testimony by Anita Shreve. Not to mention, Breathing Out the Ghost by Kirk Curnutt and Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips.

3. A challenge, should you choose to accept it: Read at least one chapter of a classic novel, preferably by an author you’re not familiar with. Did you know you can find lots of classics in the public domain on the web? Check out The Popular Classic Book Corner and The Complete Classic Literature Library, for example. Write a mini-review based on this chapter: What are your first impressions? Would you read further?

For this mini challenge, I chose to read Chapter 1 of The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit, who is an author I have never read before.

I was initially intrigued by the first mention of Guy Fawkes, but there are several paragraphs where the fireworks and their validity are discussed. This conversation turned me off from the beginning. I didn’t get far into this chapter, and think I should have selected another author. I had no idea who the kids were in the chapter, knew very little about what they looked like and how they related to one another.

However, this doesn’t temper my thoughts on trying other chapter of E. Nesbit’s works.