Monday, August 8, 2016

TTT: Rewind

This week, our friends at The Broke and The Bookish offered us a "rewind"--a chance to go back and make a list we missed the first time around.
I took that to mean "whatever you want," and made a list of ten classic works I've yet to read, but would like to at least attempt.

Oh Mark, you're such a cynic!

1. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

My best friend in college was named Varykina, after a town mentioned in this work, which was at its height of popularity when we were being born. The thing is, she has a twin named Larissa, or Lara, after the main character. They didn't know they were having twins until A SECOND BABY CAME OUT (I have never been able to accept that lack of medical awareness), and they just kind of stuck her with a mildly related name. Can you believe it? She goes by Kina, and I've wanted to read this ever since. Also, as you'll realize, I have a soft spot for reading about the USSR and Russia.

2. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John le Carré
I don't read spy novels as a rule, but le Carré is an acknowledged master whom Ursual Le Guin even mentions in her essays with respect. Soviet Cold War stuff is interesting to me too.

3. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
I've read and enjoyed a lot of Dickens, although it's been years since I've really delved into any of his novels. But somehow, I never got around to reading this, the most autobiographical of his works.

4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and 5. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
I just feel like I should have read these. They are both supposed to be about the 18th century version of kick-ass women, even if they were written by men.

A much more respectful view of the term!

6. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Honestly, I don't know much about this one, other than that it's Russian and highly respected.

7. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Or Black Like Me, or Native Son, or Roots. One of those early works of African American literature I've never attempted. I have read a fair amount of James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, but I'd like to read one of these major works of nonfiction too.

8. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Remember that Russian/Soviet obsession? This is another one that calls to me for that reason. Also, my son's name is spelled the same way.

9. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
A friend of mine asks me every year or so, "Have you read Pillars of the Earth?" She loved it. I trust her opinion. I need to read this.

10. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
This book is always described as kinder, gentler Hemingway, as a love letter to Paris. I've not read much of his work--just For Whom the Bell Tolls, as far as I remember--and while I feel no urge to spend a lot of time on the rest of his fiction, I think I'd like this memoir.

And just because I do love making lists, here are ten authors whose classics I HAVE read, and love dearly.
1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
2. Hard Times, Oliver Twist, and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
3. Far From the Madding Crowd and Tess of the Durbervilles by Thomas Hardy
4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
5. Death of a Salesman and The Crucible by Arthur Miller
6. Silas Marner by George Elliot
7. Song of Solomon and Sula by Toni Morrison
8. Room with a View and Passage to India by E. M. Forster
9. The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne
10. Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell


  1. I’ve read a lot of the same classics you’ve read. The only one on your TBR list that I’ve read is Madame Bovary. I don’t remember it very well, so it must not have had a big impact on me.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I read Madame Bovary in high school and really enjoyed it but I don't remember Madame herself being particularly kick ass. I kind of remember her as a sad woman who couldn't be happy but high school was a LONG time ago so I could very well be wrong. The Dr. Zhavigo story is awesome! That is a serious name to lug around your whole life and how could you not know you're having twins??

  3. I've only read three of your choices & love a good many of the books you said you'd already read.

  4. I've read six of your wanna read titles and I say yes to them all. Thanks for also sharing some you have read and would recommend, especially's ridiculous that I haven't read anything of hers.

    Here's my Top Ten! I take on a subgenre: Armchair Foodie Travel Books.

  5. I love that Twain quote, and it partly describes me- I don't read a lot of the classics. :( I should work on that. I remember Dr. Zhivago being a big deal when I was growing up, my parents talked about that movie fondly. And le Carre, I've heard good things about his stuff too. I do think the Cold war espionage stuff is interesting. I would kinda like to read Hemingway thoughts on Paris. He spent some time in northern Michigan as a young man too, I believe, so I've been curious about him for that reason.

  6. I haven't read any of the ones you haven't read, but I am also going to try and read a Le Carre book and Invisible Man. Interesting anecdote about Dr. Zhivago and your friend haha

    - Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spider silk


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