Classics Club: Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott was my book for the Classics Club Spin #8.  I chose to do a read-along, and all the recaps can be found below.  Though the read-along is over, feel free to bookmark the recaps and/or leave comments as you read the book.  Each recap contains some trivia and the spoilers are marked.

First of all, I have to say that I really enjoyed reading this book about 95% of the time.  It’s full of action, adventure, romance, knights, King Richard and Prince John, and Robin Hood and his Merry Men.  It has a wide variety of characters including some I loved to hate and one or two that I was a little ashamed to love, and a couple that provided the comedy relief.  What’s not to love, especially if you’re a Fantasy genre addict like me?!

Then there’s that 5% that I didn’t enjoy so much.  There are parts that get ridiculously slow and the characters get long-winded.  Some of the conflicts get resolved a bit too easily, making the last few chapters a bit anti-climactic.  There’s also the racism that was prevalent during not only the times in which the story is placed but during the times in which the author wrote as well.  Now, I don’t believe in removing those uncomfortable parts from media in order to comply with a much more modern view of the world, but that doesn’t mean I like or agree with them.  I believe it’s important to keep the horrible stuff because 1) taking it out doesn’t mean it never existed, 2) we need to be able to know and understand our history, no matter how ugly, and 3) we need to be able to see how far we’ve come since those times.

While Ivanhoe didn’t make my Through the Magic Door list, because of that 5% I didn’t like, overall, it’s a great read.  I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Romance era fiction, classic Fantasy, or classic literature in general.

Classics Club: Villette

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Villette by Charlotte Brontë wasn’t the easiest book to read, and I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Jane Eyre.  I liked it, but I frequently read several chapters while wondering where the story was going.  The first 3 chapters didn’t seem to be leading anywhere, especially since this is supposed to be the narrator’s story.  There was also a chapter towards the end in which she rambles on seemingly aimlessly about religion.  Many of the other characters annoyed me at one point or another throughout the book, and I think that’s why it took so long for me to read it.  I frequently put it aside to read other books after only a chapter because one of the characters, usually M. Paul or Ginevra Fanshawe, made me wish Lucy would let them have a piece of her mind.  I was able to relate to Lucy though, especially when she first arrives in London, and I was sincerely hoping that her story would end happily.  I wasn’t disappointed, but if anyone had asked me at anytime till well past the halfway point what I thought would bring about that happy ending, I wouldn’t have guessed correctly.

Ivanhoe Read-Along

Ivanhoe

For the Classics Club Spin #8, I’m reading Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, and I’d like you to read-along with me.  We’ll start on the 24th of Nov., which is the same day that Book Week Scotland starts, and we’ll finish on the 4th of Jan, 2015.  I’ll do another announcement post on the 24th, a progress/discussion post every Sunday, and a review post on Jan. 5th.  Don’t worry if you get a little behind at any point during the read-along.  I know this time of the year can get crazy, which is why this is a 6 week read-along, instead of a month.  Below is the chapter break down:

  • Mon. 24th Nov. – Sun. 30th Nov.: Chapters 1 – 7
  • Mon. 1st Dec. – Sun. 7th Dec.: Chapters 8 – 16
  • Mon. 8th Dec. – Sun. 14th Dec.: Chapters 17 – 25
  • Mon. 15th Dec. – Sun. 21st Dec.: Chapters 26 – 31
  • Mon. 22nd Dec. – Sun. 28th Dec.: Chapters 32 – 38
  • Mon. 29th Dec. – Sun. 4th Jan.: Chapters 39 – 44

If you’d like to participate, create a blog post, and then sign up through the linky below, or comment with your Tweet or Facebook post.  You don’t have to be a member of the Classics Club to participate, but if you are, leave a comment with a link to your Classics Club list.  Happy reading!

The Classics Club Spin #8: And the Winner is…

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Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe

I’ll be doing a read-along, starting Monday Nov. 24th, which coincides with the beginning of Book Week Scotland.  The read-along will run through Jan. 4th, for a total of 6 weeks, which will hopefully make the reading more manageable than if I were to confine it to a month.  I’ll be announcing the read-along tomorrow, with all the details and a sign-up.

The Classics Club Spin #8: My Spin List

The Classics Club is doing another Spin.  Even though I said I wouldn’t do any challenges this month, this will be my first Spin, and since I’ve got until Jan. 5th to complete one book, I decided to participate.  Part of the challenge is to choose five of my Classics Club books I’m hesitant to read, five I can’t wait to read, five I’m neutral about, and five free choice.  The problem with that is I didn’t put any books on my Classics Club list that I knew I wouldn’t want to read.  So, instead, I chose five books that I think are lengthy/dense and/or difficult for the modern reader.  Those are in bold.  The five I can’t wait to read are italicized, and the five neutral books are in regular text.  The five underlined books are my free choices.  I’ve either read them many years ago, started them but never finished, or I already own them and it’s a matter of convenience.

  1. Kafka, Franz: The Trial
  2. London, Jack: White Fang
  3. Melville, Herman: Moby Dick
  4. Bronte, Anne: Agnes Grey
  5. Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Karenina
  6. Dickens, Charles: Oliver Twist
  7. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter
  8. Hugo, Victor: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  9. Dumas, Alexandre: The Count of Monte Cristo
  10. Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine
  11. Carroll, Lewis: Alice in Wonderland
  12. Yeats, William Butler: Irish Faerie Tales
  13. Scott, Sir Walter: Ivanhoe
  14. Flaubert, Gustav: Madame Bovary
  15. Nabokov, Vladimir: Lolita
  16. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden
  17. Proust, Marcel: Swann’s Way
  18. Cooper, James Fenimore: The Last of the Mohicans
  19. Gogol, Nikolay: Dead Souls
  20. Verne, Jules: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Once the Spin number is announced (Monday, Nov. 10th), I’ll post which book I’ll be reading.  Depending on which book it is, I might create a read-along for those of you who would like to read it too.

Are you in the Classics Club?  If so, are you participating in the Spin?

Classics Club: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island

Though Treasure Island is short enough to be considered a one night read, it took me about a week to finish.  I enjoyed it, but life interfered with me trying to finish it within a couple days.  The story seems more meant for children, but the adult part of me didn’t get in the way, especially since there were so many turns of phrase and events throughout that are the origins (or at least the near-origins) of the pirate tale in popular culture.  Who hasn’t heard of Long John Silver or Davy Jone’s Locker or the phrase “shiver my timbers!” even if they’ve never read the book?  Now I’m in the mood to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, or even The Princess Bride, just for the sake of watching Captain Jack Sparrow or “the dread pirate Roberts”!

Since tomorrow is the 1st of September, when I usually stop reading what I consider to be Summer books and start reading my Autumn books, I think Treasure Island was the perfect book to close out my Summer, and to begin crossing off books from my Classics Club list.