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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Classic Books

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Classic Books

Top Ten Tuesday I like this Top Ten Tuesday prompt! As you may or may not have noticed, I am currently participating in the Classics Club Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to read 50 classics in 5 years. I started on August 1, 2012 and have so far read 29 classics. And before that I also read plenty of classics, of course. I really enjoy classics… and making a top ten is surprisingly difficult haha.

These are the ten classics that I would recommend to everyone:

Top Ten Favorite Classic Books

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    One of my favourite books of all times. The ultimate story of revenge. It’s brilliant, I love it.
  2. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    I read Rebecca earlier this year and loved it. The writing is amazing and so is the mystery!
  3. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
    I think it’s impossible to dislike this one. It’s awesome and funny. I’m not one for movie adaptations (The Count of Monte Cristo was the worst adaptation in the history of adaptations) but for Pimpernel I highly recommend the 1982 movie!
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    Who cares about romance? I sure don’t. Unless… Pride and Prejudice.
  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    Because.
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    A modern classic. Wasn’t sure if I should put it on here, but it’s generally regarded as a classic. Yay dystopia!
  7. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    I have warm feelings for this book especially because it was the first book I ever read in Japanese. But besides that, this book is wonderful. Feelings.
  8. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
    I read this before I went to see the play (the one with David Tennant and Catherine Tate). Hilarious. The snark is high with this one.
  9. 1984 by George Orwell
    There were bits I found tough in this book. It wasn’t an easy read, but it’s well worth it.
  10. Kokoro by Natsumi Soseki
    One of the few Japanese classics that I truly enjoyed (yes, I admit it).
[Review] The Woman in the Dunes, by Kōbō Abe

[Review] The Woman in the Dunes, by Kōbō Abe

[Review] The Woman in the Dunes, by Kōbō AbeThe Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe
Published by Charles E. Tuttle on 1982 (first published 1962)
Genres: Classic, Japanese literature, Magical realism
Pages: 239
Goodreads
four-stars

An amateur entomologist takes a holiday in order to find a rare beetle. He ends up in a seaside village, and after supposedly missing the last bus back, he is offered a place to stay in this village that is being swallowed up by the dunes. It soon dawns upon him that he is held prisoner, condemned to shovel sand to prevent the village from disappearing.

The Woman in the Dunes was a book I had intended to read for a long time… and then it ended up being the winner of the The Classics Club Spin. Perfect!

I had no idea what to expect. I knew the book was a classic, that many people thought it was a masterpiece, and that I would be reading it sometime in the future. The plot? No clue. ‘Something with magical-realism,’ I’d heard, so I would probably like it, right?

The Woman in the Dunes ill. by Machi AbeWell, was I in for a surprise. This book gave me the creeps. For one, I don’t like sand. I won’t say I hate it, but I can do without the beach and sand between my sandwich. And this book has a lot of sand. Add to that being locked up, sad undertones, and a nice kafka-esque plot, and you’ve got the ingredients to freak me out. It’s not horror, but I was wholly expecting nightmares (thankfully that didn’t happen).

The book is brilliantly written. The style starts out very plain and straightforward. Near the end, it becomes more philosophical, which really is what you want from this story at that point. The ending is what you will begin to expect.

Additionally, my edition has illustrations by Machi Abe, Kōbō’s wife. It is amazing how well they fit the atmosphere of the book (in other words: simple but ominous).

The Classics club Japanese Literature Challenge 8Can’t stand kafka-esque plots? Stay away. Although I wasn’t aware of this plot and I’m overall not a fan of books that frustrate me. I might not have picked it up had I known. But in the end I loved how this book made me feel (although I was really quite happy to finish it).

Classics Club Spin #6: And the winner is…

Classics Club Spin #6: And the winner is…

The Classics club A few days ago I posted my list for Classics Club Spin #6. I was pleased with my list, all classics that I’ve been eager to read or that I think I ‘should’ read. Let me share my list with you once more:

  1. Abe, Kōbō – The Woman in the Dunes
  2. Alcott, Louisa May – Little Women
  3. Austen, Jane – Sense and Sensibility
  4. Brontë, Charlotte – Jane Eyre
  5. Brontë, Emily – Wuthering Heights
  6. Burnett, Frances Hodgson – The Secret Garden
  7. Dickens, Charles – Tale of Two Cities
  8. Forster, E.M. – Maurice
  9. Golding, William – Lord of the Flies
  10. Grossmith, George – The Diary of a Nobody
  11. Hermans, Willem Frederik – De donkere kamer van Damokles (The Darkroom of Damocles)
  12. Huxley, Aldous – Brave New World
  13. Isherwood, Christopher – Goodbye to Berlin
  14. Ishiguro, Kazuo – Remains of the Day
  15. Kafka, Franz – The Trial
  16. Lee, Harper – To Kill a Mockingbird
  17. Mitchell, Margaret – Gone with the Wind
  18. Mulisch, Harry – De Ontdekking van de Hemel (The Discovery of Heaven)
  19. Salinger, J.D. – The Catcher in the Rye
  20. Thackeray, William Makepeace – Vanity Fair

Well, the Classics Club announced the winning number yesterday and the winner is…

*drumroll*

#1: The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe

The Woman in the Dunes

Awesome! I can’t wait to get started! I probably won’t get around to it until halfway June, but the aim is to read it before July 7 and that I shall do.

Classics Club Spin #6

Classics Club Spin #6

The Classics clubSo after my first proper Classics Club check-in a little while ago, I will now participate in my first Classics Club Spin! The goal is to list twenty classics before May 12, the club will pick a number, and you have to read the book before July 7. It’s a good opportunity to pick up some of the more dreaded classics 😉 Sounds good!

The rules:

  1. Go to your blog
  2. Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club list
  3. Post that list, numbered 1 – 20, on your blog by next Monday
  4. Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1 – 20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce
  5. The challenge is to read that book by July 7th

My list:

  1. Abe, Kōbō – The Woman in the Dunes
  2. Alcott, Louisa May – Little Women
  3. Austen, Jane – Sense and Sensibility
  4. Brontë, Charlotte – Jane Eyre
  5. Brontë, Emily – Wuthering Heights
  6. Burnett, Frances Hodgson – The Secret Garden
  7. Dickens, Charles – Tale of Two Cities
  8. Forster, E.M. – Maurice
  9. Golding, William – Lord of the Flies
  10. Grossmith, George – The Diary of a Nobody
  11. Hermans, Willem Frederik – De donkere kamer van Damokles (The Darkroom of Damocles)
  12. Huxley, Aldous – Brave New World
  13. Isherwood, Christopher – Goodbye to Berlin
  14. Ishiguro, Kazuo – Remains of the Day
  15. Kafka, Franz – The Trial
  16. Lee, Harper – To Kill a Mockingbird
  17. Mitchell, Margaret – Gone with the Wind
  18. Mulisch, Harry – De Ontdekking van de Hemel (The Discovery of Heaven)
  19. Salinger, J.D. – The Catcher in the Rye
  20. Thackeray, William Makepeace – Vanity Fair
Classics Club Check-In #9

Classics Club Check-In #9

The Classics Club Check-InTo be honest, this is my first check-in for the The Classics Club challenge, even though I have been participating in the challenge pretty much from the start XD Oops! But anyway, here is my progress for Check-In #9.

The aim of the challenge is to read 50 classics in 5 years (in my case, that’s from August 1, 2012 til July 31, 2017). My original list can be found here and my current list here. My list has evolved quite a bit since the start and I have been adding on classics that I just so happened to read and that weren’t on my list originally.

Right now I’m 20 books into the challenge. There were some books I absolutely loved, like Rebecca and The Handmaid’s Tale. But also two that I just couldn’t finish: Catch-22 and The Tale of Genji. Overall I’m pretty happy with my progress. I’m not an active participant in the Classics Club challenge in general, but I did recently participate in the Odyssey Read-Along and I am keeping an eye out for other interesting read-alongs or mini-challenges.

Here are the books I’ve read for the challenge so far:

  1. Akutagawa, Ryūnosuke – Rashomon and Other Stories (read Jan 16, 2012)
  2. Atwood, Margaret – A Handmaid’s Tale (read Nov 15, 2013)
  3. Austen, Jane – Lady Susan (read Aug 19, 2012) [review]
  4. Baldwin, James – Giovanni’s Room (read Oct 5, 2012) [review]
  5. Bradbury, Ray – Fahrenheit 451 (read Aug 19, 2013)
  6. Capote, Truman – Breakfast at Tiffany’s (read Nov 2, 2012)
  7. Doyle, Arthur Conan – A Study in Scarlet (read Jan 6, 2013)
  8. Edogawa, Ranpo – Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination (read Jan 7, 2014) [review]
  9. Heller, Joseph – Catch-22 (given up)
  10. Homer – The Odyssey (read Mar 23, 2014)
  11. Fanu, Joseph Sheridan Le – Carmilla (read Apr 15, 2014)
  12. Maurier, Daphne du – Rebecca (read Feb 8, 2014)
  13. Orwell, George – Animal Farm (read Aug 25, 2013)
  14. Shikibu, Murasaki – The Tale of Genji (given up)
  15. Soseki, Natsume – Kokoro (read Mar 28, 2013)
  16. Tolkien, J.R.R. – The Hobbit (read Dec 23, 2012)
  17. Voltaire – Candide (read Aug 15, 2012) [review]
  18. Wells, H.G. – The Time Machine (read Mar 10, 2013)
  19. Wilde, Oscar – Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde (read Dec 11, 2012)
  20. Wilde, Oscar – The Importance of Being Earnest (read Dec 31, 2013)

20 / 50 books