... and Am Quite Horrified to Admit It

I always loved reading.  As a child, I'd read for hours before starting my homework, sitting on the steps beneath the skylight with a bowl of soup or a dish of cheese and crackers, devouring books whole.  Having escaped so often to the wonderful world of children's fantasy, I declared that anything designated a "classic work of literature" was atrociously stifling (all the old English!  And how it took 50 pages for nothing to happen plotwise!) to be shunned.

I was thus horrified when, in my junior year of high school, I found that I started loving such "classic works of literature," the very books I claimed I would hate forever.  My teacher was extraordinary.  I fell irrevocably in love with The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Swann's Way.

Now on my shelf, waiting to be read, are: Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, Paradise Lost, and The Decameron.  The Inner Child of Grace feels betrayed.  But ah well.

EPGrace EPGrace
18-21, F
9 Responses May 4, 2008

Dante is a good read. As is Shakespeare. Some folks have trouble reading plays, they don't flow the way prose does. My own experience is that it took some getting used to, but once I did, I never had that problem again. It was worth it

Les Mis! That's definitely on my reading list, just haven't gotten to it yet.

I love the classics too, but Russian Lit is not a favorite. Alhough I liked Crime and Punishment. <br />
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My Favorite is Les Miserables by Hugo<br />
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with Ivanhoe a close second.

Anna Karenina looks daunting, but it is oh so worth it!!! :)

Nevermind that Anna has eight parts, and the whole volume is quite daunting to the eye. =)

Your Proust enthusiasm is delightful! :) It must have been absolutely amazing to see his manuscripts! If I ever go off on a tangent like that, most of my friends' eyes glaze over, but its brilliant to hear someone else do it for once! :) As soon as I'm done with the AP test that is frazzling my brain, I have a lot of books I want to pick up (many of them recommended by you!) I might bring Swann's Way with me to Germany this summer--would it be a good book to read on the plane? <br />
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Though I haven't read it, I have no doubt Anna Karenina sums up the human emotional expereince in ways "In Search of Lost Time" (or whatever you may call it, I've heard a couple of names for it!) can only scratch the surface of. For one, I believe Tolstoy is a bit more approachable (once again, I only know half the story so stop me if I'm wrong) Secondly, what takes Proust 7-some books to get across, Leo Tolstoy does in 1 beautiful one without any loss of substance. <br />
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Translations are sort of an interesting read in a way. I fall in love with a book and hearing its translated is sort of like realizing you've fallen head over heels with an imitation of sorts when you easily could be getting the real thing, perhaps even something better. Does that make any sense? So much beauty and fantastic writing is lost in translation because of the fact the book was written in one language and a hungry audience requires another. I suppose in one way, the translation becomes great in its own right, but then...I don't know what I'm trying to say. My thoughts are a bit disconnected today! This summer I went on a Kafka-craze where I fell absolutely in love with his writing style and devoured anything I could find by him, including an interesting essay by an editor of his that spoke of the difficulties in translating from one language to another. German to English, in this instance, basically means rearranging intricate sentences (I'm not going to launch into a spiel about German grammer!) and losing some of the meaning Kafka put into his original arrangment. Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to read in whatever language the book was orginally written in?

You like Anna Karenina? YES!! :) Absolutely fantastic book--so close to literature perfection its exhilerating! I really want to reread it, because I read it in the summer before eighth grade and I think a lot of it went over my head! I've reread parts of it that I marked because I found them absolutely divine, and I just need to read it again. A friend of mine, who also reads a lot of classic literature, got me a copy of Swann's Way for my birthday (he's read it of course and told me all about it but said I needed to read it for myself) so I have yet to peek into that. I've heard Proust is very heavy, so I'm excited and hesitant at the same time. You simply must read Madame Bovary--gorgeous book! And War and Peace is unbelievable as well, but different than Anna Karenina. If you enjoy lengthy discriptions of battlefields, you'll find yourself in heaven!

What a nice comment :)

Mmm, Classic Lit has always been my favorite (call me a nerd, but that's just the way it is!) You're list of favorites is high up on my list as well, especially Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary! But don't worry about your inner child--no one has to stay attached to one genre of book. If we did, it would be like only eating tomatoes for the rest of ones life, or only listening to jazz music--there's so much more out there, and it keeps one's mind happy to go from something heavy like War and Peace to something whimsical like Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter. It's fun!