The Classics Club 10 Year Celebration Questionaire (a little late).

Last year The Classics Club posted a questionaire to celebrate 10 years of blogging. I completed the post then promptly forgot about it!

Lucky for me.

I’ve had a nasty sinusitis infection since Friday night. The first couple of days were okay – I could still read and blog – but the past few days have been ghastly with headaches, poor sleep and sinus pain. I tried to read but nothing sunk in. I tried to blog but the words would not flow. I would really like to finish my response to Salman Rushdie’s lastest book, but when you love a book as much as I loved Victory City, rushing or writing with a cotton-wool brain is not okay.

So I searched my drafts looking for something that was post-ready. A little tidy up, an edit – and voilà!

I’ll leave this here, while I have another nanna-nap on the lounge.

When did you join the Classics Club?

August 2012

I’m not sure of the exact date, as the original post I made of my first fifty books (CC List #1) was converted into a page a couple of years later, which removed the date stamp. However my first comment on the post is from the 21st August 2012, so perhaps we can go with that.

What is the best classic book you’ve read for the club so far? Why?

Before I joined The Classics Club, I had never heard of Émile Zola, but so many of you raved about him for so long, I eventually decided to try Germinal (1885). For the first time I truly appreciated how important it is to pick the right translation. (The right translation is the one you enjoy reading, in case you were wondering.)

Translations vary greatly and can have a huge impact on the readability of a text.

The translator for my edition of Germinal was Raymond N. MacKenzie (2011). The year before I had tried an edition translated by Havelock Ellis (1895). We did not get on at all and I almost abandoned Zola for good. Thankfully Fanda’s Zoladdiction month rolled around again the following April and she encouraged me to try one more time.

I am now reading Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series in chronological order, preferencing the Oxford University Press editions when I can.

What is the first classic you ever read?

Dr Seuss, then Little Women. My first ‘adult’ classic though was Jane Eyre when I was about 11 or 12.

Which classic book inspired you the most?

Little Women always inspired me to be kinder, while Anne Eliot (Persuasion) inspired me to be patient and forgiving.

What is the most challenging one you’ve ever read, or tried to read?

The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

First it is a VERY big book with lots of Russian names. But I’ve read & loved War and Peace and Anna Karenina, so I can usually work around this.

The philosophical discussions were interesting but by a third of the way through, all the religious stuff was wearing me down. That and the extreme actions of a number of the characters which felt implausable.

When I lost the book during a move as I was coming to the end of book six, I was not upset at all. I’ll stick to Dostoevsky’s short stories instead!

Favourite movie adaptation of a classic? Least favourite?

It’s hard to go past Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird and controversially perhaps, my least favourite adaptation is Colin Firth and Jennifer Eales version of Pride and Prejudice.

Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?

I think I’m a mix of Anne Eliot (Persuasion), and Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility).

Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving? Respecting? Appreciating?

Moby-Dick (1851)

Suspecting that I might struggle to get into a book about the whaling industry and a long sea voyage, I put off attempting this classic for years.

However, in 2019 I embraced #slowreading and decided to use it on Moby-Dick. I took seven months to read it, savouring only 3-4 chapters each week.

The story is about a journey – physical, personal and philosophical – reading it is also a journey – of self-discovery, perisitence and obsession.

One day I would like to reread Moby-Dick & one day I will fix all the old blogger links & formatting in the many posts I created for this event!

Classic/s you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN this year?

The Bell Jar

Last year I read a fictionalised biography about Sylvia Plath’s final year, Euphoria that I found quite mesmerising. I have since started the 950-odd pg biographic behemoth Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath (Heather Clark). I probably should finally read something by Plath herself!

Favourite memory with a classic and/or your favourite memory with The Classics Club?

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Living in Australia, I was completely unfamiliar with this book and Zora Neale Hurston. A 2013 Classics Club Sync Reading event changed all of that. This book is a keeper and one I hope to reread one day.

Hurston has a magnificent way of turning a phrase that completely stops you in your tracks. And I suspect each time you read this story, the various phrases will work their magic differently.

26 thoughts on “The Classics Club 10 Year Celebration Questionaire (a little late).

  1. Hope you feel better soon.
    I wish I had drafts of posts I could use to fill the gaps. Enjoyed this one.
    Not sure I could answer any of the questions about favourites. But certainly Their Eyes were watching God is pretty God. We don’t normally think of Australians for classics but I think Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book will be one of the greats of all time.


    1. Thanks Bill.
      After my blogging malaise of last year, I now keep a couple of book tag/book list type posts in the wings for an emergency.
      I thought about adding Alexis Wright but (1) I haven’t read her yet (I hope to rectify that this year) and (2) my classification for a classic is 50 yrs.

      I should create a modern classic tag to catch the <50 yr books 🙂


  2. When life gets in the way…it is time just to sit back and take a good rest. They say eating pineapple can help! Pineapple is a great decongestant because it contains the enzymes called bromelain.
    This week I feel like a bird with a broken wing…can’t scroll laptop, hold a book in right hand, can type with left hand only….and slicing an apple is painfull! Take care and get better soon!
    Germinal: truly and amazing book. I agree! I would even re-read it!


      1. I tried to bike last Saturday and had pain in my arm b/c I had to grip the handlebars while going up hills….and pain using the handbrake on the bike (could not squeeze the handbrake) going down hills. So putting the bike back in the shed for at least a week! Life happens.


  3. First of all, get well soon!
    2nd of all, where was I when TCC posted this questionnaire? I’ve never seen it!
    Lastly: please let me know when you’re going to reread Moby Dick. I’ve never been in the right mood to start again since I left your event.
    Oh, one more thing: yay for Germinal!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such great questions and answers! I did my own version of a “slow read” of Moby Dick a few years ago, prior to which I was sure that that was a book I would absolutely never read. I ended up finding it such a great experience! I’d like to say I’ll reread it someday, but I’m honestly not sure I’d have the stamina. Glad to hear you had such a good experience with Their Eyes Were Watching God! I read it with my book group last year, and we all loved it.


  5. Hope you get well again soon! This is such a fun questionnaire, both for the writer and the reader – I enjoyed doing it last year! More classic club questionnaires are required, I think! 😉 I’m devastated at your dislike for my favourite Darcy and Lizzie, but at least we agree on To Kill a Mockingbird! 😀


    1. My dislike of the Firth/Eales combo regularly gets me in trouble.

      I’ve been thinking about a modern classics questionaire or one that focuses on genre – like classic crime, classic non-fiction etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Feel better soon! I’m with you on avoiding antibiotics when possible, but I like Nancy’s pineapple idea. I love the work of Zora Neale Hurston, but have never made it through Moby Dick. Mea culpa. The Brothers Karamazov is probably the most difficult of his works to tackle, but there are others you might enjoy much more.


      1. The short fiction is a great way to go, you might also take a look at his first novel Poor Folk, in which distant cousins correspond until Varvara Dobroselova meets a rich widower. The Gambler is a psychological study about a group of gamblers and their relationships, a subject he knew all too well.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope you are feeling better again. In any case, get healthy soon.

    Some interesting answers there, Brona. I once did a quiz which Jane Austen character I’d be and I got Elinor Dashwood though I always believed I was more like Anne Elliot.

    I loved The Brothers Karamazov but can understand if someone doesn’t. It has a lot to take in.

    I’m curious as to what is your favourite Jane Austen adaptation? Pride & Prejudice adaptation? They all have their faults but I quite like the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, not as many changes or omissions as in many of the films.


  8. Sinusitis is, literally and figuratively, a pain, leaving little else for concentration so I commiserate. I’ll be otherwise brief with my comments by just saying I only got a third of the way through Moby-Dick before temporarily stalling, but I did find it funnier than I expected so will return when the mood takes me!

    Liked by 1 person

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