Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Classics

At my first book club meeting, I announced to the group: I'll read almost anything but I don't like the classics.

To be honest, I don't even recall any of the classics I read. I can only think of Shakespeare and by god, no matter how much I think I have become smarter in age, I can't read it for the life of me.

And okay, I remember some poetry written way back when and I can't handle its prose -- at least back when I was forced to read the crap.

So really, to me, reading the classics is intimidating and well, I perceive it as boring. I worry that if I had one in my hand, my feeling of defeat would overcome me as I give up reading it due to the fact that I can't understand the prose and well, my mind will wander as my eyes gloss over the words.

So what takes place at the last book club meeting? We all agreed to give Jane Eyre a go for the next book reading choice. Surprisingly, we all seemed daunted by our choice, despite the fact that we seemed to be unanimous in the choice. We even discussed whether we should touch base within a week or two to find out how we were faring with it, fearing we would all be lost. We then suggested a runner-up book, just in case we hated Jane Eyre. Finally, we all decided to woman-up and endure the book, no matter what.

I added the book to my book list through the library and noticed that it was ~400+ pages. Geez. For me, that's a lot of pages. I tried to prolong the bore, by reading the 'curious incident' book. This ~200+ page book -- a quick read according to my book club peers -- took me almost two weeks to read and I LOVED IT. How on earth would I read 400 pages of a book that I disliked?

Instead of getting it through the library, I decided to support my favorite book store AND THE ONLY LOCAL BOOK STORE IN RALEIGH, Quail Ridge Books & Music, and ordered my copy through them. I wanted a very classic looking book, which I could not find at Amazon or ebay (yes, Quail Ridge was not my first choice, but I'm glad I went with them). When I picked it up, the book appeared more intimidating than I imagined: small, like a bible, thick like a bible (I exaggerate) with 595 pages. AND SMALL FONTS.

Incredible. I knew at once there would be no way in hell I would finish it by book club discussion time. At the time I picked it up, I was still reading the other book...

I decided to give it all I got and just dive in -- after I finished the fabulous book by Mark Haddon. I decided to shoot for almost 50 pages a day, or at least 25...I was trying to psych myself up.

Well, I started this book six days ago and I can almost guarantee that I will be done this weekend. As I write, I'm on page 388 and it's KILLING me not to just absorb myself into this book. I want to finish it but I don't because I fear losing the characters in the story.
Parting is such sweet sorrow...


I am completely engulfed into Jane Eyre. I am blown away by the talent of Charlotte Bronte and now, I am enthralled by her (Charlotte) and her life. How could someone write such beauty?

I shed my first tear last night and cried more this morning as I FORCED myself to put it away and try to enter the 21st century. I already can see the influence that this novel has had on everything else I have read and seen that is a love story.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. And I will be so sad when I have to end my affairs with it...

Anyone who likes classics like Jane Eyre and enjoy similar prose and writings, please PLEASE send me your recommendations. I am completely swooned...

2 comments:

  1. I am not as far along as you, but i, too, find myself drawn into the story.

    Your comment about shedding a tear (and your sentiments about the book in general) reminds me of The Thirteenth Tale, and how the doctor says to Margaret "have you been reading Jane Eyre?" with a serious but knowing look. And then prescribes her some rugged and less romantic reading material if she wants to get well. I still think that was one of the funniest scenes from that book, and i understand it even more since i am currently enthralled by the tale myself.

    -Audrey

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  2. You are so right! I am remembering that exact scene in the Thirteenth tale -- swooning over this type of storyline. I have been in an odd buzz, of sorts, reading this book and just feeling enlightened. :-)

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