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Kate's Classics

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OK so I've decided to go for it! However, I am going to cheat a little, and listen to them as audio books as opposed to reading them hehe! I'm starting with William Makepeace Thackery's Vanity Fair

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Today I have listened to William Makepeace Thackery's Vanity Fair.

What can I say? I loved it!! I found myself favouring characters such as Amelia and Captian Dobbin and loathing selfish characters like Rebecca. In my opinion, she should of had a more devastating downfall. I was pleased with how Dobbin's character ended

with him marrying Amelia, the girl he had always loved. I didn't like how George cheated on Amelia though.

Amelia seemed such a naive girl, I could only feel sorry for her. I liked the contrast between her and Rebecca however, who seemed very worldly. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it did not take long to listen too, however I imagine reading it would have taken me a lot longer!

 

9/10

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I have just listened to The Great Gatsby. It was a re-read, I read it a few years ago while I was at college. Again, I enjoyed it. I love the seemingly curious character of Gatsby and his love for Daisy moved me. The way he was pining after her after 5 years apart was sweet (no he wasn't stalking her though! He merely lived near her in case of a chance-glance) . I love the description of his house. I have in my mind the image of this huge, stone house towering over all the little houses set around it, rather daunting all the people who live in those respected homes. Fitzgerald does touch on the American Dream, how Gatsby changed his name to change his destiny, but we see that even with the money, success and the nice house what he wants he doesn't have. It brings the American Dream into question: how realistic is it?

 

I enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and there were a few lines which had me chuckling. A definite must-read.

 

8/10

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Over the past few days I have been listening to Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. To be honest, I didn't enjoy it that much. The heroine, Fanny, was a weak character, easily influenced and manipulated. It annoyed me that she didn't have her own thoughts or physical stamina to cope with a long walk. The ending came as no surprise really.

I thought it was clear that the Chadwick's would turn out to be nasty and heart breakers, and I felt it obvious that Fanny loved Edmund more than just as a brother/cousin. Their marriage came as no surprise whatsoever.

I feel disappointed by this book as their was no definitive storyline. I felt Austen was writing more about the social culture of the time, with women being gossipers and gold-diggers and men either being in the army/navy or clergyman than actually telling a story. That said, it was interesting to look at how life would have been, but I did not find the story that interesting. A bit of a let down really.

 

6/10

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The other day I started listening to Dracula, then my Mum kindly reminded me I have an over-active imagination and that I already have nightmares, so maybe Dracula wasn't the best thing to be listening too. So I stopped and started listening to Emma by Jane Austen. I finished it this morning and enjoyed it. I love how this book could so easily relate to our culture now, with people not wanting to marry, to friends setting up friends, the fickleness of some characters (Harriott for example), the ones who cry at every touch and turn and the pompous characters who believe the world revolves around them. As always with Austen there were lines that made me giggle, and I always think humour in a book is good. I enjoyed the familiar line that Austen's heroine, Emma goes against the mould of society of her time and refuses to marry unless she is in love and also refuses to let her friends marry lower than she thinks is good enough for them. She shows great courage to stand out against the crowd.

And as always, I like the reference to music and balls, makes me want to go and experience them!

A thoroughly enjoyable classic :)

 

9/10 - not as good as Pride and Prejudice in my opinion.

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I have just listened to Rebecca and am posting here because in my Mum's opinion this is a classic!

 

Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

 

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again ...Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers ...Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

 

My Mum recommended this book to me and I had tried it before. This time I actually got to the end! I found it quite a chilling book, which included murder, suicide and fire. I didn't know what to expect when I picked this up but I did enjoy it. I was gripped from the beginning and was surprised by the twist. The character I loved was Ben, who we saw down the beach. I found the new Mrs de Winter to be a pushover and weak, although she did come out of herself a bit by the end. I would recommend this book.

8/10

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This is shocking, I have not read a Classic since July! I need to set myself a challenge I think, maybe a Classic a month?

I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and loved it - that can be my December book!

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This month I listened to Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy:

 

I found this book slow at the beginning, and in all honesty I did consider giving up on it. However, I am glad I didn

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Shockingly enough, I have listened to another classic this month!

Lady Susan by Jane Austen:

 

lady-susan.jpg

Synopsis:

One of Jane Austen's shortest works, "Lady Susan" is an epistolary novel, a novel told entirely in the letters of its title character, her friends and family. "Lady Susan" is the story of a recently widowed woman who is actively searching for a new marriage while trying to play matchmaker for her daughter as well.

This is not a well known Austen book, and is rather short. Austen adopts a different writing style, and narrates the whole book in a series of letters. This did not ruin the story however, as each letter was extremely descriptive, so one also knew what was going on. In fact, this way of narrating gave each character a little more depth as it allowed the reader to see what the character was really thinking.

The story follows Lady Susan, who had not been widowed long, search for a new husband. She is manipulative and cunning. She goes and stays with her brother-in-law and attempts to make a union with her sister-in-law's brother. We follow her through her bid to do this, and see the reaction of her sister-in-law and the other side of the family. Susan also attempts to sort out a suitable marriage for her daughter, who seems timid and shy. She is not a nice character, however I was intrigued by her and wanted to know the outcome of her fate.

This is not my favourite Austen, even though it did contain the usual Austen traits, of love, class, manipulation and family. I did find I had to force myself to finish the book, and the ending was fairly predictible.

The book did make me ask a few questions though - such as who was Austen? Does she relate to any of the characters in her books? Was she manipulating, or just surrounded by it?

Overall, I found this book to be just OK. I can see why it isn't one of the more popular Austen novels.

 

6/10

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I read this one a while back (audio book version) and found it very raw in comparison to her later, more polished works. It was almost like she was practicing styles to see what suited her. :blush:

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Yeah I see what you are saying Kell. I did like the letter form, I think she did it quite well , however I just don't think this book was as good as her other work.

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I hadn't heard of this one. I thought she'd just written the six novels (Pride, Sense, Northanger, Persuasion, Mansfield and Emma)

 

Interesting.

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It's part of her "juvenilia" - things she wrote when she was young. :blush:

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This month's book was The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.

 

Review

 

4/10

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This month, March, I read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and I didn't really like it.

 

Review

 

5/10

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