Hey Classics Challengers, time to get your women writers on

It’s a new year (almost) and time to begin the Classics Challenge 2015. I thought it would be a good idea to start out slowly.

The first category for our challenge is a classic by a woman author.

I say we’re starting out slowly because this category should be an easier sell than, say, the Russian category or the Science Fiction/Alternate World category. There are so many great books by women that I’m sure you won’t have any problem choosing one. Continue reading “Hey Classics Challengers, time to get your women writers on”

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Speaking of remarkable things

Two beautiful things came together last week in a way they so rarely do for me: A Sunday afternoon with nothing much to do and a book I did not want to stop reading.

if nobody speaksIt was the perfect way to read a novel I stumbled across on a website and immediately requested from my library because I loved the poetic title. (I choose many books that way, oddly.) It’s called “If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things” and it’s the first novel by Jon McGregor. Published in 2002, it was nominated for the Booker Prize. It’s a remarkable novel. Continue reading “Speaking of remarkable things”

What to do with Philip Roth?

I have a love/hate relationship with Philip Roth, the author of more than 30 novels, of a breadth and depth that may be unknown in American literature — most certainly in modern American literature. The Human Stain

He’s been turning out great work since “Goodbye, Columbus” was published in 1960. He’s won too many awards to count and the literature community is placing bets on when — not whether — he will become the next Nobel Prize winner from the United States. In 2006, the New York Times Book Review asked prominent literary critics (yet somehow, not me), writers, editors and other book-ie people to list the single best American novel of the past 25 years. Six of Roth’s works were in the top 22 chosen by these couple hundred people. One of them was “The Human Stain.” Continue reading “What to do with Philip Roth?”

Announcing The Classics Challenge 2015

By now you may have read my journey through the classics this year. If not, take a few moments to read about it here, here, here and here.

Now I call you, just like my wife called me, to join us in Ron’s Bookshelf’s Classics Challenge 2015. The original, Karen K, has come up with her challenge list again this year. I must say, with absolutely no bias, that the list my wife and I came up with (she chose 5, I chose 5) is way better. And we’d swear Karen stole some of our ideas, but  our categories were chosen before we saw her list for next year. Continue reading “Announcing The Classics Challenge 2015”

The Classics Challenge 2014 – Epilogue

I’ve gone on at great length over the last few posts about a series of classic books I read this past year. The selections were made as part of a challenge my wife asked me to join her in. I gamely said sure.

I thought the challenge would be fun as I often read classic books. My shelves are filled with them. So are several boxes in my basement. I pick them up from tables with signs that say “free books” and from friends giving them away and at used book sales where, on Brown Bag Day, I cram as many as I can into a paper bag and happily leave with dozens of books I plan on sneaking into the house and onto my shelves so my wife doesn’t notice. It’s not like she’s against my reading, as I’ve said, she was the one who urged me to join her on this challenge. But, as a dedicated tosser, she doesn’t see the value in my having boxes of books I’ve never gotten to in the basement while I go out and acquire more. I get the argument in theory. Still, I always believe I’ll read them one day. That’s why I grab them. Continue reading “The Classics Challenge 2014 – Epilogue”

The Classics Challenge 2014, Part 3

We’re in the homestretch of the Classics Challenge 2014. Only five categories to go, so let’s get right to it.

In the spirit of Esquire magazine, who put John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” on its list of 80 Books Every Man Should Read because, I kid you not, “It’s all about the titty,” (and without a spoiler alert!) I’m going to shorten my reviews so I can get through it and so can you. Continue reading “The Classics Challenge 2014, Part 3”

The Classics Challenge 2014, Part 2

So here I am, with more about the Classics Challenge my wife and I participated in this year. She read book after book she enjoyed, if not completely, at least enough to say she took something positive away from the experience. Me? I was like Charlie Brown at Halloween: “I got a rock.” Continue reading “The Classics Challenge 2014, Part 2”