How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Classics in the Bag, Part 3

To join my two previous posts of classics I've read: (as before, I welcome any comments you may have on what I've listed!)

  • Louisa May Alcott (Nov 29, 1832 - Mar 6, 188) - The Inheritance (1849)
This was Alcott's first novel. Though hopelessly sentimental, with an angelic heroine and noble hero, it's a satisfying story and an interesting specimen of her development as a writer.  
  • Little Women (1868)
One of my favorite novels ... who can resist falling in love with the touching story of the four March sisters?
  • An Old-Fashioned Girl (1869)
I really loved this one, too. The characters are so human, with traits to love and traits to eschew; I especially liked when the children became young adults and Polly Milton, the protagonist, proved her mettle. 
  • Little Men (1871)
All the different personalities of the boys in Jo's school were fascinating. Such adventures those children had! I wish the March sisters themselves, though, had had more children.
  • Eight Cousins (1875)
 Another story of the adventures of a group of children. Rose is the only girl amongst the eight cousins, which makes for an interesting time! Admittedly, not my favorite Alcott.
  • Jo's Boys (1886)
The story of the March family continued! The youngsters from Little Men are grown up and it's such fun to see how they all turned out, including how they pursue their dreams.
  • Various short stories and novellas, such as “The Quiet Little Woman" and “The Abbot's Ghost,"
     were all entertaining.
G. A. Henty (Dec 8, 1832 - Nov 16, 1902) - For the Temple (1888)
“A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem" in 70 A.D. As with all Henty novels, this one was full of history and twisting plot-threads (so twisting I can't remember it all!)
  • By Right of Conquest (1891)
“Or With Cortez in Mexico." Despite the depressing violence of the Aztecs, I remember being quite taken with this story, especially the sweet heroine Amenche.
  • Beric the Briton (1893) 
“A Story of the Roman Invasion." This is the most recent Henty I've read. I quite enjoyed it! So much happens, and Beric ends up in so many different places that have stuck in my mind. 
  • My mom read many other Hentys to my brother and me, but alas, only shards of characters, scenes, and history, still glint in my memory. Those shards are distinct and formative, however -- I do believe Henty is in my subconscious. 
Mark Twain (Nov 30, 1835 - Apr 21, 1910) - The Innocents Abroad (1869)
This is a true narrative of a group of travelers touring Europe and the Mediterranean. I love travel books and this one was absolutely hilarious in the hands of Mark Twain. 
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
Mark Twain is a stupendous writer and so any story he tells should be good. I liked this one, but mostly just because of Twain's writing. I merely smiled at Tom. 
  • The Prince and the Pauper (1881)
I really enjoyed this story but don't remember the details. Due for a rereading!
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
I preferred this novel to Tom Sawyer, because I found Huck more endearing. I think Tom is too self-assured for me, whereas Huck's vulnerability drew me in. I also liked the wider setting and higher-stakes adventures more than the confined, so-so environment of a muddy Mississippi River town.
  • Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896)
I'm not sure how many agree with me, but I do believe this novel is Twain's crowning achievement. He believed it to be his best, too. His beautiful prose at last finds its match in this magnificent story. 
(As I'm waxing on about his works, I realize I should do a post just on Mark Twain!) 

Isabella MacDonald Allen (Nov 3, 1841 - Aug 5, 1930) - Ester Reid (1870)
This novel about a girl who goes from being a lukewarm Christian to a true servant of Christ was very inspiring and convicting to me as a teenager, and so helped me grow in my spiritual walk.

Robert Louis Stevenson (Nov 13, 1850 - Dec 3, 1894) - Treasure Island (1883)
This one was just too much fun! Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver, pirates, buried treasure, danger, swordfights ... it's the quintessential adventure novel.
  • Kidnapped (1886)
This was my favorite Stevenson novel. I love Scotland, and David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart should be one of the most memorable character pairs ever. Alan was entertaining, and David's arc of character was inspiring.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
This story, although rather short as literature goes, was richly layered in meaning and intrigue, all told in Stevenson's most picturesque writing. 
  • David Balfour (1893)
I was pleased to continue David's story and watch him fall in love with a most amiable girl, but the romance in this book stole some of the refreshing perspective I found in Kidnapped

Edmond Rostand (Apr 1, 1868 - Dec 2, 1918) - Cyrano de Bergerac 
This was a funny and moving play, a reading experience I won't soon forget. Cyrano's way with words was truly something. I had the pleasure of seeing a good friend act in a production of Cyrano.

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