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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Classics in the Bag

I think most of us book-lovers also love lists of books -- these lists can bring back memories, open up possibilities, and spark conversations. Since I was short on blogging time today, I thought I’d simply share part of my list of classics that I’ve read, and by classics I mean novels written before 1900. There are both wider and narrower definitions of classic literature, but I’m sticking with that rather unsophisticated definition for simplicity’s sake! I’ve heard of “modern classics,” and those are basically written after 1900, and I'll probably share those eventually, too.
One of my personal goals is to read as many classics like this as I can, so that’s partially why I made this list in the first place. Today I'm only sharing the novelists I've read who were born before 1800:

  • John Bunyan (Nov 28, 1628 - Aug 31, 1688)  The Pilgrim’s Progress, 1678
      Amazed by the extent of the allegory and its lessons, I think everyone should read it! 
  •  Daniel Defoe (c. 1659-1661 - Apr 24, 1731) - Robinson Crusoe, 1719 
      A mite boring at times, but overall interesting. Crusoe's faith in God was inspiring, if I remember right.
  • Jonathan Swift (Nov 30, 1667 - Oct 19, 1745) - Gulliver’s Travels, 1726
      Fascinating but weird at times. Swift had one of the largest imaginations ever!
  • Oliver Goldsmith (Nov 10, 1730 - Apr 4, 1774) - The Vicar of Wakefield, 1766  
      Disturbing in some ways, this was a little book that somehow felt incomplete. But the vicar was interesting.
  • Fanny Burney (Jun 13, 1752 - Jan 6, 1840) - Evelina, 1778
      Written entirely in letters, this was sometimes melodramatic but good overall!
  • Fanny Burney - Cecilia, 1782
      This was a huge, enveloping book, but Cecilia was truly someone to be admired.
  • Fanny Burney - The Wanderer, 1814
      This was another huge book, this time with a sustained mystery throughout. It was a wonderful ride!
  • Jane Austen (Dec 16, 1776 - Jul 18, 1817) - Sense and Sensibility, 1811
      I've read this three times. Elinor is my favorite literary character. Need I say more? 
  • Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice, 1813
      It's no wonder that this book is popular! Lizzy is so much fun.
  • Jane Austen - Mansfield Park, 1814
      The deepest and most spiritual of Jane Austen's novels. I valued Fanny especially.
  • Jane Austen - Emma, 1815
      Probably the best showcase of Jane Austen's talent.
  • Jane Austen - Northanger Abbey, 1817
      I really enjoyed the Gothic parody! Catherine is adorable.
  • Jane Austen - Persuasion, 1817
      A lovely, touching story. Anne is a treasure. 
  • Jane Austen - Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon, 1871
      Getting just a bit more from Jane Austen was a great experience.
  • Mary Russell Mitford (Dec 16, 1787 - Jan 10, 1855) - Our Village, 1824
      This was a pleasant read. The best part is the descriptions of nature!
  • James Fenimore Cooper (Sep 15, 1789 - Sep 14, 1851) - The Last of the Mohicans, 1826
      Though the narrative was slow at times, this is a very, very compelling and exciting story. Cora was my favorite character.          

I am within a hundred pages of finishing Don Quixote, so that will soon go on the top of my list as the oldest novel! Have you read most of these books and/or authors? Of just this selection, can you pick a favorite?

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