Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Is Your Favorite Classic Book?

The Classics Club's August meme asks this question:  what is your favorite classic book, and why?  I had to think a bit, because, ultimately, that question is unanswerable.  I have current favorites (witness my Suitable Boy lovefest), but "favorite classic" means something more, I think, something that withstands the test of time. 

So I'm going to settle on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as my favorite classic, not because I think it's the greatest book ever written, but because it looms large in my consciousness.  I first read it in high school, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  The wit, the irony, and the frequent priceless lines, of which here is a sampling:
An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth.  From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents.--Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.
and:
Elizabeth's courage did not fail her.  She had heard nothing of Lady Catherine that spoke her awful from any extraordinary talents or miraculous virtue, and the mere stateliness of money and rank, she thought she could witness without trepidation.
and:
Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.
This is one of the few classics I've re-read multiple times over the past thirty years, and I am not much of a re-reader in general.  It opened up the possibility of having genuine fun with a classic, leading me to try others on my own, on top of what was assigned at school.  It comes to mind first when I think "favorite."  I guess that makes it a good choice for favorite classic,  right?

28 comments:

  1. I'm all ready to read this one for a third time. The first time I read it, I didn't like it. The second time, I loved it! And I only had a year in between. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you need to read it lots more times! ;)

      Delete
  2. I'm a new follower of your blog, found you through the classics club :)
    I love Pride and Prejudice too, I must have read it three or four times now and each time I find something new about it. I notice more of Austen's wit each time, she's such a clever writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, her wit hooked me at the beginning, and I still love it, but I appreciate Elizabeth's development as a character more and more as I get older.

      Delete
  3. Surprisingly Jane Austen is still on my Literary Wall of Shame, maybe it's time to fix that

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh Literary Wall of Shame - I love it! I can feel a blog post coming out of that. What else is on your LWofS?

      Delete
  4. I have 6 Jane Austen books on my classics list. It's time to join the Austen love train. I think you have convinced me to start with Pride and Prejudice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a good one to start with. I think it's the most accessible; certainly it's the funniest. Enjoy!

      Delete
  5. I also picked a book that seemed to loom in my consciousness when I was thinking over this question! This title did pop up as well. It was my first Austen, and I can't even remember how many times I've read it since that first time...Ahh, Mr. Darcy. I just love him. :) And Mr. Collins. His scenes always make me chuckle!

    So glad to "meet" you through the Club! I hope you're enjoying our new site!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm enjoying it tremendously. It's what I hoped for when I started blogging 6 months ago--a community of like-minded readers to talk with. :)

      Delete
  6. This was my very first Austen, and I read it earlier this year. While reading, all I could think was "WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG!?!?" I loved it, and can't wait to read it again and again. I did put 2 more Austen novels on my list, and I'm looking forward to that as well! Glad to meet you through the Club!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to meet you too, and welcome to the Austen fan club as well. :)

      Delete
  7. Beautiful book indeed. I don't read many female author's books. I like adventurous stories more, that's why. But I remember being almost forced by a friend to read it, and at last consented to do so. And I like it.

    I love the father as well, since he reminds me a lot of my own. And I like the way Elizabeth speaks to Mr. Darcy. She's a smart, witty girl who isn't afraid of speaking her mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be amusing to have a father like Mr. Bennet! And I do enjoy the evolution of Elizabeth's character--she's witty and intelligent, but she eventually learns not to judge based on first impressions, and not to believe everything she hears.

      Delete
  8. Am I the only person on earth that hasn't read P&P?
    This book is probably on the top 10 list favorite classics, perhaps nr 1! I must admit I did let myself be captivated by Mr Darcy in the series with Colin Firth, but don't tell anybody! I have a new list..."promised to read and must keep the promise". This book will be on the list along with Gone With the Wind, The Odyssey, The Complete History of Jack the Ripper (when did I make this promise) and one of your favorites, Periodic Table.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very possibly! :)

      I hear you about the lists. I have the Classics Club list with my 50, which I am constantly changing. Then I have my personal TBR list (see top of blog) which contains over 100 books that I own but haven't yet read. Then I have my Amazon cart, which is full of books I want to read but don't yet own...

      Delete
  9. Great choice! As you saw on my blog post, I'm a big Pride & Prejudice fan. You picked some great quotes! Can't wait to read some more of your blog posts. :)
    Also, do you have Twitter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I'm not on Twitter--I'm a bit of a luddite and blogging is enough technology for me to manage, lol. I enjoyed your blog as well and look forward to more. :)

      Delete
  10. Wonderful choice! I'm not much of a rereader but make Jane Austen an exception - her books get better every time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly--I don't reread every author, but I do Austen.

      Delete
  11. I love the irony in Jane Austen but I think many people can't see it! Especially the first quote is brilliant! Every time I reread it I turn into a squeaky 14 year old, which I both love and hate! It;s one of those books that simply improve my mood! Great choice! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, that first one is one of my all time favorites!

      Delete
  12. Ah! The quotes you selected gave me shivers. I just re-watched the 2005 P&P last night. I adore this book.

    *because it looms large in my consciousness*

    That's the definiteion of a favorite, I'd say. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right--I answered my own question. :)

      Delete
  13. Oh, I haven't read this one yet (shame on me!) but this is going to be our book club's pick for October. I can't wait to be finally acquainted with Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's high time, I'd say! Prepare to enjoy.

      Delete
  14. I'm in the middle of reading my first Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility--I'm loving it and now I'm excited to read Pride and Prejudice, next. Those quotes are chilling.

    ReplyDelete