Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Eugene Onegin: Chapters 3 and 4

We've now met  Eugene's neighbor, Victor Lensky, Victor's fiancee Olga, and Olga's sister Tatiana.  Tatiana, having conceived a passion for Onegin, rashly writes him a letter telling him of her feeling.  Onegin somewhat detachedly tells her he does not return her feeling, and suggests she not write anyone such a letter again, for other men may not be so gentle with her.

Impressions of Tatyana and Olga?  Olga is a simple, friendly, pretty girl;  ideal for good-natured and romantic (and possibly undemanding) Victor.  Tatiana is deeper--reserved but passionate, a dreamer and reader of romances. 

What do you make of Onegin's reaction to Tatyana?  It seems in character.  Onegin is not cruel, but he is far too jaded and self-centered to appreciate a heartfelt gift of love.  It wouldn't occur to him to give of himself, and he is not interested in the offering of another's heart. 

How does the story, thus far, compare or contrast with another classic romantic novel (of your choice)?  Anna Karenina comes to mind;  I read it last fall.  I'm reminded of Kitty and Levin--his offering of marriage, heart full of passion, and her initial thoughtless rejection.  Will Eugene come to his senses as Kitty did?  He did notice Tatiana when he first met the sisters...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eugene Onegin: Chapters 1 and 2

My first reaction, as I haven't read many (any?) novels in verse, is that it's almost making me read faster than I want to--the rhythm is carrying me along with it, and I'm having to go back, sometimes, and reread some lines to clarify.  Not that it's difficult at all;  but the rhythm gives it a rather lighthearted feel, as if even things like Eugene's coldness about his uncle's death aren't supposed to really get us down.  I wonder how the tragic events later in the story will come across?

First impressions of Eugene?  A rake; a young, wealthy, jaded, man-about-town. 

What do you make of the narrator's commentary?  An old man looking back on his youth, reminiscing about this Eugene with fondness.

Thoughts on the characters sketched out in Chapter 2?  I'm very interested in Tatiana.  I know from the back cover of the book, lol, that Eugene will seduce her.  But rather than a young innocent girl who will be easy pickings for Eugene the jaded rake, she looks like one who has had a lot of life experience and learned from it. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Eugene Onegin Readalong 2014

Marian at Tanglewood Classic Lit Book Reviews is hosting a readalong of Alexander Pushkin's verse novel Eugene Onegin.  I've had this on my shelves for a while now, and have been a little intimidated to start it.  So hearing other people's thoughts as we go should be very helpful and enjoyable.  I will be posting after every two chapters, about every 10 days or so, per the schedule.  Reading starts tomorrow!

Classics Club

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2nd Annual Classics Club Readathon

Well, here goes my first readathon!  Adam at the Classics Club is our host today, and he has given us the following questions to start the day with: 

Name and blog:  Amy, book musings
Snacks and Beverages of Choice:  Tea, tea, tea, and probably some toast.
Where are you reading from today?  Houston, Texas
What are your goals for the Readathon?   My tentative plan is to spend the entire day reading The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  It's been on my shelves a long time, and it's longish, and I wonder if I can finish it today.  Also, it's a nice gothic-ish type of thing to read by the fire on a cold day.  I treasure the very few cold days we get here on the Gulf Coast.
Are you excited?  To be honest, right now my main emotion is worry that I won't really be able to just read all day--it's Saturday, a pretty busy day around here.  But my ever-understanding husband has graciously agreed to handle all the kids' needs to be taken places today, so that I can undertake this geeky enterprise, lol.

I'll check in with progress once or twice during the day, and be checking some other blogs to see how they're going, too.  Happy reading...

2:15 pm CST:  I'm 75 pages into The House of the Seven Gables and enjoying it very much.  I probably won't finish it today, but will likely get a considerable part of it done.  Having lunch now.  

9:00 pm CST:  200 pages in now, out of 312--I may finish this thing tonight!  And it's a great read. 

12:20 am CST:  Finished The House of the Seven Gables!  Starting The Nortorious Jumping Frog of Calveras County and Other Stories by Mark Twain.  I pulled this off my shelf because it's so short, lol.  Maybe I can finish it, too, although I'm pretty tired now. 

12:45 am CST:  Know what?  I'm beat.  Reading all day was lovely, but I'm tired now and don't feel up to any more.  See you all in the morning... :)

Adam at the Classics Club has some wrap-up questions this morning:

What book(s) did you read during the event?
  I read The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, in its entirety.
What did you like about our event?  I loved giving the day over to reading--I never do that.  And I loved being able to check a book off my massive TBR list.
Do you have suggestions for future Readathons through The Classics Club?  Nope.
Would you participate in future Readathons?  Yes, schedule permitting.
Anything else you’d like to share?   Here's a quote that shows the humor that sometimes lightened this book, which I had not expected to find in a work by Hawthorne:
Discerning that Clifford was not gladdened by her efforts, Hepzibah searched about the house for the means of more exhilarating pastime.  At one time, her eyes chanced to rest on Alice Pyncheon's harpsichord.  It was a moment of great peril; for--despite the traditionary awe that had gathered over this instrument of music, and the dirges which spiritual fingers were said to play on it--the devoted sister had solemn thoughts of thrumming on its chords for Clifford's benefit, and accompanying the performance with her voice.  Poor Clifford!  Poor Hepzibah!  Poor Harpsichord!  All three would have been miserable together.  
 Thanks Adam and Classics Club for hosting this fun event!