Saturday, December 18, 2010

Classics Countdown

I love classics. They may not be the easiest books to read nor will they all be to my taste, but they're books that almost always make me think, they're books that stay with me long after I'm done reading them. This year was quite a fruitful year as far as reading classics go. Here's my pick of the popular classics I've read this year. Get a cup of tea ready to sip in, and curl up with these books as they transport you to their era.

5. Fried Green Tomatoes At the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I hoped to, but it was still a beautiful read. I had my problems with the book in that it had too many characters that clutter the narrative and confuse the reader. But Flagg is a wonderful writer who brings to life the characters, the town and the time frame she talks about. She tackles many important issues in the book like lesbianism, racism and feminism and does so without making it seem pretentious or preachy. Also, the descriptions of food in the book would give Enid Blyton a run for her money.

4. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
In one word, Rebecca is a haunting book. The atmosphere of Manderley, its inhabitants and their story is so powerfully created that readers think of a certain 'mood' the moment they hear the word 'Rebecca'. I thought many of the 'twists' were obvious and I disliked the spineless unnamed narrator. I understand that she's supposed to be dull, but she's far too naive that the tale moves to the predictable arena. However, Rebecca is worth a read just for Du Maurier's excellent writing style and a gripping finale. 

3. Persuasion by Jane Austen
Is it sacrilegious that an Austen fan does not choose Persuasion to be her 'Classic of the Year'? I hope not, because once you see the top two, you would forgive me. But Persuasion is a remarkable book. A mature look at a relationship that flourished once, was broken, and left to grow again when the hero and the heroine were under totally different circumstances. The book boasts of memorable characters, especially a wonderful Captain Wentworth whose letter to Anne Elliot has earned its place in literary history as one of the best love letters ever written. Persuasion is a treat to every reader, Austen-fan or not.

2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery
Reading this book made me want to go and live in Prince Edward Island along with that red-haired, vivacious Anne Shirley and her amazing, wondrous imagination. Anne of Green Gables is one of those books that tugs your heart strings and makes you feel that you're part of the story because you genuinely care about the characters. Anne of Green Gables is a charming, emotional experience that you shouldn't deny yourself and is one of the most memorable books I've ever read.

1. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
It wasn't at all tough for me to choose A Tree Grows In Brooklyn as my 'Classic of the Year', for no book made me laugh in joy, smile fondly, feel angry, break into tears as this coming of age book did. Francie Nolan's growing up saga is a story that every one of us will have something or the other in common with. Smith writes like a dream; her language is rich yet easy and she conjures vivid images of the past that is she is writing about. She tackles the subject of poverty beautifully, without romanticising or trivialising it. This book could have easily become a compilation of cliches, but Smith writes so realistically that it is hard not to be moved by the book. The host of characters she has created will stay with you long after you're done reading this book and that is exactly the greatest thing about the book - it is an unforgettable experience.

P.S Coming up next are my final end of the year lists where I pick my Book of the Year in the genres of Fiction and Non-Fiction :)


Mel u said...

Of these I have read Rebecca and Persuasion -I will put your other books on my TBR list-I read 30 works that could be considered western classics in 2010-of them if I had to narrow it down to less that 10 I would say those I liked most (not necessarily those I see as the best books) are in no order Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and also her Villete, The Red and the Black by Stendhal, Parade'e End by Ford Madox Ford, Indiana by George Sand, Rebecca, and The Waves by Virginia Woolf-plus the short stories of Katherine Mansfield

JoAnn said...

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is such a wonderful book! As much as I love Persuasion, I can't fault you for placing it higher than this Austen. Rebecca is also a favorite... I need to read more DuMaurier in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Of these, I've read only one - Anne Of The Green Gables. And I LOVED it. Hopefully, I'll pick up more classics in 2011. :)

Veens said...

Like Shonali would have said - Veens has not read REBECCA, yah not yet lol!

I will definitely pick that last one :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

What a wonderful list! I've read and love all but Flagg's book. You've listed some of my all-time favorites. I will definitely have to read Flagg's soon!

Kals said...

Mel U - Your list is fascinating. I've always wanted to read Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, but somehow end up postponing it. Vilette is another book that I want to read soon!

JoAnn - Me too! Though Rebecca wasn't my favourite, I admire DuMaurier's writing style. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a very special book that everyone must read IMO :)

Priya - Anne is amazing indeed! =) Yep, classics are fascinating. I hope you find more time for them in 2011.

Veens - LOL. I miss Shona! :(

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an amazing book. I'd love to know what you thought of it when you read it :)

Avid Reader - Aww.. thanks so much :) All of these books are must-reads, IMO. They may not all be absolute favourites, but they have something exceptional in each of them. Flagg is a great writer, have fun!


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