The Classics: October Reading Notes

Dracula by Bram Stoker arrived in the mail yesterday. I’ve been hooked since. Move aside, Angela Carter and Hilary Mantel!

Elizabeth Miller, a ‘Dracula expert’  describes it as being ‘one of those rare novels that just about everyone has heard of but few have actually read’ – so, so true. But how far removed our caricatured ideas of these sorts of novels are from the original masterpieces! After they’ve been distilled through the horrors of popular culture and children’s films (Disney is the usual culprit), they emerge quite unrecognisable.

Does anyone remember Infinite Summer, the Infinite Jest readalong that took the literary blogosphere by storm back in 2009? (The index of posts, complete with reading schedule and an accompaniment of notes and discussions, is still available online) Well, after the first readalong, there was actually a Dracula project by the same people, that I’m now having fun reading over. Beware of plot spoilers though!

Also, not strictly classics related, but currently wondering which books of the following authors I should read next: Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’m thinking Snow, My Name is Red, Midnight’s Children or East West for Rushdie and Pamuk, but not sure about where to go in terms of Marquez.  I’ve read Love in the Time of Cholera, Hundred Years and Chronicles of a Death Foretold so far. Maybe just the Penguin edition of his collected stories? Maybe I should broaden my horizons and read some completely new writers like Chinua Achebe, who I’ve been meaning to read for a while now…

Any recommendations?


10 thoughts on “The Classics: October Reading Notes

  1. While I certainly would not consider mine a classic I’d be honored if you’d consider reading my book which is listed at entitled American Rebellion Book 1 of the Revolution.

  2. What about Of Love and Other Demons?

    I’m tempted to join The Classics Club so I can make a list ha ha. Is your list only 50 titles or did you write down more than that? Do we count those we’ve already read before or no? Remind myself to include Dracula.

    1. Claire, Dracula is fantasticcccc.

      There’s actually no set limit for the classics club, you set the number of books and how long you want to take. So mine’s 300 books over ten years! I’m still filling in the titles :D
      And because mine’s so long-term, I’ve just put in all the books I want to re-read over the next decade as well haha. I think you’ll like it because it’s flexible – that’s why it appealed to me anyway! There’s not much pressure.

      I haven’t read Of Love and Other Demons so I will definitely give it a go, I’ve not usually gone wrong with things recommended by you in the past! Ok that’s weird grammatically… but you get what I mean :)

      1. I’m not sure how you’ll like Of Love and Other Demons. It’s just that I haven’t read many of his books as well, so couldn’t recommend any other that stood out. It’s the darkest of his books that I’ve read, and short, a novella, so hopefully won’t be a waste of your time. I like its brooding quality.

        Okay, I’ll give The Classics Club a go. I have an enormous list of classics already on its own page but all jumbled together. I’ll just have to arrange them according to author and then join. I might include also those ones I’ve read before because, like you, there’s always reason to reread. :)

        Might I ask which edition of Dracula you have? Did you know about the new Penguin English Library series? I just placed an order from The Book Dep because I was so tempted hahaha. I purchased The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Shirley. I’ll get Dracula in that series, too, thanks so much for the recommendation! Fantasticccccc sounds good!

        1. I just have to clarify, I’ve read other, darker stuff by Garcia Marquez, but they were all part of a collection. Of the stand-alone ones this was.

          P.S. Did you by the way know the sequel to Wolf Hall also won the Booker, this year? :)

          1. No way…….. No freaking way. I had to Google that just to make sure you weren’t pulling my leg. That’s crazy. The Booker just confuses me these days. I don’t know, it’s just weird that they would choose to award it to the same writer twice – for two books in the same trilogy, no less – when there are SO many other writers out there they could give recognition to.

            The Chinese guy who won the Nobel Prize for literature this year is fascinating though. Can’t wait to read some of his works, you can tell the publishers are going crazy reprinting his stuff haha (which I think is great because most of them are out of print).

            I have the Vintage edition (exactly the same one that’s pictured on the right). And no, I hadn’t heard of it before, but the new Penguin series looks great (I’m kinda out of touch with the world as of late)!!! The covers look a lot like those pretty hardback editions they did, but I’m so glad they’re in paperback haha ;)

            And I don’t think anything by Marquez will ever be a waste of time.. He’s just one of those writers whose works I will always love and just lap up, no matter what he writes.

            1. p.s. I haven’t read ‘The Garden of Evening Mists’ yet, but I was really hoping it would win Tan Twan Eng this year’s Booker – it seems like the kind of book I love (so illogical, right?! haha)

            2. Yes I’m looking forward to reading Mo Yan soon! It’s sad how I never get to read Chinese lit (not Chinese immigrant lit).

              I haven’t read Tan Twan Eng as well. I’ve been so out of the loop, too. The list of must reads in my mind are about 2 years old haha. Yesterday I was at a huge bookshop looking for presents for my son and would you believe I spent 3 hours there just browsing. I was able to see and feel the new Penguin English Library editions in person!

    1. Ah yes, that’s his name – Mo Yan. Sameee, in regards to being out of the loop. It’s kind of sad that we’re only getting round to reading Wolf Hall now, when obviously everyone’s going to be talking about Bringing Up the Bodies (or whatever the second book is called).

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