Wednesday, August 28, 2019

It's So Classic - Book Tag

It's So Classic Book Tag by Rebellious Writing

I was tagged for this fun blog post by two bloggers:
Joseph @ The Once Lost Wanderer
Ruth @ A Great Book Study

The Rules:
1) Link post back to the host.
2) Answer questions.
3) Tag five bloggers

One Classic that hasn't been made into a movie yet, but really needs to be.
I'm going with Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton. There is so much crucial timing, and many incidents where disaster is averted by a cat's whisker. I was on the edge of my seat even reading it as a Victorian novel. Seeing it on the big screen would be superb. Especially when you consider the crime, mystery, romance and social commentary aspects.

Close behind would be L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle. What a beautiful, sensual, evocative movie it would be, filmed completely on location in Canada, of course. It hasn't been done without my knowledge, has it?

What draws you to classics?
That's an excellent question, since I also love the idea of advocating hidden gems.
The thing with classics is that for some things, majority rules apply, and choosing reading material is a great example. Going with the crowd is a fair gauge when many, many people have agreed on a book's depth, beauty, truth and relevance for all time. We know we are more likely to get some potentially life-changing idea to ponder. The possibility applies to all books, but I guess with classics, the chances are higher.

What is an underrated classic?
The Fountain Overflows, by Rebecca West. It evokes a poor family, trying to keep up appearances in the Edwardian Era so beautifully, I had my notepad out to scribble down wisdom quotes all the way through. The mother of the family, Clare Aubrey, also deserves a higher profile for holding things together so bravely, but she's overlooked because the classic she's in is so underrated.

What is one classic that you didn't expect to love, but ended up loving anyway?
Uncle Tom's Cabin. I resisted to start with, because I expected tragic propoganda. The high opinions of some other readers swayed me most, and I'm glad I listened. What I got was a touching tale with plenty of bravery, some happy endings for certain characters, plenty of adventure and lots of food for thought.

What are your most favourite and least favourite classics?
I might choose Our Mutual Friend for most favourite, even though I read it fairly recently. It was Charles Dickens' last completed novel, and all the good things he ever brought to his stories were in full play. Keep in mind, this might change down the track.

Now, I hope I don't get people booing me, because this is bound to be controversial, but for one least favourite, I feel inclined to pick Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. I just couldn't understand what the heroine saw in grumpy old Maxim deWinter, who strikes me as the complete antithesis of an appealing hero. The old grouch wasn't even nice to her until the very end. I could sympathise with Mrs Danvers and Rebecca's cousin Jack, who were correct in their suspicions about him the whole time. Yet they were supposed to be the baddies of the piece. Go figure!

Who is your favourite character from a classic?
Since it's impossible to narrow this question down to just one person, I'll rattle off a list of great characters whose heroic attitudes make a great impression on me. Konstantin Levin, Roger Hamley, Winnie the Pooh, Anne Shirley, Dorothea Brooke, Francie Nolan, and many others who don't instantly spring to mind.

I always have a soft spot for rebels and vulnerable rascals too, so although they're generally not considered super-hero material, and maybe even the opposite, I still consider them favourites. Holden Caulfield, Eugene Wrayburn, Draco Malfoy, Ivan Karamazov, Edmund Pevensie, to name a few. 

What's a popular classic that you felt wasn't that great?
The Phantom of the Opera. It was a bit of a train-wreck full of drama queens the whole way through, and I was face-palming with every page.

Who is your favourite classic author?
Those writing in the Victorian era are high on my list, including the Brontes, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell. Children's authors need to be up there too, since they give us our first brush with classics. L.M. Montgomery, A.A. Milne, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott, to name a few.  And although I wasn't a kid when Harry Potter was first released, I'll add J.K. Rowling, because she's still alive, and doing great things for literature of the 21st century.

Relating to newer books, what attributes does a book need to have in order to be worthy of the title 'classic'? 
Pretty much the same attributes I rattled off for the earlier question about what draws me to classics. Depth, beauty, truth, and great characters - all of which provide a mirror for ourselves, and help us decide how to form our own personal characters, and what may need to change. Just because they've been published more recently, if they have all this, they deserve to be bumped up to classic status without the passage of decades of time.

As for tagging, I've never been great at passing on the baton, and time has almost ticked away! I'm sure they won't have time now, but I'll mention five bloggers whose opinions I'd be interested to see, even if it's just a few lines in the comments. 

Brian @ Babbling Books
Sheree @ Keeping up the with Penguins
Jane @ Reading, Writing, Working, Playing
The girls @ Pages Unbound
Becky @ Becky's Book Reviews 


  1. Thanks for the tag!

    These are fascinating questions. I myself will need to give them some thought. Your answers are also thought provoking.

    You have gotten me interested in The Fountain Overflows. I must give it a try.

    1. Hi Brian, they are thought provoking questions. I'll look forward to your answers. The Fountain Overflows sure is a great early 20th century with a lot packed into it.

  2. Great answers! Truly, generations of readers returning to the same books over and over again says a lot about those books.

    I also agree...once you develop a familiarity w/ another blogger, you tend to trust their objectivity for a book. So I'm encouraged b/c I just added Mary Barton to my TBR list for 2020. I struggled to get through North and South, but I didn't want to give up on Gaskell. I'll give this one a try.

    Thanks for participating!

    1. Thanks Ruth, I love how fellow bloggers are so vital in helping us add to our TBR lists. I've only read three Gaskell novels so far, but North and South isn't one of them, although I've heard rave reviews about it. I'm interested now you've said you struggled 😉 I thought Mary Barton had a lot of great elements going for it, and really enjoyed Wives and Daughters too.

  3. Awww, thank you! I loved your answers - another reminder of how in-sync our reading tastes are, isn't that funny? I won't have time to squeeze out a proper post, but I wanted to throw in a couple of my own answers here:

    - What draws me to the classics is the same thing I think draws former couch-potatoes to marathons and mountain climbing: I just want to prove to myself I CAN. Wasted so much of my reading life thinking I wasn't smart enough or educated enough to read and enjoy the classics... so making up for lost time!

    - Underrated classics, for me, are definitely Cold Comfort Farm and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. They're on the more recent end of the classic spectrum, though, so hopefully with time they'll gain more momentum! ;)

    - Favourite classic character: almost any sassy woman who doesn't do what she "should" gets me on side. Betsey Trotwood from David Copperfield, and Mrs Elton from Emma, both spring to mind.

    - And the classic that wasn't worth the hype: sing it with me, GATSBY!

    Thanks Paula, happy reading!! ❤️

  4. Hi Sheree,
    I love all that!! For us book nerds, knocking off something like David Copperfield or War and Peace is our equivalent of attempting Mount Everest. I like to think so.

    What I like even more than your sassy woman comment is the fact that you've chosen Mrs Elton as one of your favourite characters. She is so memorable, and should be on more people's favourites lists.

    And Gatsby, so true! A sorry face palm, and waste of perfectly good character potential.

  5.'ve given me a few (The Blue Castle, the Fountain Overflows) to add to my impossible TBR

    1. Thanks Joseph, I'm pleased to hear it. They are both great examples of their genre, and well worth a read :)

  6. Our tastes really do seem to run along similar lines. I totally agree with regards to being surprised by Uncle Tom's Cabin--that book really blew me away. In terms of cinematic potential, I put Gaskell's Sylvia's Lovers right up there as well. Windswept scenery, whaling adventures, village/rural drama, it's got the lot!

    1. Thanks Jane, for the recommendation of Sylvia's Lovers 👍 That's one Gaskell novel I haven't read yet, and I'm sure I'll love it! Sounds like typical Gaskell at her best.

  7. I 100% agree with you on Rebecca. That's one movie or TV adaptation I'm not interested in watching.

    1. Haha, so true, Iola! I've heard great things about the original old Alfred Hitchcock film, but haven't even seen that one.