The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

Importance of being ernest.jpgThe Importance of Being Ernest is one of my Classics Club books (details here – don’t be alarmed by all the blanks in my list – it’s currently undergoing a little revamp!)  I started the Classics Club some time ago and so far I’ve completed 10 books off my list – okay this may not be a stirling achievement but slowly and certainly I will get through this list.  I’m in the process of revising this at the moment as I would like some Agatha Christie on there.

Moving on to TIoBE.

I’ve seen an adaptation of this but to be honest I couldn’t really remember the plot so it was lovely to pick up the book.  This is a very good read, very witty and equally silly.  For those of you out there that want to read more classics but don’t want to be bogged down with flowery descriptions and great big chunky books this could be just for you.  To say this play has aged well is something of an understatement.  Originally published in 1895 it feels almost like a contemporary novel – I put this down to the fact that it’s a play and although the language is a little more old fashioned there aren’t lots of descriptions that would age it.

The plotline revolves around a double case of mistaken identify.  A love story that almost ends in disaster but don’t dismiss this as romantic chick lit.  It has much more about it than that and in fact makes a few statements, even in a decidedly amusing way!  A look at family, social standing, hypocrisy, love and selfishness!

A short story, easy to read in one sitting but utterly charming and full of memorable quotes that you will have undoubtedly heard of in everyday passing.

 

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Are you a future classic???

This month at the Classics Club the monthly question is:

What about modern classics? Pick a book published since 2000 and say why you think it will be considered as a “classic” in the future.

This is a tough question because I have a number of books that I could think of in terms of future classics.  So, it was undoubtedly a question that provoked a bit of turmoil for me!  And, I think my choice may seem irregular being a grimdark fantasy series – however, fantasy has a large place in the classics and this is one of the ways that it’s being revamped giving it a darker edge and more modern feel.  I’m not going to go into a deep and meaningful essay here – I’ve given my points in brief and I’ve chosen a recent fantasy trilogy that I really enjoyed – let me know what you’d choose please!

I’m going to go for the Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence (Prince, King and Emperor of Thorns).  Below is my reasoning:

  1. Firstly, and most importantly, I loved this series.
  2. I had a number of candidates for this.  I love The Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear, for example, and think they will definitely become classics, however, the Patrick Rothfuss series isn’t finished yet so I don’t think I can reasonably put it forward – and in this respect the same goes for The Stormlight series by Brandon Sanderson and The Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch.  I’m sure they’ll ALL be classics but they are as yet unfinished.
  3. Three is a lucky number – three books in this series and three books in Lord of the Rings!!   You just have to love a trilogy. Yes?
  4. New to me – grimdark is relatively new to me and I would say Mark Lawrence was my first introduction.  Another reason for me feeling all the love for this series.  Now, I realise that there are other series written in a similar style, but, like I said this is the first for me.
  5. I like the way that Jorg grows up as the series progresses.  I also like the style of jumping back in time to see some of his earlier memories.  You might think this would take you out of the story but it’s actually a great way to find out his back story without a huge info dump or writing the story in a more traditional timeline style.
  6. It’s very well thought through in such a way that when you reach certain stretches of the story and things are revealed they definitely have the ‘wow’ factor.
  7. Jorg – I do like this character.  Okay, he’s not your typical hero – in fact he’s all anti-hero.  But you will end up in his corner.
  8. I think there’s a fine line between too much detail and not enough.  Now, I love Tolkien but some people think he’s overly descriptive (not I).  I think the Broken Empire succeeds in a good balance between character development, plot and world building.  It’s easy to imagine the setting and the places which all seem very familiar but with a twist.
  9. The three books in the series have been on mine (and plenty of others) ‘best of’ lists come the end of the year.  I like all three books.  There was no ‘middle book’ syndrome.  In fact, I would say that the books got progressively better!
  10. It’s the classic Good vs Evil – I mean, you wouldn’t necessarily call Jorg ‘good’ but in terms of this story he’s definitely the lesser of two evils!
  11. I would reread this – if and when I ever got the time! And I think that’s a good indication of a book’s real worth – if you’re prepared to reread it!
  12. I think it would also make a very good readalong for people who want to have more detailed discussion because there’s no shortage of things to talk about!

So, what would your choice be???

Classics Club challenge: Book spin No.6

Posted On 11 May 2014

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Okay, it’s time for another book spin over at the Classics Club  (details here) – so far, I’ve done infamously with these only completing one!  Time to buck up!!  I’ve chosen 20 from my list and they’re all fairly easy or ones that I really want to read – I realise that’s semi-cheating but I’m determined to do this thing!!!!!

So, to my twenty:

  1. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
  2. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  3. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  4. White Fang by Jack London
  5. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
  6. The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde
  7. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  8. Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson
  9. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  10. Whiskey Galore by Compton MacKenzie
  11. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  12. Legend by David Gemmell
  13. Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
  14. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  15. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
  16. Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos
  17. Perfume by Patrick Suskindn
  18. Let the Right one in by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  19. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  20. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Results on Monday!  Rather hoping to get Twelfth Night so fingers crossed!

One book to rule them all?

This month’s debate over at the Classics Club was:

‘Contemplate your favorite classic to date. When was this book written? Why would you say it has been preserved by the ages? Do you think it will still be respected/treasured 100 years from now? If it had been written in our own era, would it be as well received?

My favourite is without doubt Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien.  Published around 1954?  Written as a sequel to The Hobbit it is apparently the second best selling novel ever written (according to Wiki that is) and had a massive impact on not only fantasy in literature but also in artwork, gaming and film playing a major influence on future fantasy works.  Whether it would be as well received if it was written today is difficult to say although I like to think it would.  This book had such a major impact on the fantasy genre that without it it would be interesting to see how fantasy would have developed.  Perhaps another author would have come up with something similar or maybe something in a totally different vein that would have steered this genre in a different direction altogether.  Oh for a time machine!

The books are still very popular and seem to attract new readers all the time – I dare say that in more recent years the popularity of the film franchise has added to the books readership.  In terms of looking ahead I still think the book will be popular.  It doesn’t have anything to really ‘date’ it after all.  It’s a fantasy world – it’s not trying to predict what things will be like in the future and is set in a mediaeval type world that won’t really age.  The story – it’s an adventure, being undertaken against massive odds, to save the world!  What’s not to like??

For me, the writing is just lovely and descriptive, which some people criticise but I actually enjoy.  The characters are amazing.  The author came up with a different language for goodness sake not to mention enough appendices to fill another small book (he’s thorough that’s for sure!).  But ultimately it’s just an excellent story about the fight between good and evil.  I think the added appeal to this is the creation of middle world which along with fantasy creatures such as orcs, wizards, elves, goblins and tree herders also contains regular humans!  I have no idea what the first ever fantasy book is but for me LoTR is my number one classic.  I still love it. It’s preciousss.

 

A gentle nudge is what I chiefly need…

Posted On 14 August 2013

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So, I’ve been a total slacker with my Classics Club 50 list recently.  In fact I’ve only read two so far.  I’m not worried though – I know I can pull this off.  I’m definitely one of those people who enjoys the pressure of a looming deadline.  Anyway, the Classics Club have come up with another classic spin for August.  In order to take part you need to choose 20 books from your list.  The details are all here.  The Classics Club will then reveal the lucky number and whatsoever that number happens to be is your next book of choice.  Without further ado these are my 20:

  1. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
  2. White Fang by Jack London
  3. War of the Worlds by H G Wells
  4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  5. Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  6. Whiskey Galore by Compton MacKenzie
  7. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  8. Legend by David Gemmell
  9. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  10. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  11. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  12. Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  13. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
  14. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  15. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  16. A Room with a View by E M Forster
  17. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  18. Let the Right one in by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  19. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  20. Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson

I chose 10 numbers at random and asked my other half to choose 10.  The above are the results.  I would really love to read 5/17 or 20.  Lets see what comes up!

For those of you who aren’t taking part in the Classics Club but have an extremely daunting pile of TBR books (and you know who you are) – why not choose twenty, list them and then when the number comes up that’s your next choice.  See, always coming up with good ideas, that’s me!  This way you help your TBR topple campaign.  Your book is chosen and your deadline is set!  Bingo….

 

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