Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Classics Club December Meme Question

The Classics Club December Meme Question Is....

What is your favorite classic?

This is an impossible question! Especially since I have started (slowly) making my way through my Classics Club list....

Middlemarch has been my favorite classic (my favorite book, really), and I wrote about my love for George Eliot's panoramic novel in a post called "Middlemarch, My Love."

Then in 2012, along came Our Mutual Friend, and I gushed about my favorite Dickens novel in a post called "Our Mutual Friend: My Love Affair With a Book."

 I'm a very emotional reader.

So I guess I'm married to Middlemarch and having an affair with Our Mutual Friend.

Please don't tell my husband.

The Classics Club  has gotten me thinking about my reading in a much more conscious way. I tend to fall in love with whatever book or author I'm reading, and to follow a sort of meandering reading path--which has its merits. When I composed my list, I included lots of the panoramic, Victorian novels that I favor, but also contemporary novels, American classics, and novels in translation. The classic I'm currently reading is James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain. I admire Baldwin's essays enormously, and Go Tell It On the Mountain has a similar intensity and brilliance. Baldwin's intellect is matched by his nuanced emotional perceptiveness. Here's a passage where the main character, John, is watching his mother's face as they have a conversation that is charged with emotional undercurrents:
At this there sprang into his mother's face something startling, beautiful, unspeakably sad--as though she were looking far beyond him at a long, dark road, and seeing on that road a traveler in perpetual danger. Was it he, the traveler? or herself? or was she thinking of the cross of Jesus? She turned back to the washtub, still with this strange sadness on her face.

As the reader dives further into the story of John, it becomes apparent that John's angry, religious, thwarted and abusive father had a relationship with his mother that  reverberates through the novel. I'm not very far into the book because it is so dense and intense that I'm reading slowly, but I'm glad I've finally gotten to it. After Go Tell It On the Mountain I'll be starting my book from the Classics Spin, Invisible Man.

If you have a favorite classic (or two) tell me about it in the comments---I want to know!


Mabel said...

My favorite classic is Gone With the Wind. But I also love Jane Eyre, The House of Mirth and Sense & Sensibility. :-)

bibliophiliac said...

@Mabel-see how hard it is to choose just one!

Brona said...

I couldn't stop at one...so I wrote a list of 10 :-)
Middlemarch could so easily have been on my list too.


bibliophiliac said...

@Brona Joy--Really The Great Gatsby could be on my list, too.

Ellie said...

I loved Middlemarch when I read it, although that was some time ago now so maybe I'm due for a re-read. Dickens made it into my favourites also, not really sure I could avoid having him in there!