Are you Classically Challenged?

Are you someone who reads a lot of classic novels?  Or someone who hated them at school and still can’t face a 19th century novel?  Or are you somewhere in the middle?  Maybe you’ve tried a few classics in the past and you’d quite like to read more, but you just never seem to get round to prioritising them over more modern literature?  Perhaps the thought of struggling through difficult language puts you off!

Wherever you fit in on the classics scale, you might be interested to know about a read-along which has been started up by Simon Savidge of Savidge Reads and AJ of AJ Reads called Classically Challenged!  The basic concept is that these two book lovers felt that they were missing out on some well-loved literature and decided to challenge themselves to read books by six classic authors: Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Thomas Hardy, and George Eliot.

The first book in the read-along is Jane Austen’s Persuasion – one I’ve read before (I’ve devoured every Austen novel) and loved, so I was more than up for giving it another go!  The actual books were chosen by Simon and AJ’s readers via blog comments, and I was surprised but delighted that Persuasion was chosen over Pride and Prejudice – I love both but Persuasion has the most magical ending imaginable…

Persuasion by Jane Austen

The beautiful cover of my copy of Jane Austen’s Persuasion

So I’ve started reading it today, and am happily settling into the world of the Regency period.  If you fancy joining me, you have until the end of the month to read it – plenty of time!  Check out Simon’s or AJ’s blog for more details.  I’m not sure whether an online discussion group is planned or anything like that, but the two record book-related podcasts which you can download so I assume they will be discussing the books that way at the very least.  I’ll also post my own review once I’ve finished the novel and will be more than happy to discuss it!

The next book will be Anthony Trollope’s The Warden, which I was lucky enough to win a copy of, courtesy of AJ Reads (yes they do competitions too!) which I can’t wait to start having never read any Trollope before.  My mum has been on at me for years to read the series so she will be very happy…

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

Will you be joining me in bringing a few more classics into your life?


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. novelinsights
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 23:08:33

    I think I fall in the middle bit have found that I’ve discovered classics and surprised myself more in recent years. A case of exceeded expectations I think after reading Wilkie Collins (a Savidge Reads recommendation in fact…)


    • TheBrontëSister
      Oct 17, 2012 @ 06:51:09

      I absolutely love it when you start a book (whether it’s a classic or not) not knowing whether you’ll actually like it or not, and by the end you’ve raving about how great it is – that feeling of surprised delight always ensures I never forget that particular book. Not sure which one you read but I read The Woman in White a couple of years ago and had that same feeling…


  2. AJReads
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 23:50:43

    Really glad to hear that you will be following us in our Classically Challenged project! It will be great to hear your thoughts on your re-reading of Persuasion. How long has it been since you last read it? Also, just out of interest to a newbie to Austen – how does Persuasion compare to her previous novels? I can definitely see this challenge sending me off in other reading directions with each of the authors.

    Hope you enjoy your copy of The Warden too! It will be sent out to you ASAP 🙂

    Thanks again,

    AJ 🙂


    • TheBrontëSister
      Oct 17, 2012 @ 06:59:44

      Well I can’t wait to share them! 🙂 Hmm it must have been about 6 years ago since I last read Persuasion… plenty of time to forget enough about it to enjoy it afresh! People often seem to be quite split with Persuasion – they either think it’s one of her weaker novels or they adore it. You seem to have found the latter group for Classically Challenged… which suits me as I would (with some arm-twisting) probably say it’s my favourite. But Pride and Prejudice is a very close second. If you do choose to read more Austen then Emma is probably a good second choice as it’s quite light and funny… but still well-written of course. Thanks again for The Warden – I’m looking forward to it already!


  3. Naomi
    Oct 17, 2012 @ 02:00:28

    I adore Persuasion, and am glad to see it being promoted. Such a wonderful story about knowing the power of your own voice and remaining true to yourself in the face of critics. It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up Trollope – I should really have another go at reading The Warden.


    • TheBrontëSister
      Oct 17, 2012 @ 07:06:21

      I agree, and as I say I was quite surprised to see how many other people adore it too! Absolutely, and I think readers can identify with that – you don’t have to be loud or false to be powerful. Let me know your thoughts if you do decide to re-read Trollope!


  4. Trackback: AJ Reads – Another appearance on The Readers Podcast
  5. Alice
    Oct 18, 2012 @ 16:14:48

    Persuasion is one of my favourite novels! Best of Austen, for sure. I’ll be following Classically Challenged as I do love a good classic, but it will depend on the book. I’ve wanted to read The Warden for a while, I’ve been told it is funny, but once Dicken’s hits I’ll take a miss as I find his prose difficult.


    • TheBrontëSister
      Oct 23, 2012 @ 07:11:52

      Glad to hear you’ll also be following Classically Challenged! That’s fair enough – when it comes to reading, a challenge can be a good thing but there’s absolutely no point feeling forced to read something. I like Dickens but have struggled with some of his books in places, however I enjoyed Great Expectations all the way through!


  6. Trackback: Book Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen « TheBrontëSister

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