Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Classics Tag

I first saw this tag at Risa’s Breadcrumbs, who got it from Jillian (I really can’t keep track of what Jillian calls her blog), who in turn got it from Shannon’s Reflections of a Reader ad infinitum. And now ***drumroll please*** The Wanderer’s response.

Question #1: an overhyped classic you really didn’t like
I’m tempted to say Ulysses, yeah ya know what? I’m gonna say Ulysses, but with a caveat. I will happily concede that Joyce is brilliant, perhaps the best read novelist I’ve read, and that his book is a rather astonishing achievement – but not an enjoyable read. And now that I’ve assuaged my conscience for disliking “the greatest novel of all time” I’ll add, I did like the only other work I’ve read by Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Question #2: favourite time period to read about
I don’t think I have a favorite period (what’s with the British spelling here anyway Shannon?) But I have read a couple recently about the Napoleonic era: War and Peace and The Count of Monte Cristo. I thoroughly enjoyed both.

Question #3: Favourite Favorite fairytale
I feel like The Lord of the Rings is cheating, but by Professor Tolkien’s definition somewhere in his authoritative essay On Fairy-Stories it fits the bill, so that’s my answer. Don’t complain to me; argue with Prof T. if you want – good luck with that.

Question #4: What is the classic you are most embarrassed about not having read?
Either The Epic of Gilgamesh or The Wind in the Willows. My understanding is they are pretty much the same story.

Question #5: Top 5 classics you would like to read soon
This one is easy, since I am on a schedule. The next 5 will be: 
     Atlas Shrugged
     Great Expectations
     The Fountainhead
     The Wings of the Dove
     Les Misérables

Question #6: Favourite Favorite modern book/series based on a classic
I got nothing.

Question #7: favourite Favorite movie / TV series based on a classic
OK, so I’ve already shown myself a Tolkienophile, but the LOTR movies were superb (The Hobbit, not so much). A few others that are excellent:
(I didn’t mention year/version as I’m pretty certain there is only one film
rendering – and let’s hope it stays that way.)
And as Monte Python would say – now for something completely different – I’m also going to mention Apocalypse Now which is based on Heart of Darkness, though the period and setting is completely changed. The film is a masterpiece.

Question #8: Worst classic-to-movie adaptation
There are quite a few awful adaptations: Animal Farm (any version), Lord of the Flies (any version), The Count of Monte Cristo (2002 PLEASE – don’t watch this), The Scarlet Letter (1995, ugh), but the Grand-Prize Winner, worst adaptation
Dune (1984) Very unfortunate as this is arguably the Gold-Standard of Sci-Fi novels.

Question #9: favourite Favorite edition(s) you’d like to collect more classics from
I have hard-cover editions of all the Classics I read. The Everyman’s Library editions are my favorites. I don’t like the dustjackets, which merely have a picture of the author, I prefer some scene or impression of the story, as in the Penguin Classics, but otherwise the binding, print, paper, and attached silk book marker are excellent.

Questions #10: An under hyped classic you would like to recommend to everyone

This is not from the original tag – I’m adding it, cuz it’s my blog and I can. Questions #11: A Classic film that is better than the book
Because we all know the book is better than the movie, but there is one classic that stands out as the exception:  The Godfather


  1. My blog is dark and mysterious. What makes you hate the 1995 The Scarlett Letter? (I'm not arguing. Just curious.)

    1. It's been too long since I watched it, so I don't have specific recollection of what I disliked. One thing, the film very nearly validated the affair as something honorable. Also, the ending was all wrong. To be fair the film does say "freely adapted" Finally, just for the record, I thought the novel was excellent.

  2. *raises hand* 'favOUrite' was my doing. I tend to change American spelling to British if I've taken tags from American blogs. We Indians are too used to the way the British spell. :D

    Now having got that off my chest... I remember I loved both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. It would appear that one either loves them or hates them. I agree with you about The Hobbit movie...couldn't stand the first one. I didn't bother watching the rest. But I loved the Lord of the Rings and watched it several times.

    Question #11: I'd go with The Age of Innocence. I disliked the book, but found the movie beautiful.

    1. You're entitled then. As Americans we kept the worst thing possible from our British forefathers...their ridiculous system of weights and measures. Even the Canadians wised up and got rid of that.

  3. The Godfather... I think I liked the movie as much as I liked the book.

  4. Agree with you on Invisible Man.

    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter...there is a used copy for sale at my library. It's been there a while, and I also wonder about getting it. It's that good, huh?

    Apocalypse Now was really weird, but it had a lot of great actors in it.

    1. I have to say that the movie with Alan Arken is nicer but both are rather dark, yet worth reading at least once.

      The characters are quite fascinating.

    2. I recommend The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It's sad, but some poignant insight on humanity. I agree with Sharon, the film is very good. Apocalypse Now is a bit bizarre...but would makes better sense if you've read Heart of Darkness.

    3. I did read HoD, and it has been my least favorite of the WEM novels. However, I did keep the book, and maybe one day I'll reread it.

  5. This was a very interesting post. I like learning other people's taste in books. You and I share a lot of the same, except, I think I'm going to have to make myself read Ayn Rand and I don't anticipate enjoying it.

    I don't have Ulysses yet either but I also liked Portrait of an Artist.

    With Invisible Man do you mean Wells or Ralph Ellison? Both are great for different reasons.

    You didn't ask but I think I currently like early 20th century writers.

    Annnd...I agree with you about Everyman, except I also like Modern Library.

    1. Technically the novels by H.G. Wells and Ralph Ellison do not have the same title. I was referring to Invisible Man by Ellison (not THE Invisible Man by H.G. Wells). I also have quite a few of The Modern Library editions and they are nice, but I give a slight preference to Everyman's Library (even love the name).

  6. Ulyssess definitely is NOT an enjoyable read in the traditional sense. I think if it is enjoyable it is enjoyable in the sense of trying to solve a difficult puzzle.

  7. Great answers! I must admit that I am rather intimidated by Joyce but loads of people have recommended The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to me so I really should check it out.

    Also, Great Expectations is completely and utterly wonderful. It's been one of my favorite reads so far this year. :)

    1. Thanks Shannon. I really wish I'd have read Portrait of the Artist before Ulysses. I think I would have appreciated Ulysses a bit, probably just a bit but still, more. So, that's my rec if you ever want to try Joyce. And c'mon, ya know...Ulysses...eventually ya gotta.


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