You ladies are incredible! Thank you – who else could I go to for so many awesome living book selections? I am adding to my reading list as we speak…
And MrsK – please make time for North and South :-). Gaskell is third on my list (behind Bronte and Austen).
I just finished Wuthering Heights, and I have to admit that it just isn’t my favorite classic novel. There are a lot of dark themes that just aren’t countered by the hope in Charlotte’s books.
What I love about Charlotte Bronte is the strength of her moral characters as they fight adverse circumstances and their own temptations. Good prevails…but not so much in Wuthering Heights. It is a lot of sinful people who seem more concerned about their worldly passions and desires than they are about right and God. Not so in the other Bronte books I have read. So booo to Wuthering Heights for me!
I should point out that Wuthering Heights is written mainly from the point of view of one of the servants (Nelly), whose clear moral compass is a guidepost for Heathcliff and Catherine, and the other characters in the novel. It isn’t that the main characters aren’t dissapproved of… But you still come away with the feeling that they had no power to choose right. They are portrayed as irresistably drawn to each other (even from beyond the grave) and irresistably drawn to evil. At one point Catherine says that she would rather go to hell with Heathcliff than go to heaven without him.
I think you can see why this ‘classic’ is one I would rather my children avoid!
Reading? You all have time for personal reading???
LOL! I need to be less busy….hopefully, this week will be better!suzukimomParticipant
I read Wuthering Heights in grade 11 and hated it…. I don’t remember much except thinking the characters made such stupid life choices…. (of course I was 16 and had never been in love…… maybe I’d have a different thought now?)
That’s funny, I know I read Wuthering Heights in high school (and Jane Eyre, and Anne of Green Gables, and The Man in the Iron Mask….), but I don’t remember much about many of those books! I do recall thoroughly enjoying Great Expectations and The Man in the Iron Mask.AnonymousInactive
I started reading North and South the other night. 🙂 I’ve seen the BBC movie (the one starring Richard Armitage). I loved the movie and have seen it I don’t know how many times! The first time I saw the movie, I didn’t realize it was based on a classic novel. When I found the book, I knew right then that I wanted to read it. I’ve read the first two chapters. There’s so much in those two chapters that adds to your understanding of Margaret that you can’t get from watching the movie. And there’s things in there that are portrayed differently in the movie. The first two chapters also gives you more background on Margaret’s parents.
Anyway, I can’t wait to get back to reading more. I have to fit it in between all the reading I’m doing for our school work 🙂
I never loved Wuthering Heights. In fact, I disagree with Charlotte in vastly preferring EARLIER nineteenth century authors to the later, more heavily romanticized ones. I’d take a complete volume of Jane Austen with me in a HEARTBEAT to my desert island, and I’d leave the Brontes and George Eliot on the shelf. (I am NEVER reading Middlemarch again! Ever!) I think part of the problem, very honestly, is that Austen seemed very out of place and passe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She was not widely read for over a hundred and fifty years and just didn’t seem relevant—I think it is more a function of the times and cultural preferences of the time than that she is not an artist. She unequivocally IS! This happens to authors a lot. There are authors we know almost nothing about that future generations are likely to rediscover and think “Oh, hey, cool! Let’s make a movie!” I also fear Charlotte did not focus on the best novel (Emma). We don’t know this, but imagine if she read Mansfield Park first!
I like Gaskell, although I think her strongest (despite the ending–I filled the ending in just fine!) is Wives and Daughters. I do think there are a couple of hers that are just too heavily politicized for me ever to love. I can’t really see Ruth and Sylvia’s Lovers becoming homeschool mom staples. Anyway.
I am currently reading My Promised Land by Ari Shavit, Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament by Richard Holzapfel, and Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser. I’m currently having a nonfiction phase. 🙂
I am thinking of suggesting Emma to my 10th grade dd for her next literature read. Do you think it matters if she hasn’t read any other Jane Austen books yet? I think she would enjoy it.rejoicevermore13Participant
i dont think it matters in the least if Jane Austen is read in any particular order, though my personal favorites are Emma, P&P, and Persuasion. but i loved Emma in the 10th grade age range!
I do think one thing matters—DON’T GIVE ANYONE MANSFIELD PARK FIRST!!!!! LOL Emma is by far the most polished novel. PP is the most fun BUT I also love Sense and Sensibility–it was the first one I actually read as a teen and I adored it!!!! It’s actually perfect for a teen girl leaning a a bit towards the over-romantic side! You can’t miss with one of those, IMO. Persuasion is, actually, my personal favorite because I love Anne, but I love it much better now than I did as a teenager. Oh, and skip Lady Susan for now unless dd has a wicked sense of humor.JennyMNParticipant
I wouldn’t read Northanger Abbey first, either. The first time I read it I didn’t realize that Austen was poking fun at gothic novels. It was much better the second time through when I realized what was going on. Persuasion is my favorite too.missceegeeParticipant
DD12 is finishing her first Austen and she chose Northanger Abby. It’s the one I’ve not read. It’s time for me to dust off my copies and reread some of my favorites.
@ Bookworm – I tried Middlemarch for about the third time this past year and gave up in disgust. What is it with Elliot that I hate? Couldn’t stand it.
Missceegee – try to find an all in one Austen anthology. My dd and I have read and reread ours…it is falling apart ;-). That is one purchase you will not regret!
And I agree that Emma and P&P are Austen’s most polished works – but my absolute favorite is Persuasion. I think I must like the main character to be outwardly plain but inwardly beautiful, because that is common in my favorite books!
@MrsK – I was disgusted the first time I saw the BBC “North and South”, mostly because Gaskell’s Thornton is so much more intelligent and appealing than how they characterized him in the movie. I got over it, though, because it really is a good film – as is “Wives and Daughters”. I never could enjoy Sylvia. Gaskell wasn’t as consistently great as Dickens, or Austen, or Charlotte. But she had some worthy contributions – North and South is her best, IMHO.
Dickens! And Dumas! You are jogging my memory to revisit some authors I have forgotten about lately. Any other favorite authors out there?
Edith Wharton! Willa Cather! Bess Streeter Aldrich! Gene Stratton Porter! Nancy Mitford! William Dean Howells! Catherine Marshall! Wilkie Collins! And these are just nineteenth and early twentieth century (mostly) fiction authors! Soooo many delicious books! How to ever find the time?!?!?!KittykatParticipant
I am still reading through 1. Karen Andreola’s Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning. This book is amazing…i actually got it at the library by accident, but I am so glad, it seems much more readable than CM books.
2. Babywise (book 1)- This book is also amazing- it put into words what seemed to make sense to me with my 1st and 2nd baby. Im reading it to refresh myself on it since we will have new baby girl in about 3 weeks. Lucy Elizabeth 🙂
3. Nature for the Very Young- This is an ‘idea’ book for taking your children out into nature….haven’t gotten into it very much, some seems cool, but very limited to where you live….like I don’t have goats lol…
And Karen recommended biographies for an ‘easy’ book, so I was thinking about reading on Beatrix Potter or Queen Victoria…im in love with the Victorian era… no surprise I was attracted to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy :))
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