I had tried to read Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights at least twice before finally getting through it in January. The novel was never assigned to me, that I can recall. But it’s one of those books so often referenced that not having read it felt like an absence. Continue reading “Wuthering Heights and the power of love”
I first read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre in graduate school.
It was during an ill-advised semester I’d registered for two courses on novels and a third on literary theory. Some weeks, my required reading hovered around 2,500 pages. I constructed elaborate reading schedules derived by dividing the week’s required pages by my average page-per-hour count. I read eight hours a day, seven days a week, curled up in a shabby but comfy forest green corduroy recliner. Continue reading “Rereading Jane Eyre: Why it’s good to read books we don’t *like*”
Charles Dickens packs the whole world into David Copperfield, his classic, autobiographical novel that presents as the autobiography of David Copperfield (meta alert), from his birth through adulthood. Continue reading “5 inspiring life lessons from Charles Dickens’s “David Copperfield””
By the time I moved to Connecticut, I had already made a habit of reading Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” at Christmas time. I had made it habit but not yet a tradition.
The decision to commit to rereading it every year began the snowy winter we lived in a one-story cottage dating to the mid-18th century. It had a huge picture window overlooking the backyard, which had a creek running through it and, on the opposite bank, a nature preserve. In the living room, a gigantic stone fireplace (about the size of the studio apartment I had once lived in) dominated one wall and featured a cooking arm dating to the colonial period. Continue reading “Rereading “A Christmas Carol” at Christmas Time”
Before 2012, “Northanger Abbey” was the only Jane Austen classic I had not read. Upon remedying this shocking lapse (I mean, she only wrote six completed novels – how hard it is to read her whole canon?), I decided it was my favorite Austen novel. Though I’m skeptical that we can trust these judgments…
At any rate, I reread this sparkling classic novel recently for a book group and fell in love with it all over again. What makes it so special, to me at least, is that it’s both a witty send-up of gothic novels and a serious defense of novels as an art form. In the process, Austen reminds us that the issue isn’t form as much as it is substance. It’s what we do with what we have that counts. Continue reading “The Wit and Wisdom of “Northanger Abbey””
We are now firmly in the grip of my favorite time of year – the months of October through December. I love autumn leaves. I love pumpkins and gingerbread (in all their decorative, imbibe-able, and edible forms). And I love seasonal reading.
With my son well out of the picture books stage, lingering at the Halloween display in the children’s section is more exercise in nostalgia than shopping expedition (sniffle). Continue reading “Halloween Reads for Grown-Ups”
I’d love to hear your picks in the comments. But first: Which classic novels do you suppose have been most frequently adapted for the screen?
If we factor in riffs as well as faithful adaptations, I would guesstimate Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. And of course, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus. One of the saddest novels in the history of humanity has been adapted over a dozen times, the first in 1910.
And the adaptations just keep coming: A new one, called Victor Frankenstein and starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe, hits theaters on November 25. Continue reading “What is the best ever screen adaptation of a classic novel?”