01: An overhyped classic you really didn’t like.
The only one I can think of is The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. I wouldn’t say Catcher is over-hyped but it is certainly a popular book and well, I couldn’t stand Holden Caulfield when I read it (2011).
02: Favorite time period to read about.
I love Regency & Victorian era – so basically 19th century: Jane Austen, Charlotte & Emily & Anne Brontë, Elizabeth C. Gaskell are mainly the ones I have read (so far) and there are so many more authors who tickle my fancy!
Recently, I’ve also started getting interested in the first half of the 20th century – modern classics.
It is probable that my interests will expand once I have explored these time periods, and then who knows to which time period I will move on?
03: Favorite fairy-tale?
I haven’t read any original scary fairy tales but my favorite is Red Riding Hood.
04: What is the most embarrassed classic you haven’t read yet?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Even with all the movie-hype and everyone gushing about how great it is, it had never really interested me before – that is, until I started reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. Funnily enough, now that I am reading Z, I am more interested in This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and the Damned.
05: Top 5 classics I’d like to read soon!
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf; The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien; Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert; A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft; Middlemarch by George Eliot
(I feel like I cheated, since I have already started two – but only 20 pages or so!)
06: Favorite modern book/series based on a classic?
I refuse to be embarrassed: Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, based on (obviously!) Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth Eulberg has kept the underlying plotline and characteristics the same, only it is set in a prestigious boarding school for rich girls (Longbourn Academy) and boys (Pemberly) and Lizzie Bennet is a scholarship-student and roommate to her best friend (but not sister) Jane. And instead of marriage, every girl is scrambling for a prom date. That is, except for Lizzie and her other best friend/scholarship student Charlotte Lucas. I think what makes me really like Prom & Prejudice is Lizzie’s character who is not just sarcastic but also vulnerable and has been hurt by her snobbiness of her rich classmates. That and the fact that Lizzie is passionate about her music (she is on music/academic scholarship) – I love reading about music.
Besides P & P, I also really like Jessica Day George’s Princess series (Princess of the Midnight Ball, Princess of Glass, Princess of Silver Woods), a retelling of three fairy tales set mostly in a fictional country of Westfalin which resembles what used to be on German territory in Middle Ages (ish). They get darker as the series progresses (although not very dark – I just mean to say that they are not as “fluffy” as the titles might suggest) and I love stories about big families, a stubborn curse, intelligent heroines and good-hearted heroes.
07: Favorite movie version/TV-series based on a classic.
Hands down BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. The 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility used to be a second until I re-read Sense and Sensibility and found that the TV-series, while good, did not do the book justice. The BBC 1995 adaptation of Persuasion is also quite true to the book but the many characters might confuse people who have not read the book. Plus, I don’t understand why they had to make the letter sound so unintelligible by overlapping two voices!
I almost forgot: Cranford (BBC) and Return to Cranford (BBC), which is really a mesh-up mostly of Cranford, My Lady Ludlow, Mr. Harrison’s Confessions and The Moorland Cottage. But it is very expertly done and the series is times cozy, times funny, and times poignant.
08: Worst classic to movie adaptation.
The adaptation of Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s just not how I picture Emma and I just didn’t like the general feeling I got from the movie.
09: Favorite edition(s) you’d like to collect more classics from:
I’d like to collect basically every book from Wordsworth Editions. I know I’ve been advocating them forever but they are simple yet classy, inexpensive, have this recyled-paper quality which allows me to highlight and write in margins without feeling guilty, and smell good.
This is only one shelf full of Wordsworth Editions books – the large orange one is a collection of classic short stories (1408 pages in length!). The blue covers are earlier editions – I bought them in 2009. They have changed the basic undertone to black now. White ones are categorized under children’s classics.
10: An underhyped classic I’d recommend to everyone.
Anne Brontë is definitely underhyped, especially Agnes Grey. I really like Agnes Grey and it is easy to read and would make a great introduction to classics.