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Dorothy has me interested in reading Robinson Crusoe, too. It's on my list for September--I have three books I really need to finish before I start anything else. Read it slowly, okay, so I can catch up with you?


I have not read Robinson Crusoe and came so close to buying it the other day. Now I am definitely going to have to get it!

Lazy Cow

I know exactly what you mean about reading the classics. It's been on my mind all year, so I started writing out my own '100 books I must read' list (of which Robinson Crusoe is one!) I only have about 60 books on the list so far, and they're not all classics, but it's a start. I've really enjoyed doing my own Reading Challenge, and have written out a list of 13 books for Spring, of which at least one will be a ML Top 100, and one a classic of my own choosing.

Carl V.

I remember reading Robinson Crusoe in junior high literature class and it was a rough one for that age eventhough I liked it. I would probably enjoy it much more now.

I like the modern library paperbacks...they are a really good size for reading and are nice quality books.


I loooove those pictures! And I want to read Robinson Crusoe, too. You probably want to start with "The Turn of the Screw" with James....or "The Bostonians." I admire you for taking on the classics-challenge even though there are so many!

And Sophie's Choice took me a long time, too. Good, but slow going.


Susan--I don't think you need to worry about me reading too fast--LOL! I want to try and finish the Sigrid Nunez book and the Jane Harris. I suspect I will be reading Robinson Crusoe slowly!
Stefanie--there is your you need to go back and buy it! :)
Lazy Cow--I suppose everyone must feel like there are too many things they have not read! I would love to see what is on your list, so far! Which classics do you plan on picking for your Spring challenge?
Carl--Robinson Crusoe seems like a hard book for junior high to me. But I am not far enough into it to really know. I love the ML editions. I tend to look for them when I am buying classics, but they don't have everything. The Penguins with the black covers are pretty snazzy and I also look for Oxfords. I think Amazon was selling complete sets of Penguin classics. Wouldn't you just love to get those in the mail!
AC--You are the best read college student I know! I don't think I have either of those James novels. I have read that he can be quite difficult, so I want to ease my way into his books. Turn of the Screw sounds good. I suppose like other authors, his earlier work is a bit easier? And Sophie's Choice is Wonderful. It is sort of intense, which is why I haven't been reading it every day. I really should just spend a solid week reading only that and work my way through it. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time!!


Robinson Crusoe was one of the first books I bought after realizing I need to read the classics, but soon after I was convinced to read chronologically so the book is, er, stranded on my bookshelf for now. And oh, if only I was starting with Aristotle. I have a boatload of epics, tragedies, and lyrics to get through before I get to the big A.


Sylvia--I was totally guessing with Aristotle--I am not suprised I didn't go back far enough (I have read very, very little of The Classics). I admire you for reading chronologically. Harold Bloom is no doubt nodding his head yes!


Aw, you're sweet :) Turn of the Screw is generally considered a good intro work, and it's only about 100 pages. I have not read his later work, although the last three novels are the only 'difficult' ones, as far as I've heard. Sophie's Choice was very intense, so actually your strategy is probably a good one. And you get to prolong it, too.

Karen Glass

Since no one else brought it up, I want to gently remind you that Robinson Crusoe features prominently in Wilkie Collins book The Moonstone rather than The Woman in White.

One thing I've learned is that the classics are classics for a reason--they are genuinely good! (War and Peace is a perfect example!)

If you ever decide to read some of the ancient writings (don't pick Aristotle as a starting point--Plato is much more accessible), they do often have the advantage of being much shorter than modern works, since they were writing them all out by hand, and only manuscript copies existed.

Also, Greek and Latin works in translation are often easier to read than early/middle English.

I sometimes lament the books I haven't read (especially as I've wasted many reading hours on less-than-great literature), but we can never read everything, so there is always going to be uncharted territory out there to explore.

And having said all that--enjoy Robinson Crusoe!


AC--I have ordered The Turn of the Screw, so I will start with that. He's written quite a lot, hasn't he! Sometimes it is hard to approach a book because the reputation of the author is so great!
Karen--You are right! I need to edit a bit better. I just read The Moonstone last month and that is what I meant to type. I was just talking to a coworker yesterday about The Woman in White as well as The Moonstone and it must have been stuck in my mind while I was posting. Sorry about that--I have fixed the link! Someday I would like to read some ancient classics, but for now I will likely stick with 17th-20th century works. There is so much out there to read. I don't feel too bad that not everything I have read or will read is a "classic". I feel as though I get something from everything I read.


This entire post is's like you are in my head!!! I also feel like I don't read enough classics. I also have become fascinated by RC through The Moonstone! I am so envious of your book collection!!!

The Good Girl

So which classics would you recommend this 15 year-old read? No list too large!


Every year I make a resolution to read more classics, as I feel like I didn't read any of them in High School and University. Unfortunately I only end up reading one or two classics a year. sigh.


Heather--I have been accumulating lots of classics over the last couple of years. And like Karen said--they are genuinely good, or I guess they wouldn't be around still.
Good Girl--Let me think about this question. I don't think I am qualified to answer, but I bet I can ask for some help and come up with a list! Check back this weekend! :)
Iliana--I wonder sometimes what I was doing in school! I know I was reading, but obviously I missed a lot. Still, two books is two books more than you read before. And I bet you have read more than you think--I consider some more contemporary literature classics as well!

Carl V.

One of my favorite classics ever is A Tale of Two Cities. I think its one of Dickens' best. I always recommend Dracula by Bram Stoker. If you haven't read it, it is nothing like ANY movie version of it. It is good, suspenseful gothic romance. I, Claudius...from the Modern 100 excellent. Any of Jane Austen. There are so many great works of lit out there that it is difficult to know where to start.


Defoe is easy to read. He has a wonderfully smooth tone to his books. Crusoe is a good one you will like it.

I love reaing the classics so much so that I try to persuade as many people as I can to read them too!


Dorothy W.

I didn't mean to wait this long to comment here ... I'm so glad you're reading Robinson Crusoe!!!! About capitalization and italics -- it's simply that punctuation and capitalization and other rules were different then, and it was conventional to capitalize some nouns. Spelling was different then too. I think editors usually clean up the spelling, but leave some of the other differences. But our contemporary punctuation and capitalization rules are, I think, 20C rules or at least late 19C-- really fairly recent. In the 18C, the rules weren't as codified as they are now, and people's use of punctuation and capitalization could vary a lot.

About Henry James -- just find a chronology of his writings and stick to the earlier works at first. Of the early works I liked Washington Square and Portrait of a Lady, and Turn of the Screw is great.

Dorothy W.

Oh, and I agree with AC, I liked the Bostonians too. Actually, there isn't a James novel I don't like, although I did try The Ambassadors once (one of his late novels) and had to put it down because it wasn't making sense to me and I was too busy and distracted to try hard enough to make it make sense. I'll go back to it one day. So, I think any early James is fine.


I have several copies of Robinson Crusoe because my son read an abridged for-children edition and FELL IN LOVE with it. So now whenever I see a "real" edition I think of him and snap it up, forgetting that I'd done this already.

He's tried about three times to read the real version and gotten bogged down, but then he's ten. There's time.

But he absolutely adored the story!


Carl--I agree--the movies of Dracula are terrible compared to the book. After I read it, I wanted to see the version with Wynona Rider, and it was awful. The funny thing was I had seen it at the theater when it came out and remembered liking it. But after the book, I just couldn't stomach it!
Amanda--the classics are really addictive, aren't they! I think RC won't be as hard as I thought!
Dorothy--thanks for the heads up on the capitalizations and italicized words. I should have known there was no secret meaning to them. Sometimes I make things harder than they really are. Probably the same with the James books. I plan on starting with Turn of the Screw I think. I have Portrait of a Lady, which I have long wanted to read, too!
Diana--how cool that your son has been reading the classics already--even a child's version. I only remember Treasure Island and Swiss Family Robinson!

Carl V.

I haven't seen that version of Dracula specifically because the book is so amazing that I never want to see another movie 'based on' Stoker's tale.


Definitely don't waste your time on that one, Carl. I had to staop the tape half way through it was so awful. Talk about poetic license--not like the book!

Carl V.

I've resisted so far and your admonition makes my resolve firm...I won't watch this travesty.


Hee, it's the summer of classics, continued. I wish you lots of luck with your readings; I haven't picked up Robinson Crusoe yet. In fact, I haven't picked up The House of Mirth in, oh...2 weeks.

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