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text 2017-05-23 00:56
A Personal Literary Canon, Part 1
Jane Eyre - Michael Mason,Charlotte Brontë
Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones,Tony Tanner,Claire Lamont,Jane Austen
The Song of the Lark - Willa Cather
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton

I've been spending a lot of time watching the implosion of my democracy, reading Washington Post and The New York Times, generally with a knot in my stomach, wondering what shoe will drop next. I have decided that in the service of my mental health, I have to limit myself to an reasonable amount of exposure to the terrifying Tumpshow per day. 

 

So, I logged onto my wordpress reader for the first time in ages & started reading the posts written by some of my favorite bloggers. One of them mentioned that he had been challenged by another blogger to identify his "literary canon." I found this intriguing - and it begged the question - what is a personal canon? If we assume that:

 

"The term “literary canon” refers to a body of books, narratives and other texts considered to be the most important and influential of a particular time period or place. Take a 19th century American literature course, for instance."

 

Then a personal canon would be: a body of books, narratives and other texts considered to be the most important and influential to me. I googled "personal canon" and found a number of posts written by bloggers - many of whom are pretty obviously far more intellectual than I am - that described their personal canons. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so I started thinking about mine.

 

This is likely to be an ongoing project - I'm going to set up a page to collect my "Canon" posts, and write some argumentative posts where I identify a book/author for canon and go through an identification of why I am or am not going to include the book in MR's Personal Canon. At the outset, there will be some low-hanging fruit that I can easily identify (including the four authors listed above - I'll get to those amazing women in a moment). I'm also going to work on identifying some elements or questions to consult when I am working out whether or not something gets the imprimatur of canon from me. 

 

As a starting place, I've selected four works that are clearly part of my personal canon:

 

1. Jane Eyre - Michael Mason,Charlotte Brontë: One of the elements of canon that I intend to adopt is "personal importance." Identifying a book based upon a high level of personal importance means that it is a book that I strongly remember reading in the past, and that has been influential in some way. While Jane Eyre is widely considered to be a well-written book, a book that receives a high score on the personal importance element need not necessarily be well-written or well-regarded. Just important to me.

 

2. Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones,Tony Tanner,Claire Lamont,Jane Austen: Another element of canon relates to "rereadability." In order to qualify as re-readable, a book needs to have some resonance that draws me back to the book. Pride and Prejudice is a book that I have reread more times than I can count. It is unlikely that a book will make it into my personal canon unless I have read the book more than once. Probably even more than twice. 

 

3. The Song of the Lark - Willa Cather: Related to re-readability is the quality of the book or the author being horizon-broadening in some sense. It needs to be something that enriches my life or perspective. Willa Cather scores very high on this element for me - I find her writing to be near perfect, and the ground-breaking nature of her writing as an American woman writing about the American west, has been a personal touchstone.

 

4. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton: The last thing I can think of right now is thematic importance, especially as the themes relate to feminism, womanhood, and issues of equality. I would imagine that my canon will be heavy on women writers, because those are the writers to whom I gravitate. 

 

While the four books that I've mentioned so far are undeniably classics, not all books in my personal canon will be classics. I suspect that A Wrinkle in Time will make it in there, as will all of Harry Potter. On the other hand, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald will be conspicuously absent, as those two authors leave me entirely cold, although they might prominently appear in someone else's canon.

 

Do you have a personal canon? What books do you think you would put on your list?

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text 2017-05-14 20:56
Classics That You Should Read

For those who love to read, there is nothing more difficult than someone asking you to put together a list of your favourite books. After all, no two lists will ever be the same and how can anyone possibly choose, it’s like asking which of your children you love the most…

Similarly, those who love to read fully understand how expensive books can be, particularly in this difficult economic climate. Therefore, I decided to put together a few of my favourite classics, some of which are out of copyright and can be online for free. For out of copyright books, I have added a link where the book can be found for free.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Written by English writer Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre is a classic novel which has been hailed as one of the greatest pieces of English fiction. Set against the backdrop of the magnificent Yorkshire Moors, this story follows the coming of age of a plucky young governess who faces a number of great adversaries to find happiness in the arms of her first love.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

First published privately in Italy in 1928 and later the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK. Lady Chatterley's Lover gained notoriety due to its hugely erotic content. Based in Nottinghamshire where DH Lawrence grew up, the story focuses on a young married woman who becomes disenchanted with her upper class husband. When an injury from the war leaves him unable to connect physically and emotionally with Lady Chatterley, she seeks sexual fulfilment in the arms of Oliver Mellor’s, the gamekeeper.

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

Renowned for its warmth and humour, To Kill a Mocking Bird is loosely based on Harper Lee’s observations of friends and family, but carries an important message about the realities of racism in the 1930’s. A classic piece of American literature, To Kill a Mockingbird is widely taught in schools all over the world and addresses themes of rape, racial inequality, courage and compassion. If you haven’t read this book, it’s one to put on your list of ‘must reads’ immediately!

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

Not everyone’s favourite book, but a book that has earned its place in history. Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of Anastasia Steel and the ‘emotionally damaged’ billionaire Christian Grey. After a chance meeting, a story of all consuming love begins to unfold. What makes this story stand out, are the BDSM themes and erotic scenes weaved throughout the tale. The book may not have been well received by critics. However, what followed was a sexual revolution that rocked the twenty first century. Sales of sex toys rocketed, BDSM practices which were previously criminalised were normalised and a new age of sexual freedom began.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

HYPERLINK "http://www.literatureproject.com/little-woLittle Women is a timeless tale of four American sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Following their lives from childhood to adulthood, Little Women has been a difficult book to define. Some describe the book as a romance novel, others claim that it is a children’s book. However, for those who have read it, the ongoing themes in this book work together to create an incredible piece of fiction that simply begs to be read.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With over 20 million copies sold, Pride and Prejudice has certainly earned its crown as one of the most popular novels in English Literature. Using good, solid British humour, Pride and Prejudice tells the tale of the Bennet family – the overbearing Mrs Bennet, the long suffering Mr Bennet and their five daughters. Due to the laws of the land at the time, if Mr Bennet passes away the inheritance cannot be passed onto his own children and falls into the hands of a distant relative. With the pressure on to find a suitable marriage, the arrival of a handsome stranger causes rather a few trials and tribulations for the Bennet family.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Believing that he was a failure and his The Great Gatsby forgotten, F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 with sales of just 20,000 copies. However, due to the glitz, glamour and sheer escapism of this 1920’s tale, The Great Gatsby saw a revival during World War 2 and fast became one of the greatest classics in American history. The story follows characters from a fictional town called West Egg. Featuring millionaires, shady business connections, unrivalled glamour and scandal, The Great Gatsby worked hard to earn the title of one of America’s best loved novels.

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text 2017-04-20 14:38
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen shreya khubber mind tree 'JANE AUSTEN', the name itself justifies the greatness of the book. One of the early published book of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice is a book that is a 'must read' for every person on this earth. The beauty of the language and the play of words is so tremendous that the reader is compelled to not to leave the book and just go on reading. A special attention should be given to the number and the kind of characters that carry the story all through. They seem to be so real and relative than not even for a moment does it seem that they are fictional.
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text 2017-03-01 15:35
My February 2017
The Policewoman - Justin W. M. Roberts
Pride and Prejudice - Manga - Morpheus Studios,Po Tse,Jane Austen
Thief of Lies - Brenda Drake
Graffiti (and Other Poems) - Savannah Brown,ed stockham
Harables: Short Stories 2 (Volume 2) - Haidji
Harry Potter: Die Märchen von Beedle dem Barden / Wilharm: Ein Klassiker aus der Zaubererwelt von Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
Guardian of Secrets - Brenda Drake
Gone Wild - Jodi Lundgren
Der Schneeleopard - Tess Gerritsen,Andreas Jäger
The Policewoman - 4.5 stars
Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice - 5 stars
Thief of Lies - 4.5 stars
Graffiti (and Other Poems) - 4.5 stars
Harables: Short Stories 2 - 4 stars
Die Märchen von Beedle dem Barden - 5 stars
Guardian of Secrets - 3 stars
Gone Wild - 2 stars
Der Schneeleopard - 5 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month: The Policewoman, Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice, Graffiti (and Other Poems), Der Schneeleopard

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet: Everything Reminds You of Something Else, Entsetzen

 

I just need to stare at the amount of books I read this month. Granted, one of them I read all through january and finished on the first of february. Some of them are very short books or poetry. But damn, I finished 9 books this month. Even though there was a lot going on and a lot of running around from one appointment to the next.

Qualitiy wise, I only didn't really enjoy two of the books I read, the rest of them were really freaking great.

I'm trying to keep my hopes up, cause I don't think I will keep up with the reading pace I had in february. But man, if would be great if march were amazing like that.

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review 2017-02-21 04:27
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE SEQUELS by Cheryl Bolen
Pride and Prejudice Sequels: 3 Jane Aust... Pride and Prejudice Sequels: 3 Jane Austen Inspired Novellas - Cheryl Bolen

Three stories that occur after the wedding of Darcy and Lizzie.  The first is Miss Darcy's New Companion.  Georgiana thinks her brother wants her to marry their neighbor who has eyes on her companion, Lucy.  I enjoyed this story.  I liked how Georgiana knew her own mind and knew that she and Lord Fane would not work.  I also liked how Lucy is attracted to Lord Fane but knows he needs an heiress and tries to stay away from him.  Mr. Collins, of course, is a pain in the behind and almost ruins everything.

 

The second story is Miss Darcy's Secret Love tells of Georgiana's secret love from childhood.  Captain Farrington is the brother of Lord Fane.  He wants to marry a Spanish lady but his troth is not accepted by the lady's father.  Home on leave he realizes where is heart truly is.  I like the easy familiarity between Georgiana and the Captain.  I also like how she tries to do what she thinks her brother wants her to do but eavesdroppers never get it right and, once again, Mr. Collins is in the middle of the action which helps resolve it all.

 

The final story is The Liberation of Miss DeBourgh which tells of Anne's marriage to Lord Seaton.  He does not treat her as an invalid and she discovers that she is stronger than she suspected.  I liked their mutual like of thoroughbreds.  I liked that Anne could talk intelligently about horses and racing and that Lord Seaton respected her opinion.

 

The characters were good.  The stories remained in the voice of Austen's time.  Very enjoyable read.

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