April 12, 2013

A Chapter A Day


Do you remember sometime ago when I challenged myself to read a bunch of classics I'd been meaning to tackle for a while? There's a Conquering the Classics tab at the top of my blog with an (overly) ambitious classics TBR list. I thought it would be neat/gimmicky to make an A to Z compilation of classics, which meant I ended up selecting certain books that, to be perfectly honest, I couldn't give two rips about just because they fit a particular letter. In fact, there are a few I couldn't give even a single rip about. And then there are the ones that didn't make it to the list simply because that letter was already taken. 

In retrospect, it was kind of a silly idea. Tackling the classics, however, was not.


Over the past month or so, I've been challenging myself to read a chapter a day minimum from a classic novel. Jess Silverstein did this last summer with Great Expectations (which I still have yet to finish :/), and it was pretty manageable; one chapter is not all that difficult to get through even on days where I'm extra busy. Sometimes I end up reading more because I've gotten into the story or just because I figure I might as well keep on going. I usually have another book on the go that isn't a classic and, I'm not going to lie, that book is at times the incentive I need to get through my mandatory classic chapter. Don't get me wrong, I happen to love a number of classics, so it's not like I consider this a giant snoozefest. There are just some titles that I feel like I should read, but don't really see myself fangirling over. (Case in point: Wuthering Heights.) And that's okay. At the rate I'm going, there's no reason why I can't finish a classic a month, which is really kind of awesome.

So now that I've more or less canned the A to Z approach, I plan on rethinking the list sometime soon and filling it with classic titles that have caught my attention at some point or another. I'll work through them at my chapter a day pace and who the heck knows (or cares) when I'll completely conquer the list. In the original challenge I made some lofty promise that I would read each book right to the end even if I hated it. Bleh. Not happening. Life is too short to force myself to read something worse than tedious. This isn't college and my grade doesn't depend on slogging through a book that makes me weep from boredom. I'm not sure if I'll review many of them either. I feel as though I have little to add to the plethora of insightful reviews already out there on these titles. Anyway, I'm actually kind of excited about this re-imagined challenge!

Feel free to join me if you wish. Compile your own list and start Conquering the Classics one chapter at a time just like me.☺

20 comments:

  1. I usually kick off the new year by reading a classic, but seeing as I received a nice stack of YA books this past Christmas, I didn't get around to it this January. I'll have to try to fit a few in yet. And WUTHERING HEIGHTS? Ugh. When I finished it I wanted to whack Heathcliff over the head with my book. What a nutcase. Anyway, I think your new approach to reading classics is a lot more manageable. :)

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    1. I just ordered KATHERINE by April Lindner (who wrote JANE), so I figure I need to actually read WUTHERING HEIGHTS first. Plus, I've wanted to actually read it so I can confirm all the reasons why I'm pretty sure I won't like it. I've seen the movie and I wasn't crazy (pun intended) about either Heathcliff or Cathy. We'll see, I guess. :)

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  2. I have been slowly reading more classics over time (or really reading and enjoying things I read in school). My mom was on a Dickens' kick a few years ago and I read several in a row (Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and my favorite David Copperfield). I found them much more accessible and enjoyable than I remembered from school. A chapter a day is a great approach. Manageable chunks. That is really the best way to finish ANYTHING.

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    1. I actually really like Dickens. He's so quirky! I really need to finish GREAT EXPECTATIONS and read more of his stuff. Like you say, tackling something in manageable chunks is such a great way to get through something. :)

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  3. I will definitely be joining you on your Classics adventure! I need to take a look at my TBR-list and figure out which one to tackle next.

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    1. I'm still in awe of your recent WAR & PEACE victory. Seriously, you've inspired me! There are so many classics that I'd like to read, but all of my YA stuff is so tempting. Sticking to the chapter a day model will definitely help me read both. I'm happy you want to join me! :)

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  4. May I make a suggestion? Keep your original A-to-Z list, but relax your "read it to the end even if it's like pulling molars" rule. I think your A-to-Z list is useful because it forces you to read books you might not otherwise choose. You may end up putting the book down after chapter 1--or maybe chapter 3, if you're being generous. On the other hand, you might discover a gem you would have otherwise passed over.

    I like the "chapter-a-day" approach. All the best with this, Jaime! :)

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    1. I really want to scrap that list. A lot. There are so many classics that I want to read and then all of the YA books that I regularly read (I have a HUGE TBR list) that I don't want to spend my limited reading time slogging through a book that never interested me in the first place. I did that enough in university. :) That being said, some of the classics I'll be reading are ones that I feel like I should read, not necessarily ones that I want to read.

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  5. I just finished my goal of reading all the Jane Austens. (I ought to add a tab about my classics conquest!) I even read/found Sanditon :-) I also feel like my classics list is kind of ridiculous, esp on top of all the YA I want to read too. Not enough time in the day, I say!

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    1. I haven't read all of Austen's works yet, but I own them all so I probably should. I'd be pretty proud if I was you. :) My classics list is ridiculous too, which is why I've only challenged myself to a chapter a day.

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  6. I'd love to read more classics. I think I'll make a list and decide on how many I'll read this year. Then ever few books, I can read a classic. I definitely agree that you shouldn't bother finishing something if you really don't like it!

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    1. I like the chapter a day thing because then I don't feel like I'm cheating on my YA books. :P Plus it breaks it up a little bit. I like classics, but they take me longer to get through because I'm not usually itching to sit down and read a bunch at a time.

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  7. I applaud you for reading classics. There are several I'd love to tackle, but then I look at all my pretty new books and think about my crazy TBR list and the motivation to read novels that are centuries old usually leaves me. Maybe you can share your favorites when you get though your list, and then I'll just read those. :-)

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    1. The pretty new books and overwhelming TBR list is what keeps me from reading more classics, so that's why I'm only doing a chapter a day. That way I can still keep up with my TBR books. Finding the motivation is definitely hard when there's so much pretty tempting me. :)

      I'll let you know which ones I really like.

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  8. I've actually been wanting to do this same thing, but not just with classics. I'm thinking some nonfiction too. I know it may sound crazy, but it might just be cool--it might. :)

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    1. I don't think that sounds crazy at all. :) It's so easy to read only your favourite kind of books (for me that's YA) and miss out on some other stuff that's really great. I've read biographies and really enjoyed them, so I don't see how non-fiction couldn't be totally interesting as well. I say do it! :)

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  9. This is a great idea. I've been wanting to read some classics, but like you my TBR pile is huge and I've been trying to read some of those first. But that said, there are some classics I want to get to. A chapter a day would be doable!

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    1. It's amazing how quickly you can get through that chapter a day. It feels manageable but not like you're dragging a book our for all it's worth. I've always said that I wanted to read more classics, but then when I sat down trying to plough through it, I'd get discouraged because it wasn't as quick of a read as my usual picks. I'm just about to finish up my second classic at this chapter a day pace and it feels great! :)

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  10. AWESOME! I did this a few years ago and I DID get through Wuthering Heights. Yup. Oh, Heathcliff. :D *high five*

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  11. I may try this approach for some of the non-fiction that I've been wanting to read. In my head, I know I love Bill Bryson, but then I never feel like picking up the three books by him sitting on top of my shelf. Maybe I'll give him a chapter a day and see what happens.

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