Tag Archives: Classics

Book club discussion questions for A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

These questions contain spoilers. To order the essay from the Gold Coast Library Service, click the cover to the left. Alternatively the text is on the web in various places. It is available in audio and is just under 25 minutes long. . . Questions At what point, for you, does the story turn?  There’s a conventional place where the […]

A favourite of mine – Great Expectations!

Was there ever a novelist who created more memorable characters than Dickens?

Great Expectations is my favourite novel Dickens wrote. I first read it in high school and have recently read it again. I remember it got criticized for being too dark, apparently Dickens’ wrote it when he was in a depressed state of mind. I however think it is inspirational. For me it is about wanting to achieve greatness despite everything seeming to be beyond one’s reach. That’s my simple interpretation.

It is written in first-person which helps illustrate the protagonist’s coming of age, it follows Pip from orphan boy to gentleman. Pip is being brought up by his sister and her husband but this isn’t a loving family arrangement and he is sent to live with the rich Miss Harisham, an intriguing and somewhat crazy woman. Also living with Miss Harisham is Estella, a beautiful young girl who is being taught by Miss Harisham to use her beauty to torment the men around her. After a while Pip falls in love with Estella but Estella does show any desire for his affections. When Pip is offered an education inLondonhe eagerly accepts as he sees this as the opportunity he yearns for to become a man of means and worthy of Estella’s love. Once inLondonhe soon starts to look down upon his humble upbringing & when he learns that Estella has married he is both angered and saddened. He also finds out that the money for his education came from the dishonest earnings of a convict he once helped escape years earlier. This sends Pip into despair but it does help him understand the true value of life.

It really is a classic and if you have not read it you should. If you have read it I strongly encourage you to give it another read as you will probably get allot more out if it the second time around.

Jane Eyre vs Elizabeth Bennet

Who would win in a fight? It’s one of the great questions of classic literature – is Jane or Lizzie the better heroine? Is it the eponymous star of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, who overcomes a series of unfortunate events to snuggle up against the maimed Mr Rochester for her happy ending? Or is it […]

One flew over the cuckoos nest

One flew over the cuckoos nest is a book that will take you through a mental maze, quite literally. The novel by Ken Kesey is set upon Oregon asylum and follows the minds and behaviours of those within the facility, in particular the antics of the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy. Mr McMurphy is not like those within the facility. The narrator, the gigantic but docile inmate known as the “chief” discovers that Mr McMurphy is not mentally insane but rather he is a criminal. The novel itself is creatively different as it attempts to make the reader a real part of the story but also offers the reader an understanding of mental illness, the feeling of confusion and loss.

So, what -is- a classic?

Our theme for the month is classics, so an obvious question is, “What makes a classic a classic?” Now, over in my online audiobook club, we’ve recently listened to a book with a really uninspiring title, called Literary Taste: How to Form It. That book’s author, Arnold Bennett, uses a chapter to take a crack at a definition of […]

Classic novels you could almost read in an afternoon

From Heathcliff to Bovary to Becky Sharp there is a classic for everyone.  I’ve found 10 classic novels you could almost read in an afternoon, all are great reads which have endured the test of time and enchanted and entertained readers for decades.   Christmas Carol Charles Dickens Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll  Animal Farm George Orwell Around the World […]

June is the month for Classics

June is the month for all classics to return to the bedside table.     Having recently re-read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, a novel that still inspires, I decided to reread and rediscover the great classics again.  I have picked up The Great Gatsby in anticipation for the Buz Luhrmann’s remake, marveled at the futuristic existence […]