Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jacqui's Room Notes: the Jacqui's Room Notes

There they are. My 15 Classics in 15 Weeks, with the exception of the ones I had to return to the library. I put Pride and Prejudice in there too, since she started the whole thing. Total number of pages read: 6,453.*

If you are look to the left on this page (you may have to scroll down), you can see the whole list. Click on a title to see the Jacqui's Room Notes.

"What have you learned?"

1. Don't fear Tolstoy.
I liked most of the books, not just appreciated them, but actually enjoyed them. This sounds strange, but the fact is that I'd never have gone into a bookstore and said, "I think I'll try Silas Marner." I tend to focus on modern books and to believe people when they complain about assigned reading. No more.

2. Jane Austen sure could write.
It sounds obvious, but reading the classics was writing boot camp.

3. There are many other goofy-humored book dorks out there.
I can spout all day in a literary way** about Blood Meridian, but I think everyone's favorite Jacqui's Room Notes post is still Moby Dick. Am I right? Tell me, please. Which was your favorite? I'm curious.

4. Six Degrees of Separation applies to writers.
Everybody I read this summer read everybody else. Whitman referenced Melville, who was a friend of Hawthorne, who talked about Dante, who's in Goethe and McCarthy and everybody else, for that matter. And they all loved Cervantes. So my sense that I would be a better reader having read these 15 was spot on.

"But who won???"
I have three winners: Diane T., J.Thorp, and Kristi Valiant, each of whom seems to have read, well, a bunch of books this summer, and to have posted his or her own notes, all of which I found very interesting. Winners will receive a very cool (in a bookish way) small pack of bookish paraphernalia including bookmarks and a "Books! I Need Books!" button.

So, what about you? Did you meet your own classic-reading goal? Tell us about it in the comments.

"What's next?" people keep asking. Well, I have to crawl into a hole and not come out until my YA is finished. You should do the same. Catch up. Get what you have to get done done.

Because in November, you have work to do. You have a novel to write. Stay tuned.

*not counting the middle 500 million pages of Moby Dick, for which "read" is probably an exaggeration
** unintentional sing-song rhyme


Diane T said...

I am a winner!
Thank you very much, Jacqui
Now give me my prize!

Actually, thank you for the inspiration. I am having so much fun writing my haiku reviews, and discovering new writers to read (and avoid) has been edumacating.

I think my favorite review was the one for Dune. Although Moby Dick was extremely entertaining (the review, not the book), I preferred the sandy satire of the silly, spurious sci-fi speeches.

Bish Denham said...

Well I'm impressed. There's no way I could read one of those book in just a week, I'm such a s....l.....ooooo....w reader. I can say I've read 7 of the 15, but a very long time ago.

I liked your Don Quixote review. If I'm not mistaken, isn't it considered the first novel?

Marcia said...

This is a fascinating project. All good points, but the two that really jumped out at me are "Jane Austen could sure write" (she sure could) and the six degrees of separation. They DO mean it when they say the writing community is small.

Tabitha said...

I admire your tenacity. You read some classics that I had the worst time getting through. Some, not at all. :) I thoroughly enjoyed your reviews, so thanks for sharing!!

Amber Lough said...

Your best review was, without a doubt, the one for Dune.

And I must sheepishly admit that I LIKED that book. I was thirteen when I read it, and it took me to another world. Plus, I was in the Middle East at the time, so it was appropriate, in a way.

The old movie is better than the book, though. And Sting is in it. ;-)

Jacqui said...

Diane, I heart your haiku and am always happy to edumacate someone!

Bish, I do think DQ is considered the first novel. How did it ever occur to him?!

Marcia, thanks.

Tabitha, I would like to say I breezed through them all easily, understanding every nuance and never skimming or complaining, but...

Amber, I was harsher on Dune than it deserves, I think. I think if I'd read it at 13, I would have been transported too. Sting, eh? Hmm.

C.R. Evers said...

Hey Jacqui! I've tagged you in a meme on my blog. Tag. You're it! :0)


J. Thorp said...

wha-? i won? i won?! I WON! woohoo!

i will finish the 15. as coach is my witness, i will -- and i'll post the notes to prove it. 15 classics in, erm -- 15 ill-defined but selection-appropriate periods of time.

still reading "east of eden." i love it so very much, and my slowness is a reflection of that love. to paraphrase jack nicholson in as good as it gets, it makes we want to be a better writer.

now take a breather, j, and enjoy the tao of pooh.

Kristi Valiant said...

Sounds like a fun prize! Thanks!

My favorite reviews of yours were Moby Dick and Dune. You are so super creative. Thanks for challenging us to read all these books, Jacqui. I just finished yet another classic, Journey to the Center of the Earth and loved it! I think I'll keep up the classics for a bit.