September 27, 2012

The Classics Club: Check-In #1

Autumn is definitely here. Leaves are becoming red, yellow, brown and falling to the ground, migratory birds are leaving, and the days are getting shorter. I am in a melancholy mood, which I try to cure by Vivaldi music and comfort foods, such as Lorraine's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Chilli and Ginger, Susan's Savory Sage Riblets with Roasted Fall Veggies, and Nigella's Chestnut Chocolate Pots. (Believe it or not, my doggy too loves squash soup!) But, before everybody's mouth starts watering, let us speak about classics, or rather about my "progress" since my membership in The Classics Club.

Autumn Windows by Timothy Easton
Past: I joined the Club at the beginning of September; hence, my main activity hitherto consisted mainly in establishing this blog, drawing up my reading list, and reading the books on my nightstand, in order to be able to devote myself to this challenge from October onwards. (Btw, I also tried to find a new job and therefore I have read lots of advertises of vacancies and written thousands job applications. My search has been unsuccessful so far...)

Present: Recently, news has come in that Jillian from A Room of One's Own, the founder of the Club, is going to stop blogging and will leave us. I'm very sorry to hear that. I don't know her well and maybe now I won't have the opportunity to get acquainted with her. Nevertheless, I have admired her for her commitment and for making a success of an idea.

As regards my current doings, I happily received my copy of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, which is the first on my reading list and will probably fill my October, as it is very long (about 850 pages). Now, I can't wait till Sunday when I'll eventually start reading! In the meantime, though, I am still reading John Mullan's What Matters in Austen?, because it was a birthday present, and Agatha Christie's Sleeping Murder, because I've taken up a personal challenge to read all Miss Marple books in the reading order suggested by the official Agatha Christie community website.

I have also created a new shelf in my goodreads account–I have named it "challenge 2". On this shelf I am putting classics that I'd like to read when my first challenge is over (after August 31, 2017) or that I will probably use as substitutes for books on my current list. I mean, there might be some books that I don't want to read after all. I'm particularly afraid of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy because Russian novels are as much heart-breaking as Hungarian. And, having read The Story Girl's review of A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens, I'm not sure about wanting to read that novel either.

Future: I'm hoping for a bright future. Autumn need not necessarily be the time of melancholy and departures. Who knows what autumn is holding for us? I might finish reading my first book for the challenge. I might even find a nice new job. Or, maybe I will have a nice surprise, as Anne had one beautiful autumn afternoon...

"I've come up to ask you to go for one of our old-time rambles through September woods and 'over hills where spices grow,' this afternoon," said Gilbert, coming suddenly around the porch corner. "Suppose we visit Hester Gray's garden." [...]

"Oh, I wish I could," she said slowly, "but I really can't, Gilbert. I'm going to Alice Penhallow's wedding this evening, you know. [...]

"Well, can you go tomorrow afternoon, then?" asked Gilbert, apparently not much disappointed.

"Yes, I think so."

When Gilbert came the next afternoon he found Anne waiting for him [...] She wore a green dress—not the one she had worn to the wedding, but an old one which Gilbert had told her at a Redmond reception he liked especially. It was just the shade of green that brought out the rich tints of her hair, and the starry gray of her eyes and the iris-like delicacy of her skin. Gilbert, glancing at her sideways as they walked along a shadowy woodpath, thought she had never looked so lovely. [...]

The day was beautiful and the way was beautiful. Anne was almost sorry when they reached Hester Gray's garden, and sat down on the old bench. But it was beautiful there, too—[...] golden rod had kindled its fairy torches in the corners and asters dotted it bluely. The call of the brook came up through the woods from the valley of birches with all its old allurement; the mellow air was full of the purr of the sea; beyond were fields rimmed by fences bleached silvery gray in the suns of many summers, and long hills scarfed with the shadows of autumnal clouds; with the blowing of the west wind old dreams returned.

"I think," said Anne softly, "that 'the land where dreams come true' is in the blue haze yonder, over that little valley."

"Have you any unfulfilled dreams, Anne?" asked Gilbert. [...]

"I have a dream," he said slowly. "I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends—and YOU!"

Anne wanted to speak but she could find no words. Happiness was breaking over her like a wave. It almost frightened her.

"I asked you a question over two years ago, Anne. If I ask it again today will you give me a different answer?"

Still Anne could not speak. But she lifted her eyes, shining with all the love-rapture of countless generations, and looked into his for a moment. He wanted no other answer.
(L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, Ch. 41)

Autumn Sunlight after Rain, Fontainebleau by Andrew McCallum

Note: The idea of posting our check-ins for The Classics Club on our blogs originates with Jackie from jackiemania. Of course, many club members have followed her since then; I am no exception either.

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