September 28, 2012

The Classics Club: Meme #2

This month meme for The Classics Club is to pick a review by another member and write about why it made you excited to read that classic in particular.

To be honest, I love classics, but I am somewhat biased in favour of female writers. Why? Partly as a result of a "historical development"—that is to say, the library I inherited from my mother was built up of books by female authors—and partly because female authors tend to have a more romantic vision of life, which better matches my character and my expectations of a novel. To put it simply, I love to read about love stories with happy endings, because I don't have much of it in my real life...

For this reason, even though I have read Alexandre Dumas, Oscar Wilde, Thornton Wilder, Erich Kästner, and Mark Twain (because they are on the "safe" side), I am very cautious about choosing novels written by other men. E.M. Forster's Howards End is, however, one of those writers whom I "trust" on my reading list. And, having read Lindsey's review over at Sparks' Notes, I am actually growing rather impatient for eventually reading it. But, "it's a long way to Tipperary, it's a long way to go...", because Howards End is number 38 (!) on my reading list. Sigh...

Lindsey's review captured my imagination and made me want to read Howards End because it convinced me that there has been at least one male writer—E.M. Forster—who was able to understand female soul and to develop a strong, independent female character. Independence doesn't mean financial independence but true freedom of mind and soul and independence from other people's opinion. Or, as Lindsey writes,

I adored Margaret. She's strong and bold, but in a quiet way. She's not flashy and reckless the way strong women are often portrayed. She stands up for her family members and stands by them even when they make mistakes, without judging them. [...] I love that she admits to not wanting kids—people judge me for that today, in 2012, 100 years after Forster wrote that! We still want to suck the color out of people who are different from us (I meant that metaphorically, but I suppose that also speaks to racists). We make fun of those who are different from us. We judge each other. EVERYONE does that. I'm trying to be more conscious of this, that God created many of our differences, and even the ones that He didn't, they still bring more color to life. 

I too wish there were more people, especially women, like Forster's Margaret in our world. But above all, I wish I could be one of those people. And, I truly hope that I will learn a great deal about how to be one by reading Howards End...

1 comment:

  1. I really loved this novel so much, so I'm so happy my review got you excited about it! Most of my favorite authors are female as well. I do love Dickens, but I do get frustrated this his female characters are usually awful or angelic, nowhere in between. Forster's Margaret felt real to me. She's not perfect, she makes a mistake that made me doubt her for a bit, but she certainly comes through in the end. I can't wait to reread this one!