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January – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

When Y, L, and I first thought up this reading challenge, we were all so excited. Part of the reason we wanted to do this was to make ourselves read “classic” books outside of our comfort zone.

The intent was there but some fell a little short.

I was the only one that actually finished Jane Eyre.

As predicted, S didn’t get off the first page. More surprisingly, L and Y both only made it to Chapter 2. (To be a little fair, Y had read the book before and L still intends to read it, just didn’t get it finished in January.) I have to say, I am very disappointed. It took me almost two weeks to read Jane Eyre. (A very sad fact but, hey, I’m honest.) The important thing is, I read it. I finished it. I clearly was struggling with it but I saw it through. Which was the point.

So, my first blog about our discussions and views on the book is a little bit of a flop.

This has left in me in a bit of a pickle. I have to post something, have to follow through, right?

My feelings* on Jane Eyre:

This was a dull and dreary read for me. I do not understand how a story with so much drama and scandal can be so boring. Charlotte Bronte was too word-y. Jane Eyre was a goody-goody and I just could not relate to her at all. There were moments that made no sense to me. The scene where she agrees to marry Mr. Rochester but wants to continue to be Adele’s governess, for example. She is saying she wants this so she can be independent of him. Mr. Rochester will be her employer. I fully understand her desire to be independent and to earn any money/presents he gives her. I applaud that sentiment. However, she is setting herself up to always be a servant to her husband’s household. I just didn’t get it. Also, maybe during the time period this was written, everyone spoke French. I do not. So I understood nothing Adele or Sophie said because Charlotte Bronte felt no desire to translate. (This bugged me so much. I think I rolled my eyes every time it happened. I did not, however, care enough to Google Translate.)

Something good I can say about Jane Eyre is that I am still thinking about it. I finished the book three, almost four, days ago at this point, and I am still mulling it over. I have not written a review for my GoodReads page yet and maybe that’s why it’s still on my mind. Or maybe that’s the secret of the book. Maybe it’s one of those that you have to fully process to fully appreciate. I seem to be growing more fond of it. I slightly regret my initial 2.5 star rating and am now leaning more towards 3 stars.

I do know this: I am very glad I read it. Partly, so I could point to Y and L and say “Shame on you.”  Partly because I finished something that I said I would do, even though it was more difficult than I first thought (won’t lie, spite played a minor role in my perseverance.) Partly, for the novel itself. The ending made me tell Y and L that it wasn’t so bad, that it did get better the longer you went on.

Next month: Persuasion by Jane Austen

:Salutes with a cup of tea: Happy Reading!



Reading the “Classics” – Introduction

I and three co-workers have decided that while we have read many books, we are not considered “well-read.” Our pile of read books is substantial but we have not read some of the books that are considered “must reads.” Next year, we embark on a journey to rectify that.

An introduction is in order, I believe. My name is Nikkiel. I am 30 years old. I was born and raised in a small country town in North Carolina. (How small and country, you may ask? My elementary school was behind a horse pasture, my middle school was directly beside a chicken farm, and my high school behind a cow pasture. Pretty country.) The other three members, I am going to be a bit vague with. I shall call them L, S, and Y and they are co-workers and I consider them friends as well. Some more than others, let’s be honest, but still friends. I also have to be honest here and admit that I don’t think S will last very long in our little “book club.” She just isn’t a reader like L, Y, and me. I don’t imagine she will last for the whole first book.

My personal tastes in books tends towards urban fantasy, fantasy, paranormal romance, and YA with a touch of historical fiction, erotica and sci-fi. L reads basically the same as I do but her’s lists more biographies than mine. Y reads romance and contemporary, with a touch of urban fantasy and YA. Our tastes can overlap, especially L and I, but Y kind of stands alone. S, well, I’m not really sure. I have yet to see her actually finish a book, though she swears she reads a lot of Nicholas Sparks.

We have decided to read a book a month for the entire year of 2014. Narrowing down what to read was a struggle. Everyone had their opinions of what should be on the list and what should not. I was worried L and Y were going to come to blows over Shakespeare. (L was pushing for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Y was wanting Othello. We ended up with Much Ado About Nothing.) I wanted Jane Austen, Y wanted Mark Twain, and L wanted Thomas Hardy. S had no real opinion. (Like I said, pretty sure she’ll drop out.) None of us really got the list that we were wanting but trying to accommodate four very different types of readers was difficult. There were several blind drawings to see what would make out list.

So, without further ado, here’s our reading list:

January – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

February – Persuasion by Jane Austen

March – Walden by Henry David Thoreau

April – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

May – Tess of the d’ Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

June – Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

July – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

August – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

September – 1984 by George Orwell

October -Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

November – Leo Tolstoy (I think we’re going to be reading Anna Karenina but this is undecided as of right now. The only thing we all agree on is, it will not be War and Peace.)

December – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


Now I realize this is not everyone’s idea of a “classic” or a “must-read.” There are some on here that even I wouldn’t consider classics. Like I said, trying to accommodate all four of us was a struggle. I also think this list a little more fluff than what I was originally planning. But, for better or worse, our list is decided and we will be starting January 2014.

I have decided to start a blog to share this. I will post at least one new update every month, with more possible depending on the book and the discussions it provokes. Obviously, the next post will not be until some time in January. I hope you come back to check it out.

So, here’s to the start of our journey! :Salutes with a cup of tea:

Happy reading!