I've been meaning to get around to this for a few weeks now but things have been (and still are, really) a little hectic around here! We're in full on baby countdown mode now- he's due to arrive in 6 weeks and 3 days and it's all a little bit terrifying! Anyway, The Classics Club has a new(ish) blog all of its' own, and I swear I could lose hours looking through lists of reviews, new members etc. I love it. Some people are making insane progress with their lists. I've been stuck half way through Agnes Grey for about two weeks now and I'm really not sure why because it's great and tiny, but that's just the way things go sometimes I guess. I'm thinking about starting on one of the children's series I have on my list soon, but I may wait until baby arrives and read to him while feeding or something.
The question for August is what is my favourite classic book and why? I've been thinking really hard about this, as my knee jerk response was (obviously) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Any of you who read my blog will probably have heard me go on about how much I adore this book and there are a couple of reasons for it. Firstly, it was the first book that I ever read by myself in one sitting. It took me two hours and I was incredibly proud of myself. Secondly, my mum read it to us when I was about six or seven; she would sit in an armchair and we would all gather around her, much like they do when Marmee is reading their fathers' letter home in the book. There is something in Little Women which affects me. Every time I read it I get something different from it, and it is my comfort read. At least twice a year I sit down and read through all four books, and it always, always makes me feel better. The last time I read them, I started with Good Wives (I've finally, finally worked out why it is that American's think this is part of Little Women rather than a seperate volume; because in America, it is, so there we go) because the whole marriage and baby having and attempting to be an independent adult seemed to have more relevance to my situation, and that's pretty much the explanation for why I love the books so much I think. I can totally see myself in all of them. A lot of the time, they represent the way I want my life to be, and especially in the case of Little Women, how my childhood was. My siblings and I were very into imaginary games, outdoor pursuits and writing and acting our own plays. My younger sisters have just pulled together an amateur production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, for which they directed, organised the band, did all the vocal work, stage managed, and created all of the props and scenery, to fundraise for their church. I would have been totally involved had we lived closer, so there we go. My love for Little Women will probably endure forever, and I will admit that one of my first thoughts when we found out we were having a boy was that he probably wouldn't love the books as much as I do, but you never know.
So that's the obvious answer, but I have another which I always forget to mention. I discovered To Kill a Mockingbird when I was around twelve, back when I was a Girl Guide. I bought the book from a sale we had at Guides for about 50p I think and immediately fell in love with it. I think originally it was the fact that the narrator is a child that I so loved; it makes the story so relatable. On re-reading it earlier this year I realised how absolutely beautiful and lyrical the writing is. Harper Lee sets such evocative scenes in your mind that you can literally see the story happen while you're reading it. I didn't read the book for years between ages 16 and about 22, because it was our study book for GCSEs which meant that I knew pages of it off by heart, and also that I'd annotated and highlighted my copy beyond all recognition. I remember being so excited when I heard we'd be studying it, because I already knew it so well and had thought so much about the issues and themes contained in it, and that's really the reason why I loved it so much. Atticus Finch is one of my greatest heroes. I'm the kind of person who's given up watching the news because it just makes me sad, and often I wish that I had the... willpower, strength of character, whatever you want to call it to fight more for the things that I know are right, and the concept of anybody having the strength to fight such a losing battle is just amazing to me. The hideous unfairness of what happens in the novel still gets me every time. It still makes me emotional, makes me angry, and makes me wish that I could change the world to be a better, fairer place.