Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Knowing your classics

Daphne caught me mixing up my Russian authors today. Yes, I confess, I can't tell between Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Chekov! Not that I claim to have read any of them. "Russian authors" is a category I keep telling myself I'll get to but never do. Instead I'm always stuck at Austen and am determined, somehow, to stay there.

Oh, yes, moi was very embarassed despite knowing that I mix my authors and books on a regular basis. ;) In real life, this little handicap translates into not remembering people's names - gosh, at the most inconvenient times.

But the very big truth is that I don't know my classics very well since I only deign to read them only once, and usually finish reading them with great relief.

I think the only classic fiction I've truly enjoyed was George Eliot's Middlemarch (which took me half a year to finish! But I think is the best way to savour her book) and Jane Austen's Emma. I read Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, but I honestly forgot 90% of it except for some vague rememberances of it being this or that. Oh yes, I loved F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Lovely, tragic story.

I love short story writer Katherine Mansfield, and attempted at short story writing for a while until I realise that it's quite difficult to make a point in a few words. But if you asked me to give an example of some of her stories, I'd probably lamely say, "You know, the one where they discuss something over tea in the Garden" (It's called The Garden Party, by the way) or "The one where this housekeeper found a coin in this gentleman's place" (oh, this I still can't remember).

I think the other book I want to finish reading badly is Les Misereables by Victor Hugo. I have no idea, actually, whether I reached the ending! (Because, yes, again, I've forgotten about 90% of what I read.) Hey, wait! I remember reading this particular segment where the hero - which, I of course can't remember the name - rescued his adopted daughter's boyfriend because he was part of the rebellion. Ok, so I did read that far. ;) Hee.

Should I remedy the situation, I wonder? Hmm ... well, maybe after reading Su Tong's My Life as Emperor. (Translation: Maybe never!)

Okaylah, as a challenge to enrichen myself, I'd attempt (close eyes and pick a random name) ... uhm ... oh hell, I'll read Crime and Punishment. Written by Fyodor Dostoevsky. See? I can get it right.

No, I didn't google it up!


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