Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen // By far my favorite of the challenge, which was completely unexpected for me. I can't even tell you how many times I have picked up this book and put it back down before even reaching the tenth page. Something was different this time around, and I was in it 'til the end. I never understood all the hype about Mr. Darcy before, but my goodness he is as dashing as they say, and Elizabeth Bennet is such a strong female character for her time period-- I loved her outspoken attitude. I can't be the only one wishing there was a sequel. More Austen novels are on my reading list for winter break, but I can't decide which one to read next. Any suggestions?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald // Okay, I know last year I mentioned that this was one book that I wish I liked more, and this year I decided to bring it to school and give it another shot. I like reading short novels during the peak of the semester because they move along quickly and I spend less time making up excuses for why I need to read instead of do my homework. This time around, I paid less attention to the characters themselves and more to the language. My oh my, it's beautiful. Before, I let it all be clouded with my annoyance for Daisy's foolishness and Tom's bad choices, but this time I really got what Fitzgerald was trying to say. I can now see this being on my reading list every year. It just goes to show you that reading is largely about context, and if you're not in the right place at the right time, you might miss the best parts.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë // Now this was one that I wish I liked more. I had banked on Jane Eyre being my favorite of the bunch because I love reading books that are based on the plot, but I ended up really having to work my way through it. My favorite books are ones that feel effortless to read, and sadly this wasn't one of them. I learned my lesson from Mr. Fitzgerald though, and I'll put it on my list of try-again books.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett // This book has inspired me to put together a different kind of classics challenge next year, one with equal parts children's and adult's classics. I loved this story, and I also loved how different the language is from the children's books that we have today. I plan on reading at least one more children's classic this winter, and am brainstorming ideas for next year's list. Any favorites that I should add?
Overall, I realized that though there are always dozens of new books that I stumble upon and want to read each month, classics such as these are ones worth spending time on. I've never been a classics junkie before, but I fully intend to approach this genre with a more open mind in the future, and plan on adding many more favorites to my repertoire.
P.S. Remember this book that I fell in love with back in September? The second book in the trilogy is out today, so if you loved it too I suggest ordering it now (and it's also available in paperback, so it won't break the bank)! I preordered the Kindle version after reading the first and I am super excited to read it this weekend.