In the list of 100 books to read, I had already read several of them even before I started the challenge to read some. And how is it then? Elementary my dear reader, I went to school in France where they give you the
obligation chance to read classics of French literature. As for the English novels, it was what I read before I discovered thrillers, crime fiction and other wonders of fantasy!
Here in a single column, five books I've read some time ago, but the memory remains indelible. That makes me up to 9 books out of 100, pfff fortunately Et1000livres has read some of them too (in French)!
The great expectations Charles Dickens
One of the finest novels by iconic British author Charles Dickens, this Victorian tale follows the good-natured orphan Pip as he makes his way through life. As a boy, Pip crosses paths with a convict named Magwitch, a man who will heavily influence Pip’s adulthood. Meanwhile, the earnest young man falls for the beautiful Estella, the adoptive daughter of the affluent and eccentric Miss Havisham. Widely considered to be Dickens's last great book, the story is steeped in romance and features the writer's familiar themes of crime, punishment, and societal struggle.
What I think
Dickens is the author who has made me loved English literature (although I read it in French at the time). Do not miss the chance to discover and read his novels. His descriptions of the English society of the time, the way to make so alived, endearing or repulsive characters, the relationships between the characters so well made and the humor on the edge of cynicism at times make it a very pleasant author to read.
Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë
Les Hauts de Wuthering Heights is land windswept north. A family lived there, happy, when a young gypsy attracted misfortune. Mr. Earnshaw adopted Heathcliff and loved him. But his children have despised him. Hiding his love for Catherine, the daughter of his benefactor, Heathcliff is preparing a diabolical revenge. He appropriates the family fortune and reduces the heirs into slavery. The curse will weigh on all the descendants until the day when the daughter of Catherine loves to turn a miserable and rough man.
What I think
This is a very dark novel. Emily Brontë wrote by inventing everything, including the powerful emotions of passion and hate that she had never experienced! A tortured reading that one has to read in his life, but that might not joined all readers. I confess to having more trouble with this type of novel, too tragic, too dark
too depressed? for me with a bit too much of description of the boring landscape.
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
At Longbourn, a small village in Hertfordshire, Mrs. Bennet, pastor's wife, is determined to marry off her five daughters to ensure their future. When a rich young man rents the neighboring area of Netherfield, she strongly hopes that her daughters will please him and makes every effort to achieve its purposes. Elizabeth wryly observes the machinations of her mother. If she enjoys the charming Mr. Bingley, she is first angered by the dismissive behavior proud Mr Darcy.
What I think
In the great vein of English novels, it is a book to read! It has the advantage of combining romance and humor, making it a light and enjoyable book. I loved to follow the sisters in their search for husband, Mrs. Bennet deeply shocked and annoyed me by her narrow-minded side but Mr. Bennet made me laugh. In short, a family we love to follow. Do not forget Mr Darcy we learn to know through Elisabeth (which starts badly before it finishes well!) A true masterpiece once again on English society, its morals and conceived thoughs, its requirements and hierarchy, all sprinkled with dashes of humor and spirit.
Goriot Honore de Balzac
A penniless student Eugene Rastignac goes to Paris where he lives in a shabby board, meeting Goriot a merchant ruined by his daughters who despise him.
What I think
The rounded characters, the description of Parisian life, of power and of the pursuit of power by certain characters plunge us into the Paris of Balzac forcefully. We hate father Goriot's girls, we pity the poor father who loves his daughters too much and we observe with despise how Rastignac is influenced by the taste of power. In short, we feel intense emotions. Balzac is a little bit the Dickens of France, but less intense. No caustic humor or cynicism, but a cold description, making it feel more important the human and financial misery. In other words, if you liked books such as Wuthering Heights and The Red and the Black, you'll love this book!
The Red and the Black Stendhal
M. de Renal, mayor and notable, takes the young Julien Sorel in his service. That son of a carpenter knows Latin and will be a perfect tutor for his two son. But the young man is not satisfied with his lot, he dreams of freedom, equality, admires Napoleon and despises people of high society. His ambition led him to woo Madame de Renal, a dedicated and naive wife. But both get caught up in their passion, going against the rules of society.
What I think
This book was a difficult one to read for me, mainly because it speaks a little too much of the romantic relationships of Julien Sorel. Said Sorel I struggled to appreciated - what with his contempt. (Yeah, but you loved Pride and Prejudice have you not?) Yes, dear reader, but where Austen puts humor, Stendhal puts reasoning, psychology and drama. So who like sad and tragic stories: treat yourself! This book is for you. For those who like lighter novels, um ... not so sure!