Back to the Classics 2014 Wrap-Up Post!

classics2014I did it!! I read 10 classics from various authors, countries, and time periods in 12 months! (To be honest, a big chunk of those books were read this month *procrastinator*).

This was such a fun challenge, and I’m earnestly considering doing the Back to the Classics 2015 challenge next year, although I still have a little time to decide :)

Here is my wrap-up post listing all of my reviews for this challenge:

Required Categories:

Optional Categories:

I thoroughly enjoyed every one of these books (except for maybe Wuthering Heights), but if I had to rank my Top 3 it would be: North and South, Little Women, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thank you to Books and Chocolate for hosting this challenge!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are you up for next year’s Back to the Classics Challenge?

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A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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“We reminded them of what peace was like, of lives which were not bound up with destruction.”

A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Published 1959 by Secker & Warburg

Classics/Young Adult
Format: paperback; 204 pages
Also By This Author: Peace Breaks Out, Phineas
Goodreads | Amazon

My Rating: 4/5 

Synopsis:

Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Thoughts:

I first read A Separate Peace nearly 14 years ago while I was in 7th grade. I’ve always felt like my assigned reading choices in school were generally interesting books that made a long-lasting impact on me; A Separate Peace is no exception. Do you ever reread books you haven’t read in ages and find yourself thinking, “I do not remember imagining it this way”? For me it was more about remembering the characters differently.

Gene and Phineas are two 16-year-old boys living at an all-boys prep school, where most of the students and staff are affected by the outbreak of WWII. Gene and Phineas, along with a few other students, create the “Super Suicide Society,” where the whole goal is to do daring and rule-breaking stunts. This club, and the leadership of Phineas, reflect the escape the boys try to make from the reality of war. The irony, however, is that the boys have brought the war into their club.

Before I reread this book, I had the mindset that Phineas was that one friend we all have who always tries to “one up” us in everything. You know who I’m talking about–you do well on a test, they do better; you feel like you’re really good in a sport or hobby, they show you how much more talented they are (and make it look effortless); you receive an awesome present from someone, they tell you that they got one once and it just wasn’t that great. Well, when I reread this novel, I realized that Phineas is not that “one-upper” friend at all. Which means that I obviously relate a lot to Gene, who creates this whole unspoken competition between himself and Phineas.

I think a lot of people can relate to the characters and circumstances in this novel, even though it takes place in the early 1940s. That’s why this book had so much impact on me when I was 12 and when I was 25; you can put those themes into any context and will still be able to empathize with the characters.

Read This Book If…:

…you enjoy short, powerful novels.
…you like reading historical, young adult books that deal with mature subject matter.
…you’re intrigued by themes of war, childhood innocence, jealousy, and forgiveness.

Final Musings:

One of the things I love most about these short & powerful novels is that they always have so many good quotes to reflect on!

“Because it seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Reread

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about rereads! I love rereading books, sometimes I even reread books right after I finish them for the first time. Other books, like Anne of Green Gables or Jane Eyre, I reread during specific seasons.

Here are some of the books I’ve been wanting to reread for a while now:

aseparatepiece greatexpectations harrypotter thestranger

A Separate Peace by John Knowles – I read this book in 7th grade and it really made an impression on me. I wonder how I’ll feel about it after a reread.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – I have only read a couple of Dickens novels, but this is one of his best. I have forgotten most of the story since first reading it in 8th grade, so hopefully a reread will correct that.
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling – I’ve already reread Harry Potter once after the last novel was released, but during Halloween we watched the two Deathly Hallows movies and now I’m holding myself back from rereading the series again. I have so many other books on my TBR list, but I’m hoping I’ll have more time during Christmas :)
The Stranger by Albert Camus – Another novel I remember little from, the reason I want to reread this is because of its cultural importance & my ties to France.

asyoulikeit littlehouse ourtown wheretheredferngrows

As You Like It by William Shakespeare – My first ever Shakespeare play! My amazing 8th grade teacher had us read this play in class before going to see it performed on stage. I’ll always credit Ms. Bowden as the one who originally got me to fall in love with Shakespeare.
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – A childhood classic :) I haven’t read these books since I was probably 9 or 10, but I loved them and I really want to experience them again.
Our Town by Thornton Wilder – I read a lot of good books in middle school! This one also really impacted me when I first read it. I think I’ll probably cry when I reread it.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls – know I’ll cry when I reread this one. I was a mess when my 3rd grade teacher read this to our class. Tissues everywhere.

BONUS! Here are two TV series I want to rewatch:

boymeetsworld battlestargalactica

Boy Meets World – My favorite TV show while growing up! I’ve rewatched multiple episodes since the show ended, but I’ve never rewatched them all.
Battlestar Galactica – Matt and I had a Battlestar Galactica marathon back in 2012. We watched the whole series in less than 3 weeks, and I loved how it ended. Since then I’ve been wanting to rewatch it in order to pick up all the clues along the way.

 

What are some of the books and tv shows you’ve been wanting to reread/rewatch lately?