Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

This is my 12th book for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015, and I read it for the Classic Play category. It is the story of two young men (John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff) who both call themselves Ernest, and two young women (Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew) who will only marry a man named Ernest. Throw in mistaken identity, lies, manners, and witty language, and this is quite funny. It's a very quick read and I rate it 4 out of 5. It is also my final book for the challenge.

Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This was my non-fiction selection for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015. I found it very interesting, since it was originally published in 1955 (the year I was born). Much of what she had to say was a big part of the Women's Movement of the 1970's and beyond. I am sure that it would be enlightening to many women, especially young mothers who have little or no time for themselves, but I am well beyond that stage in my life. I am quite fortunate to have time alone when I need it, and to be able to travel and take workshops and classes almost whenever I want to. So the book had very little relevance for me, but I still enjoyed reading it. I rate it 3 out of 5.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Trial by Franz Kafka

What a chilling story! This was my classic in translation for the Back to the Classics 2015 reading challenge (my 10th book out of 12!). It is the story of Josef K., a respected bank officer who is arrested and has to defend himself without knowing what the charges against him are. I'd certainly heard of this story and had a general idea of what it was about. I'd always assumed that Josef K. was put in prison after his arrest, but that is not the case; his arrest consists of being questioned and having to appear in various court proceedings. But this particular court system is separate from the usual court system; most citizens have never heard of it. This leaves Josef K. uncertain how to defend himself and what is required of him. Just imagine trying to defend yourself when you don't know what the charges are!

It was originally published in German in 1925, a year after Kafka's death. In fact, Kafka had left behind a letter to his friend Max Brod with this last request: "Everything I leave behind me . . . in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others'), sketches, and so on, [is] to be burned unread." Max Brod believed that Kafka asked him to do this because he had told Kafka that he would not honor his wishes; instead he worked very hard to get all of Kafka's works published. I rate it 4 out of 5.