Category Archives: Classics

The Ideal Reader Book 12: Germinal by Emile Zola (translated by Leonard Tancock)

“While Etienne lingered by the fire warming his poor raw hands, Le Voreux began to emerge as from a dream. He could now pick out each part of the works: the tarpaulin-covered screening shed, the headgear, the huge winding-house, the … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, The Ideal Reader | 9 Comments

The Ideal Reader book 9: The Story of the Stone by Cao Xuequin volumes IV and V (translated by John Minford)

“When grief for fiction’s idle words More real than human life appears, Reflect that life itself’s a dream And do not mock the reader’s tears.” One of the difficulties of reading the same book for 6 weeks is how it … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese, Classics, The Ideal Reader | 5 Comments

The Ideal Reader book 9: The Story of the Stone by Cao Xuequin volumes 2 & 3 (translated by David Hawkes)

Yes, I’m still working my way through The Story of the Stone, though I’m beginning to feel like I’m on the home strait. I’ve been reading for nearly 5 weeks now, which is an age, and I’ve got through about … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese, Classics, The Ideal Reader | 4 Comments

The Ideal Reader book 9: The Story of the Stone by Cao Xuequin volume 1 (translated by David Hawkes)

The Story of the Stone, perhaps more recognisably known as The Dream of the Red Chamber, is an epic work of Chinese fiction, my copy in five volumes weighing in at a massive 2480 pages long. I bought it ages ago … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese, Classics, Epic, fiction, The Ideal Reader, translation | 3 Comments

The Makioka Sisters by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (translated by Edward G. Seidensticker)

Jun’ichirō Tanizaki is a writer I associate very strongly with a kind of claustrophobic, highly charged, erotic, chaotic, madcap kind of fiction. I’ve read both Diary of a Mad Old Man and The Key and both novels are quite similar … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, fiction, Japanese | 4 Comments

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

For those of you who have seen the movie Gladiator, you may recognise the name Marcus Aurelius as being the old emperor who offers Maximus the stewardship of Rome, only to be assassinated by his own son, inadvertently condemning Maximus … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, comfort books, non-fiction, philosophy | 7 Comments

Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

I first hear of Sylvia Townsend Warner when David Mitchell (who I adore) named her book The Corner That Held Them as one of his favourite books of all time. This was some time ago and I never got around … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, fiction, gender | 9 Comments