I was behind on my Classics Club goal to read a classic every other month, in other words, two more classics before the end of the year. I am on my way because by cheating just a little and watching a film of a classic book, I have only one book left to read in 2022.

Director Dan Curtis made one of the classic films of this classic thriller, The Turn of the Screw. Curtis was the force behind the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. In his 1974 version made for TV, Curtis directs Lynn Redgrave as the mysterious children’s governess in what is now considered one of the “campiest” of the eight versions of the film that were made. It was a pleasurable viewing, slightly scary, but only if you went along with the “sensual, livid-skinned ghosts” and the creepy version of the boy’s attraction to the governess. Lynn Redgrave is at her best, and it was an easy way to digest this classic thriller.



Thanks to Deb Nance of Readerbuzz for the loan of this fine birthday meme.

Here are the questions from Classic Club’s questionnaire:

  1. When did you join The Classics Club? late 2019 after seeing the club on Readerbuzz.
  2. What is the best classic book you’ve read so far? I liked most of them, so it’s hard to pick the BEST, but maybe Brideshead Revisited.
  3. What is the first classic book you read? Lord Jim
  4. What classic book inspired you most? The Secret Garden
  5. What was your most challenging classic? Don Quixote, I’d been trying to read it since high school
  6. What was your favorite movie adaption? I Capture the Castle, but Bridesead Revisited was well done too
  7. Which classic character reminds you of yourself? The ditsy mother in I Capture the Castle…I like to think I’m creative and a free spirit, but sometimes it’s just being scatterbrained
  8. Has there been a title you expected to dislike but ended up liking? Don Quixote
  9. What is one classic you definitely will make happen next year? I don’t know. Recently there have been enough classics “required” as book club selections or challenge books, but I may have to go back to drawing from a jar or using a spinner.
  10. What are some of the fond memories you’ve had of the classics club? Mainly it gave me a good feeling of completing a list given me during my junior year in high school titled, “Outstanding Fiction for College Bound Students, “but then it’s always fun to compare notes on Classics Club with close friend Deb Nance.

I hope you enjoyed reading the answers to these questions as much as I enjoyed answering them. Even if you do not “belong to the club,” you can reply to the reading the classic questions on your blog or in the reply box below.



I took on the challenge of reading a classic every two months. So far, I have remained up to date with this undertaking.

I began the book, I Capture the Castle twice. I really was intrigued by the cover and blurbs for this novel, but I had a hard time keeping interested. Finally, I gave up and watched the movie instead.

This is a delightful film and best watched rather than read.

Dodie Smith wrote a fine novel, but the 2003 film allowed me to finish the story of a highly eccentric family set in 1930s England. The film narrates the story of the Mortmains, a family of kooky characters struggling to survive in a decaying castle in England. Romola Garai plays Cassandra Mortmain, the protagonist, while Bill Nightly gives an outstanding performance as the father, a washed-up author struggling with writer’s block. The beautiful Rose Bryne plays Cassandra’s sister who is intent on “landing” a titled husband to bring the family out of its ruined financial state.

The comedic film deals with communication conflict both among the family members and the romantic relationships of the two oldest sisters. Roger Ebert, the Chicago Sun film critic gave the film 3 1/2 stars, describes the Mortmains as the tale of “a sublimely impractical family given to dramatic outbursts, ” who are “behind on the rent, short on food money [who are becoming] increasingly desperate.”

When the sons and heirs of the castle arrive on the scene and find the family squatting in the castle, the fun begins. This film does have brief scenes of nudity, but otherwise, it is a family film.

BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh: A Review

My January/February 2022 selection is Brideshead Revisited

This 1944, WWII publication, has been described as a “memory drama.” Judging from the photos on the cover, it has been made into a good movie, which I wish I’d seen as well as read the novel. The narrative opens as Charles Ryder, a British officer, approaches the estate of Brideshead, to determine its suitability for billeting troops. He does not, at first, tell his fellow officers that he has been there before.

I wish I had seen the movie.

Waugh’s dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church, much like his dissatisfaction with the funeral industry in The Loved One, is expressed through satiric humor, which makes many somber philosophical points. Death, in general, is also satirized humorously as in the scene near the end of the old man’s death, presented in dark-humored detail. Waugh cleverly presents the conflict between the demands of religion and the narrator’s physical desires. The descriptions of the countryside, and especially, architecture, are stunning and provide pleasure to the reader. The love triangle between Charles Ryder, Sebastian, and his sister, Julia is a strange and complicated one. The characters, including the mother are complex and carefully developed. This “elegant, lyrical novel” demands the reader stay alert to the narrator’s “entanglement with an Anglo-Catholic family.”

It was a challenge to read for me because the pace was slow, and I was often impatient with the Brideshead family’s treatment of the protagonist, as well as with the protagonist himself, often wishing for Charles to cut the ties to this privileged family and get on with his life.


Every other month I draw the name of a classic from a bowl and read that book in the next 60 days. There are other versions of The Classics Club on other blogs involving spinners, formal lists, and other exciting features.

For the October/November session, I drew the name of Don Quixote. (See post concerning my original dismay on choosing this book.) I finished it about a week ago, listening an audiobook version supplied by Hoopla. Cervantes wrote this seminal novel, often hailed as the prototype of the novel, and probably the first European novel. It is a book that contains a quest, or rather a series of misadventures.

The central character, Alonso Quixano, of noble birth, has such a passion for chivalry and especially books about it, that it drives him mad. He adopts the name of Don Quixote and the manners and values of a knight. As he stumbles and bumbles through the countryside seeking adventures and people to help or humble and bring to justice, he and his loyal squire, Sancho Panza philosophize about life as it should be, not as it is (reality). The novel teaches us to comprehend the world as a glorious quest, and ourselves as noble individuals with the highest desires of helping others.

I FINALLY read (listened to) this classic novel.

The reader learns from Cervantes that “individuals can be right while society is wrong.” It discusses the concept of madness: “…who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams–this may be madness.” It discusses the passion and “madness” one can own for books and ideas. “There is no book so bad…that it does not have something good in it.”

Don Quixote is also supposed to be humorous, and often the character of Sancho Panza is. I found it dry, silly, and humorless by today’s standards. Perhaps readers were more easily amused than in Cervantes’ day.

I am not sorry I read the book, now I can “check off the box;” however, I would never label it a “darned good read.”

Thank you, Evin.

CLASSICS CLUB, a little bit early

It’s not often I get to kill two birds with one stone, but one came my way this week.

My Page Turners Book Club, which meets at the Freeman library in Houston selected a classic for a good, old-fashioned winter read.
I love Edith Wharton but somehow never read this one.

The cover even looks appropriately wintery for our December book club selection for the Page Turners. And, since December 1st is the day to draw a classic title from the jar for that purpose, instead, I will substitute this classic, killing two birds with one stone.

What a clever girl, right? LOL

Thanks to google for the underline.



I am reading a classic every other month for the rest of 2021. August/September is the current selection I drew from a fishbowl.
Donna Tartt’s novel is considered a modern classic according to the list I consulted.

This 1992 publication is by the author of a novel selected by my Third Tuesday book club, The Goldfinch, and is one I enjoyed a great deal this summer. it is “compelling, elegant, dramatic, and playful.” Tartt’s History tells the story of a group of college students who are “clever, eccentric, misfits,” which includes themes of obsession, corruption, and betrayal.” It is one of the most suspenseful books I have ever read, a psychological thriller that had me holding my breath at points in the narrative. Many literary allusions grace the novel’s pages, something that held great appeal for this lit major.

It is a mystery that is solved at the beginning, then it unfolds and reveals as the narrative moves along, a “different” type of murder mystery in this respect. Above all else, it is a page-turning, darned good read. I highly recommend it.

Reading can be a good distraction in a time of stress.
Thanks, Erin

Friday Firstliners

(First Line Friday meme borrowed from Hoarding Books)

My June/July Classic Club “assignment” was The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

This week’s first lines come from:

“They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did. But we were not in their ranks. The Jamaican ladies had never approved of my mother, ‘because she pretty like pretty self.’ Christophine said.”

The mother mentioned in the first lines is the mother of non-other-than Rochester’s wife, “the madwoman in the attic” of Wuthering Heights, and this is her story. The other woman also has a large part in the narrative. Christophine is a Martinique woman, given to the mistress of the house as a young girl, who sees to her mistress and her daughter, and strongly influences them by her strong personality and island magic. The tales of Couliibri, the estate, are ones that make the reader wonder and tremble in fear. I finished the book last night after being pushed to turn pages rapidly and keep on reading far after I should have turned in for the night. It is an exciting, dramatic read.


Just as Saturday morning TV programing was reserved for kids, Saturday mornings on PWR bring recommendations for kids’ reading.

Saturday mornings in the 50s and 60s brought cartoons for kid’s viewing.

Today’s recommendation also happens to be my April selection for The Classics Club, a kid’s classic, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

This is the first month of The Classics Club selections for me. I am going to read a classic every other month for the rest of 2021 with the goal to read 5 classics by Jan. 31, 2022.
Why I never read this book before is a mystery to me. After reading it, I watched a great video version of it as well.

After a young girl’s parents are killed in India, she is sent to live with a reclusive uncle (her mother’s sister’s husband) in a gloomy, old Victorian mansion. There she meets her invalid cousin, her uncle’s son, and later a local boy who runs unsupervised among the property. Left to her own devices to entertain herself, the girl finds a door in the overgrown, neglected garden wall that leads to a glorious, wild and beautiful garden which has been untouched for years and years. Convinced the garden has healing qualities, she convinces her cousin to come and see. The three children begin to cultivate and improve the garden, and as the garden improves so does the cousin.

In an exciting, almost tragic ending, the old Biblical lesson, “…and a little child shall lead them.” comes to fruition as the girl restores beauty and joy to the house and the characters themselves. It is a lovely, uplifting story that is bound to improve anyone’s mood and spirit. I highly recommend it. Perhaps it is better approached as a read-together novel by parent or grandparent and child, since the wording is a bit old-fashioned, and some words may need explaining.