A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
This was my Classics Spin #2 read, and I loved it. I miss Paris every summer since my study abroad five years ago, and I have been meaning to read A Moveable Feast for years. It is Hemingway's memoir of his life in Paris. Being Hemingway, he is rather sparse on the details and definitely focuses more on his relationships with people in Paris, rather than the city itself, but I still loved the atmosphere that peeked through Hemingway's experiences, as well as learning how he felt about his writing. Hemingway seems to be a hate-him-or-love-him type of author, and while I didn't enjoy him in high school, I have come to really appreciate his clear, direct style of writing. I tend to associate different writing styles with the way I feel after eating certain types of food (weird, yes?). Hemingway tastes like good steel cut oats with no sugar added but with some good fruit stirred in. Not a ton of flavor, but nourishing and hearty.
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Paradise Lost is another book I've been meaning to read for years (seems I feel that way about many of the classics). I felt that I should read it because it has influenced so many authors, but I never expected to love it -- I just perceived it as one of those obligatory must-read-to-be-a-literate-book-lover things. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this retelling of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, told in epic poetry style. It definitely took some patience at times, and I didn't get all of the mythological references, having read the cheapy version on my Kindle instead of a footnoted edition, but the beauty of the writing frequently took my breath away. While I don't agree doctrinally with everything in Milton's narrative, I enjoyed the story and was swept away by his fantastic writing.
Warnings: Some thematic material but basically clean
Emma by Jane Austen
Emma was a reread for me. I read the book in high school or middle school and was largely unimpressed. At that point I'd read Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice and seen the movies, and I was disappointed in the lack of sweeping romance that I saw in Emma. It was longer than the other Jane Austen novels and the heroine was frequently aggravating. I decided it was just a miss for me and moved on.
However, a few months ago I watched Clueless and loved it even more than I had remembered. I started to wonder how well it followed Emma and decided to attempt a reread. This time, I adored the book. I'm not sure if I understand it better or if my sense of humor has matured, but I found Emma's schemes and character flaws to be endearing. Yes, she was imperfect and nosy and at times judgmental, but she was also genuinely kind, albeit frequently misguided. And the way the romance slowly swelled appeals to me now that I am past my hormonal teenage angst. I loved it.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream is also a reread for me. I read it for the Once Upon a Time Challenge. I've always loved this story, but I think now that I am older I can really appreciate Shakespeare's writing. Being significantly less eloquent than the Bard, I don't have the most articulate way to pinpoint the quality that I love about his work. It is just good. It's poignant and apt about human nature and I love it. Hooray for Shakespeare!