I recently completed a Read-A-Long by Unputdownables on “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. Basically, a Read-A-Long is a way of conducting an online book club. I wasn’t sure if I would like it, and I have been talking to a few friends about starting a digital book club myself, so I thought that I would participate and see how it went.
The procedure was to read to a certain point by a specific date, and then comment in response to the person in charge, to post your own opinions, and have a conversation with other people who are also reading the book.
I did enjoy the experience, aside from the fact that I had to post by Friday, when I think I’d prefer each post to be “due” on Sundays instead. I also think I’d enjoy commenting and communicating with people I know even more than with random strangers who are reading the book at the same time. It’d be more personal and probably easier to respond.
Interested in seeing how the Read-A-Long works? Here are the links that will help you out:
- Read-A-Long Week 1
- Read-A-Long Week 2
- Read-A-Long Week 3
- Books Speak Volumes Mini-Review
- Wuthering Heights Read-A-Long Sign-ups
On to the book. . . “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a classic by Oscar Wilde. If you are looking for a short read (free digitally on Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc.) that is humorous, this is the book for you.
The book is about two friends, Algernon and Jack, who have alter egos that love to party and get into trouble. Both friends fall head-over-heels in love with women who demand that their mates have the name of Ernest. As impractical and strange as this sounds, the book is funny and filled with ridiculous quotes such as these:
Algernon: “The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her, if she is pretty, and to someone else, if she is plain.” (p. 17)
Jack: “Cecily and Gwendolen are perfectly certain to be extremely good friends. I’ll bet anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister.” Algernon: “Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.” (p. 17)
Miss Prism: “No married man is ever attractive except to his wife.” Chasuble: “And often, I’ve been told, not even to her.” (p. 26)
and the last one I will quote so as not to spoil all of them for you. . .
Lady Bracknell’s opinion of marriage and engagements, which is hilarious: “To speak frankly, I am not in the favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which I think is never advisable.” (p. 51).
*The page numbers are based on my free Kindle edition.
It might be silly to say, but I honestly always forget that classic books can be funny, as “The Importance of Being Earnest” so classically is. It’s the same with black and white movies. I always seem to think that old, classic movies or books are going to be dull and boring. Then when I read one (or see one) I am surprised at how much I enjoy it and how easy it is to relate to some of the things going on in the books. Somehow I will have to bash this stereotype of mine!
What are your thoughts on classic books? Are there some you have enjoyed while others left you cold?