Six classics we’ll never get to read

six classics we’ll never get to read

The above linked article talks about classics that never got off the ground, so we aren’t able to read them today.  Some of them sound like they’d have been great books.

Isle of the Cross by Herman Melville

Herman Melville submitted Isle of the Cross to his publisher in 1853, two years after the publication of Moby Dick. It was based on a story Melville had come across while vacationing, about a woman abandoned by her sailor husband. Scholars agree that Melville had completed the work, but Harper and Brothers opted not to print it. The strange thing here is that the manuscript seemed to disappear completely after this. Did Melville destroy it? Did the publisher lose it? We’ll simply never know.

Falcon Yard and Double Exposure by Sylvia Plath

While The Bell Jar remains Plath’s only published novel, her personal papers reference at least two other fiction manuscripts which were never published. The first is Falcon Yard, based on the early years of her relationship with husband and poet Ted Hughes. Plath began work on this story before The Bell Jar, returning to it after her debut’s publication in 1963. But her second work of fiction never reached readers. Shortly after she’d resumed work on the book, Plath learned that her husband was having an affair. In response, Plath abandoned the story altogether and decided to burn the manuscript.

Plath’s second lost novel, Double Exposure, was another semiautobiographical novel. This time, she based the story on her husband’s infidelity and the collapse of their marriage. The author didn’t destroy this one, though. Instead, it’s believed that Hughes got rid of the manuscript following Plath’s death — though he claimed that Plath’s mother was the one who’d been in possession of the work. Regardless, the full manuscript has never resurfaced.

Untitled by Emily Brontë

Disclaimer: There’s little historical evidence that this “lost” novel ever existed. Rumor of the work is based entirely on a letter Emily Brontë (writing under the name Ellis Bell) received from her Wuthering Heights publisher, Thomas Cautley Newby, in 1848. The contents of the letter suggest that Brontë was about to begin or had already begun work on a second novel, though Newby urged her not to rush it. We don’t know the nature of the book or whether she ever finished it, but since Emily was the only Brontë sister to publish just one novel — and a haunting one, at that — we can’t help but wonder what this work would have been like.

Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald

Technically, yes, Save Me the Waltz was published in 1932. It’s still in print and it’s easily accessible. But the question is whether Zelda’s original manuscript was ever published in the form it was created.

Some experts claim that Zelda’s husband and fellow writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, made minimal changes the work, while other scholars say that Scott stole passages for his own book, Tender Is the Night — leaving her manuscript a remnant of its former self. Save Me the Waltz was panned by critics and Zelda never wrote another book. So, did Zelda publish the novel she wanted to publish? Though Zelda kept a journal and wrote plenty of letters, it is impossible to tell exactly how much of Save Me The Waltz is the book she’d originally set out to write or if it was published piecemeal in her husband’s works.

Memoirs by Lord Byron

During his lifetime and long after his death, Lord Byron maintained a reputation of being a strong personality clothed in scandal. His memoirs, surely, would have given us all the sordid details… but unfortunately we’ll never see get the chance to read them. When Byron died in 1824 at the age of 36, his publisher burned the memoirs — every last page. While a few of the writer’s friends did in fact read the manuscript, none of them ever wrote about what they’d seen in great detail. As for the publisher, the editors did what they thought was best. They were certain that Byron’s confessions would sully his reputation. One can only imagine how obscene the work must have been if there was concern that the memoirs would negatively impact the memory of a poet who had already achieved infamy among his peers. What could he have possibly written? And how much of it do we already know from myth?

Fifteen Books Worth Breaking Up Over

fifteen books worth breaking up over

The above linked article lists books that are so wonderful that they are worth breaking up with someone if that person doesn’t understand why you love the book so much.

The only one on this list that I disagree with is 50 Shades of Grey.  I just couldn’t do it, because it was so poorly written.  I stuck it out for several chapters before I gave up.

The others, I have read some, and have heard wonderful things about the others.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

by John Irving

Book cover for A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

Many of my classmates had to read this in junior high and high school. I didn’t. I am glad that I went back and read it.  It was such a beautifully written book about growing up.  It showed up on one of the lists from this Spring, Books we are glad that mom shared with us.  I was happy that it was such a great book.  It also showed up on the PBS The Great American Read list.

I have included my review below.

 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful book! I enjoyed every moment. Watching Francie grow and survive everything she and her family went through was wonderful. I can see why this is required reading for junior high and high school. I have been mentally writing my paper since I finished the book. There is so much symbolism that a paper would be easy to write. The book was an easy read and has definitely stood up through time. I am glad that the book ended when it did, so that we can guess what happened to Francie as she became an adult.

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Fifty books most people start but never finish

(Fifty books most people start but never finish)

I am in a list making mood today, I guess.  Or a list searching/posting/etc mood, anyway.  Many of these I have started.  Many of them I haven’t bothered to start.  A couple of them I have actually finished, but those are in the minority.  I may get to some on this list one of these days.

The Bible

Moby-Dick

War and Peace

Ulysses

The Canterbury Tales

A Tale of Two Cities

Gone with the Wind

Anna Karenina

Wuthering Heights

The Grapes of Wrath

The Iliad

Les Miserables

The Red Badge of Courage

Atlas Shrugged

Jane Eyre

The Scarlet Letter

Don Quixote

The Good Earth

The Bridges of Madison County

The Last of the Mohicans

Crime and Punishment

In Cold Blood

Walden

The Oxford English Dictionary

David Copperfield

Catch-22

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

The Sun Also Rises

Roots

The Silmarillion

Lord of the Flies

The Count of Monte Cristo

Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Animal Farm

Exodus

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Paradise Lost

Water for Elephants

1984

Watership Down

Pride and Prejudice

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Three Musketeers

Dracula

The Lord of the Rings

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Fountainhead

The adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Pillars of the Earth

Twilight