Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fighting to Complete My Classics Club Project by Next Year!

Okay, time flies, indeed, too fast! When I started The Classics Club Project in March 2012, five years seemed so far away, I believed this project would be quite an easy one. I was wrong! Yes, the first two years my progress was quite fast. Since then I have updated and added a lot of books to my original list of 100. But today I realized for the first time, that my deadline would be 8th March 2017—only 10 months from now! If I still want to complete this project, I must work out very diligently…starting today.

So, after reviewing my list, here’s the statistic: 

Books I have read so far (reviewed or not) = 105
- Novels =    79
- Plays =       21
- Non-fiction = 5

My current list is 165 (I know… I was too ambitious then!), which is impossible to complete all in 10 months. With my current speed, 2 books a month, I think, is the most realistic. So, I trimmed down my list to 125, which means I have 20 classics to read by March 2017. It would not be an easy conquest—not with my current activities, plus I am selling our old family house and buying a new apartment this year. No, it would be very tight, but I’m prepared to push myself to the limit. Then, let’s see what I can achieve by March next year!

And, as I would soon need a lot of money to furnish the new apartment, my trimmed-list consists only of books on my TBR pile. Here they are in random order:

  1. The Pickwick Paper, Dickens – currently reading, originally for o’s read along, but I decided not to follow the timeline, as I found it difficult to reconnect with the characters after leaving them for a month.
  2. Our Mutual Friend, Dickens
  3. The Age of Innocence, Wharton
  4. The Belly of Paris, Zola
  5. The Conquest of Plassans, Zola
  6. The Earth, Zola
  7. The War of the Worlds, Wells
  8. The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck
  9. Ben Hur, Wallace
  10. Defense Speeches, Cicero
  11. The Swann’s Way, Proust
  12. Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Hardy
  13. The Hobbit, Tolkien
  14. Tales of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald
  15. On the Origin of Species, Darwin
  16. The Trial, Kafka

3 plays, each from Marlowe, Ibsen, and (perhaps) Wilde

  1. The Dreyfus Affair: J’Accuse & other Writtings, Zola – currently reading 

So, 20 classics in 10 months. Read read read! And minimize the social media! Wish me luck!...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Belle Époque Artists: Victor Gabriel Gilbert

Victor Gabriel Gilbert (1847-1935) was a French painter of genre scenes. Gilbert was born in Paris on 13th February 1847. His natural ability for drawing was acknowledged at an early age but due to financial circumstances he was required to work as an artisan. He received his formal training from L. Em. Adan, Levasseur and Ch. Busson.

In 1873 he had his debut at the Paris Salon and continued to be a faithful exhibitor at the Salon des Artist Francais where he obtained a silver medal in 1889, received the Bonnet Prize in 1926 and the Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1897. He was highly respected for his fine detailed work and was considered an inspiration to many artists. His views of the colourful Parisian life, the boulevards, cafés and flower stalls became well known. At the same time he turned his effect on the portrayal of adorable children, accomplishing a sensibility and great harmony towards his subject.

The Square in front of Les Halles, 1880

Any Zola's fans must have remembered that this paintings was used by Oxford World's Classics as The Belly of Paris' cover. Such a nice idea too to pick a painting from one of Belle Epoque's artists. I imagined... maybe Gilbert was one of Zola's Impressionist friends...

The Fish Hall at the Central Market, 1881

Flower Seller in front of the Madeleine Church

It was during the mid 1870s that Gilbert became a close friend to Pierre Martin, one of the principal supporters of the impressionist movement and Victor Gilbert’s paintings secured a place amongst his collection of Impressionists like Monet, van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin. Victor Gilbert’s paintings were not only well sought after in France, he also exhibited in 1883 in Munich, 1894 in Vienna and he was a great success in London in 1908. Today his work can be viewed in the Museums of Bayeux, Besançon, Bordeaux, Dieppe, le Havre, Lille, Liége, Nice and Strassbourg.

The Children's Dance Recital

Place dAnvers Et Le Sacre Coeur

I posted this for my Belle Époque Event 2016, You will find more artists along the year; the next one will be up (hopefully) very soon!