12 Classic Loves Collab with Samantha

Hi guys! 

Surprise! I’m not SJ. 

I’m Samantha (or Sam, up to you), and I blog at Bookshire, where I talk about books, from reviews and analyses of habits of the reading and writing world, to digressing into flash fiction and raving about my favorite books (and occasionally movies). I’m so grateful that SJ suggested doing this collaboration! It’s been a lot of fun. 

Today I’m here on SJ’s blog to talk about twelve of my Very Favorite Classics in no particular order, excluding books by Lewis or Tolkien, because otherwise this would turn into a Lewis And Tolkien Appreciation Post. Which would be amazing, but not entirely what I’m going for. 🙂

Without further ado, let’s dive in! 

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

“Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people—those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment, and those who find comfort in food.” “How can I go down on one knee when I’m in the middle of my tea?”

Elizabeth Goudge


This was one of my absolute favorite books growing up–I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. I love Gouge’s penetrating but subtle commentary on human nature, alloyed with a beautiful story of a girl who’s willing to give up her pride to make things right, all set in a fantasy-esque manor estate.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

“Laws and principles are not for times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor.”

“We were born to stive and endure.”

Charlotte Brontë


This was the book that made me love literature class. I suddenly realized that even if a book is required reading, it can be absolutely amazing. And this one is. I love Jane’s determination to do the right thing, her fearlessness, and her capacity for forgiveness. She’s probably one of my favorite female characters in classic literature.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.”

Louisa May Alcott


A classic. Well, I mean, they’re all technically classics, but this is a…classic classic? I think this was actually one of the first “adult classics” I encountered as a kid–my mom read it aloud to me! I still have really good memories of that. It’s just such an enduring story, with the right amounts of growth and heartache and love and sisters. 

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!”
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Jane Austen


How could I leave Jane Austen off the list? Pride & Prejudice won my heart from the moment the ridiculous Bennet parents came on the scene, and…still hasn’t given it back. The amounts of snark! The humor! The handsome and altogether too relatable Mr. Darcy! (Honestly, if I had to describe myself in one character…it might have to be Mr. Darcy.) Plus, the sister game is strong with this one, too. Win!

Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery

“Nobody is ever too old to dream. And dreams never grow old.”
“Have you ever noticed how many silences there are, Gilbert?”

L. M. Montgomery

I have a confession to make. The first Anne book is actually…not my favorite of the series. Anne’s so very talkative and imaginative and idealistic and makes so many mistakes at the beginning that it drives me slightly nuts. I like Anne much better as she ages and mellows…at least a little! I wouldn’t want her to lose her essential Anne-ness. Windy Poplars is probably my very favorite of the Anne books–it’s told in letters, which is a form I absolutely love, Anne is more mellow but still her lovable self, and there’s a tremendous amount of growth. All of that besides the phenomenally described setting of Windy Poplars itself. 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

Harper Lee


I’m not sure how I didn’t get around to reading this until last year? Because it’s amazing. Having the narrator really keeps it from being too heavy and preachy by (in my experience) actually almost taking the reader back to the time when they saw things in a simpler way. And so Lee is able to deeply drive home her point about racism, but in a really subtle (almost…enjoyable?) way. 

The Aeneid by Virgil

“Even when Greeks bring gifts, I fear them, gifts and all.”

“Shall a single woman drive you out of line, breaking our formation?”

Virgil


What’s not to love about epic poetry? This poem is like a mix between the Odyssey and the Iliad, with around equal parts epic journeys and epic battles. I love the flow of the language, the amount of quality theme-age, and Aeneas! That man is awesome. 

The Princess & the Goblin by George MacDonald

“Princesses don’t always have their handkerchiefs in their pockets, any more than some other little girls I know of.”
“The less his mother said, the more Curdy believed she had to say.”

George MacDonald


I still have extremely fond memories of my grandmother bringing this one with her on a visit and reading it to me for an hour each day! It’s a fairytale for children, but it’s not afraid to be unique and subtle and mysterious. It’s just the right amount of mix between fairytale and fleshed-out book, with characters who…honestly make more sense than many fairytale characters.

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

“If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs, Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence.”
“It is this silent swerving from accuracy by an inch that is the uncanny element in everything.”

G. K. Chesterton


When SJ suggested this idea to me, she suggested we leave out Lewis and Tolkien, but she didn’t say anything about Chesterton! So I’m free to nerd out about one of my new favorite theology books. Orthodoxy is the only nonfiction book on this list, but it’s one of the most brilliant books about Christianity I’ve ever read. Chesterton has a gift of opening his reader’s eyes to how amazing the thing he’s writing about is, and he definitely does that here; I came out of the book amazed at how cool Christianity is! 

Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather

“This church was Sada’s house, and he was a servant in it.”
“Doctrine is enough for the wise, Jean, but the miracle is something we can hold in our hands and love.”

Willa Cather


I love this beautiful and slow-moving picture of a holy bishop trying to evangelize in New Mexico. The setting almost feels alive, the characters are so real and beautiful, and while the plot is definitely slow, it’s deep and impactful.

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

“Logic is mingled with convulsion, and the thread of a syllogism floats unbroken in the dreary storm of thought.”
“And then, do you know, Monsieur Marius, I believe I was a little in love with you.”

Victor Hugo


I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did! But it’s a brilliant philosophical discussion of justice, mercy, and the poor, wrapped up in the story of several extremely compelling characters, including my favorite, Jean Valjean. I loved it all the way through, and even loved the part about the Parisian sewers!

Antigone by Sophocles

“These are the laws whose penalties I would not incur from the gods, through fear of any man’s temper.”
“The time in which I must please those who are dead is longer than I must please those of this world.”

Sophocles


It’s only a play. Very short. But it packs a punch! It’s about the importance of the natural law over the laws of man, and the story of the young girl who knows this better than the king does. It’s about bravery and humility and the importance of wisdom and humility in leadership. 

So there you have it! Twelve of my favorite classics, in no particular order. 🙂

SJ has a post over on my blog with twelve of her favorite classics, which you can read here, if you’re so minded! 

Thanks for reading! And a big thank you to SJ for having me!

Have a lovely day

-Samantha

What did you think? Are you a fan of Classics? Were there classics on the list that’s also your favourite? Let Sam and I know your thoughts in the comment below; we’d love to chat with you!

7 Japanese Authors I Love

Hullo, World! Another beautiful day!

Albeit, I am confined to bed. I’ve had a fever of over 38 degrees Celsius since Sunday, and had to go in for a PCR test. (Good old PCR machine…I really wanted to see a medical size one!)

Thankfully, I did not have COVID 19. It was just a flu. Well, just doesn’t really cover it, but still.

Anyhow. On a more brighter note, the sun is shining again, and my body aches less. Today I’ll be sharing with you 7 Japanese Authors I Love since it was Asian heritage month. Or something like that, and the month is ending. *tries not to stare at the pile of TBR*

1: Matsutani Miyoko_松谷みよ子

松谷みよ子—Matsutani Miyoko is probably the number one Japanese author I love. I’ve been reading her novels from grade one, and picture books from a younger age. Each story is crafted with the sensitivity of childhood imagination infused with a gut-wrenching truth that is revealed quietly. Almost all her stories have something in them that makes me cry 😭

2: Dazai Osamu_太宰治

This is the famous author of 『人間失格』—No Longer Human. I’ve also been a fan of Dazai since about grade four or five, and recently re-established my love for his works after falling headfirst into the 文豪ストレイドッグス—Bungo Stray Dogs fandom. (It’s a manga series about classical authors who have superpowers based off their books, which is like the coolest thing EVER!!!) I love his pessimistic proper narrative and the visual sounds he uses. Some of his works are kind of inappropriate, but you should definitely read his short stories, and novels if you’re old enough.

3: Sumino Yoru_住野よる

Sumino Yoru is a recent love of mine. She’s the author of the famous book-turned-movie-turned-manga-turned-anime, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas. But personally, I like the book I Was Having The Same Dream Again—また同じ夢を見ていた—which I read last summer. Her book is so sparkly and yet so true. I think that’s one of the things I like in books: Sparkly and Honest.

4: Nakumura Fuminori_中村文則

This is another author who blew my mind. Since I moved to Canada, I don’t get to read many Japanese books (esp. recent authors). I might be behind, but I really love Nakamura’s writing style. It flows freely and doesn’t distract from the dark themes he explores, but lends to it whole heartedly. I must say that his books do tend to be dark, but there is a sliver of hope he ties each story off with that is quite satisfying.

5: Murakami Haruki_村上春樹

And here we come to the legendary Haruki Murakami. Honestly, his works are definitely R18, so I haven’t had the chance to read many of his works (Read the Norwegian Forest, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, started IQ84.) He has a very distinct writing style that feels homely and out of worldly at the same time.

6: Tezuka Osamu_手塚治虫

Okay, technically speaking, Tezuka Osamu is not a writer, but THE manga artist—the Father of Manga—so I just had to include him. I mean, he’s probably the only person who got to publish his manga on a literary magazine, in 文藝春秋—bungei shun shu! Plus, I used to live in Takadano-baba which is like his character’s home town. The train departing chime was Astro Boy’s theme song.

7: Yanagi Kouji_柳広司

If you didn’t know, I am crazy about WWII (since age six) and spies (since age twelve). (I have this thick pile of research I did just for fun and a comprehensive reading list.) Put the two together, I’ll hyperventilate.

Well, Yanagi Kouji did just that—he combined WWII and spies, plus made them Japanese. (I have nothing against British spies. In fact, I love all things English. I just like seeing diversity, you know?) Even though he write mainly mysteries and action-thrillers, he does so with grace and an underlying understanding of human value. It’s really brilliant, and I could go on but I will stop here 😂

I think that’s it for now, although there must be bunch of Japanese authors I love that I’m forgetting.

What did you think? Do you recognise any of the authors I’ve mentioned? Or, are you interested in reading some of their translated works? Let me know in the comments below; I’d be thrilled to chat with you about it!

Paradise Lost and Why You Should Read “Hard” Books

Quite obviously, I had finished reading Paradise Lost by John Milton. Sadly, it had taken me four days to finish it, and this is indeed a sad stat to give you since I try to finish a book in three days at the most. But I must say I quite enjoyed this epic, and this leads to the topic, Why You Should Read “Hard” Books.

Most of the people I know do not simply read the older classics that gives you headaches for fun. (Note: Please omit the author of this post who very much enjoys such things.) Even the bookworm would have their genres and the niches they like to stay in, to cuddle up inside as a safety blanket from other monstrosities like romances. Of course, that is, if romance isn’t your cup of tea like myself. Anyhow, to make my point here, you only have to reflect on your reading habit…consider how many Plato you’ve read, or epics, or even the minor prophets. Or Numbers. Actually, Numbers is not evil. My mum once gave us a math lesson from the census, which was pretty awe-inspiring…I digress once again.

But you get the point. Countless people think of themselves as being quite literate, when in fact they’ve only read the fifteenth book by Rick Riordan. No, my dear comrades, to become a true bookworm, you must read all those books that makes you nod your head.

These are the kind of books like non-fiction if you’re a fiction person, or fiction if you’re a non-fiction person. They are the Church History by Eusebius, epics by Homers and Virgils, and Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (Now, that book is evil. Positively evil. I even named one of my villains after him.) It’s the kind of books that you can’t help but feel your heart failing from the sheer number of pages, or from the convoluted prose that drives you to tears.

“But why?” You might ask. “Why should I spend my precious time over obscure books rotting in library basements?”

I’m glad you asked that question, comrade. Because, these are the kind of books people like C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien read when they were teenagers. All the literary giants that we look up to learned from these ancient literary giants. Yes, that’s correct. To be a writer is not to be a reader. It’s to be a literate person who devours any kind of books, no matter how long or how hard. We have to do hard things on purpose if your Work In Progress is going to be that book people will still read about fifty years from now. And even if you don’t want to be that kind of writer, I would still push and exhort you into becoming literate. For without literacy, you become a gullible person that the “empires” of this world can propagate and deceive easily. And as a believer, I certainly do not wish for such things to happen.

So I offer to you a few practical advises. If you are the kind of person who already reads a lot, I challenge you to find three other types of writing that you usually do not read. Then make a routine to read them at least once a month. For me, this looks like a loop of classics–nonfiction–light fiction (like YA)–other mediums (Japanese books, newspapers, research papers, etc). It’s a good idea to pace yourself so you don’t burn out, but pushing yourself somewhat so reading is not only an escapism from where you don’t learn as much. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make reading non-recreational; in fact, I would say it’s the height of recreation. Just make learning a form of it.

For all of you who do not read, I beg you. Please find one simple book, whether it be self-help or fiction or fanfic or whatever it may be, and read it. If you have absolutely no idea what books are, go to your local library or bookstore and ask for a light read. You may like it. You may not. But in the end, it’s the first step that counts. No matter how little it may be, books can change your life. (Even if it’s that best selling YA book that I love to hate, it means something.)

So in conclusion, dear comrades, know this: Books are power. It has change the world, and it keeps changing the world. So why not read the past, present, and future together so you would gain golden insight and broader worldview grounded by a wide range of thinkers? Why not challenge yourself, and instead of saying “Shakespeare is too hard”, say “Shakespeare is challenging”?

For challenges, you can overcome. Hard things are simply hard.

What say you? Are there books you’ve read that practically burned you from the inside out from it’s challenging-ness? Let me know in the comments below, and I’d love to chat with you!