Classics Club Spin #4

I’ve been part of the Classics Club for a year now, and though I’ve been steadily reading and reviewing some classics, I haven’t really participated in any of the “events”. But I saw that there was another Spin challenge in the works, so I’m going to take a gamble and join in!

The rules of the game are as follows:

  1. Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  2. Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
  3. Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next MondayNovember 18.
  4. Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  5. The challenge is to read that book by January 1, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (No fair not listing any scary ones!)

Five books I can’t wait to read:

1. The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery (sounds like it could be a nice comfort read!)

2. Faces in the Water by Janet Frame (I’ve been wanting to read one of her books since seeing the film about her life called An Angel at My Table. It’s going to be a tough read, since it’s a fictional account of life in a mental institution (Frame herself was institutionalized and almost received a lobotomy.)

3. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux (Since I love travel memoirs, I’m trying to read some of the classics in that genre.)

4. Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman (A love story set in the Canadian wilderness sounds like a great winter read.)

5. Original Letters from India by Eliza Fay (Eliza Fay traveled from England to India in 1779 and wrote letters so great, E.M. Forster arranged to get them published.)

Five Books I’m Neutral About

6. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (I enjoyed Faulkner when I read him in college, but wonder a little if I’ll feel the same about his writing now.)

7. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (this would be my first Bradbury.)

8. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck (never read Pearl Buck before, seems a good place to start.)

9. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (I hardly even know what this is about, but it’s just one of those American classics I feel I should read.)

10. Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming (another travel memoir classic)

Five Books I Dread

11. Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi (the title should explain why I might not be eager to pick this one up.)

12. The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon (11th century Japanese account of court life? intrigued but also a little scared.)

13. The Oresteia by Aeschylus (Ancient classics are just not really my thing, but I’m trying to branch out.)

14. Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (I think I started this one a couple of years ago and didn’t make much headway, but I do still want to finish it someday.)

15. Dispatches by Michael Kerr (A war correspondent’s dispatches about the Vietnam War. Requires a bit of psyching up.)

Five Chunksters (Free Choice category) – pages are from whatever paperback version I first looked at in Goodreads

16. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (601 pages)

17. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (731 pages)

18. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (505 pages)

19. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (896 pages)

20. In this House of Brede by Rumer Godden (672 pages)


Now, I’ll just have to wait and see! Most hoping for Mrs. Mike, most dreading Farewell to Arms (I don’t think I like Hemingway.)  Oh and in case you were curious, I like a good chunkster in the winter months, which is why they are not in the Dread category.



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17 responses to “Classics Club Spin #4

  1. Several of the books on your spin list are completely new to me. Well, there goes my ballooning to-read mountain…

    Don’t be afraid of The Pillow Book. It’s one of my favorites! It’s a mix of entries on the author’s daily life, interspersed with lists, such as:

    “Pleasing Things:
    Finding a large number of tales that one has not read before.
    Or acquiring the second volume of a tale whose first volume one has enjoyed.
    But often it is a disappointment.”

    “Elegant Things:
    A white coat worn over a violet waistcoat.
    Duck eggs.
    Shaved ice mixed with liana syrup and put in a new silver bowl.
    A rosary of rock crystal.
    Wisteria blossoms. Plum blossoms covered with snow.
    A pretty child eating strawberries.”

    My copy has a ton of bookmarks in it. I love revisiting passages. The Pleasing Things list tickles me because for readers some things never change, do they? 😉

    Good luck with your spin choice!

    • Thanks so much for sharing that excerpt! Makes me feel much more encouraged about reading this – I won’t mind if it gets picked. 🙂 And yes, I love when classics surprise with the universality of their sentiments!

  2. If you want a really good Ray Bradbury book, Fahrenheit 451 is a really awesome book!

    Good luck with your spin list, you have some really interesting books in there. A few I’ve never heard of!

    • It’s surprising I haven’t read Fahrenheit 451, but it feels like one I “know” already, and sometimes that weirdly makes a book less interesting to me. Someday, though.

  3. Good luck with the spin. I am also planning to take part 🙂

  4. Glad you’re joining the spin! I loved Mrs. Mike when I read it way back when and have wanted to revisit it for years. The Good Earth is one of my all-time favorites. Good luck on Monday 🙂

  5. Glad you’re taking part too 🙂
    I’ve read Farewell to Arms and really didn’t enjoy it. I hope you have more luck than me if it is chosen for you!

  6. It looks like everyone’s got a different favourite book from Bradbury. I’ve read four of his books, two novels and two short story collections, and short stories (The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man) are my favourites (even though I usually do not read this genre at all). Fahrenheit is a good book and so is Something Wicked, though, because he writes so well!

    I am the same with Faulkner – I read The Sound and the Fury in uni, and loved it so much, but haven’t read anything after that so very curious how I will feel about his works now years later 🙂

    Good luck with the spin!

  7. Several of these books are new to me. I’m interested in The Pillow Book from Candiss’s comment – it definitely sounds interesting. It took me months to read Les Miserables, as not only is it long it is also very detailed and Hugo has many digressions from the main plot – but it is very good! I think I’d dread reading the Levi book the most and the book I’d most want to read from your list is East of Eden.

  8. piningforthewest

    That’s a very interesting list. The only one which I have read is In This House of Brede, years ago but I remember I did really enjoy it. I have all of Primo Levi’s books but haven’t plucked up courage to read them yet.

  9. Good luck on Monday. I hope the spin will give you a book you enjoy and avoid the ones you’re dreading. I loved Les Miserables and Great Expectations and I agree that chunksters are perfect winter reads!

  10. I’m hoping for Great Expectations! I was not a fan of As I Lay Dying, but then again I have a weird disinterest in books set in the south. I don’t know what it is about them, but I rarely enjoy reading them. Anyway, great choices overall! 🙂

  11. lakesidemusing – Thanks! I already own the Good Earth, so if it gets picked I’m ready to go. 🙂

    Sam – I’m pretty sure I’m not going to like it but I feel like I should say that I tried. I’ve read Hemingway before, but only in high school.

    Riv – Good to know re: Bradbury’s short stories. In college I took a special topics class that was only on Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor – I think we read four of Faulkner novels and I really enjoyed his writing style then.

    Margaret – Yeah, if I get one of these chunksters I’m not going to beat myself up if I can’t finish it by the ‘deadline’ – I can definitely see Les Mis taking me a while if that’s the one that is chosen.

    piningforthewest – I’m really curious about Godden’s book and yeah, definitely intimidated by the Levi book.

    Helen – Thanks!

    lostgenerationreader – I’m from New England and the South sometimes fascinates me, just some differences in the culture and feeling of books set there.

  12. I had never heard of The Blue Castle until recently when I did a review on an Australian book called The Ladies of Missalonghi. I discovered that the author, Colleen McCullough had been accused of plagarising it from … The Blue Castle. I loved The Ladies, so I’m now very keen to read The Blue Castle and compare it for myself.

  13. Pingback: Classics Club Spin Pick: Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming | A Good Stopping Point

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