I just posted a new Classics Club list last week, and coincidentally, now they have announced a spin. The way it works is, if you want to participate, you pick 20 books from your list and post that list. The spin picks a number, and that determines which book you read next. The deadline for reading the book this time is August 22.
Since I have a new list to work with, I decided to pick 20 of the books I want to read most. Here they are:
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Bride of Lammermoor by Walter Scott
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
Weatherley Parade by Richmal Crompton
The Woods in Winter by Stella Gibbons
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
Much Dithering by Dorothy Lambert
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
The Moon Spinners by Mary Stewart
Miss Plum and Miss Penny by Dorothy Evelyn Smith
Rhododendron Pie by Margery Sharp
Merkland, A Story of Scottish Life by Margaret Oliphant
The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Methods of Lady Waldenhurst by Frances Hodgson Burnett
With The Sea Hawk I have finished my second Classics Club list. By some marathon reading, I finished posting my last reviews exactly a week later than my original deadline, owing to my neglect of the list for a couple of years. I was reading a lot of classics, just not the ones on my list, and I forgot to notice my deadline until six months ago.
In any case, it is time for a third list. Here it is. I am posting this list on July 7, 2021, and setting myself a deadline of July 6, 2026. As usual, I am attempting to read some classics from different centuries. I am also picking books from a few more countries than just England and the U. S. In some ways, this list seems more imposing than my previous ones.
The Aeneid by Virgil (30 to 19 BCE)
The Book of Dede Korkut by Anonymous (14th or 15th century)
Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe (1598)
Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare (1598)
The Fair Jilt by Aphra Behn (1688)
Tis Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford (1633)
The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (1678)
Cecilia, Memoirs of an Heiress by Frances Burney (1782)
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1811)
The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins (1856)
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (1865)
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
Belinda by Maria Edgeworth (1801)
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (1878)
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (1861)
The Saga of Gosta Berling by Selma Lagerloft (1891)
The Prophet’s Mantle by E. Nesbit (1885)
Merkland, A Story of Scottish Life by Margaret Oliphant (1851)
A Double Life by Karolina Pavlova (1848)
The Bride of Lammermoor by Walter Scott (1889)
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)
Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope (1867-1869)
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin (1953)
Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum (1929)
The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz (1938)
The Methods of Lady Walderhurst by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1901)
The Book of Lamentations by Rosario Castellanos (1962)
Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (1976)
Weatherley Parade by Richmal Crompton (1944)
The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermoût (1955)
The Deepening Stream by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1933)
The Moorland Cottage by Elizabeth Gaskell (1950)
The Woods in Winter by Stella Gibbons (1970)
The Mayor’s Wife by Anna Katherine Green (1907)
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (1950)
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1862)
Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston (1942)
Much Dithering by Dorothy Lambert (1938)
The Tavern Knight by Rafael Sabatini (1904)
Rhododendron Pie by Margery Sharp (1930)
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute (1950)
The Tree of Heaven by May Sinclair (1917)
Miss Plum and Miss Penny by Dorothy Evelyn Smith (1959)
Having just posted my review of the last book on the shortlist for the 2016 James Tait Black fiction prize, I am now posting my feature wherein I examine whether I think the judges got it right. In this case, of the four nominees, I liked two and disliked two.
I’ll start with the winner of that year’s prize, You Don’t Have to Live Like This by Benjamin Markovits. I felt that it handled its themes of racism and gentrification poorly and employed constructs of magazine writing that don’t really work in fiction. It also seemed bogged down by lots of ineffective and inconclusive conversations between characters and by an ineffectual main character.
The other book I didn’t really enjoy that much was Beatlebone by Kevin Barry, a fantasy about John Lennon visiting Western Ireland. Not much happens in this book, and what does happen, I didn’t find interesting. Although the novel is very well written, I thought it seemed like fanboy fiction.
The First Bad Man by Miranda July tickled my funny bone, with its plethora of eccentric characters. I found this novel bizarre but touching.
I would have given the prize to The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall. It’s about the isolation of an emotionally detached woman and events that allow her to open the door to the people in her life. I found it thoughtful and vital.
It’s time for another Classics Club Spin. I have been trying to finish my list in time for my deadline, which is coming up at the end of June. I’m not going to make it, but I’ve been scheduling in books that I read months ago to try to get most of the books reviewed by then, and I have been reading like crazy to finish the others. With any luck, I’ll only be a month or so late. That means that my list for this spin is going to be repetitive.
To participate in the spin, you post a numbered list of 20 of the books from your Classics Club list (or in my case, however many books you have left over and over to make a list of 20). The Classics Club picks a number, and that determines the book you’ll read for the spin. So, here is my list! We are posting these lists by April 18th, and the deadline to read the chosen book is May 31.