Classics Club

Classics Club – ringing the changes

classicsclub3Hooray, the Classics Club has reinstated its monthly question after a gap of many, many months. Although sometimes they were a bit tough to answer, they did make me pause and think about what I was reading from my list and why.

The latest question is:

“Have you made changes to your list since you first created it? If you added any new titles or removed some, why did you make those changes?”

The simple answer is that I seem to be constantly tempted to fiddle and tweak my Classics Club list to fill in gaps in my reading experience (often the result of  a reference in another blog). I’ve also removed a few that were, on reflection, titles that felt more like work than pleasure

This year I’ve made two revisions, adding far more than I removed. Added to the list were:

  • Basil by Wilkie Collins ( I liked most of Collins’ work but have never come across this before)
  • All Passion Spent – Vita Sackville West . One of her most popular works
  • New Grub Street – George Gissing. One of the Guardian’s top 100 novels
  • Frost in May by Antonia White. The first novel issued by Virago Books I believe. A re-read from many years ago.
  • Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett. A coming-of-age story set in the Midlands of Victorian England, this is the first in a series written between 1910 and 1918. Bennett is an interesting author because in his lifetime he wasn’t rated by contemporaries like Virginia Woolf but he underwent a bit of a revival in the 1990s.

I deleted from the list The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov after hearing details of this book in Andy Miller’s A Year of Reading DangerouslyI’m not a great fan of the kind of magical elements found in that book.

I may well make further changes before August 2017 which is the date by which I’m meant to have read 50 of the titles.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

11 thoughts on “Classics Club – ringing the changes

  • I like the sound of Arnold Bennett as I love this period and a good coming of age story.

    • My husband has read him and enjoyed though he did say the pace was rather slow. It will be an experiment for me

  • piningforthewest

    I’ve made a lot of changes to my list, mainly because I decided to tighten up my idea of ‘classic’ and keep to much older books, although I recently saw Winston Graham’s Poldark books in the ‘classic’ section in a secondhand bookshop, I’ve read Basil which was okayish and also The Claverings – donkey’s years ago but I remember enjoying it.

    • Poldark as a classic? now that’s really stretching it for me.

  • New Grub Street’s been on my TRB list for simply ages. Everytime I see it though, I’m compelled to mentally quote Dorothy Parker:
    ‘When I admit neglect of Gissing
    They say I don’t know what I’m missing
    Until their arguments are subtler
    I think I’ll stick to Samuel Butler’

    Enjoy 🙂

    • Ah well I can’t comment on that comparison not having read Butler either!

  • I do wish I had the gumption to work my way through some of the Classics – they just make me think of school! It’s much easier to dive into something popular and modern – and much lazier, too! So many of them seem so intimidating.

    • some of them can seem a bit daunting (they are often rather long for one thing) but there are plenty of choices of texts which are not too difficult to get into. Try Wuthering Heights for example, such a good story

  • I’d read a few Arnold Bennett books years ago and it probably was in the 90’s – I particularly enjoyed The Card. It was very witty and clever. I thought your comment about ‘more work than pleasure’ very true – I do that myself – madness really when there’s so much out there I would enjoy!

    • My husband has been trying to persuade me for years to give him a go. I’ve relented just to stop the nagging….

  • Some of my faves here – Antonia White, Arnold Bennett – good, old fashioned quality story telling ‘about stuff’ and with credible characters, intricate relationships. He is a quality craftsman rather than doing clever innovative stuff. And I love the Gissing, though it is a remarkably SOUR and splenetic read. Tempted to re-read all!


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