Reviving the Classic Club project – Spin #18

classicsclub3The Classic Club is entering a new era with a changing of the guard (in other words we have a new set of moderators). They’re fired up with bags of enthusiasm and some of that has clearly rubbed off on me because it’s prompted me to revisit my Classics Club list.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Classics Club the idea is that we list 50 classics that we’d like to read over the course of 5 years. The definition of ‘classic’ is very fluid so there’s no compunction to be reading Tristram Shandy if it doesn’t appeal.

I put my list together in August 2012 and made good progress for the first few years. But I’ve neglected it for the last twelve months. I read only two from the list last year and so far it’s just been one – The Ladies Paradise by Emile Zola  So naturally I didn’t make the “deadline’ of completing 50 by the end August 2017. I still have 14 titles to go. But really it doesn’t matter. It’s a self imposed deadline and I can’t imagine any of the club moderators are going to throw me out as punishment.

To coincide with the ‘relaunch’ of the club, we get to play in the Classics lub spin where the idea is to choose 20 titles from our Classics Club, number then in sequence starting with 1. On August 1, 2018  the wheel will turn and reveal the winning number. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on my Spin List, by 31 August 2018.

The moderators would like us to put the list together in four categories:

  • 5 books you are dreading/hesitant to read
  • 5 books you can’t WAIT to read
  • 5 books you are neutral about
  • 5 books which are free choice

I don’t really understand the point of creating a reading list that includes books I am dreading to read. So I don’t have any in that category. Nor do I have any that I can’t wait to read – if I truly couldn’t wait then I would have read them long ago. So I’m going to have to go with just a free choice list. Since I don’t have 20 titles remaining, I’ve had to add in a few to the original list just in case a number between 15-20 comes up on Wednesday.

My list is as follows: it’s a mixture of eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I’ve included two Welsh authors and an Australian to bring a little diversity

  1. The Vicar of Wakefield  — Oliver Goldsmith 1766
  2. The Black Sheep  — Honore Balzac 1842
  3. Basil Wilkie Collins 1852
  4. Framley Parsonage  Anthony Trollope 1861 
  5. New Grub Street George Gissing 1891
  6. Lord Jim   Joseph Conrad 1899
  7. Age of Innocence  — Edith Wharton 1920
  8. All Passion Spent  Vita Sackville West 1932
  9. The Pursuit Of Love  — Nancy Mitford 1945
  10. The Quiet American  — Graham Greene 1955
  11. My Brilliant Career — Miles Franklin  1901
  12. O pioneers —  Willa Cather  1913
  13. The Last September —  Elizabeth Bowen 1929
  14. Old Soldiers Never Die Frank Richards 1933
  15. Troy Chimneys  — Margaret Kennedy 1952
  16. Gone to Earth  — Mary Webb 1917
  17. Never No More Maura Laverty 1942
  18. Return of the Solider  — Rebecca West 1917
  19. A Kiss Before Dying  — Ira Levin 1953
  20. Turf or Stone  — Margiad Evans 1934

If I had to choose a few that I would most like to read it would be Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton whom I read many years ago but don’t feel I appreciated her enough at the time. I would be quite happy with some of the Virago classics too such as the Mary Webb or the Maura Laverty.

All will be revealed on August 1.

About BookerTalk

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

Posted on July 28, 2018, in Bookends, Classics Club and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. Great list! I am so tempted to join the Classics Club each winter when I get an urge to read little else but classics. I might actually do it this year, if I manage to clear the backlog of reviews it can be a treat.

    And I don’t understand why there’d be an option for adding a book you’re dreading reading. It’s not homework or an assignment at work.

    • Exactly Kath – reading is meant to be enjoyable. Listing books you dread to read puts it on a level with a visit to the dentist

      • *shudders* yep, currently avoiding mine until she spells my name right! There are too many books out there I want to read to start with any of that ‘should read’ ‘ought to read’ nonsense.

  2. I actually deleted my Classics Club list years ago, as I felt it was just another albatross around my neck. And yet, I can see the merit of listing classic books, a favorite genre, to read. Perhaps I should try again, and yet, like you, I would not include books I was ‘dreading’ to read. 😉

  3. I’d like to read a review of Wilkie Collins. My husband took Collins’s novel-turned-script of The Moonstone and produced it as a radio play back when we were in college.

  4. I love the Age of Innocence so hope that gets chosen too. Love in a Cold Climate is a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to read more by Wilkie Collins and Willa Cather. Good luck and happy reading!

  5. Excellent list! I loved The Pursuit of Love (also the sequel, Love in a Cold Climate); O Pioneers! is wonderful, and I am a huge Trollope fan so I always love to see his books on a list. I hope you’re happy with your spin pick on Wednesday!

  6. A very attractive selection and I note we both have The Quiet American on our list this time. I don’t go in for books I don’t want to read either, there would be no point but I did put Chocky on my list to try to give me a push to branch out into an genre I never touch… we’ll see how it goes should he come up!

  7. What a nice list! Lots of good stuff to chose from, although I wouldn’t want Gone to Earth. But The Return of the Soldier is an amazing book. Good luck with whatever you get! :)))

  8. Great initiative. Good luck!

  9. Great list you have here! I see you are hoping for Age of Innocence. I hope the numbers spin in your favor…I think all your books would be a win though.

  10. As the lone Aussie moderator at the Club, I feel honour bound to cheer for Miles Franklin this spin 🙂

  11. How nice to see My Brilliant Career make the cut!
    Yes, I agree, dreading a book means it has no place in your TBR… life’s too short, IMO, and unless you *have to* read a book for work or study, it should always be a case of reading for pleasure.

  12. I’m ashamed to admit it but I’ve not heard of many of these authors. Edith Wharton is definitely an author I didn’t appreciate when I was in college. I was just going through some books to donate and came across a couple of Rebecca West books and went back and forth on whether or not to donate. Ultimately, I decided to let them go. Don’t know if I’ll ever re-read her. Hope you get the spin # you want. Happy reading!

    • A few of the new titles added to my list are Virago modern classics and I hadn’t heard of the authors either until I started following the blog sites of people who love those books.

  13. Love the ‘spin’ idea. Enjoy the Mitford and the Franklin when you get to them.

  14. I have only read My Brilliant Career from your list. I should see what classics are on my shelf and play along this time.

  15. I just joined the Classics Club today and currently putting together my spin list. Can’t wait! You have a great list. I read Age of Innocence in college and should reread it. I remember it being a good discussion in class.

    • Welcome to the club – its very active so you should be able to find a few other bloggers with similar tastes to yours. I’ll go take a look at what you came up with later

  16. It’s a fairly good list. You have a lot of contrast. #19 should be Ira Levin, if I recall correctly. _Age of Innocence_ merits rereading—many times. Best wishes.

  17. Well I sort of finished my classics club ages ago – I had added far too many books but finished well over 100 in the end. My page doesn’t exist anymore (and I really am not planning another one) but I am so glad to see the classics club up and running again.

  18. That’s an interesting list. I haven’t read many of them, but I enjoyed Framley Parsonage, Troy Chimneys and Basil. The Black Sheep is on my list too, but at a different number. I hope the spin gives you something you enjoy!

    • You are about the only person I’ve come across who has read Troy Chimneys other than Ali at the heavenali blog. I picked it up in a second hand shop only because it was a virago modern classic and I seldom see them around so grab when I can

  19. I felt I had achieved at least the spirit of the club a few years ago, when I felt I had read most of my list. I don’t know whether u should go back, take stock and do a revamp. It might simply be “just read your Persephone greys you daft moo” situation

    • Well done for completing it. It is the kind of project that I think you could just keep going with as long as the interest is there, simply by adding more books to the list

  20. Get the audio version of “age of….” With Brenda Dayne as the narrator. American, having had some vocal training, She is just perfect for it. She is also a fibre person, particularly knitting and also now lives in Wales!

    • Where do you get your audio versions from – is it audible? I used to have a subscription but found I couldnt get through the books fast enough. so I thought I would just rely on the audio scheme with our library but it’s very limited. fine if you want a crime novel, but modern fiction is hardly evident.

      • Craftlit is a podcast worth subscribing to. Heather also does a non craft person version at crafting-a-life.

        Basically: heather is an English lit teacher. She releases one or two chapters of a out of copyright but ok each week, puts some context around it, and if you subscribe to the Craftlit version, some crafty stuff too!

        So: tale of two cities. Age of innocence. Pride and prejudice.

        With commentary and context.

        In weekly chapters.

        For free.

        Your call

        • I shall hunt that down. By the way I have had issues commenting on your blog because Disqus wants me to agree to all sorts of terms and conditions about giving away private info. And I’m not willing to do that. Sorry about that… it’s not that I am ignoring you

        • Odd. I hate Disqus too, for the same reasons and have not consciously enabled it on my site. I will look into it! Didn’t stop a self pub bed author do a review request on my review policy starting the request with “dear avid reader….”!

        • maybe its my set up then. it happens with a few other blogsites too

  21. That’s a good point you bring up – what to do if you’re under 20 books left on your list? I just joined up in February and have only read five so far so I still have plenty to go. Nice list – I enjoyed O Pioneers and The Pursuit of Love but those are the only ones I’ve read.

    • I never thought about it until I had to do the list yesterday. I could have asked the moderators I suppose for guidance. It might have been that you just put “free choice” for the numbers where you don’t have a title and then decide if the spin falls on one of those, just to pick any of the numbers where you do have a book

  22. I don’t put books on my list that I truly dread, but I do include ones I need a little push to get me to dive into. Invisible Man was my latest spin book and I was really glad it came up, because I’d been sidestepping it for years. Hope you enjoy your spin book!

    • Thats been my approach too Lory. Like I’m not really enthused by Love in the Time of Cholera because I’ve tried reading it before and didn’t get very far. But i think it deserves another go

  23. Like you, I included The Age of Innocence on my Classics Club list. Luckily, it turned out to be one of my reading highlights of 2017, a true classic in every sense of the phrase. I do hope you get it in the spin!

    • I hadn’t realised you did the classics club Jacqui. I shall go and have a look for your list now – you read so widely and so much that I’m surprised there are any ‘classics’ you’ve not read

  24. I’m with you, I can’t see the point of putting a book on my list I’m dreading reading. If you get Age of Innocence that means I get The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I can live with that. If I had your list I’d be hoping for Willa Cather – love her books. Here’s my spin list:


    Three on your list I have read- The Age of Innocents was amazing- it made me read the rest of her collection! O Pioneers fantastic! Graham Greene book is a super quick one & entertaining. I hope you get one of these for your spin! Enjoy!

    Sincerely, Tamara Townsend


    • Hi Tamara, thanks for increasing my expectation of how good the Wharton will be – I’m going to spend the next few days now keeping all fingers and toes crossed that the spin lands on that one

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