Reading plans

The Classics Club: Spin#33

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was putting a list together for the Classics Club Spin #32 and now here comes another.

For those unfamiliar with the “spin” the idea is to make a “Spin List” of 20 books from our classics club reading list. A random number will be selected by the club leaders on Sunday, March 19. The challenge will be to read whatever book falls under that number on my Spin List by April 30, 2023.

I’ve had varying success with the classics club spin in the past but did manage to read (though not yet review) the last one — Old Wives Tale by Arnold Bennett. Let’s hope things go well for me this time also.

My spin list is very similar to the one I used back in December. I’ve removed two that I’ve since read and also removed Can You Forgive Her by Anthony Trollope which is the first of his Palliser series. The BookerTalk household has been watching the 1974 dramatisation of the series over the last few months so I think I’ve had a surfeit of Trollope for now.

Fortunately I have plenty of unread titles to use as substitutes because I’ve barely made a start on my second Classics Club list. I’m adding into the mix novels by Henry James, Jean Rhys and Stella Gibbons.

Four books on my Classics Club spin list for March 2023
Here’s my spin list.
19th Century Classics
  1. Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)
  2. No Name by Wilkie Collins (1862)
  3. Armadale by Wilkie Collins (1864)
  4. New Grub Street by George Gissing (1891)
  5. What Maisie Knew by Henry James (1897)
20th Century Classics
  1. Ethan Frome  by Edith Wharton:  (1911)
  2. O Pioneers by Willa Cather (1913)
  3. Quartet by Jean Rhys (1929)
  4. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (1932)
  5. Tender Is The Night by Scott Fitzgerald (1934)
International Classics
  1. The Nose  by Nikolay Gogol(1836) — Ukrania/Russia
  2. Cousin Bette by Honoré De Balzac(1846) — France
  3. The Conquest of Plassans by Emile Zola (1874) — France
  4. Nada by Carmen Laforet (1944) — Spain
  5. Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (1947) — Germany
Celtic Classics
  1. Stranger Within The Gates by Bertha Thomas (1912) — Wales
  2. Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915) — Scotland
  3. The Citadel by A J Cronin (1937) — Scotland
  4. A Toy Epic by Emyr Humphreys (1958) — Wales
  5. The Bell by Iris Murdoch (1958) — Ireland

I’m hoping I get something that is not too long because my reading speed is glacial at the moment. I want something challenging but not too complicated. Tender Is The Night maybe or Quartet? If you’ve read either of these books, do let me know what you thought of them.


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

22 thoughts on “The Classics Club: Spin#33

  • Pingback: The Classics Club Spin Lands on The Citadel : BookerTalk

  • I can only say I’ve read Ethan Frome which I admired though can’t say I absolutely enjoyed. In its favour: it’s at least novella length, and the twist towards the end is absolutely terrific.

  • I’ve been surprised to discover how much I like the work of both Willa Cather and Edith Wharton, though I have not read either title of these authors that is on your list.

    • I’ve read only one book by each of those authors but did enjoy them so thought they deserved to be included in my list

  • I’ve read both Ruth and Ethan Frome. Fascinating list here. Good luck!

    • I was listening to the Tea and Books podcast today which discussed Ruth. Both presenters found it rather preachy. Was that your feeling?

  • Oh dear. Not many of these come under the heading ‘light reading’. Cold Comfort Farm perhaps. Good luck with whatever comes your way!

  • Well, I would like you to get The Nose or Cold Comfort Farm, but I hope that whatever comes up, you enjoy it!

  • I hope you’d get Conquest of Plassans – I loved this one. I’ve read Tender is the Night, but it was a struggle for me. It’s rather depressing, and I couldn’t find any character to like.
    If you want something less complicated, O Pioneers! would be perfect – well, anything by Willa Cather is always perfect. :))

    • Conquest of Plassans is next to read in my Zola project which is very slowly moving ahead. I’ll read it anyway this year even if it doesn’t come up in the spin. Good to know you enjoyed it

  • I hope you get Nada, because I read it a year or two ago and really enjoyed it, and haven’t come across anyone else who’s read it. So it would be nice to hear what you think! Hope you get one you enjoy.

    • I know I saw Nada mentioned somewhere which is why its on the list but i can’t recall which blog I found it on. Maybe it was yours??

  • I’ve reviewed Quartet, and if you do read that one, unless you already know about the French use of the ‘pneu’, I suggest you read at least the first part of my review which explains its role in the novel.

    • “pneu” to me means a tyre but i can’t imagine Rhys wrote a novel with rubber tubes as a key factor so of course I had to read your explanation. An underground mail system sounds a hell of a lot more reliable than the one which currently passes for the UK postal service!


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