Reading plans

The Classics Club: Spin#34

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 before Sunday, 18th June when random number will be selected. The challenge will be to read whatever book falls under that number on my Spin List by 6th August, 2023.

I’ve read and reviewed the books selected from the two previous spins this year — The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett and The Citadel by A J Cronin. Let’s see if I can make spin #34 a hat trick.

I’ve given my spin list a make over since the last outing in March.

I’ve removed two from the Nineteenth Century Classics category (Elizabeth Gaskell’s Ruth and Armadale by Wilkie Collins) and taken Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons out of the Twentieth Century category.

That’s given me the space to enhance the section I’ve labelled International Classics by including authors from Norway, Barbados and Guyana. I’ve also swapped around some of the Celtic Classics titles to put more emphasis on Wales (sorry Ireland, Scotland – your turn will come later).

Here’s my spin list.
19th Century Classics

  1. No Name by Wilkie Collins (1862)
  2. New Grub Street by George Gissing (1891)
  3. 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. 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. Money/L’Argent ( by Emile Zola (1891) — France
  4. Nada by Carmen Laforet (1944) — Spain
  5. In the Castle of My Skin by George Lamming (1953) — Barbados
  6. The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas (1957) — Norway
  7. To Sir, With Love – E. R. Braithwaite (1959) — Guyana
Celtic Classics
  1. Stranger Within The Gates by Bertha Thomas (1912) — Wales
  2. Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915) — Scotland
  3. The Informer by Liam O’Flaherty (1925) — Ireland
  4. Black Parade, Jack Jones (1935) — Wales
  5. Fame Is The Spur by Howard Spring (1940) — Wales

I’m hoping I get something that is not too long because I am also trying to work through my #20booksofsummer reading list. Maybe this time I’ll be lucky and get The Nose which I think is just a short story.


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

23 thoughts on “The Classics Club: Spin#34

  • I’m commenting here because yesterday I was in Wales! We’re on an ocean cruise, with a new port every day, so my exposure was limited. But we had an informative guide (older middle-aged man who used to be an archaeologist), so we learned a lot about the history of Wales. If i had my life to live over, I’d study more languages. Welsh looks like a good one to start with.

  • I think I say this every spin, but I hope you get Nada because I enjoyed it and would like to hear what you think of it. I’m intrigued that you have To Sir, With Love listed as Guyana – isn’t it set in London?

    • It is indeed set in England but I go by author’s country of origin not setting for my world of literature reading. Your wanderlust challenge gives me more scope though because I can look at setting. Not that this book will help me much this time

  • I loved ‘No Name’ – a cracking read with two strong female characters – I wonder if it is less well-known due to having a weak title (compared to ‘Moonstone’ or ‘Woman in White’)?

    • Good question. He wrote many books though Moonstone, Woman in White are the best known. I read a couple of his lesser known tales and they were not up to much!

  • Great list! Mine will go up on my blog a minute to midnight on Saturday night (because I have other posts already scheduled). Good luck.

    • Well I now see what I am to read – it’s In the Castle of My Skin by George Lamming who originated in Barbados. I had never heard of it but it was picked for the Big Jubilee Read in the UK, to mark the 1950s so I thought it must be worth a peep

    • Thanks Margaret, I won’t be too unhappy with any of these

  • wadholloway

    O Pioneers and Nada are both excellent. I should pin your list up and read some of the others. Probably all readerly boys of a certain vintage have read Buchan. Sixty years later I don’t feel any need to go back to that Empire/white man’s burden tosh.

    • I’ve never read any Buchan but maybe I will end up feeling the same as you do

      • Erin Neill

        Just relax and enjoy a damn good thriller.

        • Thanks Erin – sometimes my brain needs a rest from all the intellectual stuff!

  • If I may; I am happy to view titles that I have read; like Jean Rhys’ Quartet; a lovely book hope you get that one or Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915) — Scotland; is that not a title from Agatha Christie as there’s a movie/film as well. No matter, enjoy what is selected and have a good read.

    • 39 Steps has indeed been adapted for film – several versions of it indeed

  • tracybham

    That is an ambitious list. I would like to read some of your 20th century classics.

    I too was surprised at the Spin coming around again so soon, although I should not have been. I still haven’t reviewed my last spin read, The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty. But I will be joining in, and hoping for a short one because of the 20 Books of Summer, as you noted.

    • I suppose we can always substitute one of the titles on the 20booksofsummer list for our spin book

  • I’ve only read the Wharton (bleak) and the Buchan (rip-roaring) but have my eye on the James in due course. Sadly I don’t know any of the Welsh titles or authors. Good luck with a shortish title for your spin!

    • The comment about the Wharton book is duly noted – if it doesn’t come up in the spin then I’ll be sure to read it only when I am in the mood for bleakness


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