August (and a new Classics Club list).

Ah, August. I love this time of year: the warmth, the flowers, and the light, but I can't help but look forward to autumn now. There are signs already, one or two fallen leaves, a few acorns, and the harvest... But we're still in summer, and I won't wish that away.

July was an excellent month for reading: I finished my Classics Club list! And I have finished making my new one! Compiling the new one has taken nearly two weeks: I started reading from it on the day I'm compiled it (Jane Eyre was my first) and I've been adding, taking away, adding some more, and it's getting dangerously large. So here it is: 275 books to be read in 5 years. So far I've read and blogged about three (Jane Eyre, The Master and Margarita, and Moments of Being). I want to write about as many of these titles as possible: this is what I did wrong on the last list, I got lazy about writing reviews and there were so many I would have enjoyed writing about. But not this time, I won't do make the same mistake twice.

What's been interesting is comparing my new list with the old one. It's a great deal longer for a start (90 books longer), and there's much more pre-18th Century. As with both lists, the 19th Century section is the longest, but this time around the 20th Century list is much much shorter (not deliberately done). I only read one biography (I think) for the first list, and now there are 21 biographies and autobiographies. There was little non-fiction, now there are 28 titles. And there were only two re-reads on the first list, now there are many more (I keep miscounting so I'll just say "many more"!). Zola and Woof dominate the list, and there's more Dickens (including non-fiction), and now in this Trollope and Steinbeck feature quite heavily whereas they didn't before. And more poetry - a lot more poetry! My tastes, it seems, have changed, and my awareness has grown (as one would hope with all this reading). 


Because I've been busy compiling this list, I have quite a surge in enthusiasm for this month! There's few listed that I'm not excited about (there are, naturally, a few duty reads - Darwin being the most notable, that is for duty's sake alone, and there's a few reads that intimidate me - Marx's Das Kapital is incredibly ambitious of me!). I've started reading Jean Santeuil by Marcel Proust, which I intend on finishing in the next few weeks. It was bought out of curiosity, but I never expected that I would love it as much as I do. It's everything I had hoped for from In Search of Lost Time. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying it and I can't wait to write about it!


I also want to do a little catching up this month: I abandoned two readalongs to focus on the Classic Club list, firstly my re-read of Moby-Dick and secondly The Decameron. The Moby-Dick readalong is over, but I do still want to read it, so in the next few weeks I'll restart it. And there's plenty of time to catch up with The Decameron (I should be half way through by now, but I'm not even a quarter of the way through, so there's a lot to catch up on!). I also need to read Framley Parsonage, which I had planned on reading last month (I got sidetracked by Jean Santeuil).


August is also the month for Jane Austen - I want to read Virginia Woolf's essay on Jane Austen from The Common Reader, as well as re-reading Sense and Sensibility. If there's time for one more, I dare say I'll go for Mansfield Park.


And finally, I have the remnants of the '20 Books in Summer' Challenge. Left on the pile, aside from Moby-Dick, Sense and Sensibility, Jean Santeuil, and Framley Parsonage are:

  • House of the Dead by Dostoyevsky
  • Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot
  • The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
  • The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope.
I'm not planning on reading all of these in August: I do have until the start of autumn (21st September), but I shall see how it goes! I am keen on getting to Sybil by Disraeli, which may mean a little shifting around. But, as I say, if there's one thing I want to do this month it's to catch up with The Decameron.

So, there's my August all planned out! I do like these plans, and I do at least intend to stick to them!

Happy August, everyone :)

Comments

  1. I love that you'll be reading Virginia Woolf's essay on Austen. I want to read that too. And of course, reread & reread the tempestuous Sense & Sensibility. :)

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    1. I'm looking forward to Sense and Sensibility now, I think I'll do better second time around. I'm just finishing my Proust book, then I MUST catch up on Framley Parsonage. THEN I will get to it :)

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  2. I hope you will have a great August too! Look forward to your thoughts on Jean Santeuil - I picked up a copy at the library sale last year but haven't got to reading it yet.

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    1. I love it! It's an amazing book and I can't wait to write about it. Still got 100 pages or so to go, after which I shall get to reviewing it right away!

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  3. I also have duty reads. Darwin is also on that list as well as finishing Mobey Dick. I really want to read Proust. He's on my TBR list. I can't say I'm all that interested in Virginia Woolf but Austin is a favorite. Have fun reading!

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    1. I'm *dreading* Darwin! I've read extracts and that didn't go too well...

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  4. You've got a really cool blog design by the way. I'm trying to place all the literary character. I recognize a few such as Mr. Toad and Dante. I also see a Beatrix Potter tale.

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    1. Thank you :)

      On the top row, left to right:

      Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf: Letters, Shakespeare's Sonnets (published by Penguin), Mr Toad, Charlotte Bronte, Marcel Proust, and Anthony Trollope.

      Centre: Dante and an illustration from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

      Bottom row left to right: Beatrix Potter, Germinal by Zola, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Zola again, The Dream by Zola, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and finally George Eliot :)

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  5. I have put forward your name and blog on my page as a Most Inspiring Blogger. If you wish to participate I’m sure people would enjoy it. You really are a good inspiration and all a good blogger should be.
    Pam (Travellin’ Penguin)

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  6. Let me just start by saying...."I'm stunned" by the selections of the new Classic Lists! Thank you for doing all the research for impressive classics ....and sharing it with fellow readers.
    I have one question. I see so many re-reads. With all the books on your list.....why re-read? I 'm just curious as to the reasoning behind the re-read policy. Let me end with wishing you the best of luck with all your books and I intend to follow your reviews in the future!

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    1. Why re-read? Well - I always felt re-reading was a bit like treading water, but of late I've been thinking there are so many incredible books I've just not got to grips with. Plus there are some I want to revisit, and there's a lot there I regret not reviewing! But mainly, yes, I feel as though a lot have washed over me and I want to get to know them better :)

      And thank you! :D

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  7. Argh! It looks like my comment got eaten! In any case, I just wanted to say that I can't think about autumn yet, I love your new list, great reviews, and I have Justified Sinner staring at me, but I am resisting! Oh yes, I have stalled on The Decameron read too, so no worries. I plan to start reading it again the last week of August; right now I'm trying to clear some books from my currently reading list.

    Happy August!

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    1. How far have you got with The Decameron? I haven't got the book next to me so I can't say how far I've got (!) but I think it was around the end of June I stopped reading it. I'm somewhere in Day 2, I think.

      By the way - getting new treatment for my foot! It's getting better! Much better!

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  8. Congratulations on finishing your Classic Club list! I love making lists, but I'm never very good at following through and finishing them. Maybe one day! I'm so impressed!

    I also find that I have to remind myself not to wish away summer in the last few days of August. I love summer, but I adore fall and all that comes with it.

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    1. Thank you :) And same here! I said I wouldn't wish summer away, but you should see my Tumblr right now... Can't help but be excited!

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