Thursday, 6 November 2014

Classic Club Spin #8.

It's time for another spin! Last one didn't go so well for me - I got The Adolescent by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and I didn't get around to even starting it, this time however I am determined!

The rules:
  • Go to your blog. 
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List. 
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.) 
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday. 
  • Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce. 
  • The challenge is to read that book by January 5, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (No fair not listing any scary ones!)

Here's my list:

Five books I'm dreading:
1. Plato - The Last Days of Socrates
2. Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan
3. Bede - Ecclesiastical History of the English People
4. Apollodorus - The Library of Greek Mythology
5. Henry James - The Golden Bowl
Five books I can't wait to read:
6. Voltaire - Letters on England
7. John Steinbeck - The Winter of Our Discontent
8. Juliet Barker - The Brontës
9. Victoria Glendinning - Trollope
10. Virginia Woolf - A Passionate Apprentice 
Five books I'm neutral about:
11. Wu Ch'êng-ên - The Monkey
12. Benjamin Disraeli - Sybil
13. George Gissing - New Grub Street
14. George Moore - Esther Waters
15. Josef Škvorecký - The Cowards
Free choice - five chunksters:
16. Samuel Johnson - Clarissa
17. Frederick W. Maitland - The Life and Letters of Leslie Stephen
18. Thomas Malory - Le Morte D'Arthur
19. Ford Madox Ford - Parade's End
20. James Boswell - The Life of Samuel Johnson

I'm looking forward to Monday!

Meanwhile, I'm currently reading War and Peace (I'm just starting Book IV). It's a book I've always hated (so far I've read it twice), but someone recommended a different translation (the Maude translation) and it has really done the trick! I'm very much enjoying it, and can now say with War and Peace I'm third time lucky! And this really gives me hope for Anna Karenina, a book so many people love and again I hate. I don't plan on reading it straight after War and Peace (I've done that before, reading two books in a row by the same author, and ultimately getting them a little bit confused). I expect I'll finish it over the weekend, so I'll write about it next week. And I think I'm likely to read another chunkster. This really is the time of year for them, and now I'm over my reading rut I'm enjoying going to bed early and reading for hours. I hope for my Spin I get a chunkster, though The Life of Samuel Johnson is a little intimidating!


  1. Clarissa is the real chunkster in the group, I think. I'm glad I read it but I can't imagine re-reading it. I enjoyed the Bede much more than I thought I would. And the Glendinnig biography really brought Trollope to life for me. Happy spinning!

    1. I loved Clarissa the first time around, but re-reading still is a little daunting!

      Have you read Trollope's autobiography? I loved that! Looking forward to Glendinning - to be honest, if I don't get that in the spin I may read it anyway. I really enjoyed her biographies of Vita Sackville West and Leonard Woolf.

    2. I liked Sir Charles Grandison even better than Clarissa! And I did read Trollope's autobiography first, and loved it too.

    3. I tried to get a copy of Sir Charles Grandison - it was insanely expensive! Over £100, think it might have actually been £300! Need to keep an eye out for a cheaper one.

  2. Glad to hear you are over your reading rut! : )

    Last night I was reading through book VII of W&P, and there is this entire section on hunting - which I loathed - but I was having Anna Karenina flashbacks. Hence, I realized that Tolstoy loves his hunting parties. (I can see myself mixing the two stories, as well, if I read AK any closer to W&P.)

    1. Oh, I hated the hunting! There's a bit with quite a graphic description of a wolf that has got caught, and Tolstoy writes, "Andrei had never felt..." and I was waiting for "so disgusted" or something, but it was "so happy" :S

  3. Wooo hooo! I love your list! Once I finish my first CC list, I'm going to be asking you for recommendations for my second!

    I'm reading Le Morte d'Arthur right now. It's a slog but the more I read, the more I'm enjoying it. It's a really weird book though, not at all what I expected. I'm also just about to start The Last Days of Socrates. I've read the Apology from it previously. New Grub Street was quite interesting, so don't worry too much. I can't wait to see what you get.

    It must be a relief to be out of your rut! I'm trying to make it through my courses and see the end of November as my finish line. As much as I enjoy them, I can't wait for them to be over and then I can concentrate on what I really want to read.

    Happy Spin #8! :-)

    1. I must read Le Morte one of these days. I was going to join you for the read-along but I bottled it :)

      I am out my rut, but nearly ended up back in it - long story but I'll try and keep it brief - my internet is limited and often runs out before the end of the month, but this month it kept going and going so I was trying to use it all up. For about 3 days I basically was rarely offline to read! The new internet month has started though so back to David Copperfield :)

  4. The Winter of our Discontent is on my list, too. It's a reread for me, and I'd love it if that number comes up. Good luck!

    1. Thank you! I didn't get Steinbeck, but I may well read it before the year is out :)

  5. I absolutely love that you threw Clarissa into the mix there! I got The History of Tom Jones which is pretty chunky. Maybe we should do another joint read- am thinking The Life of Samuel Johnson because I will need some chivvying along with that one. In the new year perhaps? Plus I am completely holding my breath that one day you could enjoy Anna Karenina, haha. Maybe try the new Rosamund Bartlet

    1. I loved Tom Jones! It was great!

      And yes to a joint read! A very definite yes! Name the start date and I'm there :)

      I think I might have that translation - is it published by OUP? I shall go check it and let you know.

      (How lazy am I not checking now?! It's so cold though and I'm next to the fire!)

  6. ... Translation as apparently it is much closer to Tolstoy's original. x

    1. Just looked - I have the Louise and Aylmer Maude translation, same as War and Peace. But I'll look out for Bartley :)

    2. I do that too - sometimes I google publication dates rather than actually going and looking inside book covers ;) The Bartlett it is an OUP but only came out this year, she wrote a biography of Tolstoy a few years ago but I've never actually bought it (although have lusted after it for ages). Excellent - I'll work up some willpower and then we'll get reading about Johnson!

    3. I'm not wildly enthusiastic about reading biographies of Tolstoy after reading some extracts from his wife's diary... I'll be interested to see what you make of it, though!

      And yes, work up the willpower - I'm counting on you! :D


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