The Classics Spin #3

The Classics Club

It’s Classics Club Spin time again! The timing is impeccable, as I’m suffering a severe reading hangover after cruising through two thirds of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian Maddaddam series, and feel like I need a real classic to cleanse the palate. Plus, I’ve only read five Classics Club books so far, and I need to read ten per year to stay on track.

What the heck is the Classics Club, you ask? Check out my list and the general idea here.

Want to join me? Here’s the deal:

  • Pick twenty books that you have left to read from your Classics Club List (or, you know, your TBR list, if you’re not a Classics Clubber.) 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 (Agust 19).
  • Monday morning, The Classics Club will announce a number from 1-20. The challenge is to read the corresponding book by October 1, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading!

Here we go! Crossing my fingers that I don’t get Tristram. I’m not ready yet! In the immortal words of Jessie Spano, I’m so excited… I’m so… scared.

Five I’m dreadingclarissa

  •  American Pastoral by Philip Roth. I didn’t know that much about Roth when I added this to my list. Now I hear he’s kind of a gross old man who talks about his penis a lot. SOUNDS FASCINATING.
  • Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne – Long. Abandoned years ago. Too dense. Scary. But also awesome.
  • Clarissa by Samuel Richardson – Long. Sounds dense. But one of those “have to read it” books.
  • Stoner by John Williams – Not my sort of book at all, but added based on a rave review.
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – I’ve been poisoned against Mrs. D by 101 Books!

WildfellFive I can’t wait to read:

  •  Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I *do* give a damn. So does MM superfan Maple and a Quill.
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison – A controversial book, even today.
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliff. If it’s good enough for Northanger Abbey‘s Catherine Morland, it’s good enough for me!
  • The Tenent of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte – it’s by a Bronte, need I say more?
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith – never read her, and she’s still alive, as opposed to most of the authors here…

monkFive I’m neutral about:

  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – A retelling of Jane Eyre, and I’m not crazy about Jane Eyre. But it’s short!
  • Dune by Frank Herbert – Not my usual genre, but my dad told me I have to read it.
  • The Monk by Matthew Lewis – Added ironically because of this awesome review.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I’m curious but sort of meh about the whole HP thing.
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck – honestly can’t remember why this made my CC list at all.

wutheringpenguinFive free choice – Rereads! I haven’t reread a book in so long. These are pretty much my top 5 books of all time:

  • The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt
  • Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


  1. Rick @

    I love this idea so much that I’m totally making my own Classics Club list right now!

    The spin idea reminds me a “reading jar” that I made for myself a few years ago. I wrote the names of all my unread books on pieces of paper, put them in a jar, then pulled out names when I wanted to read a book. The problem was that I didn’t have the conviction to go through with it half the time, so it didn’t last very long haha.

    Reading more classics was one of the things I wanted to do when I started blogging. Somehow I never got around to it. Hopefully this will help 🙂

    How have I never checked out your Classics Club link in all the times I’ve visited your blog?! So weird.


    • lauratfrey

      Haha, I don’t know? Just goes to show how much attention is paid to the tabs across the top of most blogs..

      The Classics Club is a great way to find other literary minded bloggers too.

  2. Nish

    Beloved is controversial, in places it’s tough, but it’s a great book all the same. This was my first book with the Classics Club and I have a really soft corner for it 🙂

    Good luck with the spin.

  3. Robert

    Good luck with Mrs. Dalloway. You’ll need it! Honestly, it’s just an issue of taste. Her style just doesn’t mesh well with what I like to read. A lot of people love that novel.

  4. Carolyn O

    I love this idea! When I get a few free minutes (ha) I’m going to join the club too. Also, Mrs. Dalloway is in my top-five all-time favorite books — I think it’s beautiful and so important. People forget that it’s not just about “the perfect hostess” (which, by the way, Clarissa takes as an insult) — it’s also about a country recovering from war and a veteran who can’t. I’ve taught it a couple times and almost all my students ended up liking it.

    And Dune is awesome. Not so much Roth.

  5. Rory

    Wide Sargasso Sea is sort of a prequel to Jane Eyre. I didn’t like it. But I am a hardcore Jane Eyre fan, so I don’t appreciate a book that makes my favorite romantic hero (Rochester) look evil and awful.

    Regarding Roth, he takes some getting used to, but if you go in with the right frame of mind, he’s pretty good. However, at face value, your description of old white man who talks about his penis a lot is pretty accurate (Portnoy’s Complaint is a PRIME example of it, American Pastoral is actually really fascinating reflection on the ’60’s).

    • lauratfrey

      Oo excellent! I really know nothing about it and I find the title really blah, so that’s why it’s in my neutral list, but I must have added it for SOME reason… I hate having no memory 🙂

  6. Pingback: classics book reading | meghan rose allen
  7. Ruby Scarlett

    YES THE MONK! You should totally read this regardless of the spin results, it’s a riot. It’s really out there. It’s a parody that’s not a parody. It’s outrageous.
    Of course Harry Potter is my favourite book ever so I’d vote for that too 🙂 Good luck!

  8. Carey

    Hmm, for your sake I hope 3 isn’t the lucky number. I have never read Clarissa, but the thought of its length just makes me shudder. Ihave Harry Potter on my list too…people can’t believe I have never read the series. I feel like I can’t put it off any longer…lol! I really liked Wide Sargasso Sea. It was more of a prequel to rather than a retelling of Jane Eyre. And I loved Gone With the Wind. It is long, but the pages fly by. It will be so interesting to see what everyone gets!

    • lauratfrey

      Oh man, so many people are warning me about Clarissa. But… I’ll feel really accomplished once I read it, right??

      I feel like I could put off HP… unless I get it in the spin 🙂

      GWTW would be awesome.

  9. ebookclassics

    I love your comment about Harry Potter. I tried reading the first book when everyone went HP bananas, but I couldn’t get into it. I remember really loving Gone With the Wind, but I was probably 12 when I read it! Scarlett O’Hara is the bomb. People still say “the bomb”, right?

  10. Tracy

    And speaking of MM from MapleandaQuill – anyone know what happened with her blog? I was just trying to catch up on some of my fave blogs and was saddened to see it no longer there… 😦

  11. Pingback: Classics Club Spin #19 | Reading in Bed

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