Classics Club Spin #19


…or in my case, Classics Club Spin #3, because I’ve only done this twice before.

I’m a delinquent Classics Club member at best, preferring to stick to my trusty 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list than put the effort in to curate and maintain a custom list and track it over five years, as per the rules. This spin is calling to me, though.

To participate in a spin, you’re supposed to make a list of twenty books, and read the one corresponding to a randomly selected number. Simple enough, but the theme of this 19th spin is “chunksters,” and the theme of my own reading year is “no white people writing in English,” and December is traditionally my month of rereading, so I’m pretty darn limited in what books I can include.


Only 80s kids will remember this Chunkster

I can only think of five books that: are on the 1,001 Books list, are over five hundred pages long, I’ve already read, and are written by a person or colour and/or translated:

  1. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (536 pages)
  2. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (706 pages)
  3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (838 pages)
  4. The Idiot by Fydor Dostoyevsky (667 pages)
  5. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1480 pages)

(No, I didn’t include The Count of Monte Cristo. Too soon!)

Since this list is rather limited, and extremely dead-white-dude-centric, I’m going to create an extra spin round. These books meet all the criteria except the “chunkster” bit.

  1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  3. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  4. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez 
  5. The Lover by Marguerite Duras
  6. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez 
  9. Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe
  10. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

Both lists are in reverse chronological order, so no funny business. Here are the combos I’ll be reading based on the chosen spin number, a few of which are rather intriguing:

1 or 11: The Name of the Rose + Never Let Me Go (The academic combo)
2 or 12: The Magic Mountain + A Fine Balance
3 or 13: Anna Karenina + The English Patient (The excuse-to-watch-the-movie adaptation combo)
4 or 14: The Idiot + Love in the Time of Cholera (the illness combo)
5 or 15: Les Misérables + The Lover (The over 1,000/under 150 pages combo)
6 or 16: The Name of the Rose + The Unbearable Lightness of Being
7 or 17: The Magic Mountain + I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (the coming-of-age combo)
8 or 18: Anna Karenina + One Hundred Years of Solitude (the confusing character name combo)
9 or 19: The Idiot + Things Fall Apart
10 or 20: Les Misérables + Giovanni’s Room (The super sad French love story combo)

Come back on November 27th to see what I’ll end up reading in December and create your own spin if you want to join in the fun!



  1. Brona

    I love your combo list and the rationale behind your choices.
    I’m currently reading Les Mis – a chapter a day with a group of bloggers, which has helped tremendously in getting through the tedious sections !

    Good luck with whatever spins your way.

  2. BookerTalk

    I love the way we all find ways around these “rules”…. I completely ignored the bit about looking for the chunksters in my list. I don’t have 20 books left even so narrowing it down further would have been silly . (that’s my excuse)

  3. Pingback: Classics Club spin #32 | Reading in Bed

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