Monday, September 16, 2019

Classics Club Spin #21

October is Spin Month. This will be my fifth spin. The idea is make up a list of twenty books remaining from your original Classics Club list, and by the awesome power vested in the random number generator, one of them gets read in that spin period.

So going back over the old spin lists, a couple of categories...

Ever The Bridesmaid

There were four books that had been on three (out of four) spin lists without being picked. Maybe this is their turn!

1.) Henry James/The American
2.) James Baldwin/Giovanni's Room
3.) James Baldwin/Notes of a Native Son
4.) George Bernard Shaw/Major Barbara


But there were six books that never made it to any spin list. That wasn't very fair to them, so on the list they go! (Except one...)

5.) Edith Wharton/The Custom of the Country
6.) James Baldwin/Go Tell It On The Mountain
7.) Somerset Maugham/The Razor's Edge
8.) Jules Verne/20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
9.) Thomas Hardy/Wessex Tales

Thomas Hardy's Collected Poems has never been on a spin list either: I've been dipping into it, and they're great, but reading a lot of short poems on a forced march doesn't seem like fun.

Third Time's The Charm

Six longish ones that I've dangerously put on the list twice before, but have slipped by.

10.) Sir Walter Scott/Count Robert of Paris
11.) Plutarch/Lives
12.) John Galsworthy/The Forsyte Saga
13.) Willa Cather/One Of Ours
14.) Boccaccio/Decameron
15.) Balzac/Cousin Bette


A few shortish ones, because I've run out of category ideas!

16.) Sylvia Plath/The Bell Jar (previously appeared twice)
17.) Yasunari Kawabata/Snow Country (once)
18.) Mary Wollstonecraft/Vindication of the Rights of Women (twice)
19.) Virginia Woolf/A Room of One's Own (once)
20.) Robert Louis Stevenson/Black Arrow (twice)

Plutarch would be the challenging one on that list. It's that old Modern Library Giant, but I have been reading some other classical stuff lately (well, yes, The Death of Virgil, but other posts to come!) so it would be timely. Otherwise I've really been meaning to read more Baldwin (#2, #3, and #6.)

Which look good to you?

And the winner is...#5! Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country. (Previously neglected--all it wanted was to be given a chance!)


  1. Some intimidating reads here. I'm most intrigued by Maugham. I've only read Of Human Bondage - which was thought provoking. I don't buy Maugham's worldview but he expresses it well...and I need to delve deeper.

    1. I've only read a few short stories of his, and Burgess' Earthly Powers, which is supposed to be loosely based on Maugham. So he's pretty much a new area for me.

  2. Oh, I like James Baldwin! And I read the Decameron, but it wasn't my favorite. Endless stories about lecherous monks.

    1. I made up my Classics Club list soon after seeing that Baldwin documentary a couple of years ago, and the only Baldwin I've read since then was Beale Street, because of the other movie.

      Hmmm. What does that say about my reading discipline?...

  3. Ohh i like your categories. This is a great idea!

  4. I vote for #16. You should include Bell Jar twice just to give it better odds. Maybe three times.

    1. That would be a good choice! But I'm also going to definitely need to read a few things that the spinner didn't give me.

  5. I love your categories. I have a Verne on my list too.

    1. Thanks! Jules Verne would be a fun spin choice.

  6. I love Wharton, James, Maugham and Hardy. So I'd go for one of those. :)

  7. That’s a great way to present your list! I hope you enjoy the one chosen!

  8. After FINALLY finished The Wings of the Dove, just seeing Henry James' name gives me PTSD. SO MANY WORDS HENRY...WHY? Just kidding...sort of.

    I think you need to read some Baldwin! He's on there three times, so he has a good chance! I've only read Go Tell it on the Mountain but want to read more...I think Giovanni's Room will be the one.

    1. Congratulations on The Wings of the Dove! Phew! That's still on my Classics Club list, but I somehow left it off the spin list...don't know how that happened...

      The American is early Henry James & it's shorter, so I suspect I'd rather like it. (Washington Square is so great.) But Giovanni's Room would be a very good spin.

  9. I've loved everything I've read by Willa Cather although the one you list is new to me. I thought A Room of One's Own was great, VW at her persuasive insightful best.

    1. That's one of my last two Willa Cather novels, and I'd expect it to be a fun read. Room would be an excellent spin, too!

  10. Skipping 'Spin' this time for reasons beyond my controle...hip! Hope to participate next time. Nr 5 = Edith Wharton....good choice!

    1. I'm definitely looking forward to it. We'll miss you this spin!