Monday, August 3, 2020

Classics Club Spin #24

It's time for a new Classics Club spin. Oh, dear. I have neither finished my last one, nor given up on it--well, it was Plutarch's Lives and it was 1300 pages. I figured I could allow myself a bit of time. I've made more progress and I really should blog about it some more, but I couldn't see posting for every pair of lives or anything like that. It invites reading in bursts.

So I'm both prepared but also cautious about a new spin. Here's twenty remaining from my Classics Club list. There will be no super-long choices in this...

1.) James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room
2.) James Baldwin's Go Tell It On The Mountain
3.) Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh
4.) Willa Cather's A Lost Lady
5.) Willa Cather's One of Ours
6.) Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield
7.) Thomas Hardy's Wessex Tales
8.) W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge
9.) Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar
10.) Robert Louis Stevenson's The Black Arrow
11.) Virginia Woolf's The Waves
12.) Balzac's Cousin Bette
13.) Henry James' The Wings of the Dove
14.) Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
15.) Henryk Sienkewicz' Quo Vadis
16.) Jules Verne's Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea
17.) James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son
18.) Mary Wollstonecraft's The Vindication of the Rights of Women
19.) George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara
20.) Sir Walter Scott's Count Robert of Paris

I suspect The Wings of the Dove would be the challenging one in there and is long enough! Which look good to you?

And the winner is...#18! Mary Wollstonecraft's The Vindication of the Rights of Women. It's short!


  1. I agree about Wings of the Dove! I've only read his shorter fiction and some of that seemed to drag on forever. Portrait of a Lady was on my first CC list and I never did read it.

    I've read most of Willa Cather and One of Ours is one of my favorites. Part of it takes place in Nebraska and then part is WWI. It's very good (won the Pulitzer in 1923) but doesn't get as much attention nowadays as some of her other works.

    I'm also really curious about Wessex Tales, I mostly like Hardy but don't know a thing about that one! Good luck with the spin!

    1. I've really liked all the Willa Cather I've read so I'd expect to like those two. That would be a very good spin.


  2. I have never read Henry James, but I have one of his novels in my spin list, Washington Square. I'm a little nervous about it. It reassures me a bit to hear that it is your favorite James.

    I've never read James Baldwin either. I think I will put one of his books on my next list.

    I have a Jules Verne on my list. I think that one will be a pure delight. It's Around the World in 80 Days. Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was great fun.

    I read The Bell Jar last year for my list. I hope that's your spin pick.

    1. The Bell Jar would be great. I haven't read Around the World either, though I think I've seen Mr. Magoo version. I would expect 20,000 Leagues to be a lot of fun. Good luck with your spin!

  3. We share authors at number 4 and 11 this spin :-)
    I went through a Henry James phase in my 20's (at the height of my Wharton mania!), not sure how I would feel about him now.

    Happy spinning!

    1. Ooh. A Woolf or Willa Cather readalong would be fun.

      I still definitely like early Henry James, which The Wings of The Dove is not, alas...

  4. i'd really be interested in what you think of "The Waves"... i was blown away by it. i'e read some of the others but not all by any means...

    1. I've generally liked the Woolfs I've read & thought Mrs. Dalloway pretty amazing. I'd expect to like it. It would be a good spin.

  5. I love Henry James--he's one of my very favorite authors--so I'll always root for him. :D

    1. I have mixed feelings about Henry James--I love his early novels, but I sometimes find his later novels too difficult. But it's time to read that copy of Wings of the Dove I've had for years!

    2. The one I found the hardest to read is The Golden Bowl, which I think he actually dictated to someone rather than writing it out himself.

    3. The Golden Bowl still waits for me...

  6. I've read Portrait of a Lady, but I hated Wings of the Dove and only got about a third through. IIRC Quo Vadis is also long, but it's pretty interesting! I vote for Baldwin.

    1. Well, it's Mary Wollstonecraft for me, but Baldwin would have been good.

      After your comment I'm even happier it wasn't Wings of the of these days, though...

  7. I may be one of the few people who didn't really like Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. I have a Willa Cather on my list too - Death Comes for the Archbishop. Good luck on your spin.

    1. Interesting about the Verne--it would be my first of his. I liked Death Comes For The Archbishop when I read it & would expect to like the other Cathers.

      But it's Mary Wollstonecraft for me!

  8. Giovanni's Room is very short - only about 150 pages or so. So that would be a good one to get.

    The Wings of the Dove was not a quick or easy read for me. But hey, it might be for you!

    I've been reading The Magic Mountain since May 2020. I hear you on reading some books slowly if it suits them. Since Mann,in part, is a mediating on time and timelessness, I feel it is appropriate that I am reading it with no expectations of it ever ending. :D

    1. As I think I said before I quite liked Magic Mountain--I'm definitely impressed though that you're reading in German. Even in English I didn't race through it.

  9. It has been so long since I visited your blog...well any blogs to be truthful. I was adrift since the pandemic broke out in earnest. Now, via #ccspin nr 24 I hope to find my 'reading footing' again. My list has very few if any classics. I think any book I read will be a victory. On your list....James Baldwin "Go Tell It On The Mountain"...was inspiring. Nr 3 (S. Butler)...was a bit dated and dragged on. Nr 18 (Wollstonecraft)was a necessary read but felt like homework. If I had to choose nr 8(W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge) and nr 12 (Cousin Bette) would interest me. I hope we all get what we wish for in #ccspin 24!

    1. I guess it's the homework for me! Actually I'm kind of looking forward to it & it's relatively short.

    2. This was a great read….it really was!
      Warning: You just cannot rush the reading…it is too dense!
      I had to get used Wollstonecraft’s style
      She uses the ‘ask questions style.
      chapter 5 – 75 questions
      chapter 12 – (31x)
      chapter 13 – (29x)
      You have been warned!
      After reading 8 chapters
      ….I realized Wollstonecraft’s book
      is filled with self-indulgent verbiage.
      It is exasperating to read at times.
      I decided to read the chapter
      selecting the CORE idea from each paragraph.
      I’m letting the rants against Rousseau flits by.
      Redundant questions per chapter
      …are getting only a glance from me.
      I get it…. Wollstonecraft and Rousseau
      ….will never see eye to eye!
      Good luck, I hope my reading strategy helps!

    3. That is helpful. Thanks! I'm somehow not surprised Mary Wollstonecraft doesn't see eye to eye with Rousseau--he is a little weird about women...

  10. Mary Wollstonecraft is so interesting; I bet you've raced through this one, so direct. On your list, I have had Bette on my Must-Reads list for ages (the same list with Hopscotch) but apparently "must" isn't as pressing as it once was. And One of Ours is a gap in my Cather reading that I'm looking forward to filling at some point. That James is one I've read and I do recall it being a little bit tiresome, but I found The Golden Bowl much more so. (Hmm, tiresome is maybe a bit harsh. There were parts of it that I really quite enjoyed. And I don't regret having persisted.)