Friday, November 20, 2020

Classics Club Spin #25

It's time for a Classics Club spin again, number 25. I decided I didn't want to shuffle around those remaining books from my first Classics Club list one more time. In a moment of idleness a while back, I started assembling some categories of books that I might put on a second Classics Club list, and I made my list mostly from that.

After being unable to find Mary Wollstonecraft for the last spin, I decided I'd better have all the books in hand:

The Categories and the Books

Women Authors from the Library of America

I've read parts of all these books, but there's still good reading in them!

1.) Dawn Powell/Turn, Magic Wheel
2.) Eudora Welty/Delta Wedding
3.) Katharine Anne Porter/Pale Horse, Pale Rider
4.) Nella Larsen/Quicksand
5.) Willa Cather/One of Ours

One of Ours is actually from my current Classics Club list.

Chicago Classics

My home town has produced some classic literature. Most of the good Toronto books are perhaps not quite old enough to be considered classics yet.

6.) James T. Farrell/A World I Never Made
7.) Theodore Dreiser/Sister Carrie
8.) Richard Wright/Native Son
9.) Harry Mark Petrakis/A Dream of Kings
10.) Nelson Algren/The Man With The Golden Arm

James T. Farrell is better known for Studs Lonigan, which got the Library of America treatment, but that's grim and I didn't feel like rereading it just now. A World I Never Made is the first of the Danny O'Neill series. In my first list, I didn't allow rereads, but I've decided this time I will. If I haven't read a book since my 20s, well, it's like it's new all over again...Except for the Petrakis, these are all rereads.

Nineteenth Century Non-Fiction

11.) John Ruskin/Unto This Last
12.) Thomas Carlyle/Heroes and Hero-Worship
13.) Thomas de Quincey/The Lake Poets
14.) J. S. Mill/Autobiography
15.) James Austin-Leigh/A Memoir of Jane Austen

Non-Fiction from Deb's List

Clearly I was already thinking of adding some non-fiction to the new list, but then Deb assembled a list of non-fiction classics with help from the community. Why, I have some of those!

16.) Dee Brown/Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
17.) Truman Capote/In Cold Blood
18.) Rene Descartes/Meditations and Discourse on Method
19.) R. L. Stevenson/Travels With A Donkey
20.) Barbara Tuchman/A Distant Mirror

Other potential categories that didn't show up this time were Russians, plays, and Trollope. Yet to come!

Which look good to you?


  1. I'd vote for Travels with a Donkey or A Distant Mirror, both of which I've been planning to read for ages. I'm really looking forward to seeing those Russians, plays and Trollope! Have a great spin!

    1. Thanks! Those would be fun, especially right now Travels With A Donkey since nobody is traveling...

    2. i've read those two and i can verify they're both excellent...

  2. I love Dawn Powell! And Sister Carrie is one of my favorite Dreiser's. Although I like all of his books that I've read. Great list. :D

    1. Dawn Powell is fun! I've still got two left to go in that book.

  3. I love how you grouped your books. I'll root for #20 so good. Which would correspond to To the Sleepwalkers on my list , which is the book I got for last spin and never took the time to read!!

  4. i think i was born with an anti-neatness virus; categorizing things just seems really difficult: deciding where to put things, that is... and i was pondering how physical environment predicates what a person reads in the sense of Chicago books, or (for me) California books... i'd read Oregon books but i haven't found any yet... except for geology textbooks...

    1. I'm reasonably organized with categories, but as for neatness with physical objects, enhh, not so good...

      There is something about reading books set where you are--I read Studs Lonigan on the L during commutes & it has scenes that take place on the L fifty years earlier. There are good California books and I read them while I was there. I read Little Dorrit when I was living in London for four months as well as Dance To The Music of Time. Now, of course, I'm not in Chicago...

  5. I'm with Cleo. I read Distant Mirror some years ago and it is wonderful. Stevenson is good too. I'm impressed you put Carlyle on your list; I tried him once, and found him unreadable.

    1. Distant Mirror definitely would be fun.

      I loved Sartor Resartus, and liked French Revolution. I punted on Heroes once before which would make it a good one for Karen's Back to the Classics...

  6. Somewhere recently, I came across consideration of Sister Carrie, and I've never read Dreiser, so that's the one that jumps out to me in this moment. But I also keep meaning to fill in the Cather gaps and that Pulitzer-winner is a gap for me.

    1. I think Sister Carrie is the one to read. I remember it as pretty great. I enjoyed his trilogy based on Yerkes--The Financier/The Stoic/The Titan--but they're less good. I haven't read An American Tragedy, though.

  7. So glad to see that you found some nonfiction to add to your list, even if the wheel didn't stop on any of them this time.