Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Classics Club Spin #35, October 2023



The latest Classics Club Spin has been announced. To join in, I choose twenty books from my classics list. On Sunday, 15th October, 2023, the Classics Club will post a number from 1 through 20. The goal is to read whatever book falls under that number on my Spin List by Sunday, 3rd December, 2023.

So, here is my list of 20 books for the spin...


  1. Anne Bronte – Agnes Grey (1847)
  2. James Cain – The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)
  3. Albert Camus – The Stranger (1942)
  4. Lewis Carroll – Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
  5. Willa Cather – My √Āntonia (1918)
  6. Kenneth Grahame – The Wind in the Willows (1908)
  7. Graham Greene – Our Man in Havana (1958)
  8. Graham Greene – The Quiet American (1955)
  9. Dashiell Hammett – Red Harvest (1929)
  10. Patricia Highsmith – The Talented Mr.Ripley (1955)
  11. Shirley Jackson – We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)
  12. Madeleine L'Engle – A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
  13. William Shakespeare – Much Ado About Nothing (1598)
  14. Mary Shelley – Frankenstein (1818)
  15. John Steinbeck – Cannery Row (1945)
  16. Bram Stoker – Dracula (1897)
  17. William Thackeray – Vanity Fair (1848)
  18. Anthony Trollope – The Warden (1855)
  19. Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)
  20. Virginia Woolf – Flush (1933)


I have been thinking about how to speed up my reading for my Classics List recently. Classics Club members aim to complete their list within five years and for me that would be in November 2023. I am not even close to finishing the list. One of my problems is that my list has 70 books when only 50 are required – but I haven't even finished 50 so far. However, I am still enjoying most of the classics I read, and even the ones I don't like so much are worthwhile reads.

I did decide to make more changes to my list this time. I usually list the same books every time and only change one or two books. This time I am including more books that I am not in a hurry to read (for various reasons) and books that I don't currently have a copy of. I don't know why I think that will help. 

I do have some favorites on this list. Are there any of these you recommend?


27 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a very unsettling book, Tracy, or at least that's how I found it. It was a compelling read, but not light and easy! Very spooky, psychologically speaking. Patricia Highsmith creates a spooky atmosphere, too. I like Steinbeck, so I was glad to see that one on your list. I'm glad I read Vanity Fair, but it's a chunkster, so if you get that one, plan your time. Well, whichever one you get, I hope you enjoy it.

TracyK said...

Margot, We Have Always Lived in the Castle has been showing up on my spin list for a while, because it is relatively short. But it is one that I would avoid because of the unsettling elements. This is a good time of year to read it, though. Same thing for the Patricia Highsmith book.

Vanity Fair is a new addition, and the length does scare me off. We will see what happens.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am doubtful that VANITY FAIR would hold up. THE POSTMAN is a quick read. I love both RIPLEY and CASTLE. Also love MY ANTONIA. And Graham Greene is great but I haven't read either of these. FLUSH is about her dog, I think. THat could be fun.

TracyK said...

Patti, I know very little about Vanity Fair, except that it is very long, but something must have convinced me to give it a chance when I added it to the list. If it is too bad, I can always DNF it.

I am glad to hear your opinion of My Antonia, I wasn't sure about that one. Either one of the Graham Greene's would be a top pick for me. Glen has a copy of Flush, and it is nice and short.

Kathy's Corner said...

Hi Tracy, I have read quite a few of the books on your list and Frankenstein for me is the standout. Read it for the first time and it is now one of my favorite classics. I hope I am not talking it up too much but I loved it. I also enjoyed Agnes Grey which I recently reread. We have Always Lived in The Castle is brilliant although disturbing and Shirley Jackson is a genius.

And regarding Red Harvest I had high hopes but frankly I couldn't stand the book nothing but rival crime gangs shooting at each other. In fact I want to read something else by Hammett because he deserves another chance. Currently reading The Warden and hope to post something soon.

TracyK said...

Kathy, of the books you have mentioned, Frankenstein would be my top pick.

I hope I like Red Harvest better than you did, but if not at least I will have tried it. You should definitely try some other Hammett. I have read The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man and liked them both, although The Thin Man novel is not like the movie.

The Warden would be a good one too, I hope.

Cath said...

Oddly, I don't think I was too unsettled by We Have Always Lived in the Castle but I do read quite a lot of weird fiction. The Warden would be my favourite and The Wind in the Willows. It's Victober on Booktube so I'm planning to read a Victorian classic of some description this month and hoping that'll kickstart some classics reading for me. I planned to read half a dozen this year and have only managed one novella by Jane Austen. I have a nice list of a few lesser known ones gleaned from an excellent Youtube channel, which I think might be my sort of thing. And I really, 'really' want to read Our Mutual Friend and The Count of Monte Cristo - I just need to pull my finger out and get on with it. I such a prevaricator with long books.

TracyK said...

Cath, I have always been intimidated by Shirley Jackson's writing, but I am sure once I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle I will discover that it isn't so bad. I hope so.

For this Spin List, my top book to be picked would be Wind in the Willows, followed by the two Graham Greene books, then The Warden.

I look forward to seeing what you pick for Victober. I have a problem with very long books and the biggest problem is getting started. A book I wish was on my classics list is The Moonstone. I think Vanity Faire will be challenging, but I am willing to give it a try.

BookerTalk said...

It took me about seven years to read my classic club list - I would have liked to have done it quicker but really the point wasn't to read quickly, it was to enjoy the books. So take your time and enjoy it!

As for your choices, you have so many wonderful books on your list. As others have said We Have Always Lived in the Castle is such a good book and quite short. I also loved Agnes Grey

Lark said...

Flush is a cute story. And Dracula and A Wrinkle in Time are two of my most favorite classics. I also like My Antonia and The Picture of Dorian Gray for very different reasons. And I'm glad I read Vanity Fair and The Quiet American. Can't wait to see what you spin. :D

TracyK said...

BookerTalk, Thank you for those comforting thoughts. I agree, enjoying the books is the point.

I may try to fit We Have Always Lived in the Castle in soon even if it isn't chosen for this spin, because I have been putting it off for so long and this is a good time of year to read it.

TracyK said...

Lark, I have project to read books published in 1962 this month and I don't know why I did not include We Have Always Lived in the Castle and A Wrinkle in Time in that. Maybe I will still have time.

I am really good to hear that about Vanity Fair because I keep wondering about that one.

Sam said...

You can't go too wrong with any of the books on the list, but I'm pulling for your number to come for one of a couple favorites I see there: We Have Always Lived in the Castle or The Postman Always Rings Twice. Good luck. :-)

TracyK said...

Those are two good choices, Sam. It would be a good time of year for We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I am afraid that The Postman Always Rings Twice might be too noirish for me, but I did enjoy two of Cain's other books, Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce.

CLM said...

A Wrinkle in Time is short and also she is a great author! I remember seeing the book in the school library and mentally voting against it because of the cover. Then when I finally gave in and picked it up, I started reading and couldn't even hear the teacher talking any more I was so mesmerized. I went on to read and like her other books even more.

TracyK said...

Constance, do you remember what was on the cover of A Wrinkle in Time that you did not like? The old paperback copy I have belongs to my son, and has a lovely cover, but small print. I am glad to hear that you liked it and read more of her books.

Todd Mason said...

If it was the Dell Laurel-Leaf mass-market paperback Constance saw, it was (as you probably can see) an interesting but garish jumble of images...and recently there was an effort to find who the artist was, since he wasn't credited in any of those editions (IIRC, the Dell Yearling digest-sized edition had a cover more similar to the hardcover). I read WRINKLE and A WIND IN THE DOOR back to back when I was ten, and loved them and also knew Exactly how they should be filmed (which is apparently more than the creators of either of the films since of WRINKLE can apparently say...I haven't seen either, but both have terrible reps). One thing I've heard from adult readers of that sequence of novels it that I read them at the right age, as various aspects of them tended to put them off...I couldn't get too far with A SWIFTLY TILTING PLANET when I picked it up about age 13, and reading adult material more or less exclusively by then. Read ALICE'S ADVENTURES and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, and THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS also when about ten, enjoyed them then and probably would continue to do so...also liked FLUSH, POSTMAN, the Camus, the Wilde, the Steinbeck, the Highsmith, still need to read RED HARVEST as the only Hammett novel (unless we count the unfinished one) I haven't read, and was surprised how easily I was bogged down in DRACULA at age 9...so much correspondence, etc., in the early going...have meant to return to it. I was interrupted when I started the Jackson, and it went into a moving box and hasn't been dug back out as yet. I really should.

Kelly said...

Several of us have Frankenstein on our list, so I think that would be a nice one. Of course I doubt we all have it as the same number. Maybe one of us will get it.

TracyK said...

Todd, I think I must have read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland when I was a child because I can picture the edition we had, and I read everything I could get my hands on. But I am not sure, and don't remember any specifics, and have no idea how I would react now.

I think I read The Stranger in college, in French, but I have blotted that out of my memory and want to try it again, in English.

Really most of these appeal whether I have read them or not.

TracyK said...

Kelly, I would be happy with either Frankenstein or Dracula, even though they are completely different. I have been planning to read both of those for years.

CLM said...

I guess I thought it looked too SF for me. But when I finally picked it up in 4th grade, I could not stop reading.

https://www.madeleinelengle.com/new-a-wrinkle-in-time-resource-for-teachers/wit_original-copy/

I never knew this cover was designed by Ellen Raskin, an accomplished author and artist who won the Newbery Award for her suspenseful children's book, The Westing Game.

CLM said...

Todd, the recent Wrinkle in Time movie was dreadful and (as you guessed) you missed nothing. I told my friend I didn't want to see it and I certainly didn't want to waste $12 on it, but somehow we wound up seeing it anyway. It was a fancy movie theater and was completely empty except for me, my friend, and two elderly nuns. We talked to them at the end and it turned out one of them had a Catholic Radio Show in which she reviews movies. I guess the bad reviews had scared off everyone else!

TracyK said...

Constance, that is an impressive cover, although not necessarily for kids. Ellen Raskin is new to me. That is an interesting story about your seeing the latest film of Wrinkle in Time.

Aj @ Read All The Things! said...

I hope they picked a good one for you! The Talented Mr.Ripley is one of my favorite classics.

TracyK said...

AJ, thanks for stopping by and checking out my post. The number picked was 2, and for me the Spin book will be The Postman Always Rings Twice by Cain. I should read The Talented Mr.Ripley some time next year.

I am going over to see your post on books about Extreme Weather.

Katrina said...

I've read them all except numbers 9, 10 and 20. It's a great list.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Katrina. It is amazing that you have read so many of them. I am looking forward to reading them all eventually.