Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Classics Club: Two Years In


I can't believe that it's already been two years since I joined the Classics Club and compiled my list of 72 classics I wanted to read in five years.  Last August, I posted my first annual review, in which I was pleased to have finished 13 titles and knocked two Dickens books off my list.  This year, I'm pleased that I've stuck with it and continued to read classics at a steady pace of at least one a month.  This is a big deal for me, as I'm terrible at sticking to goals in general and reading lists in particular.  This is the only time I have ever stuck to a TBR list, so hopefully I'll continue and manage to read all 72 books by the time the five years are up.

Books read this year: 16
Running total: 29/72

Books I read this year (links to my reviews):

   

Favourite Reread: This second year was a year of new reads, with only Emma and Return of the King being rereads.  Of these, Emma is definitely my favourite.

Unexpected Delight: Northanger Abbey.  Having already read Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility, I had assumed that the best of Austen was already behind me.  But I was utterly enchanted by Catherine, and Northanger Abbey is now my favourite Austen.

Book I Am Glad to Have Finished: Definitely Les Miserables.  I try to read one 'big'/scary book each year, and spinning Les Mis meant that this was the year that Victor Hugo and I became acquainted.  I had high hopes, but was ultimately let down by the meandering story-telling and unnecessary diversions. I'm glad I read it, but it wasn't really for me.

Best Modern Classic: The Painted Veil by W.Somerset Maugham.  I loved this story of a woman forced to accompany her husband into a cholera epidemic because of her infidelity.  It's full of thoroughly unlikable characters but still somehow manages to be beautiful.

Book I Finally Got Around To: East of Eden.  My husband has been nagging me for years to read some more Steinbeck, so I'm relieved that I loved this one.  I'm looking forward to The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row, both of which are on my list.

Authors I Am Finished With On My List: Louisa May Alcott, Anne Bronte, Emily Bronte, Isak Dinesen, Daphne Du Maurier, Elizabeth Gaskell, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Golding, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Victor Hugo, Zora Neale Hurston, Aldous Huxley, Henry James, W. Somerset Maugham, Mark Twain and Jules Verne.  Of all of these, I'm really looking forward to reading more James and Maugham.

I'm still enjoying reading classics, although I'm finding that my tastes are changing.  If I modified my list now, it would be very different from the one I compiled two years ago.  But I've decided to stick to my original goals, and save my new ideas for the classics club list, version two, that I'm sure I'll be compiling in three years time.

If you're in the classics club, how are you getting on with your list?

22 comments:

  1. I'm in the process of putting my halfway progress report together. I'm afraid I haven't done nearly as well as you with reviewing what I've read. East Of Eden was one I too' finally got around to' and loved.

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    1. Look forward to reading your report, Cat. And I'm excited to read more Steinbeck now!

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  2. You've done better than me too.
    Although I'm not even sure when my cc anniversary is, let alone what my progress report is...I suspect your post will sit in my mind bugging me to do something about it in the next few days :-)

    Congrats on getting through so many.
    In what ways have your tastes changed?

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    1. Sorry for bugging you! :P
      I've discovered authors like Henry James and Maugham, and now I''m disappointed that I don't have more of their books on my list.....next time, though.

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  3. I like reading the classics but find I have to go to lighter reading in between.

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    1. Oh me too, I couldn't go classic to classic, my brain would fry!

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  4. Well done! That's an impressive number of classics to have read, especially considering the other reading you've been doing AND the major life event you had this year!

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    1. Pregnancy left a lot of time for reading - having a newborn, not so much!

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  5. You are doing awesome! I don't think anyone would blame you for adjusting your list a bit -- 5 years is a long time to stick to one specific list when there are so many books that qualify for the club! But I do admire your commitment :)

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    1. I'm far too stubborn to change my list, I will see it through whether I enjoy it or not! :P

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  6. Oooh, I'm so glad East of Eden has made you excited to read more Steinbeck! He's basically my favourite (although you kind of started with the best one so I hope you're not disappointed by the others! They're still so great).

    Anyway. Love round ups like this, fab stuff :)

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    1. He's my husband's favourite author, I have been nagged for years! He thinks Cannery Row is the best Steinbeck, although it's hard to imagine it being better than East of Eden, which was just awesome (Cathy!).

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  7. I love your post, Sam! And I'm glad to meet another person who is terrible with sticking to lists and goals. What is your excuse? I always get distracted with other books, that I forget about the ones I put on the lists. Surprisingly I am caught up with my TBR Pile list, but it's a miracle. I had to work hard to catch up.

    I love Hugo's meandering and diversions ----- it's like being in someone's head and really getting to know them. That said, if you are story focussed, I can understand the frustrations. Have you ever read any Virginia Woolf? If so, did you enjoy her?

    Well, congrats on your two year anniversary! I'm almost at one year and I think I need to pick it up!

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    1. I don't have an excuse - I'm just fickle! I'm impressed at you sticking to a TBR pile list, every now and then I have thoughts of doing that, but it just never works out.

      I've not read any Woolf but I do have Orlando on my list, as I love the sound of the premise. Hopefully I will enjoy it..

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  8. That's an impressive list! I feel like I've been slacking on the Classics Club a bit, although I loved East of Eden. Thomas Hardy, Henry James and Shirley Jackson are next on my list.

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    1. I didn't like Turn of the Screw, but I loved both Daisy Miller & Portrait of a Lady by James. Good luck!

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  9. It's great that you're making progress with your classics list - it also appears that you've progressed from this year to last, jumping from 13 last year, to 16 titles read this year, which I bet you're happy about.

    I'm thinking of joining The Classics Club next year, so it's good to know that the theory of compiling a list and working through it over five years actually works.
    :-)
    Bits & Bobs

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    1. I am happy about that, although I don't think the pattern will continue!
      I really like the classics club, five years is long enough that the pressure is low enough for it to work.

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  10. I'm almost one year in and I have only read 4 classics so far (shame on me!).
    marelden.com

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    1. Still 4 years to go though, plenty of time!

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  11. I'm not in the classics club because I know I would rebel -- I never stick to my reading goals either!! -- but I love seeing what other people are reading. I'm delighted that you liked Northanger Abbey. Catherine's an excellent heroine, and I'm very fond of Henry Tilney as a hero.

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  12. You are doing a fantastic job! East of Eden is on my list too so I am so glad to see that you (and many other bloggers) thought it was great.

    I finished Moby Dick and took a tiny classics break....I really need to get back to work!

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