In a spin

The City of Books, Aix-en-Provence (September 2017)

In yet another attempt to tackle my to-be-read pile I’ve decided to take a leaf out of the book put together by The Classics Club blog.

They have a concept called the ‘Classics Spin’, as detailed at

What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, before next Friday, November 17th, create a post to list your choice of any twenty books that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the year (details to follow). Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, re-reads, ancients — whatever you choose.)

On Friday, November 17th, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by December 31, 2017. We’ll check in here in January to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!

This looks like a (just about) manageable challenge — this from one who never quite completes a challenge (looks like achieving Mount TBR for 2017 is going to be very tight). At least I know I’ve got twenty titles on my shelves that bit the bill! Here they are, in a sort of alphabetical order.

1.  Apollonius: Jason and the Golden Fleece
2.  J M Barrie: Peter Pan
3.  Angela Brazil: The School in the Turrets
4.  Anne Bronte: Agnes Grey
5.  Charlotte Bronte: Shirley
6.  Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Little Princess
7.  Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden
8.  Thomas Carlyle: Sartor Resartus
9.  Anton Chekhov: Early Stories
10. Charles Dickens: Pictures from Italy
11. Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
12. George Eliot: Middlemarch
13. Hermann Hesse: Steppenwolf
14. Charles Kingsley: Hypatia
15. Rudyard Kipling: Kim
16. D H Lawrence: The Princess and other stories
17. Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince
18. Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca
19. George du Maurier: Trilby
20. L M Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables

You’ll notice a rather wide mix: non-fiction as well as fiction, children’s and well as adult novels, female as well as male authors, classical literature as well as modern classics.

Of course these aren’t the only classics I’m hoping to read — Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein will be a must this coming year, especially as I shall be reading the original text of this, published in 1818. And I hope to include some supernatural stuff around October and November, such as M R James’ Collected Short Stories and a selection of E Nesbit’s spooky tales, The Power of Darkness.

As today’s the day I’ll be looking out for the first spin, wondering What will it be?

Later that same day …
And it’s … No 4, Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey! Yay!


45 thoughts on “In a spin

    1. Dreading or hesitant? Middlemarch I suppose, for sheer length; the Kingsley because it seemed worthy but turgid when I first tried and failed to finish it; and Trilby because my tatty secondhand copy looks ready to fall apart!

      Can’t wait? The kids’ books probably, because they’d be real comfort reading! To be honest these are all books I already had that I felt I had to read — this challenge seemed the appropriate kick up the backside to get me going. 🙂

      1. You have to pick the right time for some books. What can seem difficult or not right for you on an initial reading (or attempt to read), can seem easy or engaging at a later date.

    1. Thanks, Lynne! The Kipling would be a reread, possibly Oliver Twist, and Peter Pan I must have read when I was a kid though it may have been because, aged 7 or 8, I played Michael Darling in a school production! Of the rest, two or three are ones I began but never finished and the rest are new to me.

      1. That’s interesting that you played Michael, we did a lot of Shakespeare plays at school, it put me right off off him. I find his life story is more interesting, or the lack of it, for such a famous playwright 🙂

        1. Curiously we seemed to only study Will’s tragedies at school — perhaps they were seen as more improving, or a warning against bad behaviour (it was a Catholic boys school after all). Anyway, I still remember chunks of speeches by Hamlet, Julius Caesar and Macbeth, for example, as I guess we were made to learn them from memory!

  1. That’s an interesting list including some that I’ve read and a few I’m not familiar with at all. I love Rebecca and Middlemarch – and Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden were two of my childhood favourites. Good luck!

    1. Thank you, Helen, though I think everybody’s list would be equally fascinating for what would be included. 🙂 Anyway, I’ve tried to vary it a bit, though there are still a lot of dead white males there, and quite a few of the usual suspects!

  2. MrsB_inthehills

    Before the end of the year? Wow…I’d have no hope! I’ve got so many books on my ‘to read’ list and I don’t know whether to be encouraged or depressed by your superior reading speed!

    1. Oh, this list isn’t all to read by the end of the year, just one title selected by a number randomly generated! I’m guessing that this’ll take a little over three years to complete at around six titles or so a year. 🙂

            1. So I guessed! I wonder how the Don measures up to another Don in terms of dodderiness, gaffes and delusions? I’d go for the 16C Don any time …

      1. Hoping I will get to it by the end of the year. My track record for finishing these Spins on time is not that great, but I continue to hope 🙂

        Besides, I am still in San Diego and have checked two of three bookstores that I go to here and they don’t have it. Trying the third one today. Yikes!!

  3. As you say, a lovely, eclectic mix there, but you’re better than I on the ‘worthy read’ front. I had Rebecca on my TBR pile – a book I should read I felt – but gave up part way in. I just could not warm to the de Winters. Now, a Bronte I could cope with. Good luck with it Chris

  4. elmediat

    Best of luck. My challenge is creating a list – I picked a couple of books recently as my choice, if I can finish one of the books I am currently reading. Only a couple of pages left and will have finished Johannes Cabal~The Detective. 😀

      1. elmediat

        Johannes Cabal~The Detective is actually the second in a series of books by Jonathon Howard The first is Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. I was not aware of the extent of the series when I purchased the book. I have recently discovered that two tales are available for online reading at . The list grows even when you are not looking !

        The writer takes the character through a variety familiar genre roles. The setting is an alternative history – steampunk Europe. The character and humour & wit make for addictive reading ( then again I am a book addict 😀 ).

        from Penguin:

        Johannes Cabal returns in this fearfully funny and terrifically twisted tale of murder and international intrigue . . . five thousand feet off the ground.

        When an attempt to steal a rare book turns sour, Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, finds himself in a foreign prison awaiting execution. A crafty plan — as horrific as it is cunning – allows him to steal the identity of a government official and make his escape aboard a luxurious aeroship heading out of the country. But what should be a perfect getaway rapidly becomes complicated by the bizarre disappearance of a passenger, an attempt on Cabal’s life, and an unwelcome face from the past. Trapped aboard with a killer, can even Cabal’s open-razor of a mind save him?

        Full of twists, turns, sword fights, archenemies, newfangled flying machines, narrow escapes, and, of course, resurrected dead, Johannes Cabal’s latest eldritch escapade is a Ruritanian romp from first to last.

  5. Quite a list. Meanwhile, I have no idea when I will finish The Phantom Tollbooth, started in hospital, or The Long Utopia (that one, probably never) or Ever, Dirk. I will have to try and read the latest Harry Potter as Younger Daughter has taken the play from the library, and they will want it back. I must admit that a first dip had me interested. Goody Malfoys and iffy Potters? Hmmm…

    1. No spoilers please for the HP title! I’ve got the paperback edition which represents the final version of the play as opposed to the hardback which featured the draft version for rehearsal purposes.

      The Phantom Tollbooth I ought to rrad sometime but the other two are new to me, but I take your scarcely veiled criticisms of their worth. 🙂

      1. The two you mention may be familiar to you after all. ‘The Long Utopia’ is the latest Terry Pratchett, plus Baxter, effort; ‘Ever, Dirk’ is a collection of Dirk Bogarde letters.

  6. Pingback: A year in books – Calmgrove

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