Classics Spin 21

Why do I do it? Set myself another challenge, that is? When I’d decided I would have a break from it all? Clearly this is one of life’s mysteries.

It’s time for the Classics Club‘s 21st ‘spin’. The last one I opted to do was before last Christmas and my pick was Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley. Guess what? It took me till a month ago to finish it. Fingers crossed the next one will be more successful.

The rules for Spin #21:

  • List any twenty books left to read from the Classics Club list.
  • Number them from 1 to 20.
  • On Monday 23rd September the Classics Club will announce a number.
  • This is the book that needs to read by 31st October.

Here’s my list:

  1. Apollonius: Jason and the Golden Fleece
  2. Petronius Arbiter: The Satyricon
  3. J M Barrie: Peter Pan
  4. William Beckford: Vathek
  5. Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
  6. Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Little Princess
  7. Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Return of Tarzan
  8. Thomas Carlyle: Sartor Resartus
  9. Edmund Crispin: The Case of the Gilded Fly
  10. Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
  11. Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game
  12. M R James: Collected Short Stories
  13. Rudyard Kipling: Kim
  14. D H Lawrence: The Princess and other stories
  15. Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince
  16. John Milton: Comus
  17. E Nesbit: The Power of Darkness
  18. Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast
  19. Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  20. Horace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto

Now, you’ll have realised we’re into meteorological autumn in the northern hemisphere — and 23rd September will be the autumn equinox — and therefore just the season for spooky tales. I’ve opted then to keep in tales of mystery and the supernatural, titles like Vathek, Jane Eyre, The Case of the Gilded Fly, M R James’ Collected Short Stories, E Nesbit’s The Power of Darkness, Gormenghast and The Castle of Otranto.

Quite a few of these also fit into the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge (which, you remember, I am not doing) which has as its categories Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, and Supernatural. I’ll leave you to suss out which one goes where.

Most of the titles are relatively (and mercifully) short — so much else to read — but I have retained a few chunkier works on the list, such as the Apollonius, the aforementioned Gormenghast and The Glass Bead Game.

Are there any on my list that catches your eye for any reason?


Here’s a gratuitous photo of secondhand books in an Oxfam bookshop taken on a recent visit to Bristol. Unusually, I didn’t actually purchase anything here.

Update: the spin number is 5, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

32 thoughts on “Classics Spin 21

    1. It is the novel, sadly not the play, but I have an edition with Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, the inspiration for the play and the novel. I have however seen Peter Pan Goes Wrong so does that count?! 🙂

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  1. Jane Eyre; it’s just spectacular. I’m also about to start A Little Princess which was inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s unfinished novel, Emma. I wrote a little piece on my blog about Emma last year. It’s such a shame it was left unfinished.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll be reading Jane Eyre any time soon, regardless of whether it comes up on the spin or not, but we’ll see — it might even be A Little Princess! I had a quick look at your post about Emma and now ordered a copy. 🙂

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  2. There are just so many bloggers hosting so many enticing events and challenges, Chris… 🤔 😉

    My list will be out later. It’s already scheduled, and like yours it’s weighted in favour of seasonal genres. Though I might just tweak it to shift The Castle of Otranto to no. 20. You can encourage me then, if it comes up the winner!

    Good luck with whatever you get!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alyson Woodhouse

    Hello,

    I have been loving all these Classics Club Spin lists over the last week. I don’t have a blog yet, but I might make up a list myself just for fun and take part in the next spin anyway.

    You have some great choices on your own list. The Apollonius is something I really should have read by now, but I suspect it is very long. Jane Eyre is brilliant, and much better structurally than Shirley, but two Charlotte Bronte novels in a row might be a bit much. Incidentally, I didn’t know the connection with A Little Princess either, so I will look into this further. In itself, that is a really sweet Cinderella style story: not without its problems, but an old childhood favorite of mine. Oliver Twist is not my favorite Dickens, but it has become so iconic that it is still worth reading. I hope you enjoy whatever comes up, and I look forward to reading your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do hope you feel up to making a list and joining in, Alyson, and maybe start a blog too! Like you I really should have read the Jason story by now but better late than never, I suppose, and the same with the others. Of those you mention only Oliver Twist wouldn’t be a first read, but as I read that in my teens it only technically counts as a reread (though the story is familiar from various dramatic adaptations).

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    1. I have a final post (in a rather strung-out series) on Shirley to polish off before I contemplate Jane’s story, Cathy, but I am determined to not put it off any longer! I’ve already read some of the M R James stories before but, yes, those would be apt for this time of year. 🙂

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  4. Christine

    If you like the beginning of autumn, Peter Pan sounds perfect, it’s just great for season transitions, especially summer-autumn or autimn-winter. Maybe too early in the year for Comus? Reading it brings up a desire to be one of several Edwardian children (with names like Anthea or Cyril) putting on a holiday play for mother and father in a warm, decorated living room. All of the options on the list look quite cozy!

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    1. Comus has the virtue, as I remember, of being relatively short, Christine but I agree it’s not particularly seasonal. Anthea and Cyril put me in mind of Edith Nesbit, whose The Story of the Amulet I need to reread before I can review it. Come to think of it that too would be just the ticket for an autumnal treat, would it not? 🙂

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    1. I did enjoy Titus Groan so its sequel does appeal. If it comes up as the spin choice, Jean, it may be that my review persuades you one way or the other whether you were right or not!

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  5. Well, since I’m hoping number 9 comes up (The Go-Between on my list) that would give you The Case of the Gilded Fly which sounds good to me! I’ve only read one of his books, The Moving Toyshop, and a novella-length story in an anthology, and thoroughly enjoyed them both. If 9 doesn’t show, then my pick from your list would probably be The Castle of Otranto – again I haven’t read it, but would like to one of these days. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Edmund Crispin is another title on the list that I’ve previously read but never reviewed: it’s a bit turgid to start with compared to The Moving Toyshop but ultimately fun, I seem to remember. Like the Otranto novel it’s got good bits in amongst a fair amount of tedium!

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    1. The Castle of Otranto is supposed to be the granddaddy of all Gothick literature, and seems to have all the classic ingredients — the supernatural, a predator, distressed victims, subterranean passages and so on. I’ll see, Jane, if I can persuade you with a review (even if No 20 doesn’t come up) if you can persuade me to sample a Radcliffe doorstop!

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      1. Ha Ha! Well I thought The Mysteries of Udolpho was brilliant when I read it for the chunkster spinat the beginning of the year, reading Northanger Abbey afterwards was a lot of fun!!

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        1. Thanks for the recommendation, Jane! Was the Udolpho published before Austen began Northanger Abbey? I seem to recall heroine Catherine was entranced with a different title in Austen’s novel, but I may have that wrong—I shall have to check now.

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  6. Wonderful list! I’d be rooting for Kim, as it crops up everywhere around me lately and I haven’t yet read it 😉 And, of course, for Tom Sawyer, which is one of my everlasting favourites! Good luck on 23rd!

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    1. I’ve only just realised that Kim is one of nine rereads on my list, as is Tom Sawyer! Clearly I’m either making nostalgic choices or I’m merely recognising that I was a very superficial reader back in the day—the latter, I suspect. But if either of these two titles come up from the spin I’ll bear you in mind!

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      1. inkbiotic

        That’s sometimes the problem with a great title, your hopes get high but the promise never quite delivers. Looking forward to hearing about it though…

        Liked by 1 person

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