While catching up on some blog reading the other day, I was inspired by my friend JoAnn at Lakeside Musings who wrote about completing The Classics Club challenge and decided to check in on my own progress.
It’s … not that great.
No surprise there.
The Classics Club is a book challenge that started in March 2012 with the goal of reading at least 50 classic books within five years. Short stories, novellas and poetry all count. Re-reads are allowed too, so even if you know you read something in high school but you don’t remember anything about it, that’s fair game. You can join the club anytime. And it is somewhat flexible. I don’t do well with challenges or reading games where one needs to adhere to a list that’s set in stone until the end of time since preferences change and, as we know, I have zero qualms about abandoning books as soon as they aren’t working for me.
To participate, all one needs to do is post a list of at least 50 classics that you plan to read within the next five years, which I did in this post (“dustin’ off that English degree, joining the classics club”) here. In my typical over-committing style, my original list included more than 100 books.
That was in April 2015. Two and a half years later, I’ve added to that list since then but haven’t made much of a dent in it. I’ve read three:
The Complete Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway
A Moveable Feast, also by Hemingway
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
And three additional books were DNFs:
The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens
The Very Best of O. Henry by O. Henry
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allen Poe.
Coincidentally, it’s time for another Classics Club “spin.” This is a fun part of the challenge where, every so often, the organizers do a “spin” where participants list on your blog (or wherever) 20 classics from your list that are still unread. The organizers select a random number and whatever book corresponds to that number is the book you need to read by a certain date. They’ll select a number on Friday.
Clearly, this is fate that I need to do this, right? Here’s my list of 20 books:
- Allison, Dorothy: Bastard Out of Carolina
- Atwood, Margaret: The Blind Assassin
- Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time
- Baldwin, James: Giovanni’s Room
- Calvino, Italo: If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler
- Dickens, Charles: The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Du Maurier, Daphne: Rebecca
- Fitzgerald, Zelda: Save Me the Waltz
- Irving, John: A Prayer for Owen Meany
- Kundera, Milan: The Unbearable Lightness of Being
- McCullers, Carson: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
- O’Connor, Flannery: A Good Man is Hard to Find
- O’Connor, Flannery: Wise Blood
- Orwell, George: 1984
- Plath, Sylvia: Ariel
- Wharton, Edith: The Age of Innocence
- Wollstonecraft, Mary: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
- Woolf, Virginia: The Complete Shorter Fiction
- Woolf, Virginia: A Room of One’s Own
- Woolf, Virginia: Orlando
Update 11/17/2017: And the lucky number is … 4! Which means I’ll be reading Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. This has been on my TBR for awhile so I’m glad to finally get to it.