My Classics Club Spin book for fall 2022 will be…

Earlier this week, I shared a post with my list of books for the newest Classics Club Spin challenge (see it here), and today, this spin’s number was announced. (For those keeping track, it’s CC Spin #31, and for me personally, #3!)

Hosted by The Classics Club blog, the Classics Club Spin is a reading adventure where participants come up with a list of classics they’d like to read, number them 1 to 20, and then read the book that corresponds to the “spin” number that comes up.

For CCSpin #31, the lucky number is:

And that means I’ll be reading:

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (published 1889)

Synopsis:

One of the greatest satires in American literature, Mark Twain’s ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ begins when Hank Morgan, a skilled mechanic in a nineteenth-century New England arms factory, is struck on the head during a quarrel and awakens to find himself among the knights and magicians of King Arthur’s Camelot. The ‘Yankee’ vows brashly to “boss the whole country inside of three weeks” and embarks on an ambitious plan to modernize Camelot with 19th c. industrial inventions like electricity and gunfire. It isn’t long before all hell breaks loose!

Written in 1889, Mark ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ is one of literature’s first genre mash-ups and one of the first works to feature time travel. It is one of the best known Twain stories, and also one of his most unique. Twain uses the work to launch a social commentary on contemporary society, a thinly veiled critique of the contemporary times despite the Old World setting.

While the dark pessimism that would fully blossom in Twain’s later works can be discerned in ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, ‘ the novel will nevertheless be remembered primarily for its wild leaps of imagination, brilliant wit, and entertaining storytelling.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve read anything by Mark Twain — probably going back to reading Tom Sawyer in middle school — but I’m excited for this one! I’m assuming this will be a lighter read relative to some of the other classics on my list, although it does sound like there are some heavier themes as well as the playful elements.

I’ve been trying to figure out how long this book is, but because it’s public domain and there are so many versions published, I’m seeing everything from 271 pages to 480 for an illustrated edition!

For my own reading adventure, I’ll be using the Serial Reader app, which has this book available in 54 installments. If I start now, reading one installment per day would push me past the October 30th deadline, but if I double up at least some of the time, I’ll make it!

Wish me luck!

Here’s my list of 20 titles for Classics Club Spin #31:

  1. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier
  2. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  3. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Peony by Pearl Buck
  6. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  7. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  8. Howards End by E. M. Forster
  9. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  10. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  11. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  12. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  13. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  14. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  15. Passing by Nella Larsen
  16. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  17. The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
  18. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
  19. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  20. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Porter

My previous Classics Club Spin books:

Are you participating in this Classics Club Spin? If so, what book will you be reading?

Getting ready for the Fall 2022 Classics Club Spin!

It’s time for another Classics Club Spin, and I can’t wait!

Hosted by The Classics Club blog, the Classics Club Spin is a reading adventure where participants come up with a list of classics they’d like to read, number them 1 to 20, and then read the book that correponds to the “spin” number that comes up. This will be my 3rd time participating — although for The Classics Club, it’s spin #31!

Here are the dates and guidelines from the host blog:

On Sunday 18th, September, 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 the 30th October, 2022.

We’ll check in here on Sunday the 30th October, 2022 to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!

What’s Next?

  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Sunday, 18th September.
  • We’ll announce a number from 1-20. 
  • Read that book by 30th October, 2022.

I’ve had so much fun with my previous CCSpin experiences, so of course I’m going to do it again! I’m going back to my list from last time, and other than replacing the book I just read, I’m going to leave the rest of my list as is. I’d be happy to read any of these!

And now for the good stuff…

Here’s my list of 20 classics for my 3rd Classics Club Spin:

  1. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier
  2. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  3. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Peony by Pearl Buck
  6. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  7. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  8. Howards End by E. M. Forster
  9. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  10. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  11. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  12. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  13. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  14. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  15. Passing by Nella Larsen
  16. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  17. The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
  18. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
  19. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  20. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Porter

Wish me luck! I’ll post again on Sunday once the spin results are announced!

My previous Classics Club spins:

Spring 2022 (CCSpin29): The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer
Summer 2022 (CCSpin30): Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

My Classics Club Spin book for summer 2022 will be…

Earlier this week, I shared a post with my list of books for the Classics Club Spin challenge (see it here), and today, this spin’s number was announced. (For those keeping track, it’s CC Spin #30, and for me personally, #2!)

Hosted by The Classics Club blog, the Classics Club Spin is a reading adventure where participants come up with a list of classics they’d like to read, number them 1 to 20, and then read the book that correponds to the “spin” number that comes up.

For CCSpin #30, the lucky number is:

And that means I’ll be reading:

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, published in 1945, 181 pages.

Synopsis for the edition above:

Cannery Row is a book without much of a plot. Rather, it is an attempt to capture the feeling and people of a place, the cannery district of Monterey, California, which is populated by a mix of those down on their luck and those who choose for other reasons not to live “up the hill” in the more respectable area of town. The flow of the main plot is frequently interrupted by short vignettes that introduce us to various denizens of the Row, most of whom are not directly connected with the central story. These vignettes are often characterized by direct or indirect reference to extreme violence: suicides, corpses, and the cruelty of the natural world.

The “story” of Cannery Row follows the adventures of Mack and the boys, a group of unemployed yet resourceful men who inhabit a converted fish-meal shack on the edge of a vacant lot down on the Row.

And a synopsis for a different edition:

Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Flood’s bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Lee Chong stocks his grocery with almost anything a man could want, and Doc, a young marine biologist who ministers to sick puppies and unhappy souls, unexpectedly finds true love. Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding, and a great fund of human values.

First published in 1945, Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is—both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual. John Steinbeck draws on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, and interweaves their stories in this world where only the fittest survive—creating what is at once one of his most humorous and poignant works. In Cannery Row, John Steinbeck returns to the setting of Tortilla Flat to create another evocative portrait of life as it is lived by those who unabashedly put the highest value on the intangibles—human warmth, camaraderie, and love.

I have to say, I’m not especially excited that this is the book that came up this time around — I have been intending to read Cannery Row for years, but there are other books on my list that were more strongly calling to me.

Cannery Row was published ten years after Tortilla Flat, which I read with my book group a couple of years ago. Having spent lots of time in Monterey, I’m familiar with the area as it exists now, and I do think it’ll be interesting to finally read this Steinbeck classic.

And fortunately for me, I actually own a copy! I have the edition pictured above, and since it’s under 200 pages, I don’t think I’ll have any problem finishing before the August 7th deadline.

I’m a little bummed that I’m feeling so hesitant about this book… but I’m sure once it’ll all work out. Wish me luck!

Here’s my list of 20 titles for Classics Club Spin #30:

  1. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier
  2. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  3. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  6. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  7. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  8. Howards End by E. M. Forster
  9. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  10. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  11. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  12. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  13. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  14. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  15. Passing by Nella Larsen
  16. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  17. The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
  18. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
  19. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  20. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Porter

My previous Classics Club Spin book:

The Black Moth (read 4/2022)

Are you participating in this Classics Club Spin? If so, what book will you be reading?

Getting ready for another Classics Club Spin!

It’s time for another Classics Club Spin, and I can’t wait!

Hosted by The Classics Club blog, the Classics Club Spin is a reading adventure where participants come up with a list of classics they’d like to read, number them 1 to 20, and then read the book that correponds to the “spin” number that comes up. This will be my 2nd time participating — although for The Classics Club, it’s spin #30!

Here are the dates and guidelines from the host blog:

On Sunday 12th, June, 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 the 7th August, 2022.

We’ll check in here on Sunday the 7th August, 2022 to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!

What’s Next?

Go to your blog.

Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.

Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Sunday, 12th June.

We’ll announce a number from 1-20. 

Read that book by 7th August, 2022.

I had so much fun with my first CCSpin — my book was The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer — that I can’t wait to do it again! I’m going back to my list from last time, and besides replacing the book I already read, I’m swapping out a few of my previous picks to replace them with books that have a bit more appeal for me right now.

And now for the good stuff…

Here’s my list of 20 classics for my 2nd Classics Club Spin:

  1. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier
  2. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  3. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  6. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  7. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  8. Howards End by E. M. Forster
  9. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  10. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  11. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  12. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  13. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  14. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  15. Passing by Nella Larsen
  16. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  17. The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
  18. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
  19. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  20. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Porter

I think I’d be happy to read any of these! I’m mostly going for shorter books, trying not to be too ambitious given how many other books I already have lined up for this summer.

Wish me luck! I’ll post again on Sunday once the spin results are announced!

My Classics Club Spin book will be…

Yesterday, I shared a post with my list of books for the Classics Club Spin challenge (see it here), and today, this spin’s number was announced.

Hosted by The Classics Club blog, the Classics Club Spin is a reading adventure where participants come up with a list of classics they’d like to read, number them 1 to 20, and then read the book that correponds to the “spin” number that comes up.

For CCSpin # 29, the lucky number is:

And that means I’ll be reading:

The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer, published in 1921, 355 pages.

Synopsis:

A disgraced lord, a notorious highwayman

Jack Carstares, the disgraced Earl of Wyndam, left England seven long years ago, sacrificing his honor for that of his brother when he was accused of cheating at cards. Now Jack is back, roaming his beloved South Country in the disguise of a highwayman.

And the beauty who would steal his heart

Not long after Jack’s return, he encounters his old adversary, the libertine Duke of Andover, attempting the abduction of the beautiful Diana Beauleigh. At the point of Jack’s sword, the duke is vanquished, but foiled once, the “Black Moth” has no intention of failing again?

This is Georgette Heyer’s first novel – a favorite of readers and a stirring tale to be enjoyed again and again.

I’ve read several of Georgette Heyer’s books already, but not this one, and since it’s her first published novel, I’m really eager to give it a try.

I’m also really happy that this spin landed me with a book that’s available through Serial Reader. The Black Moth is on Serial Reader in 33 installments, so if I start this week, I’ll definitely finish before the April 30th target date.

Wish me luck! I’m excited to get started. And who knows? If this works out for me, I’ll be back for future spins!

Here’s my list of 20 titles for Classics Club Spin #29:

  1. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier
  2. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  3. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  6. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  7. Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson
  8. Howards End by E. M. Forster
  9. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  10. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  11. The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer
  12. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  13. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  14. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  15. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  16. Passing by Nella Larsen
  17. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  18. The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
  19. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  20. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Did you participate in this Classics Club Spin? If so, what book will you be reading?

My very first Classics Club Spin!

I’ve been seeing other bloggers participate in the Classics Club Spin over the last few years, and I suddenly got inspired this week to join in the fun!

Hosted by The Classics Club blog, the Classics Club Spin is a reading adventure where participants come up with a list of classics they’d like to read, number them 1 to 20, and then read the book that correponds to the “spin” number that comes up.

Here are the dates and guidelines from the host blog:

On Sunday 20th, March, 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 the 30th April, 2022. That’s a six week reading window for this spin. You may like to stack your list with books that you know are do-able for you within that time frame.

We’ll check in here on Sunday the 30th April, 2022 to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!

What’s Next?

Go to your blog.

Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.

Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Sunday, 20th March.

We’ll announce a number from 1-20. 

Read that book by 30th April, 2022.

This is probably the worst possible time for me to do this, since I’m completely backlogged when it comes to my reading plans and have way too many ARCs lined up for April and May.

Still, I’m intrigued by the concept, and I really like Hopewell’s Library of Life‘s idea to refer to Serial Reader for books that can be read in few enough installments to finish by the deadline. (And, by the way, Serial Reader is fabulous, and if you want to know more, see my post here for more info!)

Enough introduction!

Here’s my list of 20 classics for my first ever attempt at the Classics Club Spin:

  1. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier
  2. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  3. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
  6. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  7. Queen Lucia by E. F. Benson
  8. Howards End by E. M. Forster
  9. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  10. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  11. The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer
  12. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  13. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  14. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  15. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  16. Passing by Nella Larsen
  17. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  18. The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
  19. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  20. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

A few of these would be re-reads for me, but given how many years have passed since I first/last read them, I’d be happy to read them again!

I’m just dipping my toes in cautiously, trying to pick books that are both doable in the time frame and that I would feel excited to read. No huge books, no huge obstacles…

Wish me luck! We’ll find out tomorrow what the spin number is!

Opinion: I’m tired of creepy people on Goodreads

Stop. Just, please stop.

This is getting out of hand.

Okay, deep breaths.

When I first joined Goodreads, my friends list consisted of people who were really and truly my friends, or friends of friends — for the most part, people I knew in real life in some way, or who had an actual connection to me.

Over the years, especially since I started blogging, my friends list has expanded, and that’s usually quite fun. I love seeing what everyone else is reading (yes, I’m that person on the airplane who looks at everyone else’s book as she walks down the aisle), and I love getting feedback and ideas and inspiration from the people I meet.

BUT… has anyone else noticed lately the proliferation of creepy people who seem to think Goodreads is a hook-up site?

My policy over the last couple of years has been to accept all Goodreads friend requests, because why not? The more, the merrier! We’re all book lovers, after all, so why not be friends?

Except now I find that at least every couple of weeks, I’ll accept a friend request only to get a follow up message that creeps me out. Like the one that arrived today:

You are truly a beautiful woman. Honestly I will like to be your good friend. 

Um. Thanks? But no.

Here’s one from a couple of weeks ago:

Are you on hangout so we can have a good time and good privacy for ourselves

Ick.

There are also bunches of more innocuous messages, that all seem to be variations on Joey Tribbiani:

Not casting aspersions based on gender or anything… but 100% of the creepy Goodreads messages, as well as the “how you doing” messages, are from men. Make of that what you will.

I’m just ignoring for now. If I pretend not to see them, maybe they’ll go away? If anyone really crosses a line (or if I end up seeing something I deem offensive on their profile), I’ll delete them… but otherwise, I’ve mostly just been shrugging and moving on.

It does feel like these kind of messages are showing up more frequently lately. Maybe everyone is just at home with more time on their hands these days? For whatever reason, it’s often enough that I’m starting to get annoyed.

So….

Anyone else experiencing the same thing? And if so, how do you handle it?

2019: My year in books

Another reading year has come and gone! Here’s a look back at the highlights of my year in books:

Thank you, Goodreads, for letting me know that I’m probably good at other things besides reading! Funny, last year, I read 202 out of 170 books… so I’m slowly increasing? Or probably just throwing in a lot more shorter works into my reading mix.  

Goodreads stats as of 12/31/2019:

The Picture of Dorian Gray is the most popular book I read this year? Color me shocked! Who would have thought that a book from 1890 would have close to a million readers in 2019?

According to my average rating, I’ve been pretty successful this year when it comes to choosing book that appeal to me. Kind of crazy, but for the second year in a row, my average rating was 4.1 stars.

Star rating used most often: 4 stars (87 total)
Star rating used least often: 2 stars (6 total — and I didn’t give any books only 1-star. I think if I thought that little of a book, I just DNFd.)
DNFs: 4 – Between not getting into a book or just not being the right book at the right time, I officially put aside 4 books that I’d started… although I know there are several more that I put down within a page or two, and just didn’t even count.

Highest rated on Goodreads:

Apparently everyone loved this book!

First and Last:

Neither my first nor my last reviews of the year were for books I’d consider favorites… but then again, I didn’t get around (yet) to writing up reviews for the two books I just finished… so I guess they’ll have to just wait to be the first for 2020!

Reading highlights:

Complete series: I read three series start-to-finish this year:

  • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (8 books)
  • Beka Cooper by Tamora Pierce (3 books)
  • The Beauty graphic novels by Jeremy Haun (5 books)

New sequels or books in ongoing (or finished) series:

So many great new additions to stories I love! Including…

Stellar historical fiction:

Enthralling re-reads: Books that stand up superbly to a 2nd (or 3rd…) reading:

Great graphic novels:

Fun and light contemporary fiction:

Weird, creepy, disturbing, otherworldly:

Fantastic fantasy:

Story/essay collections:

A quartet of classics:

Aaaaaaand… I’m stopping now before I end up including every single book I read in 2019!

Eye-candy covers:

Let me just take a minute to appreciate some of the most beautiful and/or eye-catching covers from my reading this year… because who doesn’t love a great looking book?

 

Goodbye, 2019!

It’s been a blast… and now it’s time to look forward to all the wonderful books I’ve yet to read.

Wishing everyone a very happy 2020, full of good cheer, good health, and great reading!

 

Oh my stars! Part 2 – Yes, I’m adding a ratings system.

Twinkle, twinkle little star. NOW I’ve decided to include you when I write book reviews…

Following up from my post last weekend, I think I’m going to give using a ratings system a whirl. Can’t hurt, right? Thank you to all who took the time to share thoughts and offer insights and encouragement — it’s been so helpful.

So…

I’m just quietly going to start using stars when I post book reviews. And if I like it, I’ll keep it going!

Here’s a quick look at what my ratings mean:

And now, off to put my stars into action! Let me know what you think!

 

Oh my stars! Reconsidering a ratings system.

Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder whether I should include you when I write book reviews…

Sorry, is that not how the nursery rhyme goes?

About five years ago, I wrote a piece about star ratings and why I don’t use one (here). Looking back, I can see I did some serious overthinking of the issue. But hey, that’s not so unusual for me!

I’ve been blogging and reviewing books for over seven (!!!) years now, and from the beginning, I opted not to include a rating with my reviews. I’ve often felt boxed-in by the Goodreads 5-star system (oh, for those half stars they deny us!), and felt that the approach that works best for me is to put my reactions and feelings about a book into the review, and not try to attach a number to what is essentially a qualitative experience.

So why am I bringing this up again now?

Because I realize that my approach may be a little contrary to how I read other people’s reviews. Okay, I’ll admit the stark truth here: While I don’t use stars (or any other numeric ratings system), I do find myself scanning other people’s reviews to see their ratings before I go ahead and read the reviews themselves. There could be lots of reasons for this:

  • It’s a book I’ve never heard of, so I want to know at a glance if it’s worth considering.
  • It’s a book I’m reading or planning to read, and while I don’t want to know anything about it just yet (the dreaded spoiler phobia at work), I do want to know the reviewer’s overall opinion of the book.
  • I’m in a rush. I do follow quite a few bloggers and some days, there just isn’t time to read everything in my feed. But, if I see that a blogger whose reading tastes usually align with mine gives a book 5 stars, I’ll slow down and read that review to see if the book is for me.

Give that I value other bloggers’ ratings, how do I continue posting reviews without including ratings as well?

I’m cautiously dipping my toes into the idea of adding ratings to my reviews going forward. (Sorry, mixed metaphor, but whatever.) It feels like a big change for me, but also like not quite as big a deal as I once made it out to be.

What do you think? For anyone who’s read any of my reviews… well, first of all, thank you! But secondly — would you prefer to see me include ratings with my reviews? Overall, do you prefer to see ratings when you visit book blogs?

Please share your thoughts!