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!

Top Ten Tuesday: 21st Century Books I Think Will Become Classics

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is 21st Century Books I Think Will Become Classics.

This is a hard one! And what do we mean by classics anyway? I’m going with ten books that I think will be read and discussed for many years to come — or at least, for some of these, books that I think SHOULD be read and discussed, even if they’re a bit under the radar right now.

My list skews mostly toward science fiction and fantasy, with a couple of others mixed in as well.

Here are my top 10:

  1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: I know this one is already being taught in high schools. So beautiful and powerful.
  2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: This book probably got a fresh wave of readers thanks to the TV adaptation.
  3. The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller: It was hard to choose between this book and Circe! Both are wonderful. It’s so impressive to see classic stories made so fresh and compelling.
  4. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: Gorgeous storytelling build on Russian fairy tale elements.
  5. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: Simply my favorite piece of fantasy world-building! Deserves to be much more widely read.
  6. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: This novella, combinating Afro-futurism and science fiction storytelling, provides a fresh voice in the sci-fi/fantasy world.
  7. Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey: The entire Expanse series is super impressive — a great achievement in the world of science fiction.
  8. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Heart-breaking every time I read it, as well as an innovative approach to storytelling.
  9. The Martian by Andy Weir: Geek fiction for the win! This deserves to be a sci-fi classic.
  10. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke: So strange and beautiful. I think this book needs to be read more than once to fully absorb it.

What books made your list this week? Do we have any in common?

Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

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!

Shelf Control #311: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Bless Me, Ultima
Author: Rudolfo Anaya
Published: 1972
Length: 297 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Stories filled with wonder and the haunting beauty of his culture have helped make Rudolfo Anaya the father of Chicano literature in English, and his tales fairly shimmer with the lyric richness of his prose. Acclaimed in both Spanish and English, Anaya is perhaps best loved for his classic bestseller …

Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima enters his life. She is a curandera, one who heals with herbs and magic. ‘We cannot let her live her last days in loneliness,’ says Antonio’s mother. ‘It is not the way of our people,’ agrees his father. And so Ultima comes to live with Antonio’s family in New Mexico. Soon Tony will journey to the threshold of manhood. Always, Ultima watches over him. She graces him with the courage to face childhood bigotry, diabolical possession, the moral collapse of his brother, and too many violent deaths. Under her wise guidance, Tony will probe the family ties that bind him, and he will find in himself the magical secrets of the pagan past—a mythic legacy equally as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America in which he has been schooled. At each turn in his life there is Ultima who will nurture the birth of his soul. 

How and when I got it:

I bought a used paperback edition a few years ago.

Why I want to read it:

I was aware of this book for many years — yet another modern classic that somehow passed me by back in my high school and college years. Bless Me, Ultima came back to my attention in 2018 when PBS presented its The Great American Read program.

Bless Me, Ultima came in at #91 on the Great American Read list of top 100 books. (You can see the rest of the list here.) After the list came out, I set myself a very loose challenge to read more of the books on the list, with five titles as my short-term goal. Bless Me, Ultima was one of my five, but sadly, I still haven’t gotten to it.

While I wasn’t particularly familiar with the plot, I knew that this book has won awards, been targeted for censorship, and is often considered a must-read when it comes to diverse coming of age stories. For all these reasons, I’m interested in learning more about it and would like to read it… and just need to break away from my focus on new and recently published books to make time for it.

Have you read Bless Me, Ultima? If so, do you recommend it?

Please share your thoughts!


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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

Top Ten Tuesday: A TTT Freebie — 10 classics on my TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s is a freebie week, meaning we all come up with our own TTT topics.

I thought I’d return to an oldie but goodie — classic reads that I still need to get to. My list of to-read classics changes all the time, but for right now, these are the ten classics that I’d most like to read:

  1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  2. Dracula by Bram Stoker (a re-read, but it’s been enough years that it’ll probably feel new to me)
  3. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
  4. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
  5. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  6. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
  7. Peony by Pearl S. Buck
  8. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (or really, anything by this author besides the Little Women trilogy, which I’ve read)
  9. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  10. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

After putting this list together, it occurs to me that it’s weighted toward male authors, which doesn’t make me happy — so this whole topic may need further thought! Or a follow-up post, at the very least.

Have you read any of these books, and if so, which do you recommend?

What did you write about for this week’s TTT? Please share your links!

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Shelf Control #149: The Bone People by Keri Hulme

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.png

Title: The Bone People
Author: Keri Hulme
Published: 1984
Length: 450 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes, part Maori, part European, an artist estranged from her art, a woman in exile from her family. One night her solitude is disrupted by a visitor—a speechless, mercurial boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most precious possession. As Kerewin succumbs to Simon’s feral charm, she also falls under the spell of his Maori foster father Joe, who rescued the boy from a shipwreck and now treats him with an unsettling mixture of tenderness and brutality. Out of this unorthodox trinity Keri Hulme has created what is at once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge. Winner of both a Booker Prize and Pegasus Prize for Literature, The Bone People is a work of unfettered wordplay and mesmerizing emotional complexity.

How and when I got it:

I bought it years ago, probably at a library sale (like so many of the books on my shelves!).

Why I want to read it:

I’ve been hearing about The Bone People for years, and have been told repeatedly that it’s a must-read. I haven’t read much fiction set in New Zealand, and I’m fascinated by the sound of the story!

Have you read any books set in New Zealand? Any you’d recommend? Please let me know!

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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Shelf Control #139: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.png

Title: In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote
Published: 1966
Length: 343 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

How and when I got it:

I bought a copy about 5 years ago at a used book store in Anchorage, Alaska (of all places!)

Why I want to read it:

In Cold Blood is one of those modern classics that seemingly everyone reads eventually. I never had it assigned for school, and just never got around to picking up a copy until recently. It seems like a big oversight in my reading life never to have taken the time to read In Cold Blood, and I’m planning to make this a priority in the coming year.

__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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