Classics Club Spin #23: Updated Reveal

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Update: Well the Spin Gods have spoken, and #6 is the magic number. That means I get to read The Wind in the Willows. I have a beautiful illustrated edition for this one!

The idea is to select 20 random books from your Classics Club List and post them before Sunday, April 19. On Sunday, a number will be chosen which reveals the title that must be read by the end of May. Here are my selections for this spin:

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  2. Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  3. Possession by A.S. Byatt
  4. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  6. The Wind in the Willows by Thomas Grahame
  7. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  8. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  9. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
  10. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  11. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  12. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  13. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  14. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  15. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  16. Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne
  17. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  18. Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut
  19. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  20. Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Good luck Classic Clubbers!

Classics Club Spin 23

 

 

 

 

2019 Reading Goals Wrap-Up

Another year in the books! I had several reading goals/challenges for 2019. Let’s see what I accomplished:

my 2019 reading goals

#1 Read and review at least 50 books: Sadly, I hit some roadblocks this year that slowed me down and finished with 46 books. Considering the two-month gap where I wasn’t reading anything at all, I know I could have gone above and beyond. I gained a lot of momentum this past month, so I’m ready to attack 2020! Next year’s goal: 50!

#2 Read more of my own damn books and slow down on the book buying: I’m not going to lie, this goal was a complete and utter failure. There were more books bought this year than actually read, so I went completely upside-down on this one. Next year’s goal: I’m going to allow myself to buy one book each month, hoping a more specific goal will lead to progress. I plan to utilize the library more often as well as focus on clearing out the books on my shelves. 

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#3 Read 20 Books off my Classics Club listI knocked off 14 books, leaving me with 86 more to read in the next four years. Next year’s goal: My plan is to aim for 20 again and hope that I go slightly over this number in order to make up for falling short this year. There are so many contemporary books I want to read as well, so fingers crossed I find some balance.

#3 Back to the Classics ChallengeI finished 9 out of 12, good for two entries in the final prize. You can read my final thoughts on the challenge in my Back to the Classics 2019 Wrap-Up. Next year’s goal: I’m participating in the Reading Classic Books Challenge hosted by The Broken Spine. I’m super excited!

#4 TBR Pile ChallengeThis is another challenge that started strong, but I finished with 8 out of 12. I’m fine with this number, but unfortunately not enough read to enter the final drawing. Next year’s goal: Another new challenge! Beat the Backlist is hosted by NovelKnight and looks to be a lot of fun!

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#5 European Reading Challenge: The idea was to read 5 books from various European countries, and I did it! Next year’s goal: I won’t be participating in this challenge next year as I want to focus on the other challenges. However, I’m sure many of my selections will be from across the pond. 

#6 Jane Austen ChallengeMy goal was to reread all of Austen’s main works, but only finished with two. Next year’s goal: I’m carrying this challenge into next year in order to finish it!

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#7 Nonfiction Reading ChallengeTrue life was not my friend this year. I only read two nonfiction books in all of 2019. Next year’s goal: While I’m not making this one a high priority, it is my hope to read more nonfiction in the coming year. 

I’ll be posting later this week with a final set of reviews for 2019, followed by my annual book awards. Until then, here’s to 2020!

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2020 Reading Goals and Challenges

I had a lot of reading goals this year. Consequently, I had a lot of reading struggles too. Due to some mixed results, I thought about avoiding any reading challenges in 2020. Then, I decided to participate in a few and be more strategic about my goals for the new year. Let’s take a look at what I hope to accomplish:

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Goal for 2020: slide across a bookshelf on a ladder.

#1 Continue my Classics Club list (20): In order to stay on track with my five-year deadline for The Classics Club, I need to be reading at least 20 books from my list each year. I fell slightly short of that magic number in 2019, so I’ve got a little catching up to do.

#2 Participate in Beat the Backlist (12): For the past two years, I’ve participated in the TBR Challenge hosted by Roofbeam Reader. Sadly, it will not be returning in 2020. I found this challenge through Climbing Mount To Be Read that looks like fun. Here are my selections for this challenge:

  1. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  2. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  3. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  4. Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
  5. The Little Country by Charles de Lint
  6. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  7. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  8. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  9. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson
  10. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  11. Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
  12. The Outsider by Stephen King

#3 Participate in Back to the Classics (12): It’s back! I love this challenge as it helps me get more classics read. I haven’t selected anything yet, but here are the categories:

  1. 19th Century classic
  2. 20th Century classic
  3. Classic by a woman author
  4. Classic in translation
  5. Classic by a person of color
  6. A genre classic
  7. Classic with a person’s name in the title
  8. Classic with a place in the title
  9. Classic with nature in the title
  10. Classic about a family
  11. Abandoned classic
  12. Classic adaptation

#4 Participate in Reading Classic Books (12): I also found an alternative challenge to help me stay on track with classic literature. Here are the categories:

  1. Read a classic over 500 pages
  2. Read a classic by a POC and/or with a POC as the main character
  3. Read a classic that takes place in a country other than where you live
  4. Read a classic in translation
  5. Read a classic by a new to you author
  6. Read a book of poetry
  7. Read a classic written between 1800-1860
  8. Read a classic written by an LGBT author and/or with an LGBT main character
  9. Read a classic written by a woman
  10. Read a classic novella
  11. Read a classic nonfiction
  12. Read a classic that has been banned or censored

#5 Complete my Jane Austen Challenge (9): My plan was to reread all six of Austen’s main canon plus read six other “Austen-related” books, such as unofficial sequels and biographies. I have a fun collection of Austen-inspired short stories I’ve been wanting to read so that will be included here as well. Earlier in 2019, I read Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Letters from Pemberley. I have a long way to go:

  1. Mansfield Park
  2. Emma
  3. Northanger Abbey
  4. Persuasion
  5. Jane Austen Made Me Do It
  6. TBA
  7. TBA
  8. TBA
  9. TBA

#6 Read my Own Damned Books:

In order to stay focused, I’m going to really work on not buying as many books this year. I’m allowing myself a total of 12 for the year, one book per month. The library will become my friend. Free books and gifts are excluded.

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Hopefully all this reading won’t make me anti-social.

If I accomplish the above goals, that will be a total of 65 books, not counting crossovers to other lists. I will update my main page in the next two weeks with the 2020 challenges in order to track progress. Here’s to another successful year!

Back to the Classics 2019 Wrap-Up

Back to the Classics 2019

I will be posting the results of my other challenges before the end of the year. Thank you Karen at Books and Chocolate for hosting this fun challenge. Overall, I was satisfied by how I finished. My goal was to read at least six of the categories, and I completed nine. Below are the books I reviewed for the challenge along with some final thoughts about each one. Click on the title to go to my full review:

19th Century Classic: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

This was one of the first books I read this year, and I really enjoyed it. It’s a fun novel that captures the spirit of exploration. I have more novels from Jules Verne on my shelves that I cannot wait to read!

20th Century Classic: Eye in the Sky by Philip K. Dick

I selected one of the lesser known PKD novels for this category, but trust me, I was far from disappointed. This novel was deeply psychological and filled with the author’s trademark wit and humor.

Classic by a Woman Author: Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

While not as great as its predecessor, this is a book still worth exploring. I wouldn’t call this one a novel, as much as a collection of stories about a school for wayward boys. It was interesting to see Jo’s character development following Little Women. 

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Classic in Translation: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

As many of you know, dystopian fiction is my bag. This was an interesting experience, and I could easily see the influence on later works such as 1984.

Classic Comic Novel: Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov

I enjoyed my second journey with Nabokov. After the unsettling experience of Lolita, I found this novel to be a perfect piece of absurdist fiction. If you love highly philosophical and challenging works, then this is the novel for you.

Classic Tragic Novel: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This was such a rewarding experience for me. I feel a kinship to Oscar Wilde for being someone who clearly marched to the beat of his own drummer. Although Dorian Gray is a tragedy, there is plenty of humor to be found here. Recently, I purchased a collection of Wilde’s plays and look forward to reading those soon.

Classic Novella: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Another dystopian classic! As you can expect, this one is trippy as hell. It is a thought-provoking study of both human psychology and government interference.

Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean): One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Oh Gabriel García Márquez, you certainly made me a believer this year. This novel is a massive family drama dripping with magical realism. I admit that I was extremely frustrated at how so many characters had the same name. This one can get very confusing, so I highly recommend starting with some of his short fiction before tackling this one.

Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia): Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

This novel is a brilliantly written mystery starring one of my favorite characters of all time. Poirot is a genius, and he knows it! This one is a definite standout with some wonderful exotic locations.

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Stay tuned for more reviews as I play catch-up!

 

Classics Club Spin #22: Updated Reveal

Update: Well lucky number 13 means I will be reading the first book in the Gormenghast trilogy. I’m so excited to finally be reading this series! 

After an extended absence from the blogging community, I’m proud to say I’m back. Unfortunately, my reading and my writing have had to take a backseat for the past few weeks. Leave it to The Classics Club to get me back into the thick of it all. The idea is to select 20 random books from your Classics Club List and post them before Sunday, December 22. On Sunday, a number will be chosen which reveals the title that must be read by the end of January. The good news is that means I have a total of six weeks to finish my chosen book!

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  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  2. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  4. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  5. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  6. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
  7. The Shining by Stephen King
  8. The Stand by Stephen King
  9. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  10. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  11. The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit
  12. 1984 by George Orwell
  13. Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
  14. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  15. The Last Man by Mary Shelley
  16. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  17. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  18. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  19. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

As you can see from the selections, all of my titles are firmly rooted in sci-fi, horror, and fantasy. I took advantage of the longer window to include some longer works on my list. As always, I will update this post in a week when the spin number is revealed. I also wanted to say thank you to my blogging friends that have been checking up on me. I’ll be back this week with several mini-reviews of the books I’ve read during my extended hiatus.

Confused Godzilla GIF by Turner Classic Movies