The Classics Spin #2

classics-spin-1This is my second time participating in The Classics Spin, hosted by The Classics Club. My first one resulted in reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which was amazing and terrifying. I made a self-imposed resolution in January to read more classics this year, which hasn’t happened yet, so I’m giving myself a little push.

The point of the spin is that you choose 20 classics you have on your tbr, list them like so, and wait for the lovely people of The Classics Club to pick a random number. I’m using the list from the last post, though I replaced Atwood with a new novel, of course. I have a number of these at home already, languishing on my shelves, so I’m hoping it’s one of them (I put a little (o) next to those I own). The list is a mash-up of “old” classics and some modern ones, including SFF titles I really should have read by now

Anyway, the spin will be done on Monday, August 24, and the book that appears under the chosen number on my list should be read by October 23. There’s the possibility to leave this introductory post in the comments, which makes this a kind of meme, I guess.


My list (in a totally random order):

  1. classics-spin-2Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (o)
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (o)
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. Dune by Frank Herbert (o)
  6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (o)
  7. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller (o)
  8. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  9. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  10. East of Eden by John Steinback
  11. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
  12. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (o)
  13. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  14. Beauty by Robin McKinley
  15. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  16. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  17. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  18. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  19. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  20. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip

Edit: The chosen spin number was 5, so I’ll be reading Dune


Which of these have you read? And which are still on your tbr?

Do you read classics at all? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • The only one on your list I’ve read The Road. I liked the story, but I did not find the grammar pleasant to read.

    I don’t read much classics anymore, but in high school I read Of Men and Mice (teared up at the end of that), Great Expectations was good, and I loved Paradise Lost. Also the Aeneid (in Latin) in College. I’m sure there are more, but those are the only ones that stood out right now that I remember liking.

    • “I did not find the grammar pleasant to read” > Ugh. I put this one on the list because it’s one of the “must reads” from my Uni days – I just never got around to reading it…

      I haven’t read Of Mice and Men, I’ll have to add it to the next spin list :) Ahh, I started reading Milton, but I made a mistake of reading the translation, which was very dense. I still have that on my tbr, it’s supposed to be great. Wow, you read the Aeneid in LATIN?! I had to take 2 years of Latin at Uni because I was a French major and I loathed it with a passion. But now that I’ve passed the exams, I feel like it gave me a really good background for language learning! Why did you take it?

      • The grammar not bother you. I mean, you could like really it – some people do. But the whole no punctuation thing was really confusing at time. Especially with long conversations. Personally, I’d recommend Of Mice and Men over that :)

        You mean you read Paradise Lost in, like, plain English? I read this edition: Foot notes, and whole second half is more info and criticism. It helped to understand everything.

        I LOVE Latin!!!! I was an Ancient Studies major in College: focusing on translating. So I actually learned Latin and Greek (I also learned Chinese as a minor). I almost did learn French though. I originally wanted to get a PhD in Latin, and to get into grad school I would have needed to learn a third language. Of the choices listed, I was going to choose French. And I said I read it Latin because depending on which translation someone read, it may affect whether they liked it or not.

        Your getting your PhD, right? What are you studying?

        • Well, I guess I’m reading Dune! :)

          But I mean to get to The Road someday, and I’m adding Of Mice and Men to my tbr!

          Naw, I tried to read Paradise Lost in Slovenian translation! Without any notes. It wasn’t really something a 19-year-old could understand, I think… I’ll have to try again, this time in English, probably.

          Oh, you’re one of THOSE people :D Eh, I never got the point of learning a dead language when there are hundreds of them that I could learn and actually speak in real life. And you have to admit the grammar is crazy difficult, and that’s saying something, considering Slovenian has 6 cases and 3 numbers (singular, dual, plural) and more exceptions than rules.

          I’d love to learn a non-European language, like Japanese or Korean or something completely different. I learned English and French, and also German and Italian, though I only have a passing knowledge of these last two…

          But YES, reading different translations of the classics can definitely change a reader’s perspective on the text. I had to read Crime and Punishment for my high school graduation exam and just couldn’t get through the old Slovenian translation, so I bough the English version and LOVED it. Then I ended up reading the new Slovenian translation 5 more times… I was slightly obsessed with it for a while.

          Umm, I’m writing my PhD on popular translated YA fantasy lit – analysing it from a feminist perspective. It’s fun but I’m also really behind with everything because I’m also trying to work (freelance translating) and Kiddo is only going to nursery school in September so I haven’t have much time to study for this past year… But I’m slowly starting to get back on track, which feels wonderful.

          • I took a class in high school on Paradise Lost, so I had a teacher to help explain things to me. If he wasn’t there though, I’m very confident that I would have been very frustrated and confused to read Milton.

            If by “THOSE people” you mean, one of those ultra cool classic people, then YES. Don’t be hating my Latin :P If you think Latin grammar bad, you should look at Ancient Greek.

            Chinese was fun to learn. I like writing and reading it, but speaking it was incredibly difficult. I have difficult with tones, and my professor told me, “your grammar is very good, but you tones… they will get you into trouble one day in China”. So who knows what I was saying XD
            I wished I had learned Japanese though – for the manga and anime.

            I feel like a PhD alone is a lot of work, then to add on working, and raising a kid… when do you have to sleep or read for fun? Ha ha

          • First, I want to warn you: I saw you subscribed to my blog through WordPress which is something that’s been causing me problems for a while! This blog is not really hosted by wordpress, it’s self-hosted but runs on their platform so subscribing through WP doesn’t subscribe you to this blog. I have a WP account for commenting on other blogs but it’s linked to my OLD blog, which is dead and written in Slovenian :D So if you’d like to get email notifications about my posts, you can do this here: but I completely understand if you’d rather not (I don’t know whether you get posts delivered to your mail if you follow other blogs by WP). I’m trying to work this out but haven’t figured out how yet…

            Back to the classics:

            Ahh I’m so jealous. Taking a class on Paradise Lost sounds so cool! I didn’t really have a lot of choice with my English lit classes, our system works differently and we don’t have that many options. But I still liked my studies a lot!

            Ultra cool classics people, huh? :D Did you have a secret society where you spoke dead languages only? (That would have been cool, though. I’d totally learn Latin for a club like that.) And yes, I can imagine Ancient Greek has to be even weirder with the added bonus of being written in a different alphabet…

            I’ve never read or watched manga or anime – they’re not really a big thing here and neither are comics or graphic novels… I guess there are people who get them online but I don’t know anyone who does. I’ve been meaning to order a couple of graphic novels I keep hearing about, I’d like to try out the genre and see if it’s a good fit for me!

            Umm I have 3 clones who do all the housework and grocery shopping so I can read in peace. No but seriously, I’ve been reading a lot less since I’ve starting studying and working in the evenings. And I’m not alone in raising the kid! :) (Though I think single parents should be awarded a special medal because this parenting thing is hard! The coolest thing ever but hard.) You don’t have kids yet, do you?

          • I’ve been subscribed you on feedly. When you commented on my blog the other, the +subscription thing came up near your name, so I just thought I’d click it :)

            There was only 2 other Ancients Studies besides me in my graduating class. We were actually only the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to ever graduate from our college with the major. So SUPER exclusive club.

            I have bunch of guest pasts for Crunchyroll if you want some? They are good for 48 hours each. That’s where I watch all my anime, but there is also a ton of manga to read if you want to check some out.

            And no, no kids yet. I still feel like I’m too young (although I think my parents would say otherwise) XD Maybe once I get to the tenth anniversary of my 20th.

  • I like the idea, but I am the worst with classics, it takes me weeks to finish one! I have a few classics I love, but I normally find that the writing and language put me off in some way, even if the story is totally amazing. I can proudly say I have read 2 of the books on your list, with a couple of others languishing gathering dust on my shelf. Lord of the Flies I had to read at school for my GCSEs and it was alright, but I honestly don’t think children would turn into the savages in the book if left to fend for themselves on an island (I hope not, anyway) and I read The Road at uni with a few of my friends, it was a lot better than I thought, but I was left a bit unsatisfied with it as well.

    I hope you get something good to read, I’ve personally got Middlemarch (a gift from my nan), Jane Eyre (my best friends favourite book I really should read it), The Catcher in the Rye (another one of my friend’s favourite books), and To Kill a Mockingbird waiting to be read. I just can’t find the same motivation to read classics as I do with other books.

    • Mm, yeah, I heard Lord of the Flies was pretty scary. I don’t know the extent of the kids’ savagery but have you ever watched a group of kids picking on someone/bullying them? They’re VICIOUS and it’s pretty horrible how their group mentality works. Not that adults are any different, mind…

      A. just read To Kill a Mockingbird and LOVED it so I’m probably going to read it anyway, he has good taste in books.

      But yes, I know what you mean about the motivation – I have to MAKE myself read classics while I just organically go from one fantasy or romance to another… But when I DO make myself read them, I usually end up liking them a lot and I always think “Why don’t I read more of these?” And I’ve been really fed up with all the romances lately so I’m thinking I need a break! :)

      • It does get a bit dark in Lord of the Flies, and that’s true, you kind of forget how mean kids can get when bullying, especially in a large group. Adults can be just as bad, but I like to think they know better (I know they don’t, but I’m trying to think positive).

        And have you, I am trying to motivate myself to get on it because that is a good book, everyone says so, so I don’t know why I don’t just read it. I don’t know why classics always seem like such a chore when it comes to reading, but they do. Once I start them I’ll enjoy them, now if I could just find a good way to start them. Classics may be a good break for you, though, they are always a refreshing read because they are different from most other books. I hate that feeling of being fed up with your usual books, so reading something totally different can sort of refresh you for reading.

        • Yep, that’s what I’m counting on – something completely different :) I did read Tessa Dare’s new book yesterday, I couldn’t keep myself from reading it. Thankfully, it’s a really great romance so I wasn’t fed up with it or anything :)

          • Did you enjoy it? I finished it yesterday and really enjoyed it, Dare is a queen of romance though. She always puts enough romance to make it an easy read, but has a good story to go with. I have to say, the way Dare wrote the Scottish accents just made me want to watch Outlander again, I seriously need to get reading the rest of that series, but the books are just so daunting.

          • YES YES Dare for the romance president! I loved it. It even made me tear up a bit though I didn’t really cry. I like Scottish settings in romances and am fully convinced Scotland is overrun by half-naked, strong, sexy men. I refuse to believe otherwise.

          • I’ve not read enough romances with a Scottish setting to pass judgement, but I’ve enjoyed them so far. And, as I’ve yet to travel to Scotland (I know it’s only up north but seriously it takes hours on a train to get there and don’t even talk to me about driving) I can’t say either way but I definitely hope there’s lots of sexy shirtless Scotsmen, but then I have to wonder why the women of the UK haven’t flocked there already if there is.

  • I hope this spin helps you get reinspired with your classics – you have some fabulous titles awaiting you.

    We ‘share’ The Bell Jar this spin if no 8 comes up :-)

    Happy Spinning

    • Hi, Brona, thanks for stopping by! :)

      Yeah, I know I have a list full of great books, it’s why I’m participating in this spin, to get myself into reading classics again. I used to read a lot of them because they were required in my high school and uni and I never resented having to read good books.

      I got Dune, so I’ll be reading some sci-fi soon! :)

  • Oh! I hope you get 1, 3, 8, 10, or 15! :)

    • Hi, Jillian, thanks for stopping by!
      We got 5, so I’m reading Dune, but I’m really excited to read the rest of the list, too!

  • Of these 20, I’ve only read one all the way through– the Catcher in the Rye. And it wasn’t even required reading! I think I was about 16 when I picked it up, and I absolutely loved it. I think it was perfect timing because reflecting on it in my 20s, I don’t think I would appreciate it as much if I were to have read it now.

    Ivanhoe is on my “TBR” list though. It has Robin Hood in it!

    • I’m probably the last person in the world to still have The Catcher in the Rye on their tbr. Not really, but I’ve been wanting to read it for ages, I just never get around to it.

      I often wish I’d read a book I’m reading as a teenager – I would have learned things from it or I just would have liked it better than I do now that I’m an adult and have a more mature way of looking at things (I just made myself look ancient, didn’t I?).

      Ooh, I didn’t know Ivanhoe had Robin Hood in it! That just bumped it up my list a bit :)

  • cesca_nz

    I remember reading Dune way back in 1984 or 85 – 30 years ago already?? It was around the time that the first Dune movie came out. I read the second and third Dune books but never could read any of the others because I prefer to read science fiction and not fantasy. All those later Dune books that involve Emperor Leto were more fantastical and I had a lot of trouble getting into them. The first books with Paul as the main character were good. Lets just say that DUNE – the first book – is very good!!!!

    • Oooh, that’s great because it’s Dune I’m going to be reading! I don’t know whether you already saw that this was going to be my chosen book for this spin or not but there you have it. I’m pretty excited about reading it, honestly, my husband’s been on my case for years because he loved it, too.
      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • Maraia

    I am horrible with classics. Surprisingly, I have read four of these (possibly 5, I’m not sure about Beauty): The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dune, Catch 22, and The Hero in the Crown. Apparently I’m bad at math, because that sure looks like 5 to me. ;) Most classics I just can’t get into, especially when I have a million other less tedious books to read, but I actually enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird when we read it in 8th grade. I don’t remember anything about it now. I read Catch 22 as an adult (it was a Christmas present from a younger cousin, so I felt obligated), and I surprised myself by LOVING it. The humor! I hope you get to read that one soon. Theoretically I do want to read Jane Eyre, 1984, and A Room with a View, but I’m not sure that will ever happen. :D

    • I’m reading Dune! :) I mean, I’m not reading it YET but I got it as the chosen book, so we’ll be able to discuss it soon :)

      Yeah, A. read Catch 22 already and he said it was really funny. I do mean to get to all of these at some point but as you say, there are other less tedious books to read first :) (Even if some of the classics turn out not to be tedious after all…)

      I really feel like I should read Jane Eyre and just get it over with. I know it’s not exactly a happy tale and I got spoiled for the big reveal recently (seriously, I don’t know how I managed to avoid it until now but I’m still pretty angry about it) but I’d like to cross it off my list nevertheless.

      • Maraia

        I hope you like it! You’ll have to remind me what happens. I’m pretty sure I was still in high school when I read it. :D

        Hahahaha, I didn’t even know there was a big reveal in Jane Eyre. Apparently I live under a rock when it comes to the classics. In this case it’s a good thing, since nothing has been spoiled for me! How did you get spoiled? Someone with a big mouth?

        • It was stupid, really – remember one of these Tough Travels things I’m always posting, it was the one with Forbidden Love and we’re all supposed to pick examples from SFF, obviously, but someone went and put Jane Eyre on their list and EXPLAINED it all and there it was, in all its glory, a big fat spoilery thing that made me want to stomp my feet. :)

          I know there’s like a time limit to spoilers, like if a book is more than a 100 years old you can talk about spoilers because you can assume most people have read it – only it’s not like that because nobody can read EVERY book in existence and if you’re going to include spoilers you should just say so. UGH! I have to write a post about this so I can rant properly :D

          • Maraia

            Ugh, it’s so hard, because I’m sure I’ve spoiled things for people accidentally by either not thinking or assuming thev’re already read something. At the same time, if you’re actually writing a blog post about a book, there’s no reason NOT to add a spoiler warning. It would take two seconds. Otherwise the blogger is saying, “Read this book!! That I just spoiled for you…”

          • Yep, that sounds about right :D

            By the way: the most ironic thing about spoilers today: I read a blog post by this blogger ranting about spoilers and how people should include warnings – and I totally agreed with her. And then I clicked through to one of her reviews (of a YA book, not a romance or anything) and she has this form at the beginning of each review where she states the target audience but she also writes down sex-scene warnings and she totally wrote that the two kids had sex in the book! That sure as hell looks like a spoiler to me (and here I am, spoiled again!). Bah.

          • Maraia

            Hahahaha, I’m sorry for laughing, but I can’t help it. What book was it? It is actually really interesting to compare what people consider spoilers. I know there’s that whole debate about whether saying that there’s a same-sex relationship in a book is a spoiler or not.

  • I’ve read Dune. Completely different than the movie. It takes a lot until you are invested into a story (took me three books I think) but then I could not put it down…
    I’ve read 1, 4, 5. 14 and 16 from your list.

    I have read a lot of classics as a teen and then stopped as an adult. I am trying to start to read them again though.

    • Wow, that’s a lot – were any of the ones you read good? :) I might pick them up regardless of the spin.

      I read a lot of classics as required reading in high school and uni and I liked them a lot (I didn’t mind that they were required reading, that never bothered me). So now that I’ve fallen into a rut with all the romances I’ve read, I’m really looking forward to something completely different.