Classics Club Group Check-in #13


Tell us what you’ve read, how you’re feeling about your progress, how much you love the classics or the community — any struggles, a favorite read so far. Really, whatever you feel like sharing!

I think this is the first time I’ve participated in one of the Classics Club Group Check-ins but as it’s nearly the end of the year I thought I would take this opportunity to look back on the classics I’ve read in 2014. It seems I’ve read thirteen books from my Classics Club list, which is better than I thought because I don’t feel that I’ve been making much progress with my list at all.

Before I start to talk about the classics I’ve read this year, I want to list the other Classics Club activities I’ve taken part in over the last twelve months. These are:

The Classics Club 50 Question Survey
July Meme: Biographies of classic authors
March Meme: Literary Periods

There have also been four Classics Club Spins this year (for those of you who don’t know what a Spin is, we list twenty books, number them 1-20, a number is announced and we have to read the corresponding book on our list). I participated in all four and have been quite lucky with the results:

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Bellarion by Rafael Sabatini (reading now)

I’ve enjoyed/am enjoying all of these, even The Idiot which I’d had my doubts about before I actually started reading it. The spins usually seem to work well for me, so I’m sure I’ll be tempted into joining in with them again next year.

I participated in two readalongs of classic novels this year: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I can’t really say that I loved either of these books, but I’m glad I’ve now read them both and it was interesting to see the thoughts of other readalong participants as well.

A long-term reading project for me in 2014 was Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. I started it in January, broke it down into small segments throughout the year and finished it in November. This was one of the longest books on my Classics Club list, so I really felt I’d accomplished something when I reached the end!

I read one of the modern classics on my list – The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I loved – and one that you could probably call a forgotten classic – Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton.

I also read another two books which weren’t on my original Classics Club list but which I added when I decided to make some changes to my list at the beginning of the year. The first was Coming Up For Air by George Orwell – I read it in January and it really surprised me because it was entirely different from the other Orwell books I’ve read. The second was Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I had wanted to give Fitzgerald another chance because I wasn’t very impressed by The Great Gatsby, but I didn’t like this one either so I’ve decided he probably just isn’t my type of author.

Elizabeth Gaskell is my type of author and so is Anthony Trollope. I read Gaskell’s Cranford in July and enjoyed it (and then followed it with her novella Mr Harrison’s Confessions, though I’m not counting that book for the Classics Club) and I read the second of Trollope’s Palliser novels, Phineas Finn, in November. I’m looking forward to continuing with the series soon.

The only book I haven’t mentioned yet is Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I loved that one too, so overall I’m very pleased with the selection of classics I’ve read this year!

I haven’t gone into any detail about the books above, but if you want to know more you can click on the titles to read my reviews and I’m sure a few of these will be appearing on my end-of-year list later in the month!

6 thoughts on “Classics Club Group Check-in #13

  1. Lisa says:

    I’ve wondered about reading projects like your Don Quixote, whether I’d find it hard to jump back into the story each month, or keep track between readings. It has obviously worked well for you! I am looking at Middlemarch for 2015, and I know there was a group read that was scheduled over several months.

    The re-design of your blog is very striking! I like the colors.

    • Helen says:

      I think it works for some books but not for others. Don Quixote was an ideal book to read that way because it’s very episodic so you can easily put it down for a while and then get straight back into the story when you pick it up again.

      And thanks! I thought it was time for a change.

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