Classics Club Spin #19: My List

The Classics Club

I love taking part in the spins hosted by The Classics Club – this is the nineteenth and although I’ve missed one or two I think I’ve managed to participate in most of them. If you’re not sure what the spins involve, here’s a reminder:

The rules for Spin #19:

* List any twenty books you have left to read from your Classics Club list.
* Number them from 1 to 20.
* On Tuesday 27th November the Classics Club will announce a number.
* This is the book you need to read by 31st January 2019.

And here is my list:

1. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
2. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
3. La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas
4. Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
5. The Duke’s Children by Anthony Trollope
6. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West
7. In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S Haasse
8. Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham
9. The Pirate by Sir Walter Scott
10. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
11. Germinal by Emile Zola
12. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
13. Claudius the God by Robert Graves
14. The Fifth Queen by Ford Madox Ford
15. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
16. The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
17. The Long Ships by Frans G Bengtsson
18. The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade
19. The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
20. Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault


We’ve been given more time than usual to read our book for this spin, so I’ve tried to include lots of long books here. I think most of them have over 400 pages, although one or two are slightly shorter. I don’t mind which one I get, as I’ll be reading them all eventually anyway.

Have you read any of these books? Which number do you think I should be hoping for on Tuesday?

42 thoughts on “Classics Club Spin #19: My List

  1. Calmgrove says:

    I blanch at your lists, Helen, so many classic titles I haven’t even considered let alone read—half of them I’ve never heard of! My list will be rather more predictable, being full of familiar names you’d think I’d already have under my belt (though actually a couple will be rereads).

    • Helen says:

      I’m working on my second Classics Club list of 50 books now, so I had a lot of the better known titles on my first list which I completed last year. Some of the books on my current list are a bit obscure, but hopefully I’ll still enjoy them!

  2. Elle says:

    Daniel Deronda and Dombey and Son are both great! The Duke’s Children was one of my less beloved Trollopes, though – it started to grate on me that he seemed unable to use one word where six would do.

    • Helen says:

      I’ll hope for Daniel Deronda or Dombey and Son, then. 🙂 Sorry to hear The Duke’s Children isn’t one of your favourites – I’ve read all of the previous five Palliser novels and loved some, but not others.

  3. whatmeread says:

    You’ve got some good ones there. I have The Brothers Karamazov and Fire from Heaven on mine, too! They are both rereads for me, but it’s been a long time. I’ve read a lot of the books on your list this time. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’d go with How Green Was My Valley or The Long Ships, but I enjoyed many of the books that are on your list and I am curious about the ones I haven’t heard of.

  4. Rachel B. says:

    I have read Grapes of Wrath, which may be Stenbeck’s most famous, but in my opinion, not his best. (That would be East of Eden.) Claudius the God is quite good, though I recommend you read I, Claudius first if you have not (it is also the better of the two), or perhaps watch the PBS series with Dereck Jacobi as he was then, as otherwise it may be difficult to follow. How Green Was My Valley is a very well-written book, but terribly, unrelentingly, sad. I dislike books that have no shred of hope in them, particularly fiction.

    • Helen says:

      I loved East of Eden so I’m looking forward to reading The Grapes of Wrath, even if it isn’t as good. I read I, Claudius last year and wouldn’t be attempting to read Claudius the God otherwise – I only have a basic knowledge of Roman history, so I found it challenging enough without reading the books out of order! Thanks for the warning about How Green Was My Valley; I tend to like sad books, but maybe not if there’s no hope in them at all, so I’ll be interested to see what I think when I do get round to reading it.

  5. Rachel B. says:

    Oh, I forgot. Fire from Heaven is the first and weakest of a trilogy, the others being The Persian Boy and Funeral Games. Any Mary Renault is worth your time, but this one is interesting to me primarily because it is background for The Persian Boy, which may or may not be one of the best books Renault ever wrote. (I cannot decide–it might be The Mask of Apollo, and several others are also wonderful.) Anyway, the trilogy is about Alexander of Macedon, and Fire deals with his boyhood.

    • Helen says:

      I have read and enjoyed Mary Renault’s two Theseus books, so I’m hoping I’ll also enjoy the Alexander trilogy. The Persian Boy is waiting on my shelf to start after I read Fire from Heaven, though I don’t have a copy of Funeral Games yet. I’ll look forward to reading all three.

  6. Margaret says:

    I’ve read The Brothers Karamazov many years ago, so I don’t remember too much about it, except that I did enjoy it once I’d got my head around the Russian names. I’ve also read The Grapes of Wrath, which I loved and Claudius the God, so any of those I can recommend.

    • Helen says:

      Thanks – I’ll be happy with any of those, I think. I usually enjoy Russian novels, although they can be a challenge, so of the three I’m particularly hoping for The Brothers Karamazov.

  7. piningforthewest says:

    I’ve read numbers – 2, 4, 5, 9, 11,12 and 13. Most of them I read years ago but more recently I loved The Pirate and The Grapes of Wrath.

  8. FictionFan says:

    I’ve loved a few of these, but I’m going to hope you get one of the ones I don’t know at all whose titles intrigue me, so I can learn more about them – The Pirate, In a Dark Wood Wandering or The Scottish Chiefs! Good luck. 😀

    • Helen says:

      I don’t really know anything about those three books myself, except that they’ve been recommended to me by other bloggers. I hope they turn out to be good ones!

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Frans G Bengtsson books. I’ve wanted to read The Long Ships for a long time, so I will be happy if I get number 17 in the spin!

  9. Judy Krueger says:

    I have read The Fountain Overflows, one of my all time favorite novels. Also Of Human Bondage, Grapes of Wrath, and How Green Was My Valley. I hope to read another Dickens novel in the new year.

    • Helen says:

      I would like to get one of the Dickens novels as it’s been a few years since I read any of his books. And I’m pleased to hear The Fountain Overflows is one of your favourites!

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I wonder if either of us will get Nicholas Nickleby! I would also be happy with the other Dickens book on my list, Dombey and Son, as I’ve wanted to read that one for ages.

  10. J.E. Fountain says:

    Some great choices here. I loved the Bros K, always love Dickens. Of Human Bondage though…more thought provoking than enjoyable. That’s still good though. Cheers.

    • Helen says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, as I tend not to like books with a lot of fighting either. I did enjoy Mary Renault’s Theseus books, though, so I do still want to try the Alexander trilogy anyway.

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