Sunday Salon: I’m Joining The Classics Club!

The Sunday Salon (badge)Once upon a time, back in 2010, I decided I wasn’t reading enough classics. To remedy the situation, I started my Classics Reclamation Project (CRP), with the goal of reading and reflecting on books I considered classics in a casual, low-stress way. (For more context, you can read about the original intent behind the project or peruse the list of books I covered during its year-long course.)

I’m far less frightened of classics than I used to be, thanks to the CRP. But my reading of them has definitely dropped off since I ended the formal project.

Time to remedy that situation!

Enter: The Classics Club

The Classics Club badge ( Classics Club is a self-proclaimed “community of classics lovers.” The way you join? Commit to reading a list of at least 50 classics (of your choosing) in the next five years. I’ve also been trying to read the books on my own shelves, of which somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 are books I’d consider classics. Convenient, no?

I’ve officially joined the Club. You can see my full list of books — which I’ll do my darndest to get through by April 1, 2020 — right over here. I’ve also included a bit about what I’m counting as a classic for purposes of my list.

I’m just in time for the Classics Spin #9!

As someone who’s not particularly good at choosing a starting place, I appreciate that the folks who run The Classics Club sometimes pick for you. They’re called spins, and the idea is that you compile a sub-list from your main list (themed or not), post it before the spin date, and then whatever book on your list corresponds to the number that comes up is the one you read next (or at least by the deadline — May 15, in this case).

I will admit to being a wuss this time around. I can’t bring myself to put chunksters like Anna Karenina and Gone with the Wind on my list quite yet. So the theme of this list is…the 20 shortest books (which is different from easiest or least scary!) on my master list, arranged alphabetically by author.

  1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  2. The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
  3. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  4. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  5. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  6. Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster
  7. The Life to Come and Other Stories by E.M. Forster
  8. Grendel by John Gardner
  9. Siddhartha by Hermann Hess
  10. Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston
  11. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov
  12. Waiting for the Mahatma by R.K. Narayan
  13. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  14. The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
  15. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  16. The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
  17. The Short Stories of Edith Wharton
  18. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
  19. Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf
  20. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Which book will it be? I’ll find out tomorrow!

Your Turn!

Are you a classics reader? A Classics Club member? What draws you to (or scares you about) the so-called classics? How do you define a classic? (Lots of questions, I know…pick your favorite or tackle them all!)

Join the Conversation


  1. I love that you’ve limited the size of the books this time around. Good idea! Ah, The Stranger! That was definitely a very unique reading experience for me! My Antonia is one I hope to “sneak in” quickly between others sometime! This is the first time for me to see some of these titles! Good luck!

    1. Ooh, “very unique reading experience”…now I’m intrigued! Yeah, some of these titles are kind of obscure. I decided that lesser-known books by authors most would consider to have written a solid classic (or several) should count, especially if I’ve read the classic(s) already. So that’s where some of the stranger titles come in!

        1. Yes, I agree! I actually defined it for myself for purposes of this project over on my list page. Ugh, sorry you got stuck with a monster book. Good luck — at least once you read it, it won’t be on your list any more 🙂

    1. Ah, yeah…I’ve been there. I’ve basically stopped accepting arcs for review (except through LibraryThing) for the time being, so I need to find other things to read!

  2. Welcome to the club! I joined in August of last year and have already made a sizable dent into my list. I think having the structure of a list and a limited time period helps. Now when I can’t decide what to read, I’m able to turn to my CC list for suggestions.

    I recently read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings so I hope number one is selected for your sake. The audio is fantastic, by the way.

    1. I think it’ll be nice to have this goal list to turn to, as you said. Plus some of these books have seriously been on my shelf forever! I love a good audio, so thank you for the recommendation. I didn’t get I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings this time around, but hopefully I’ll get to it soon!

  3. Great stuff on your list! I highly recommend either of the Wharton collections — her stories are really good. My Antonia is also great. I had trouble with As I Lay Dying at first, but once you get past the shifting narrators, it’s really good. I actually listened to an audiobook version with different actors for the different characters, which really helps. Good luck on your spin pick!

    1. Short stories tend to be hit or miss for me, so I’m glad to hear the Wharton ones are good. Your audiobook version of As I Lay Dying sounds intriguing — I love a good audiobook! I hope you got a good book as your spin result 🙂

  4. Welcome to the spin. I participated in one spin last year and it helped me to get over my fear of the book I wanted to read but couldn’t make myself start without the push the spin provided: 100 years of Solitude. Here is my list: Anne’s 20 Classics for spin

  5. Ah, I was rooting for #4 for you. Our book club just discussed My Antonia. I hope you love the Calvino – I have not read this book, though but I’m sure it will be interesting.

    1. Several commenters have mentioned liking My Antonia, so maybe I’ll have to prioritize it — spin or no spin! Calvino is one of those authors who just plain intrigues me, so I’m glad it came up.

    1. It seemed silly to stop reading an author just because I’d read his or her more famous work(s)! I’m looking forward to Dust Tracks on a Road as well. Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of my favorite books.

  6. I need to start doing the spin – I’m not reading nearly as many classics as I had planned to read each year. Which is silly because I love them. Welcome to the club!

    1. Thanks! I know…something similar happened with me when I ended my formal Classics Reclamation Project! Definitely silly. Here’s to reading more classics again!

  7. Welcome to the club! I’m sitting out for this spin since I already have a few scheduled classics coming up. Hope you’re happy with the number:)

    1. I am! I actually wasn’t rooting for or against any particular number, since I knew all the books were at least of a reasonable length. But I’m happy with Calvino. He’s never dull 🙂

  8. Yay! I am in the Classics Club too but omg I need to read more for real! My Antonia, Siddhartha, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – all good reads! I would love to read A Room of One’s Own and Edith Wharton.

    1. Lots of votes here for My Antonia. Maybe I need to prioritize it. Let me know if you want company with Woolf or Wharton. Woolf in particular makes me nervous, for some reason, though when I do get myself to read her nonfiction in particular, I like it!

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