Letting someone else choose your book

Not only do I have a really hard time allowing someone to choose a book for me to read, but I am so much of a contrarian I tend to rebel against reading lists of my own creation even before the digital ink is even dry. Yet I am oddly drawn to something Amanda, my co-host for the upcoming Barbara Pym Reading Week, blogged about yeterday. She is participating in the Classics Club Spin #2 in which participants make a list of 20 classics they are dying to read, dreading to read, or some combination thereof. Then on May 20th, the good people at the Classics Club choose a random number between 1 and 20 and then you go off and read the classic on your list that corresponds with the chosen number by July 1st.

I couldn’t resist. Here is my list. I have peppered it with things I am dying to read, some that I am less interested in reading but are part of finishing off my Century of Books list, and some are weighty classics that have been gathering dust in my library. In all cases I own all of the books listed, so I will have no excuses.

1. The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
2. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

3. Jessie Philips by Fanny Trollope
4. The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy
5. Young Lonigan by James T. Farrell
6. The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac by Eugene Field
7. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter
8. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
9. The Well by Sinclair Ross
10. Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope
11. Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky
12. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
13. Pamela by Samuel Richardson
14. Vanity Fair by Thackery
15. Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens
16. An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
17. Summer Will Show by Sylvia Warner Townsend
18. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
19. Brook Evans by Susan Glaspell
20. Eyeless in Gaza by Aldous Huxley

12 thoughts on “Letting someone else choose your book

  1. figandthistle.com May 16, 2013 / 11:41 am

    I am the same way. I devise lists, plans and challenges and then I go break every single one. We're just a bunch of rebels. I hope you get Vanity Fair because I've been slogging through it for the past two months. I hate nearly all the characters and that usually halts my reading progress. Maybe you will have a better attitude about the book and underscore some magnificent something that will make me love this book I feel I should love.


  2. JaneGS May 16, 2013 / 12:00 pm

    I love reading other people's reading lists. You've just reminded me that I want to start reading Katherine Anne Porter. And Fanny Trollope–you must be a classics maven!


  3. Roof Beam Reader May 16, 2013 / 1:40 pm

    Very interesting list… lots I haven't read/heard of on here. A Clockwork Orange is awesome. The Yellow Wallpaper is brilliant (although, being a short story, it's very short – do you plan to read the “The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories” collection, or just this one story?).

    Vanity Fair wasn't my favorite book to read, but it is an incredibly important work – I appreciate it more in retrospect than I did during the experience.

    I really hope to read Shirley and Crime and Punishment sometime soon. Good luck!


  4. JoAnn May 16, 2013 / 8:56 pm

    It's so much fun reading all these lists! There are several here I'm not familiar with, but we share Crime and Punishment and My Cousin Rachel. I participated in a Vanity Fair read-along earlier this year and enjoyed it much more than expected. I can't wait until Monday.


  5. Karen K. May 16, 2013 / 11:29 pm

    Great list!! I'm signing up too — technically I'm on a blogging break, but the last one was really fun so I'm going to do it again. While I'm on my break, so there's no pressure.

    I really liked Brook Evans and Little Dorritt is good too. Besides those I've only read My Cousin Rachel which I quite liked as well.

    Someday I'll read Dostoevsky but Crime and Punishment is definitely on my list of Books That Scare Me!


  6. Dreamybee May 17, 2013 / 3:30 am

    I love this idea! Maybe I could use it to whittle down my 800+ item TBR list…'cause, you know, that would make a big dent. LOL! For the people that have mentioned Crime and Punishment, I read it in high school and really enjoyed it, but I don't know if that was because we had a teacher walking us through it to help us appreciate it or if I would have liked it just as much if I had read it all on my own. Either way, I have fond memories of it, so I would say, Go for it!


  7. Brona Joy May 17, 2013 / 4:00 am

    I love how you've picked lesser known books from well-known authors…although I'm not sure I can thank you for adding more books to my TBR pile!

    Good luck with the spin.


  8. Cat May 17, 2013 / 5:59 am

    Interesting list! Love the variety and hope the spin will give a book you will love.


  9. Desperate Reader May 17, 2013 / 5:28 pm

    I read Pamela many years ago and found it a total chore to wade through so I'm half hoping you get it so that I can see what somebody else makes of it, and half hoping you don't because I couldn't wish it on anybody.


  10. Marie-Josée May 18, 2013 / 8:51 am

    As a french literature teacher and french canadian speaker, I'm amazed to see that there is not one french literature title in your list!

    I shall write down your own list and, if you don't mind, propose something of the sort or at least comment your initiative on my own blog.

    Have a nice week-end


  11. Thomas at My Porch May 19, 2013 / 8:30 am

    Amanda: I think we like the planning process so much it doesn't matter if we ever follow through. It just gives us an excuse to think about books.

    Jane: The only Porter I have ever read is Ship of Fools, which I really loved.

    Adam: I probably would read the whole collection if the Spin lands on Gilman.

    JoAnn: I love these lists too. I don't know why I didn't pay attention to the first Classic Club spin.

    Dreamybee: (First, I love your name.) Of course if you read one book from your TBR, it must be replaced with four more.

    Brona Joy: I'm using the Spin to extend my reach.

    Cat: Me too. I am not in the mood for a slog of any kind.

    Tanya: You have a lot of great books on your list. I think I would be most afraid of The Iliad.

    Hayley: I will admit that Pamela scares me a bit. I am not even sure how it made its way into my library.

    Marie-Josee: I think the only book on my list that wasn't written in English is Crime and Punishment so it was no slight on the French. Do I get any points if I mention that I have read two Colette novels and a Gide this year?


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