Classics Club Events

Classics Spin #17 List

I am super excited to participate in Classics Spin #17 because I haven’t participated in years. Like everyone who joined the Classics Club Blog, I made a list of fifty classics. Unfortunately, I have ignored this challenge in the past three years, so I am nowhere near completion. Reading lists remind me of school, and I have enough reading lists to go through in graduate school. Because I predominantly read classics anyway, I don’t feel guilty about fudging the rules a bit to participate in the Classics Spins.

My list this time will include 20 classics that are on my physical and/or electronic TBRs. In January 2018, I implemented a challenge that has effectively slowed my book buying to a halt. And so far, I am quite pleased with the results. Borrowing has encouraged me to take more reading risks. I read more broadly and diversely than I did in the past.

Please note that some of the books on this list are relatively recent classics. Finally, the books are in chronological order by date of publication.

  1. Metamorphoses (c. 8 CE) – Ovid
  2. The Chronicles (c. 1370-1380) – Froissart (abridged by Penguin)
  3. Piers the Plowman (c. 1370-1390) – William Langland
  4. The History of King Richard III (c. 1513-1518) – Thomas More
  5. Notre-Dame de Paris [The Hunchback of Notre-Dame] (1829) – Victor Hugo
  6. North and South (1855) – Elizabeth Gaskell
  7. The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses (1888) – Robert Louis Stevenson
  8. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) – Oscar Wilde
  9. Life of St. Francis of Assisi (1893) – Paul Sabatier
  10. Cyrano de Bergerac (1897) – Edmond Rostand
  11. The Souls of Black Folk (1903) – W.E.B. Du Bois
  12. The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905) by Baroness Emma Orczy
  13. The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle (1922) – Hugh Lofting
  14. Sous le soleil de satan [Under Satan’s Sun] (1926) – Georges Bernanos
  15. The Seven Storey Mountain (1948) – Thomas Merton
  16. The Old Man and the Sea (1952) – Ernest Hemingway
  17. Another Country (1962) – James Baldwin
  18. A Single Man (1964) – Christopher Isherwood
  19. The Chocolate War (1974) – Robert Cormier
  20. Howl’s Moving Castle (1986) – Diana Wynne Jones

My Blogging Experience

Every night around midnight a car comes by to pick up some people living in the next door apartment complex. I know they’ve arrived when I hear music booming from a car stereo. As I write, it’s 12:10 am. The car has picked up its passengers and driven away.


Today, I want to talk about my blogging experience. I believe I started this blog in 2013. Before December 2013, I had launched two blogs that failed within the first six months. I have kept other blogs in addition to this one since 2013, but none of those other blogs gave me much pleasure. I wasn’t very passionate about the topics I was writing about. I also didn’t belong to any community, so I felt very alone. I finally started Exploring Classics to review books and to discuss them with others. Because I didn’t know many people who read the kinds of books I enjoyed, I took to the internet to see what was out there. I wanted to talk about classics with other readers, but most people my age read YA. After searching for blogging communities, I came across the Classics Club Blog. If you are following this blog, you probably already know who they are. But I’ve included a link just in case.

I used to be a lot more active in the Classics Club and the blogging community in general. I participated in most of the club challenges and read dozens of blog posts a day. I still read a handful of posts every day, but I don’t comment nearly as often as I used to.

Then last summer, I renamed my blog Exploring Literature because I wanted it to reflect my current reading tastes. I no longer read only classics. I read modern literary fiction from time to time, but the bulk of my reading is nonfiction. I wonder whether it’s appropriate to have a nonfiction section on a blog called Exploring Literature. Does nonfiction constitute literature?

I have changed a lot since 2013. Not only have my reading tastes changed, but I would like to think that I’m more mature now than I was at 20. My old design reflected my teenage age, so my blog needed a facelift. I strongly disliked being a teenager, so I don’t want my blog to remind me of those years.

I would like to reintegrate into the Classics Club blogging community. I enjoy blogging and sharing my thoughts, but I miss the experience of reading the classics with others. I also miss interacting with certain bloggers.

I am very happy with the direction my blog is going. I am finally making the posts that I told myself for years I wanted to make, but I didn’t have the motivation to follow through. In the past year, I’ve developed a renewed interest in book blogging. I also enjoy reading book reviews more than ever before.

But I am a bit disappointed by my lack of involvement in the blogging community. I have barely made a dent in my Classics Club list, and I haven’t communicated with certain bloggers in months. I would like to rejoin the Classics Club community in 2018.

Classics Club Events, Voltaire

March Event – Reading Candide

Hello everyone, so I have been thinking for some time about having a read-a-long event for a well-known French classic. I have decided on Candide by Voltaire. This classic is widely available in translation. Here is a Goodreads summary of the novel:

“Brought up in the household of a powerful Baron, Candide is an open-minded young man, whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief that ‘all is for the best’. But when his love for the Baron’s rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own way in the world. 

And so he and his various companions begin a breathless tour of Europe, South America and Asia, as an outrageous series of disasters befall them – earthquakes, syphilis, a brush with the Inquisition, murder – sorely testing the young hero’s optimism.”

The event will be from March 1-31.

I will be reading the work in the original language, but all posts will be in English. Here is the posting schedule:

Monday, March 10 : chapters 1-8

Monday, March 17: chapters 9-16

Monday, March 24: chapters 17-24

Monday, March 31: chapters 25-30 (last post)

After I post about a series of chapters, you have a whole week to comment on those chapters.

So who’s interested? It is fine if you do not comment every week of the event, but I’m hoping for a great discussion.