Welcome to a New Year of The Classics Club

classics club

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to another year of The Classics Club.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to start fresh. Where are you in your Classics Club walk? How are you coming with your list? Have you gotten frustrated with your progress (or lack of progress)? Do you have books on your list that you wish you hadn’t included? Are you bogged down in a book you do not like? Did you choose too many daunting books?

I am here today to help you. I have two secrets to share with you:

You are in charge of your own Classics Club list. Modify it, if you want.

If you have too many long books on your list, change your list up, and add some shorter books. If you have books you are struggling to get through, cut them from your list and replace them with books that might be a better fit for you. Did you include nothing but one subgenre and now find yourself bored with it? Shake up your list, and throw in some new subgenres.

My second secret:

Nothing is cheating. Use all the helps out there to get you through a difficult book.

I read Moby-Dick last year. I never thought I could make it through that book. I knew nothing about killing whales or sailing on a huge boat, and I didn’t feel like I was particularly interested in learning about these things. But many, many people told me this was a great book, and I was determined to try to read it. I used many helps. I read children’s versions of Moby-Dick. I read books about Melville. I read articles about whaling. I listened to a podcast about Moby-Dick. I read chapter summaries. And I ended up finishing Moby-Dick. And I chose it as my favorite read of 2019.

The point of The Classics Club is to challenge yourself, not to kill your reading life.

I’m here to encourage you to get back on the horse if you have found yourself unexpectedly bucked off, perhaps even contemplating selling the horse at auction!

If you are doing well with your list, please feel free to share titles and techniques with others of us who might be struggling.

Happy Reading!

41 thoughts on “Welcome to a New Year of The Classics Club

  1. I felt like a failure for not having read any book on my list during my first year, but then a lot had happened in my life and I was trying to read more for pleasure and just couldn’t get into the books I had on hand. I finally got Annie on My Mind, however, and it was such a lovely book that reminded me why I’d signed up in the first place.

    Modifying my list as I read more classics is something I came over to check that we were allowed to do, so thanks for mentioning it here!

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    1. Yes. I have found that helpful when I had difficulty finding a book by an author, so that I substituted another one. It would also be good if you found an author you liked and wanted to read more of.

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  2. Thank you for such an encourage\ing post.

    To anyone reading this? There’s a wonderful article here on the benefits of reading the good tomes. <3. Keep it up. Keep the faith. x

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  3. I love this post! Customizing our lists is such a great hack. I’m on my first list and on track so far but I’ll keep this in mind as I get closer to my 5 year mark.

    One thing I tell myself about my CC blog posts is that it’s not an essay I’m submitting for a grade. I truly can write as much or as little as I want to about the book. I can play with the format of the post if I want to. Taking the pressure off helps get those reviews written!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m seconding audiobooks. I shared my list and started in October, 2019 and I’ve read 12 so far (granted, seven of the titles were short), but listening to an audiobook can really lend something amazing to the story. I’ve listened while preparing for sleep, while making and kneading bread dough, and just while relaxing.

    Things that have helped me –
    1) audiobooks (you can borrow via Overdrive/Libby if you don’t want to buy titles.
    2) devote time that you normally watch television, etc, to reading.
    3) When I’m reading something I’m really enjoying, I want to keep reading. I forced myself to finish Wuthering Heights, and while I’m glad I finally read it, I will not do that again just for the sake of finishing something if I’m not happy spending my time inside a specific story. View the list as something fluid, and not set in stone, and I think you’ll have an easier time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michelle. These are really great tips, & I wish you luck. No pressure, but have you a blog? I just wanted to see what you’re reading for the club (curious). Totally understand if you’re doing this privately. 🙂

      Wuthering Heights is brutal! I have a feeling I MIGHT like it on a reread, but I didn’t care for it really at all on first read. I had to intellectually convince myself it was good, which isn’t the same as liking it.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah, thanks! Great blog. 🙂

          If it’s of use:

          ❁ To link your blog to your name when you comment, on your dashboard at wordpress, click “users” along the left of your dashboard (about halfway down the list that also says “posts” and “pages” and the like.) When your mouse highlights over it, choose the option “personal settings.” Then you’ll see a page where you can put the url to your blog under “web address.” Save the page by clicking “save account settings” bottom right.

          ❁ I see your blog also opens onto a page with nothing on it rather than your blog feed. To fix this so it opens directly on the feed, again go to your dashboard and find “settings” on the left of the dashboard (a couple slots under “users.”) When you highlight with your mouse over settings, choose “Reading.” This will take you to a page with the option to have your home page display your latest posts or a static page. Choose “Your latest posts” and then “save changes” on the bottom left of your screen.

          ❁ You can also add pages to your blog (such as an ABOUT page or a list of the classics you want to read for the club, and link them at the top of your blog for easy reference. Sorry if you already have a page: I couldn’t find it. 🙂 Create the page under “pages” on your dashboard, which works basically the same way “posts” do. To create a menu for this page so people can easily find it, go to “Appearance” on the left part of your dashboard (where you also found “users” and “settings” and “pages” above), and choose “menus.” Should be self-explanatory from there.

          ❁ If you want to add a widget such as a search box for visitors, that’s found under “appearance” on your dashboard as well. Then just choose “Widgets.”

          (Cheers, Michelle! I hope this isn’t annoying. Just trying to help in case you need it.) 😛

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, here’s your club list! I just found it. 🙂

            Yeah, you can link that to the top of your blog using the menu screen (as described above.) Once on the menu screen, you can link directly to the list using custom links on the left of the menu page, or just locate that specific post under “posts.” Then save the menu as your primary menu or header menu or something like that. (I don’t know what they’d call it for your theme.) Anyway, it won’t show up on your blog unless you click that you want that menu as your primary menu or your header menu or whatever. That option is at the bottom of the menu screen. You can also add an about page this way. But I fear I’m going on TOO LONG.

            (Again, sorry if this is too much info. I thought it might save you some searching on how to navigate the WordPress dashboard.) 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s taken me a lot longer than 5 years but I’m near the end – just 2 books to go!! The two books that defeated me were both by Dickens. I’ve tried Tale of Two Cities four times now so clearly it’s not for me. Bleak House was confusing but I like your idea of reading chapter guides so maybe that will help me

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Karen, have you tried printing out a character list from Wikipedia or something. That’s what I do with Tolstoy. 🙂 Then I just keep the list in my book for easy reference & add remarks with my pen next to the name, if I need to remember something

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  6. Thanks for the encouragement to change my list. I think that I really need to do that. I’m having a hard time with the one I have now so a change would probably be just what I need. Looking forward to a great reading year!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is a very encouraging post, thanks very much for the reminder that the book list can change. Right now I think I am doing well on my list. I am behind but I just retired so should have more time for all kinds of reading. My problem is I just want to add more books to my list (already at 70 books).

    I have read classics in the last year that are not on my list but I am happy with that too.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I agree about changing it up. My first and second lists I modified quite a bit bc I was afraid I wouldn’t finish in time, even though I ended up finishing ahead of time. However, this third list I made I hope to commit to what I have already listed bc they are my owned-and-unread books. But I did give myself room to quit a book if I am struggling and know I won’t finish it. In that case, I must replace it with another classic. Also, I am hoping to complete the five years this time and not shorten it like I did my first two challenges.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I love this. I thought at one low point, to stop challenges, -which for me are just this and the Back to the Classics-, specially because I’ve already read 80 titles, and my challenge expires in 2022. But I’m not closing this. I may place my link for completion, and start a new list, or simply leave it until 2022, and see what else I keep adding.

    I’ll try to do the next spin.

    You guys are too wonderful to not be in touch with you.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I went through a phase of adding books to my CC list 1, until it had blown out beyond all control!

      When I realised the 5 yr mark had passed me by, I completely rejigged the list by taking out all the unread books to make list 2. I was then able to finally draw a line under the first list.
      I’ve learnt from this and now have a list 3 draft that I add any new books to. It also means I can swap books in and out of list 2 if a reading challenge suddenly presents itself, like this year’s War & Peace.

      Looking forward to your One Hundred Years of Solitude readalong starting 6th March 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

  10. For those struggling, lots of classics are available as audiobooks. More and more audiobooks are also available through youtube, and some display the text at the same time as the audio. That could be a good solution for some.
    Personally, I started my 2nd list in September, and I have already read 11.
    I just discovered this is the 100th anniversary of Hercule Poirot first appearance, so I plan on listening to them all. I’m currently reading lots of Japanese classics, for the Japenese Literature Challenge (January-March). I just finsihed Sanshrio and will soon start volume 2 of this trilogy: And Then.
    I’m currently listening to The Haunted Bookshore, by Christopher Morely, the sequel to Parnassus on Wheels, an awesome book on books. I also listened to it.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Thank you for these tips! It’s always good to remember that my list is just that–MY list, and I’m not in school where a book is required reading to pass a class. It’s good to have a challenge and a goal, and it’s good to remember to be flexible and enjoy the process!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m currently slow reading Moby-Dick 4-5 chapters a week and I’m about 3/4 of the way through discovering that something. It is quite extraordinary, but not something I could have worked out on my own. It took the group and some research to get me there. I’m not sure it’s a book you can just pick up on a whim.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. I’ve revised my list a few times when I realized some of the books I’ve read but had waited too long to review and I didn’t make as many notes along the way. I keep a book journal and it can help me refresh my memory when writing a review. For instance I read Moby Dick in May but didn’t publish u until December here.

    https://booksbythecup.wordpress.com/2019/12/23/the-count-of-monte-cristo-review/

    It was a fun one to read and review and I kept notes along the way so it was easy.

    I’m also planning to swap a few more books out from my list. I read almost 30 classics in 2019 and not all are on my CC list. 😯 I think I’d like to finish early so I can start my second CC list.

    Liked by 6 people

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