The Lucky Spin Number

The Classics Club Spin number has been announced:  #8!  The Classics ClubI’ll be reading Wired Love by Ella Cheever Thayer.  This is a perfect choice, as it fits both with the Women’s Literature Event and my constant desire to read more obscure works.  It will also push me out of my comfort zone a bit, as it has romance at its core, and I’m not a romance reader.

This book is a really interesting specimen – an early example of technology in fiction that is realistic for the times rather than speculative, as well as an example of epistolary format using proto-“online” methods of bringing the protagonists together.  In this case, the technology in question is the telegraph.  Published in 1879, the book is subtitled “A Romance of Dots and Dashes.”  It tells the story of a budding romance between two telegraph operators who communicate via Morse code, falling in love without ever seeing one another.  Ella Cheever Thayer, a suffragette in addition to being an author and playwright, was herself a former telegraph operator, so the technical details in the story should be spot-on.

Despite the central romance plot, I’m really excited to read this!  I feel like it’s a lost bit of really unusual, groundbreaking fiction, and I’m hoping to love it.

The Classics Club: Classics Spin #12

It’s time for another round of The Classics Club Spin!  Here are the rules:The Classics Club

  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday, March 7.
  • Monday morning, the Classics Club team will announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by May 2, 2016.

I haven’t filled all potential slots in my April reading roster yet, so it’s a great time to slip in a classic!  As the Women’s Literature Event is going strong in Classics Club land, I’m only including books by female authors this time around.  Here’s my spin list, randomized at

  1. Ideala: A Study from Life – Sarah Grand
  2. The Fur Person – May Sarton
  3. Pale Horse, Pale Rider – Katherine Anne Porter
  4. The Locusts Have No King – Dawn Powell
  5. Young Man with a Horn – Dorothy Baker
  6. Joanna Godden – Sheila Kaye-Smith
  7. Memoirs of Hadrian – Marguerite Yourcenar
  8. Wired Love – Ella Cheever Thayer
  9. American Indian Stories – Zitkala-Ša
  10. The Wall – Marlen Haushofer
  11. Precious Bane – Mary Webb
  12. Nada – Carmen Laforet
  13. Nightwood – Djuna Barnes
  14. The Sundial – Shirley Jackson
  15. The Country of the Pointed Firs – Sarah Orne Jewett
  16. Under the Sea Wind – Rachel Carson
  17. Stangers on a Train – Patricia Highsmith
  18. The Artificial Silk Girl – Irmgard Keun
  19. The Morgesons – Elizabeth Stoddard
  20. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons



Bout of Books 15: Base Camp & Goals [updated with end stats]

Bout of BooksBout of Books 15 Read-a-Thon has begun!  I’m going to keep this post sticky for the week of the event so that I have a convenient place to track my progress.  I’ll update here at the end of each day with both daily and cumulative reading reports. As with previous editions of BoB, I’m not going to track hours/minutes spent reading but will track pages read and books completed.  I’ve got a stack of books I’m excited to dig into and start the year off strong.  Happy reading to all who are playing along!

My goals, book list, and progress are below the cut.

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The Classics Club Women’s Classic Literature Event


As I’m terribly late in posting about this, let me get right down to business:  In 2016, The Classics Club is hosting a year-long event devoted to reading more classic literature written by women.  I’m excited to get involved, because while I do try to balance my reading gender-wise, there are so many wonderful female authors I have never explored and so many more I’ve never heard of, whether it be because of my own reading path, because their work is not always easy to get hold of, or because their work has been actively repressed at one time or another.  I hope to learn about many new-to-me authors via other Classics Clubbers’ blogs and reviews!

As of this moment, I know I will be reading these classics by women in 2016:

  • Hangsaman – Shirley Jackson (USA, 1951, owned)
  • Around the World in 72 Days – Nellie Bly (USA, 1890, owned)
  • Maud Martha – Gwendolyn Brooks (USA, 1953, library)
  • Precious Bane – Mary Webb (England, 1924, library)
  • The Artificial Silk Girl – Irmgard Keun (Germany, 1932, owned)
  • The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing (Iran/Zimbabwe, 1962, owned)
  • The Wall – Marlen Haushofer (Austria, 1963, owned)
  • Under the Sea Wind – Rachel Carson (USA, 1941, library)

As I’m hoping to discover new favorite authors, my short list of books I will choose from to add to my reading as the year progresses are all by authors I’ve never read and who aren’t well known.  (Sorry, Buck, Cather, Elliot, Gaskell, Highsmith, Murdoch, et al.  I know it’s tragic that I’ve never read any of you, but you’ll have your turn another year after these less popular gals get some attention.)

  • Ideala: A Study from Life – Sarah Grand (Ireland, 1888, owned)
  • Joanna Godden – Sheila Kaye-Smith (England, 1921, owned)
  • Marcella – Mary Augusta Ward  (Australia, 1894, owned)
  • Memoirs of Hadrian – Marguerite Yourcenar (Belgium, 1951, library)
  • Nada – Carmen Laforet (Spain, 1944, library)
  • The First Violin – Jessie Fothergill (England, 1877, owned)
  • The Hidden Hand – E. D. E. N. Southworth (USA, 1859, owned
  • The Locusts Have No King – Dawn Powell (USA, 1948, owned)
  • Wired Love – Ella Cheever Thayer (USA, 1879, owned)
  • The Young Man with a Horn – Dorothy Baker (USA, 1938, library)
  • The Morgesons – Elizabeth Stoddard (USA, 1862, owned)
  • American Indian Stories – Zitkala-Ša (USA/Native American, 1921, owned)

All but the Yourcenar are quite obscure, and even that (so I’ve been told) masterpiece isn’t known or read as it should be.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to squeeze at least a couple of these in this year!


2016 Reading Resolutions

It’s the time for self-examination, in reading as in everything else.  Here are my (loose) reading resolutions for the coming year:

1.  Read heavily from my own shelves. – I’m aiming for around 75% of my reading to be drawn from books I already own, with library books to fill in the gaps and provide my occasional new release fix. I will continue my practice of the past few years of not buying new books, although a few used books and library sale finds are still ok.

2.  Donate books I am no longer interested in to make room on my shelves. – I have a couple of boxes ready to go already.

3.  Try to read at least 1 book per week, on average. – I usually set a loose goal of 52 books, with longer titles taking up the space afforded by shorter books.

4.  Get involved in a local face-to-face book club. – There are a couple I’m interested in locally.

5.  Post semi-regularly to my blog and try not to let it become a source of stress and guilt. – I’m never going to be a super-blogger, but I’d like to post a review or other post (in addition to challenge sign-ups and the like) once per week, on average.

6.  Speaking of stress and guilt: give myself permission to not finish books I’m not enjoying.  – I really got hung up on a few in 2015, to the extent that one modest 300-page book I’d started out really excited for dragged on for 5 weeks, and I was so disheartened after finally finishing it that I fell headlong into a big, multi-week reading slump.  I want to enjoy reading, so if I’m not enjoying what I’m reading, or it’s not the right time for me to engage with a particular book, it’s out.

7.  Keep reading diversely. – Read a good mix of books from different perspectives, by authors of different genders, races, nationalities, creeds, sexualities, time periods, etc. Read more translations.  Branch out even more when I can.

8.  Keep reading broadly. – Read a good mix of genres and styles, from classics to science fiction to memoir to nonfiction to humor to YA.  Branch out even more when I can.

9.  Jump back into The Classics Club. –  I’ve reworked and resubmitted my list, and I’m considering myself starting from scratch, with an updated “finish by” date.  I really got off track, and I need a fresh slate.

10.  Get back on the read-a-thon bus.  – I miss Dewey’s 24-hour RaT and Bout of Books and want to jump back in to the fun!  The next BoB starts tomorrow, January 4th, and I’ll be reading bright and early!