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)

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!

Bout of Books 15: Sign-up Post

Bout of Books

It’s almost time for the next Bout of Books week-long read-a-thon.  This will be my fifth time participating, and I’m excited to jump-start 2016’s reading!  The BoB team always hosts great games, chats and giveaways all through the week, and the community is so open and supportive.  The fun starts January 4, 2016!

Here’s the official announcement:


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team


To get involved, head to the official sign-up post.

I’ll have my base camp & goals up first thing on the 4th.  I’ve got a stack of books I’m itching to dive into!

The Classics Club, Revisited

The Classics ClubMy original list for The Classics Club was posted on March 31, 2015, with a goal date of 2018.  However, as I’ve been away from blogging from almost a year and am just returning, I’ve decided to start fresh with a new list today, January 1, 2016, submit my updated list to The Classics Club, and set my new goal date to January 1, 2021.

In selecting my classics list, I have chosen a (largely arbitrary) 50-year cut-off age for each book’s original publication date, so each book on my list must be from 1966 or before.  I’m aiming to read and review (fully or briefly) 50 titles during that time span, but I’m listing more than 50 here, as I’m not yet certain which books I want to cut from my line-up.  I expect my list to morph a ridiculous number of times, as I can never leave well enough alone.

This is my current roster.  Please let me know if there are any here that you either love or loathe!

2016 reading note:  I have bolded the titles that I know, as of today, I will be reading in the coming year.

  1. Assis, Machado de – Epitaph of a Small Winner (1880)
  2. Balzac, Honoré de – Cousin Bette (1846)
  3. Barnes, Djuna – Nightwood (1936)
  4. Bennett, Arnold – The Old Wives’ Tale (1908)
  5. Brontë, Charlotte – Villette (1853)
  6. Brooks, Gwendolyn – Maud Martha (1953)
  7. Buck, Pearl S. – Living Reed (1963)
  8. Cabell, James Branch – Jurgen (1919)
  9. Camus, Albert – The Plague (1947)
  10. Carson, Rachel – Under the Sea Wind (1941)
  11. Cather, Willa – O Pioneers! (1913)
  12. Collins, Wilkie – The Woman in White (1860)
  13. Comyns, Barbara – Sisters by a River (1947)
  14. Dumas, Alexandre – The Black Tulip (1850)
  15. Durrell, Lawrence – Justine (The Alexandria Quartet #1) – 1957
  16. Eliot, George – Middlemarch (1872)
  17. Ellison, Ralph – Invisible Man (1952)
  18. Faulkner, William – As I Lay Dying (1930)
  19. Ferber, Edna – So Big (1924)
  20. Finney, Jack – The Body Snatchers (1955)
  21. Fothergill, Jessie – The First Violin (1877)
  22. Gaskell, Elizabeth – Cranford (1851)
  23. Gautier, Théophile – Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835)
  24. Gibbons, Stella – Cold Comfort Farm (1932)
  25. Grau, Shirley Ann- The Keepers of the House (1964)
  26. Graves, Robert – I, Claudius (1934)
  27. Highsmith, Patricia – Strangers on a Train (1958)
  28. Jackson, Shirley – Hangsaman (1951)
  29. Jackson, Shirley – The Bird’s Nest (1954)
  30. Jackson, Shirley – The Sundial (1958)
  31. Kafka, Franz – The Trial (1925)
  32. Kaye-Smith, Sheila – Joanna Godden (1921)
  33. Keun, Irmgard – The Artificial Silk Girl (1932)
  34. Laclos, Pierre Choderlos de – Dangerous Liaisons (1782)
  35. Laforet, Carmen – Nada (1944)
  36. Lagerlöf, Selma – The Saga of Gösta Berling (1891)
  37. Laxness, Halldór – Independent People (1934)
  38. Lee, C.Y. – The Flower Drum Song (1957)
  39. Lessing, Doris – The Golden Notebook (1962)
  40. Lewis, Sinclair – Elmer Gantry (1927)
  41. London, Jack – The Star Rover (1915)
  42. Mahfouz, Naguib – Cairo Modern (1945)
  43. Maurier, Daphne du – Rebecca (1938)
  44. McCullers, Carson – The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940)
  45. Murdoch, Iris – The Bell       (1958)
  46. Nabokov, Vladimir – Pale Fire (1962)
  47. Porter, Katherine Anne – Pale Horse, Pale Rider (3 novellas, 1939)
  48. Powell, Dawn – The Locusts Have No King (1948)
  49. Pushkin, Alexander – Eugene Onegin (1833)
  50. Rhys, Jean – Good Morning, Midnight (1939)
  51. Sabatini, Rafael – Scaramouche (1921)
  52. Sackville-West, Vita – All Passion Spent (1931)
  53. Salinger, J. D. – Franny and Zooey (1955 & 1957, together in 1961)
  54. Southworth, E.D.E.N. – The Hidden Hand (1859)
  55. Spark, Muriel – The Comforters (1957)
  56. Stone, Irving – Lust for Life (1934)
  57. Swift, Jonathan – Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
  58. Tanizaki, Jun’ichiro – Naomi (1924)
  59. Tanizaki, Jun’ichiro – The Makioka Sisters (1943)
  60. Undset, Sigrid – The Wreath (Kristin Lavransdatter #1) (1920)
  61. Vesaas, Tarjei – The Ice Palace (1963)
  62. Webb, Mary – Precious Bane (1924)
  63. West, Nathanael – Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)
  64. West, Rebecca – The Fountain Overflows (1956)
  65. Wilder, Thornton – The Ides of March (1948)
  66. Wodehouse, P. G. – The Code of the Woosters (1938)
  67. Woolf, Virginia – Orlando (1928)
  68. Xueqin, Cao – The Golden Days (The Story of the Stone #1) (1760)
  69. Yourcenar, Marguerite – Memoirs of Hadrian (1951)
  70. Zola, Émile – The Belly of Paris (1873)