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My reading plan for the classics readathon

This entry is part 22 of 32 in the series Read-a-thon

The classic books on my reading list

My readathon book choices are made. Obviously, I’m going to be reading the classics over the next 24 hours as I embark on The Classic Club’s Readathon. So here are the classics perched on my TBR table, all ready and waiting for me to open them wide.

Xingu by Edith Wharton

Let’s face it. This was an easy pick. It’s a 48-page book and we’re at the beginning of the year. I’d like to get a completed book scratched off my list. Besides, I’ve never read Wharton, and I understand this a very funny book.

Finally, it’s a perfect fit to report back to you, dear reader, given that it’s all about a famous author who attends a small, intimate women’s luncheon. Apparently the author is condescending–Who would have thought?–and the six women are at a loss at how to handle her. Before long mayhem sets in. What mayhem that is, I have no idea.

Best of all, the book is an Amazon free Kindle download, so it was easy to add to my iPad. (This cover is for a Spanish edition of the book but I loved the graphic.)

Moby Dick by Herman Mellvile

As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, I’m in the midst of the Moby Dick Big Read and according to the plan I should finish the book by the end of the month. Well, I would had I not fallen off the rails. So I’m taking advantage of the readathon to at least get myself back up to speed so I can finish on time with my pals on Goodread who are in the Moby Dick Big Read Chat group.

I’ve got about 40+ chapters to read. Thank heavens they’re short. Who knew Melville had such a sense of humor, too?

Genius by Harold Bloom

Bloom’s Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds is a massive book with 806 pages so I have no intention of finishing it or even getting very far into it; however, I would like to move forward on this and read the next section. Having read the introduction, I’m ready to tackle Lustre 1 featuring William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, Michel de Montaigne, John Milton, and Leo Tolstoy.  The term Lustre is Bloom’s way of segmenting the various divisions in the book.

…this first Lustre of masters, each of whom dominates his genre forever. Shakespeare usurps all modern drama, Cervantes the novel, Montaigne the personal essay, and Milton the secondary or postclassical epic. Tolstoy, whether as modern novelist or storywriter, comes close to Shakespeare’s other usurpation: of nature itself. – Harold Bloom

 Travels with a  Donkey by Robert Lewis Stevenson

I don’t recall reading this when I was a kid but when I discovered it in the bookcase among all the other Heritage Press classics, I immediately heard its call. Maybe it’s because it seems like it will be a travel book. I enjoy reading travel narratives and have enjoyed Stevenson’s other books in the past.

The point is, it’s on my Classic Club book list and it’s completely doable at 154 pages.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 

And then there’s a little Wilde to go along with all the Whale, the Donkey, the author lunch party, and the whole question of what constitutes literary “genius.” The Picture of Dorian Gray is Wilde’s only novel and, in its day, it wasn’t well-received.

Some books, greeted as masterpieces on publication, die a few years later, and are buried in eternal oblivion. Others, have shocked or displeased at the moment of their birth, preserve a surprising and lasting youth and eventually enter effortlessly the Paradise of the Classics. — Andre Maurois, writing of The Picture of Dorian Gray

I would imagine there are a whole lot of people today who would love to have access to their likeness that worked as Dorian Gray’s. Of course, it wouldn’t do much for the whole botox industry but given the culture I think it would be a high demand product.

Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

It wouldn’t right to begin the year with a 24-hour reading marathon and ignore Bradbury’s classic work on writing. Reading this book, and in particular Bradbury’s essay The Joy of Writing, is an annual ritual that I highly recommend to all writers. I try hard to follow my own advice.

Alternates and Additions

Depending on how the day goes, I have a couple of other classics on writing that I may throw into the daily mix. These include Speak Memory by Vladimir Nabokov and Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster.

As you can see there aren’t any Goliaths on my list. I’m going lean. The variety should be fun, the productivity built in, and success obtainable. At the end of the readathon, I’ll be thrilled to have caught up with the Moby Dick Big Read, read Wharton…finally, moved forward in Bloom’s book, armchair-traveled to Spain, and read a bit on the Wilde side. At the very least I’ll have completed one book and at best, read three to five with a good day had by all. Let the reading begin.


Leave comments below and let me know your plans for the readathon or what you think about my choices, strategy, etc.

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  • harriethustis

    I’m a fan of Moby-Dick, actually–one of the few out there, I think :) I’ve read a lot of Wharton, but I’m not familiar with Xingu… turning on my Ipad, going to Kindle… I’m also a fan of The Picture of Dorian Gray–great plot, and interesting reflections on the relationship between art & morality. Have fun! –Harriet