Thursday, March 2, 2017

My 2nd Round of The Classics Club

Yayy… I have successfully completed The Classics Club Part 1 (March 2012 – March 2017). It was really a huge commitment to read around 100 classics in five years. When I started it, I kept asking myself, what if I lost my passion in reading classics in the middle of those five years? But I was willing to try then; and now I am grateful I have taken this challenge, because now I can proudly say: I DID IT! I should give myself a nice reward…another (or two?) beautiful book? ^_^

Anyway, my successful first project has inspired me to do a second round. It won’t be as ambitious as the first; I only planned to read 60 books in five years, starting yesterday (1st March). Here is the complete list:

More than half of them (35 / 60) are from authors new to me. The rest is dominated by two of my favorites—Dickens & Zola—of course! ;) Apart from the list, I also planned to reread several of my favorites, or the ones I thought deserved a second chance. One of them is The Divine Comedy. I have read Inferno few years ago, and quite liked it, but failed with Purgatorio and Paradiso (the later was a total failure because I almost didn’t understand all the cantos -_-). I believe, to read and really appreciate Dante’s poems, one needs to dig deeper and work harder.

Then, two weeks ago, when I was googling for a more suitable translation of The Divine Comedy (previously I read Longsworth’s), I stumbled upon a Youtube video of open course on Dante in Translation from Open Yale Courses, given by Prof.  Giuseppe Mazzotta. I tried the Introduction, and enjoyed it. So, I decided to have a go with the course to reread Dante. In a couple of weeks I will also order Prof. Mazzotta’s translation of Inferno. I am aware that I have only very limited time for my literary activities; but I think I can squeeze this course at office hours when I have finished my works, usually 30-40 minutes before 5 pm. Hey, this can be a nice incentive to get my works done as effectively as possible, so that I can use the extra time to attend the course! ^_^

Other than Dante, I also planned to reread The Great Gatsby this year. To accompany it, two companion books have also been seating on my wishlist shelf: So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan and Careless People by Sarah Churchwell. And maybe, I will attend another Open Yale Course on Gatsby… Yeah, after the Dante’s, of course I’ve been searching for more literary open courses available… and found one on Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner. Bingo! I did have The Sound and the Fury on my list, and maybe… I should have put To Have and Have Not into…. No. Wait. Remember, limited time! Just one book at a time, Fanda! @_@

I should stop here, or the list will swell to be 100 again…. So, wish me luck with my second round of The Classics Club, everyone! Have you done with the challenge? Will you go for 2nd round too?


  1. Congrats on 5 yrs of Classics love! And thanks for introducing me to Zola - I will always be grateful 🙏🏽

    1. Thanks Brona... I'm so grateful too that more people get to know and love Zola; he's so deserved it!

  2. Well done on finishing! :D

    Just looked at your list and saw The Sin of Abbe Mouret - what language do you read Zola in? If in English - this spring (May I think) there's a new translation of The Sin of Abbe Mouret out published by Oxford University Press. I'm going to get it, I liked the translation I read but I always knew it could be so much better. There seems to be quite a few other Zolas coming out this year too, I know Zest for Life is one of them and I think there's another two more.

    Good luck with your new list!

    1. Thanks o!

      Really? More than one translation to come this year? OUP has told me the other day that Sin of Abbe Mouret will be out this year (that's how it appeared on my list), but they didn't say about other titles. Hmm... then I will have to kick out two or more books from the list to make room for the coming Zolas!

      Asnwering your question, I read Zola in English, but I prefer to have OUP translation. That's why I have to wait for them to publish new titles to be able to put more Zolas into the list. I don't like to buy copies from other publisher, only to compare later that OUP's is better, then I have to buy another copy. Wasting time & money. :D

    2. Yes, it's very exciting! You know that Reading All Around the World Jean is hosting? Well I was looking for ideas and I looked at the OUP catalogue (here's the page, it's a pdf) and if you look on page 9 it says for 2017 His Excellency and Love Story is coming out in autumn, and after that Zest for Life, Doctor Pascal, and The Dream.

      I'll definitely want Abbé Mouret when it comes out. I'll one day get The Dream and Zest out of curiosity (not urgent, I liked the translation I read), and I would like a decent translation of His Excellency and Doctor Pascal when I can. To be honest I'd like to read the series again one day, perhaps this time in Vizetelly's order, so it would be good to get some decent translations. I'm like you - I like OUP the best. I'll try others, Penguin's not bad, but really for me OUP is the definitive translation. Getting the old or obscure translations has been a waste of money I think.

    3. Thanks for the OUP catalog.
      Yes, the other day I started The Earth from Penguin Classics, but didn't like the translation; it felt rather unnatural. So I stopped reading, and immediately ordered the OUP's

  3. Congrats. I finished my first round up not long ago, and also "re-upped" for a second round.

  4. Thanks Joseph, congrats for finishing yours, and good luck for your second round!


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