Sunday, February 21, 2021

Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021 Week #3 Update

This is the third weekly update of Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021, and we are halfway through! How do you progress so far? What chapter are you in? 

Chapter XXII to XXXI follows the most interesting adventures of Nicholas and Smike, but also the most pitiable state of Kate.

On their journey to Portsmouth to seek a new situation, Nicholas and Smike stumbled upon a group of theatrical people, with a Mr. Vincent Crummles as the manager. Dickens has dedicated not less than four chapters to entertain us with 19th century theatrical world which had attracted himself. This is my favorite part of this book so far - the stage, the eccentric people, the excitement behind the curtain, and the marketing aspect. Nicholas is first engaged as a scriptwriter, but he then appears on the stage as well, with, surprisingly, huge success. Smike also impresses the audience by his appearance as the Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet. However, the merry adventure didn't last long. A letter from Newman Noggs indicating vaguely on the implorable state of Kate, impelled Nicholas to resign from stage and to take a journey homeward.

Sir Mulberry Hawk & co. change course in their campaigns to "avenge" Kate's rejection by charming the vain Mrs. Nickleby. They made her over the moon with pleasant dreams. In reality, Sir MH forces himself on Kate when she is accompanying Mr. Wititterly to the theater. Mrs. W becomes jealous of Kate and accuses her of flirting with the gentlemen. The indignant Kate pleads her uncle to help her. At first Ralph seems to be a bit touched by her despair, but in the end his business prevails. It's this situation which had forced Newman Noggs to take action by writing to Nicholas.

Approaching the arrival of Nicholas to London, Newman Noggs hires Miss La Creevy's help to soften the blow on the strong-headed Nicholas when he receives the full account of Kate's misfortune. And here we left them with their plot and strategy in chapter XXXI.

TOPIC OF DISCUSSION

Mr. Lillyvick is indignant by old Mr. Snevellicci's free familiarity toward his wife (winking, blowing a kiss, kissing), but Mrs. Lillyvick doesn't mind at all (even Nicholas is astonished by Mr. Lillyvick's reaction).

Why do you think flirting with single woman is an offence, while with married woman is mere flattering? Do you find same treatment in present society? What will you feel if you're in Mrs. Lillyvick's position?

I'm not married, but I think I would be as offended as I were a married woman; or maybe even more? I understand that Mr. Snevellicci's conduct is more playful than that of Sir MH, but still, I think Kate would have been uncomfortable too by this treatment had she were the target. Does different classes/society view the same treatment differently? Or is it related with one's virtue? I think it's between culture and education.

Now let us hear your opinion! You can leave comments below, or you can post on your blog if you feel like it, but don't forget to leave the link here so we can visit and read your post! But If you have read ahead, please make sure to restrain from any spoiler.

Now I'm really curious about how Nicholas would respond towards Sir MH, and how the Kenwigses will react on Mr. Lillivyck's marriage news - that one will be hilarious!! 

See you next week!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021 Week #2 Update

This is the second weekly update of Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021. How do you progress so far? What chapter are you in?

Chapter XI to XXI brought us to Nicholas' and Kate's further persecutions in their respective situations. At the Dotheboys Hall, Nicholas has had enough of Squeers' cruel treatment to the children, especially poor Smike, of whom he is most affectionate. Smike was about to be beaten, probably to his death, had not Nicholas intervened; and in his rage and indignation, he struck Mr. Squeers (who really deserves it!). Fanny Squeers turned out to be a true manipulator, and to avenge her "humiliating" rejection by Nicholas, she accused him of theft, besides, of course, of beating her father.

The penniless Nicholas ran away, helped by a new character Mr. John Browdie (fiancee to Tilda Price, Fanny Squeers' friend), who I hope will reappear in further chapters. Fulfilling Newman Noggs' premonition, Nicholas seeks his help, and thither he goes with Smike (I'm so relieved at his deliverance!!) Here we were introduced to some fresh interesting charcters from Newman Noggs' circle - The Kenwigses, Mr. Lilyvick the collector of water-rates (I didn't know such profession existed in Victorian era), and Miss Petowker of the Theater Royal in Drury Lane are some of them. Nicholas is hired by Mrs. Kenwig as private tutor for her children, after he rejected a seemed-to-be-promising job as a parliament secretary, which he got from the General Agency Office. However, another promising future character made an appearance here: a pretty young woman seeking job as governess, whom Nicholas saw in the office - would she be his future love interest? Let's hope so. However, after Fanny Squeers' letter of accusation met Ralph Nickleby - who, of course, believes her more than his own nephew - Nicholas is forced to leave home to avoid bringing disgrace to his family, so that they can still hope of Ralph Nickleby's support for Kate and her mother.

Kate, on the other hand, is facing another kind of persecution at Madam Mantalini's. Her colleague envied her for having a better opportunity. Mr. Mantalini, who I predict will give Kate inappropriate attention, turns out to be much less worrying than these new antagonists we are introduced in chapter XIX. They are guests to Ralph Nickleby's dinner party, of which he required Kate to attend. And this is a further proof of Ralph's selfishness and love of money. He "offers" his own niece as business proposition to his two big customers: Sir Mulberry Hawk (a hawk indeed!) and Lord Verisopht (very soft?). After this disgraceful evening, Kate is discharged from Madam Mantalini's due to its bankruptcy. But soon she finds another situation as a lady companion to yet another new character: Mrs. Wititterly.

What awaits Nicholas and Smike ahead? What kind of situation they will stumble upon? And can Kate get deliverance from her two pursuers after entering her new job? Let's see... but for now, I have another topic that we can discuss:

TOPIC OF DISCUSSION

The ill-treated pupils in some cheap boarding schools in Yorkshire during Victorian era - how do you think can it happen in the first place? And for quite so long time before Dickens brought it up?

I think the main reason is because the pupils are unwanted children. In the earlier chapter, there's a man who was interested in Dotheboys Hall because he wants to "get rid" of his wife's children from previous husband. It makes sense, for after you get rid of them, you won't be interested to know more about their welfare; you'd only make sure that they stay where they are, pay the little sum only to soothe your conscience that it's all for the children's sake. The children could not tell their stories, and even if the could, no one would believe it, because they don't want them anyway. It's terribly sad and tragic, and we must thank Dickens for bringing this up in this book.

Now let us hear your opinion! You can leave comments below, or you can post on your blog if you feel like it, but don't forget to leave the link here so we can visit and read your post! But If you have read ahead, please make sure to refrain from any spoilers.

See you next week!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021 1st Week Update

This is the first weekly update of Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021, and Charles Dickens birthday! Have you started the book? How do you progress? What chapter are you in?

I have started on chapter 12 while typing this post, and so far... I love it! I have read from the back of my copy that NN "is widely regarded as one of the greatest comic masterpieces of nineteenth-century literature." And indeed, I could see from the first few chapters the sign of it being comical and witty.

The first eleven chapters are an introduction to the Nicklebys. Godfrey Nickleby had two sons: Ralph and Nicholas (senior) - each with unique character which is complete opposite of the other. Ralph is selfish, with passion in money, while Nicholas is gentle, kind, and dreamy. Ralph grows to be a successful businessman, and an unmarried miser. Nicholas? Well, he finally married, but one imprudent investment washed away all his money (has he never learnt about never putting all your eggs in one basket?!) Anyway, too heartbroken by his ruin, he died, leaving his widow and children without money. How convenient it is to just "die" after terrible thing happens, that you don't have to face the consequences, and let your family solve their problems by themselves, since God will take care of them. Well, I have no patience for these kind of people! It is a selfishness of another kind.

The Nicklebys are then forced to beg Ralph Nickleby for his support. He procured Nicholas (the son was named after the father, but oh boy, how his character turns out to be far from his father - thank Heaven!) a position of assistant teacher in Dotheboys boarding school in Yorkshire. For Kate, the daughter, Uncle Ralph secured a situation of milliner in Madam Mantalini's the dressmakers.

The boarding school appears to be a minimum budgeted institution for unwanted children, where they are treated inhumanely. Everyday Nicholas must witness the schoolmaster Mr. Squeers' cruelty towards his servants and pupils; and if that's not enough, Mr. Squeers' daughter had a crush on him. Considering Nicholas' rather blunt honesty - remember his first comment on Ralph Nickleby about his fathers' death: "Some people, I believe, have no hearts to break." (brava Nick!), I predict this romantic predicament will put more misfortunes in Nicholas' position when he must break Miss Sneers' heart! Kate too, I think, will have her own work trouble, considering the pervert of Mr. Mantalini who couldn't take his eyes off the beautiful Kate since she steps into his house!

Now I was eager to read through next week to chapter XXI. But before that, I have one topic that we can discuss:

TOPIC OF DISCUSSION
From chapter I - XI, who do you think is the most interesting secondary character(s) that you want to get to know more? Why?

My favorite is Newman Noggs. I loved him the moment he secretly gave the letter on Nicholas' departure. I knew that at least there is one person who will care for Nicholas - and this from a stranger. Later that I know he used to be a gentleman, I loved him even more, and interested to know his history.

Miss La Creevy is another interesting character, though at first I wasn't certain whether she is selfless enough to befriend Kate Nickleby. But an eccentric female painter adds more colour to the story indeed!

But, I'm also interesting to learn why or how Mr and Mrs. Squeers (and others such schoolmasters) became so inhuman towards the children. Is it pure business greediness? Or something else? What do you think?

Now let us hear your opinion! You can leave comments below, or you can post on your blog if you feel like it, but don't forget to leave the link here so we can visit and read your post! But If you have read ahead, please make sure to refrain from any spoilers.

See you next week!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021 Master Post

Welcome to the Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021! For the next six weeks we will read the 70 chapters of Charles Dickens' third novel which was originally published as serial (monthly installments) in March 1838 - October 1839, titled: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

TIME FRAME:

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY READALONG 2021
in six weeks

1st week (February 1~February 6): Ch. 1-11
2nd week (February 7~February 13): Ch. 12-21
3rd week (February 14~February 20): Ch. 22-31
4th week (February 21~February27): Ch. 32-41
5th week (February 28~March 6): Ch. 42-51
6th week (March 7~March 13): Ch. 52-70

March 14~March 20: REVIEW/WRAP UP

RULES:

⭐ I plan to publish an update post every weekend, along with one or two questions/topics for discussion from the chapters we have read for the week. You are welcomed to join the discussions in the comment box, but if you are already chapter(s) ahead, please refrain from any spoilers!
⭐ You are welcomed to post quotations or updates, etc. in either blog or Twitter during the readalong. I may pick several to be featured in my update posts. Just remember to put the hashtag: #NicholasNickleby2021 or mention me @fanda_a.
⭐ I don't use linky for this event, so just drop link to your posts on the comment box of any of my master/update posts or mention me on Twitter, and I will link back to your posts from my update posts.

FUN FACTS:

✔ Dickens started writing Nickleby while still working with Oliver Twist.
✔ A Mr. William Shaw of Shaw's Academy was long been believed to be the inspiration of Mr. Wackford Squeers, the brutal schoolmaster of Dotheboys Hall in this book.
✔ Within two years after Nickleby's publication, almost all the cheap and inhumane schools had been closed down, thanks to Dickens.
✔ in 1838 Dickens and Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne), Dickens' illustrator, visited schools in Yorkshire in secret to investigate. During this visit, they found a cemetery with gravestones of the dead schoolboys who were victims of the inhumane treatments of the schools. This visit later inspired Dickens' character: Smike.
✔ Nicholas Nickleby is the book that set Dickens' place in the high society of Victorian society, and brought him fame.

Now... are you ready to have this six weeks journey with Nickolas Nickleby? Let's do it!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Conquest of Plassans by Émile Zola (second read)

Since this is my second read, I won't write much on what the story is about - this you can read in my first review of The Conquest of Plassans from 2017. To be honest, I forgot how powerful this books is; I only vaguely remember the petty little town politics. So now I will discuss more about the political background and how it awakened the hereditary madness of the characters, which would otherwise have been tamed in its slumbers.

Abbe Faujas came from Bésançon with mysterious background. The mystery is never clearly revealed throughout the book, and that just emphasizes the faux of the priest (see how Zola named him Faujas on purpose?) He was sent specifically to Plassans by "Paris" to conquer the little town. Why Plassans? Who is this "Paris" actually meant? And why did he stay particularly ar the Mourets?

We know from The Fortune of the Rougons that Pierre and Felicité Rougons have conquered Plassans with the aid of their son Eugène, who was an important person in the Louis Phillipe's government of the Second Empire of France. Though the resurrection has been successfully uprooted from the town, the Emperor wants to have a clean sheet, especially from the Legitimists. It's nearly the election time, and it's crucial that whoever elected would be a Bonapartist supporter. By appointing Abbè Faujas as the conqueror, Zola wanted also to criticize clerical hypocrisy and involvement in the French politics at that time.

Who is Faujas' "master" from Paris? It's not clear at first; Faujas' arrival seems very innocent as a priest in a religious little town like Plassans. But it's soon clear that Felicité Rougon has been appointed by "Paris" to aid the abbé to perform his task. So, we can safely conclude that "a friend from Paris" which Felicitè alluded is most probably his son Eugène!

Plassans here served as a miniature of the Second Empire's political life in France. The petit bourgeois, the retired businessmen like François Mouret, have the most vague loyalty in their political views. They use politics rather to serve their own personal interest than to support any leader or ideology. They can easily switch from one party to another if it's more profitable for them.

But why an Abbé, in the first place? Here, Eugène (or Felicité? Or both?) has clearly done their homework. They know how difficult it would be to sway the bourgeois political views, so why not send a charismatic priest to impress the religious wives first? They would, in turn, influence their husbands to trust the abbé much more easily. First woman to be conquered? Marthe Mouret! - a not very religious woman, and wife of a retired oil businessman with neutral political view: François Mouret - whose house is situated in the middle of two important figure of Plassans with opposite views. Excellent!

Speaking about hereditary illness, Marthe is Pierre Rougons' daughter who was married by François Mouret - the son of Ursule Macquart and Mouret the hatter. François was Pierre's clerk - a quiet, sensible, diligent chap - who helped him in the oil and wine business, but then married the boss's daughter and built his own business. Born from the Rougon side, and having an intelligent and strong woman like Felicité as a mother, you would think Marthe will hardly catch the hereditary illness. François is more likely to catch it as he's half Macquart - though he's more of a Mouret with his love of works. But, here, Zola showed that you can't really avoid it. It's there inside you, even if you don't really realize it. Marthe would have been alright had she continues living harmoniously, peacefully, surrounded by her family, like in the opening chapter:

"There was an absorbed silence, warm with an unspoken tenderness in the pleasant golden glow of the sun that, little by little, was fading from the terrace. Marthe cast a loving look over all her three children n the calm of the evening, and plied her needle with long, regular strokes."

There's the air of satisfying existence - enjoying the deserved retirement after long hardworking. Had the Mourets maintain this stability in the house, they would very likely have retired happily. However, one bad decision of renting their second floor to a priest, had plunged them to "the fall of the house of Mouret"!

I was disgusted when I realized that it's Felicité who has brought ruin to her own daughter by placing Abbé Faujas at her house. It might be unintentional at first, but when she saw Marthe's passionate, feverish religious devotion, how could she not see something wrong? Or maybe she thought it's actually directed to Faujas, and it's better than her son-in-law? Whichever it may be, it only proves that Marthe did inherit the family illness - the insatiable desire, and it gets from bad to worse once it is provoked. While in François' case... well, that's an unimaginable crime to put... oh I can't even say it - it's too horrible. I'm half glad that Macquart did what he did in the end.

Should we even talk about the ending?? What was Zola implying by it? Devil clothed in cassock? What an ending, indeed!

Rating: 5/5

Friday, January 15, 2021

Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie


Poirot is travelling alone, again, when a murder committed. This time he travels from Paris, back to London, by plane. There are twelve passengers in that flight, and what a group of people they are! - a mystery writer, two archeologists, a dentist, a hairdresser, a doctor, a Countess, a moneylender woman, a businessman, and of course... a famous detective!

When the plane is about to land, the steward found one passenger - Madame Giselle, the famous moneylender - is dead, apparently by a sting in her neck. Several passengers remember of seeing a wasp flying around while the last meal is served. Then Poirot found a poisonous dart - the one used by primitive savages - under the victim's seat. Later on an empty blow pipe, from which the dart has been blown, was found.... under Poirot's seat!

It is perhaps one of the boldest murders ever performed in Christie's books. Imagine! In a confined space of an aircraft, where everyone could have noticed someone blowing a dart, not mentioning the trained eyes of Hercule Poirot- oh wait...! The irony is, Poirot was asleep during most of the flight due to his blasted airsickness! The murderer even had the audacity to place the blow pipe under HIS seat. It must have been a mockery to the famous detective.

The first thing acted on is, of course, to search the passenger's baggages. Of this, Poirot has found some intriguing objects, from which he begins to build his hypothesis - which, as usual, he kept to himself. Poirot was assisted by Chief Inspector Japp and Jane Grey, the hairdresser, in this investigation.

The tone of this case is the boldness of the murderer - and the person is very lucky that the greatest detective who would normally have had him under suspicion, must fall asleep while the murderer performed it. There is a plot twist in the end, and once again, Poirot acted as a matchmaker for two of the passengers.

Once again, a very entertaining crime story from our beloved Dame.

Rating: 4 / 5

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin: #CCSpin25

Novel in verse has never been my favorite. I prefer the flowing narration in prose which is more soothing to the mind. Reading, anyway, is (for me) more of therapy than challenge. Therefore, I have started Eugene Onegin with much trepidation - I wasn't sure I'm gonna like it, but I'm curious all the same. #CCSpin25 helped me to finally plunged into it. The result? Still didn't enjoy the novel, but I admired the beautiful rhymes Pushkin had woven to narrate a simple yet deep and meaningful tale.

When I said Eugene Onegin is a simple story, I really meant it. The plot is very simple, and there are only four main characters: Eugene Onegin, Tatyana Larina, Vladimir Lensky, and the Narrator - which is the embodiment of Pushkin himself. The simple plot allowed Pushkin to explore the personality if each character. From the opening scene (the dying bed of Onegin's uncle), for example, we know instantly what kind of man Eugene Onegin is:

But God, how deadly dull to sample
sick room attendance night and day
and never stir a foot away!
And the sly baseness, fit to throttle,
of entertaining the half-dead:
one smoothest the pillow down in bed,
and glumly serves the medicine bottle,
and sighs, and asks oneself all through:
"When will the devil come for you?"


I don't think I've ever hated a character as early as in the first page, as I did Onegin! Cold hearted, egotistical, selfish - a young man without any compassion at all! And to think that he inherited his uncle's property in the country after that, enraged me more.

So, the cold hearted Onegin started his "career" as St. Petersburg's dandy; flirting, dancing, partying, until he gets bored. After moving to the country, he gets to know a young romantic but naive poet: Vladimir Lensky. It was Lensky who first brought Onegin to the Larins' - Olga Larina is Lensky's fiancee. Olga's sister, Tatyana - an introverted young girl who loves to read - fell in love with Onegin. She wrote a letter expressing her passionate love to him, but, not only coldly rejected her because he thought marriage is boring, Onegin even scold her for daring to express her feeling to a man.

"You'll love again, but you must teach
your heart some self-restraint; for each
and every man won't understand it
as I have... learn from my belief
that inexperience leads to grief."


Lensky took an initiative to persuade Onegin to attend Tatyana's name ceremony at the Larins, where he lived that it's just a family event. Angry with Lensky after knowing the truth that it's a rural social event, and that the guests rumored about him and Tatyana, Onegin avenged Lensky by dancing and flirting with Olga. The wounded Lensky challenged Onegin to duel. Out of convention, and despite finding the truth that it's all just a misunderstanding, Onegin and Lensky fought the duel nevertheless. There are more proofs of Onegin's egotistical which you'd find throughout the story, and which will ruin many people's lives (and himself at the end).

As I said, it's a simple story with clear message, but told beautifully by Pushkin. I admired how he highlighted each individual's personality through the stanzas, which limited dialogues.

In the end, novel in verse is still not my cup of tea, but I'm glad to have finally read it. It was so beautiful, but at the same time it was quite a struggle for me. I understood, perhaps, only 80% of the verses, and, but for the simple plot, would have abandoned it halfway through!

Rating: 3,5 / 5

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Announcing: Nicholas Nickleby Readalong 2021

February is the birth month of Charles Dickens, so I usually celebrate it by reading Dickens in February. This year it will be for Nicholas Nickleby, and I invite you all to join me in:

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY READALONG 2021
(February 1 ~ March 13)



My original plan is to read it in February, but after breaking down the chapters (and there are 70 of them!), I decided to stretch it through the 2nd week of March, making it a six weeks event. This way, I believe, we can read quite leisurely, without pressure.


I will try to post one update each weekend, summarizing the chapters we have read, and maybe with one or two topics to discuss, but I don't make any promises, as it will depend on how busy I will be; but at least I'll try! 😊

Without further ado, here is our time frame:

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY READALONG 2021
in six weeks

1st week (February 1~February 6): Ch. 1-11
2nd week (February 7~February 13): Ch. 12-21
3rd week (February 14~February 20): Ch. 22-31
4th week (February 21~February27): Ch. 32-41
5th week (February 28~March 6): Ch. 42-51
6th week (March 7~March 13): Ch. 52-70
March 14~March 20: REVIEW/WRAP UP


I will be reading from Wordsworth Classics edition, and my copy has 769 pages, meaning I will have to read about 130-ish pages each week 😱. I really doubt I can catch up with that pace, but let's see! Having buddies to read with helps a lot, I hope!

How to join?

  • Please comment below if you'd like to participate. Or you can mention me on Twitter using hashtag: #NicholasNickleby2021.
  • You are welcomed to post about this readalong in your blog/social media, but it's okay if you don't feel like it.
  • I will publish a kick-off post on February 1st with a linky, where you can put links of your blog posts during the readalong.
  • You may post as often as possible (updates, thoughts, quotations, review, wrap-up, etc) either on blog or Twitter. For Twitter, please use #NicholasNickleby2021 hashtag.
  • Last but not least: READ (or Reread) and ENJOY!

 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Beginning A New Era on Classics Reading

It's my first post in 2021, Happy New Year!! 2021 is a special year to me, because I will be turning 50 in less than two months. It's the end of an era, but at the same time, the beginning of another. Reading-wise, I realized last year, how many great books out there that I won't be able to read in this life. And that's when I started thinking of building an extensive list of great books I would love reading in the next 20-30 years. If I can't read all the books in the world, at least I read the greatest! In that spirit, since last year, I have begun to construct an extensive list of...

300 Books to Read in 20 Years (or more)

🔹️Just click the link to bring you to my list.

🔹️It mostly contains books which I'd love to read, either by my favorite authors, or even new authors I'd like to explore.

🔹️It isn't a challenge, so I won't put books suggested by many as "classics you must read..." or "the best classics..." blablabla. I don't have all the time in the world, so from now on I read only for comfort, not for pride.

🔹️Some of the titles are for rereading - books that I'd love to revisit in the future.

🔹️Of course, the list can (and will 🤭) keep changing along the way, because my preference might differ in the next 5 or 10 years. And if I read a new author but don't like it, I would delete his/her other books altogether. Or the other way round, I might add more from a new found favorite author.

🔹️It only contains of 200-ish titles at present, but I keep adding books I'd love to read along the way. You are warmly welcomed to suggest titles you think I might love in the comment below the list! 😊

🔹️I put the original list in google sheet (you are welcomed to take a peek by clicking the link). This will be my way of tracking and managing my reading and book shopping. I've added columns for new author, books I own, and books I've ordered but still on the way. Everytime there's promo on my favorite online bookstores, or I just want to buy books😎, I can check from the list, which books I need to buy (or not to buy). That way, I won't waste my money for books I probably will never read.

🔹️And so, here we come to my new approach to The Classics Club challenge I have mentioned before. With 300 books to read in 20 years, my plan is to read about 15 classics each year - but again, it's not a challenge, so no pressure at all. I might occasionally read non classics too, and I'm still doing (leisurely) the Agatha Christie Perpetual Reading Challenge. There's also the Rougon-Macquart Project which will be going on in the next 3 or 4 years. Anyway, the 15 classics I'm going to read every year would be the base of my The Classics Club lists. It means that, instead of having a fixed list of 60 books to read in 5 years, I will add the titles as I read them, so it will be a sort of an ever growing list for five years. It eliminates the pressure, and I will have the freedom to pick any books from my original list every year. Is it cheating? I don't think so, because the challenge is to READ classics, not to read from a fixed list.

Now I can't wait to begin with this new list (I'm actually in the middle of my #CCSpin book: Eugene Onegin). This is going to be an exciting lifetime journey, don't you think?