Friday, 6 November 2015

November - The Accidental Classics Catch-Up Month!

So I'm aware that the title of this post is a bit of a mouthful, but I did just manage to pull a vacuum-cleaner down on my own head while cleaning the stairs, so don't be too hard on my OK..?

This month I started by reading The Great Gatsby, and now I'm reading The Catcher in the Rye. Both books are ones I've heard referenced and mentioned countless times on TV, in films, in other books and by people around me, both IRL and on the internet.

So I've made the spur-of-the-moment decision to spend November reading all those types of classics that I've been meaning to read for ages but never got round to it. You know the ones... The ones that are considered 'canon', and are always featured on Books You MUST Read Before You Die lists.

Now, I know the so-called literary canon is far from perfect, and I'm well aware I'm likely to be reading a good many straight, white men this month... But I feel like, while they certainly aren't the be-all and end-all of literature (unlike some readers would have me believe), I'm sure they are considered classics for a reason. And I feel like their influence on popular culture and the literary landscape makes them worth the read.

I've drawn up a sort-of TBR for November, to the end of reading as many of The Books I Always Meant To Read as I can. It's really more of a list of books I might read, in no particular order, but I thought it might be of interest anyway!

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (This is technically a re-read, but I haven't read it since I had it read to me a child, so it's almost a first-time read!)
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Hmm... I think that's about all I can come up with! I left off all the really massive ones I want to read (*ahem* Les Mis *cough* Anna Karenina *cough* Moby Dick *cough*)

 Are there any I should add to the list?

 Please feel free to join me reading some classics if you feel like it! Let me know which ones in the comments below. :)


  1. Oh, I LOVE this idea! I was on a "high school/college book tour" for much of 2014, but I lost track of it in favor of all the new and shiny books. If I could get even a single classic in this month, I'd be happy. Less of a "classic" classic, but I have been meaning to read In Cold Blood for a while. Perhaps a Nonfiction November tie in? :)

    Your list is awesome - I highly recommend getting to Frankenstein and 1984 first. Catch-22 took a few false starts for me, but I finally read it last year and liked it! Also, Anna Karenina is the best and you should read it pronto.

    1. Thanks Shaina! I was actually thinking of picking 1984 or Frankenstein next.. or maybe Huck Finn since I imagine it's quite short? (I don't actually know! haha!) Ooh, you must let me know what you think of In Cold Blood. I've been meaning to read more Truman Capote as I've only read Breakfast at Tiffany's, and that's his most famous one. But somehow I've never picked it up!

      You've definitely sold me on Anna Karenina! :') I probably won't get to it this month as it is a bit of a chunker, but it's definitely been bumped up the list! :P

  2. Hello.

    My name is John Draper. I'm hoping you might be willing to review my first novel, A Danger to God Himself. It is not a religious book. It is literary fiction and a satire of religious certainty. I see you're a Christian. If you're a Christian who is certain that she has found the one true religion -- or if you're just someone who believes there is a one true religion -- this book might offend you. Good books do that, though! :)

    I's the story of a Mormon missionary who goes insane on his mission. Here is the back cover blurb:

    Mormon missionary/onetime hedonist Kenny Feller has realized that God isn’t about to give him an ounce of the miracle power he needs to succeed on his mission—as promised! What’s more, he’s concluded that, frankly, people aren’t worth the trouble. Then his new junior companion shows up—the wisecracking Jared Baserman—and immediately starts hearing heavenly voices and seeing fantastic visions. For Kenny, it is immediately clear that God has sent Jared to propel him into Mormon Manhood.

    But Kenny’s not the only person who takes note. Interests both virtuous and malevolent cozy up to Kenny and Jared, eager to make use of Jared’s gifting. At first, Kenny takes this as a sign that his perceptions of Jared are spot on. God is using Jared.

    But something’s not quite right.

    Specifically, why in the hell would God choose someone as slope-shouldered as Jared—someone so unreligious, so strange—to be a channel for His supernatural power? He doesn’t even read the Book of Mormon. Plus he smells funny. As their tracting grows fruitless and Jared’s messages grow more bizarre, Kenny begins to wonder: Is Jared really touched by God?

    And, if so, does God know what He’s doing?

    A Danger to God Himself is a scathing takedown of religious certainty, a life-affirming tale set in 1970s Washington state—equal parts spiritual road map and coming-of-age tale.

    I'd be happy to send you a copy for your review.

    Thanks for your time.


  3. Rachel, how is this going?! Im late to the party but I will always recommend and love on Ray Bradbury.

    1. It's going surprisingly well! Normally when I make even a tentative TBR it immediately puts me off reading anything on it :P But I'm midway through Frankenstein and really enjoying it! I just wish I could get more peace and quiet on my lunch break so I could read in peace.. I keep meaning to pick up Fahrenheit 451 (as another classic I've heard loads about but never read) but I've never actually got my hands on (or anywhere near) a copy. And somehow it never comes to mind when I'm browsing bookshops. Thanks for the recommendation though!


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