Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Classics Club: Round Two

Back in February 2013, I joined The Classics Club. I was still relatively new to blogging and inspired by all the reading challenges I found once I figured out there was a whole book blogging COMMUNITY I could engage with rather than writing what was essentially an online book journal no one knew about. I'd been meaning to read more classics and kept adding them to my collection, so I thought this would be just the thing to finally get me started. Nothing like going all in, right? I mean there are smaller (and shorter) classics challenges, but I wanted to go big. After all, 50 in 5 years is less than a book a month. Surely I could do that! Except I didn't. Womp, womp, womp. I DID read 32 classics, but things really fell apart when it came to blogging about them. I managed some posts, but the numbers aren't good.

So after explaining all that, why in the world am I back with a second attempt at this thing? Well, my 5 years officially ended five and a half months ago and I've had some time to think things through. I realized that despite falling short of my goal, I really had started reading classics on a more regular basis. A full 25 of the classics I read happened in the final two years of my challenge. And in the intervening months I've read 5 more just in the regular course of my reading life. But there's a bit of a kicker -- they've all been children's classics! Now, The Classics Club advocates for creating a "living list" that can change and evolve as time goes on. My original list did evolve into a children's classics list, but it took me a bit too long to figure that out and then I just ran out of time.

So this time around, my list is going to be all Children's Classics from Day 1. Almost five and a half years later, I know what kind of classics I really want to read. As for the blogging part, I may have fallen off the wagon last time, BUT some of the posts I did write were some of my very favorites (Reading Winnie-the-Pooh as an AdultReading Paddington as an Adult). The idea of writing more posts like those two has me genuinely excited and feeling more confident about the blogging part of the challenge. I also have a pen and paper reading journal set up (a printable freebie from one of Modern Mrs. Darcy's newsletters) I am hoping will help me gather and organize my thoughts to make posting easier.

There is no hard and fast rule about what constitutes a classic, so I combed over my shelves to come up with my list and did the best I could. Books over 50 years old were a given. Newer-ish books that were published as part of a "modern classics" series were also a given. Anything else in the 35-49 years old range I used my judgement (I'm about to turn 33, so anything younger than me I had a hard time thinking of as a classic, even though a book with staying power 30 years later does still feel pretty significant). I used 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up to help me make a few decisions. And if a book won a Newbery Honor or Medal, I was more likely to deem it list-worthy.

It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I have enough unread children's classics in my house to read FAR more than 50 in the next 5 years, so instead of trying to prioritize or pare down  (and since I DO want to read all these books strewn about my house!) I'm jumping in with a longer list. A lot of these are short/easy after all and I anticipate that plenty of books will get combined for blogging purposes.

Alright, enough of all these long-winded explanations -- onto the list! I'm making my official Classics Club goal to read at least 100 children's classics from the (bursting) list below and write 50 blog posts by July 24, 2023.

*Asterisk indicates Newbery Honor or Medal title

  1. A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  2. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, by T.S. Eliot
  3. Selected classic poetry with an intended young audience (titles TBD)
  4. Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales (selected collections; titles TBD)
  5. Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales (selected collections; titles TBD)
  6. The Beauty and the Beast, by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
  7. Nursery stories/tales (titles TBD)
  8. Mother Goose Rhymes (titles TBD)
  9. Aesop's Fables, by Aesop
  10. The Milly-Molly-Mandy Story Book, by Joyce Lankester Brisley
  11. Uncle Wiggily's Story Book, by Howard R. Garis
  12. Old Mother West Wind + other stories, by Thornton Burgess
  13. The Complete Polly and the Wolf, by Catherine Storr
  14. The Selfish Giant and Other Stories, by Oscar Wilde
  15. Uncle Remus The Complete Tales, adapted by Julius Lester
  16. Rootabaga Stories + More Rootabaga Stories, by Carl Sandburg
  17. Leon Garfield's Shakespeare Stories --OR-- Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, by E. Nesbit
  18. *The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles, by Padriac Colum
  19. Sherlock Holmes stories + novels, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  20. The Gray Wolf and Other Stories, by George MacDonald
  21. Stories for Children, by Issac Bashevis Singer
  22. Homer Price + Centerberg Tales, by Robert McCloskey
  23. Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
  24. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  25. Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
  26. Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie (re-read)
  27. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  28. The Racketty-Packetty House, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  29. Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
  30. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
  31. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
  32. The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame
  33. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  34. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  35. The Prince and the Pauper, by Mark Twain
  36. Five Children and It + The Phoenix and the Carpet, by E. Nesbit
  37. The Enchanted Castle, by E. Nesbit
  38. The Railway Children, by E. Nesbit
  39. The Book of Dragons, by E. Nesbit
  40. Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster
  41. The Wonder Clock, by Howard Pyle with Verses by Katharine Pyle
  42. Twilight Land, by Howard Pyle
  43. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, by Howard Pyle
  44. The Story of King Arthur and his Knights, by Howard Pyle
  45. Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren
  46. Ronia, The Robber's Daughter, by Astrid Lindgren
  47. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland + Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll
  48. *Ginger Pye + Pinky Pye, by Eleanor Estes
  49. The Moffats, by Eleanor Estes
  50. *The One Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes
  51. The Witch Family, by Eleanor Estes
  52. Stuart Little, by E.B. White
  53. The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White
  54. Matilda, by Roald Dahl
  55. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
  56. Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl
  57. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbit
  58. The Search for Delicious, by Natalie Babbit
  59. *Three Tales of My Father's Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  60. The Once and Future King series, by T.H. White
  61. *The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper
  62. Anne of Green Gables series, by L.M. Montgomery (Aug 2018)
  63. Emily of New Moon trilogy, by L.M. Montgomery
  64. The Story Girl + The Golden Road, by L.M. Montgomery
  65. The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery
  66. Jane of Lantern Hill, by L. M. Montgomery
  67. *The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
  68. *The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander
  69. The Time Cat, by Lloyd Alexander
  70. Betsy Tacy series, by Maud Hart Lovelace
  71. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series, by L. Frank Baum
  72. Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren
  73. Green Knowe series, by L.M. Boston
  74. Half Magic series, by Edward Eager
  75. All-of-a-Kind Family series, by Sydney Taylor
  76. Swallows and Amazons series, by Arthur Ransome
  77. The Faraway Tree trilogy, by Enid Blyton
  78. *The Ramona series, by Beverly Cleary
  79. The Moomins series, by Tove Jansson
  80. The Paddington series, by Michael Bond (remaining books) (Aug 2018 - 
  81. The Borrowers series, by Mary Norton (remaining books)
  82. Bedknob and Broomsticks, by Mary Norton
  83. *The Little House series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  84. The Saturdays, by Julie Andrews
  85. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, by Julie Andrews
  86. The Mouse and His Child, by Russell Hoban
  87. The Princess and the Goblin, by George Macdonald
  88. The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge
  89. The Phantom Tolbooth, by Norton Juster
  90. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr
  91. *Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink
  92. Olga da Polga, by Michael Bond
  93. Heidi, by Johanna Spyri
  94. By the Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Flieschman
  95. A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas
  96. Nancy and Plum, by Betty MacDonald
  97. *The Light at Tern Rock, by Julia L. Sauer
  98. *Fog Magic, by Julia L. Sauer
  99. *The Apple and the Arrow, by Mary & Conrad Buff
  100. *My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
  101. *Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
  102. *Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richard & Florence Atwater
  103. *The Hero and the Crown + *The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
  104. *The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
  105. *The Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
  106. *The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare
  107. *The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
  108. *Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen
  109. Plain Girl, by Virginia Sorensen
  110. *Rabbit Hill + The Tough Winter, by Ben Lawson
  111. Ben and Me, by Ben Lawson
  112. *Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien
  113. *Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes
  114. *The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite DeAngeli
  115. *Call It Courage, by Armstrong Sperry
  116. *Sounder, by William H. Armstrong
  117. *Summer of the Swans, by Betsy Byars (Sept 2018)
  118. *Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray
  119. *The Dark Frigate, by Charles Boardman Hawes
  120. *Blue Willow, by Doris Gates
  121. *The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden
  122. *Abel's Island, by William Steig
  123. *The Wheel on the School, by Meindart DeJong
  124. *The 21 Balloons, by Pene DeBois
  125. *Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham
  126. *The Slave Dancer, by Paula Fox
  127. *Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt
  128. *Onion John, by Joseph Krumgold
  129. *Thimble Summer, by Elizbeth Enright (Sept 2018)
  130. *The Egypt Game, by Zilpha Keatley Synder
  131. *A Gathering of Days, by Joan W. Blos
  132. *MC Higgins the Great, by Virginia Hamilton
  133. *Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
  134. *Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry
  135. *The Fledgling, by Jane Langton
  136. *A Long Way From Chicago, by Richard Peck (Sept 2018)
  137. *Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
  138. Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
  139. Black Beauty, by Anna Swewll
  140. Hans Brinker, by Mary Mapes Dodge
  141. Five Little Peppers, by Margaret Sidney
  142. The Little Lame Prince, by Dinah Maria Mulock
(Last Updated: 8/9/2018)

As one final note, the "first generation" of Classics Club moderators has just recently retired and a brand new "second generation" has just begun. I have nothing at all against the original team, but I do think the excitement over the new team gave me that last little push to commit to joining again. The Club is on Instagram now and I'm really looking forward to seeing what new ideas and events may happen in the coming years!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Please Help a Reader Out! -- Summer Reading Recommendations Request

The kid in me who loved summer reading growing up is thrilled that my local library has a program for adults as well! Last year, I signed up, but I must admit I only participated half-heartedly. I have little memory of what the categories were, but I do remember that they didn't fit in all that well with my summer reading plans, so I only managed to cross a few off. A lackluster last summer did not stop my enthusiasm for this year's program though and I signed up as soon as summer reading started. I refuse to read a book I have no interest in for the sake of checking a box, but I figure if I put in some effort now to figure out titles I DO want to read that fit the categories I'll be able to participate more fully.

So, I've been combing my shelves (and the library) for titles that fit categories that stumped me when I first glanced over this summer's BINGO card. The most difficult one for me so far -- and the one I most need YOUR help with! -- is A Book Set in the Mountains. I have discovered it is not as easy as one might think to find a book based on setting. This particular setting seems pretty specific, but since it could be any mountains, it's actually rather broad which has made searching challenging. I have a whole bunch of books with flap copy mentioning wilderness, the woods, rural areas, etc., that might qualify, but its been awfully hard to determine if they are actually set in the mountains without diving in. So, please help a reader out and leave a comment if you've read or know of any Adult or Young Adult Fiction titles set in the mountains. I actually came up with some middle grade titles I know would work, but I'm trying not to let myself off too easy! So far the only book on my shelves I think would work is Those Who Wish Me Dead, by Michael Koryta.

Three other categories I know I won't have trouble completing are A Book Published in 2018A Book of Historical Fiction, and A Book That Became a Movie. BUT I'd love to hear if you have any favorites to recommend for those categories as well. (Bonus points if you enjoyed both the book and the movie, because we are supposed to both read and watch for the movie category!)

* * * * *

Does your library have a summer reading program for adults? And THANK YOU for any recs you are able to share :) :)