Reading Journal (23 Sept): The Classics Circuit

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I was going to write a post about what I’ve been reading, for I finished a couple of books during the end of last week and over the weekend. But then for the last three days I’ve been working on getting The Classics Circuit up and running, so that’s what on my mind today.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for this! Trisha suggested the title, and I have to say I think it captures perfectly the concept of this classics blog tour. An author (and right now we’re going to start with authors, but we may branch out to themes) “rides the circuit” of blogs as we each take a turn reviewing a classic by that author.

I think the fact that so many people have already expressed an interest in the potential reads for the November tour (voting is open now!) is a testament to the fact that people are still interested in reading the classics.

I’m so excited for this type of project! This week I finished one classic and started two others. Thanks for your eagerness, too, for it should be fun to see classics take the blogging world by storm!

You are more than welcome to vote for which classic author you’d like to see featured for this first tour, even if you are not interested in joining the “circuit” as a reader and reviewer.

Abandoned Books/Finished Reading

Each week, I mention the books I finish or abandon. This week I finished three. I enjoyed all three, and they were all different, which was refreshing!

  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (450 pages; fiction). FINISHED! For the book club I’m hosting at the library.
  • Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin (280 pages; fiction). FINISHED!
  • The Pooh Bedside Reader by A.R. Melrose (about 110 read of 160 pages; nonfiction/fiction). FINISHED! Because I’ve recently finished reading both Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, I skipped some of the chapter-long excerpts from Milne’s text that were in this book. The rest of it was lots of fun!

Currently Reading

Each week, I list my progress so I can see how my reading compares week to week. My audiobook is taking forever because I haven’t taken any long drives lately! My son has been more receptive to my reading him Charlotte’s Web this week, so we made a bit more progress. I still haven’t been motivated to read Cheever’s stories. Maybe after I finish my next two books?

My Books

I feel good about my progress, except for Cheever.

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker ( audiobook, on 23 of 27 segments, about 16 hours total; fiction). For the RIP IV Challenge.
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (115 read of 190; children’s fiction). I am reading this aloud to my son at a very slow rate.
  • The Stories of John Cheever (20 of 61 stories, 820 pages total; fiction/short stories). Part of my Pulitzer Challenge.
  • Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and Their Messages by Karen Lynn Davidson (55 read of 350/455 pages; nonfiction). I’m reading the story of a few hymns each day. And then I go sing them at the piano. So this book will take a while (but I’m enjoying it so that’s OK with me!).
  • Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter by Seth Lerer (190 read of 330 pages; nonfiction). I read one chapter this week.
  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (25 read of 220 pages; fiction). For the Banned Books Challenge. Um, I can’t believe I used to love this book! I’m crying here.

Old Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

  • Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (25 read of 180 pages; fiction). For Heather J.’s October read-along. I’m enjoying this so far!
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (audio CD, 7 disks, about 7.5 hours total; children’s fiction). I have not yet begun this; I will begin when I finish Dracula.

New Library Loot

I did not pick up any new loot this week! (I’m going to the library tomorrow.)

Noteworthy Notes

(Sorry, playing with cheesy alliteration here!)

Color Online gave some reading lists for Hispanic Heritage Month (Sep 15 – Oct 15), and I think I may try to reread The House on Mango Street during that time (maybe in Spanish? I’m so rusty!).

I really was intrigued by Amateur Reader’s post about overrated books. What does that mean when we say “that book was overrated?”


I’m really behind at reading Google Reader, so bear with me as I catch up in the next week!

  • Life With a Star by Jiří Weil. Jenny at Shelf Love. A powerful Jewish story of life during the years before the holocaust in Czecheslovokia.
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Five Borough Book Reviews. A “hard to swallow” reminder of how life was “when you can only have 200 grams of bread a day.”
  • Degratias by J.P. Stassen. Nymeth says she cried for half an hour after she finished this comic about the Rwandan genocide. To be honest, I’m not sure I can handle it, but it sure sounds like it deserves a mention.


  • The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith. I’m looking for a history of Africa because I know nothing. Eva said she read this pre-blogging.
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott Mccloud. A comment by Nymeth on Twitter reminded me of my ignorance of graphic novels. This book is a comic about comics, mentioned by Nymeth.
  • We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch. Suggested by Eva in a comment.
  • Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza. Suggested by Haiku Amy in a comment.
Reviewed on September 23, 2009

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • Classics Circuit is a super-cool idea, Rebecca. I voted for Gaskell even though I’m not sure I can commit to an unplanned read before January – but I definitely want to join at some point! Thanks for putting it all together.

  • I always feel special when I show up in your TBR additions!!! I know that’s silly, but I admire you bunches. 🙂

    And I’m so excited about The Classics Circuit!

  • I second the recommendation for Ivan Denisovich. I read that back in May or so and it was excellent! And much easier to read than I expected. On the other hand – Deogratias was WAY too violent for me to handle. I’ve DM’ed you on Twitter.

    I’m very excited about the Classics Circuit, too!!

  • I’m so excited about The Classics Circuit. What a great idea. I am currently reading a classic (The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathanial Hawthorne) but feel that I am usually not reading as many classics as I should.

  • Catching up here– my internet was down for two days– so will go over and vote at The Classics Circuit in a minute!

    I’m currently reading “The Fate of Africa” for Eva’s World Citizen Challenge; and it’s been informative and readable.

  • I’m really excited about the classics circuit! I’m really looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts about some of these “overlooked” dead folk, and I’m hoping to find some more favorites myself (and to continue my attempt to challenge myself as a reader). It’s also so great to see that so many other people are feeling the Classics love!

    The other thing I wanted to say was that I gasped when I saw that you were re-reading The Catcher in the Rye, and that you were not loving it. I too recall this being a “teen years” favorite of mine, and I hold it close to my heart. BUT I haven’t read it in well over 10 years. I have been thinking of re-reading but I worry that I won’t love it as much anymore, so I keep holding off!

  • Emily, I’m glad there is interest, even from those who don’t think they’ll participate this time around!

    Eva, well, don’t be surprised! You read so many great books.

    Amanda, Ivan is on the Martel-Harper list so I may get to it sooner! Glad you liked it too.

    Stephanie, it seems a lot of people feel they haven’t read enough classics!

    Valerie, oh I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts on that one!!

    Steph, I read Catcher at age 16 and age 20. I loved it both times. Now I’m 28 and um, I can’t stand it (I’m only on page 25 but seriously want to stop reading). So if you have fond memories of reading it as a teen, maybe don’t try to reread it. 🙂

  • Forgive me that I’m terribly behind in my blog reading and had to mark a bunch read while on vacation, so I think I might be missing part of the puzzle. All that said, I love this classics circuit idea and would love to join sometime!! Look forward to seeing which author hits the circuits first (probably already has…).

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