A project, because I need more Classics in my life, forgotten or otherwise

I need — and desperately want — more Classics in my life, for seriously. I haven’t had the best relationship with them, and pre-blogging I’ve read only a handful of the Classics, and can’t even say that I enjoyed a majority of that. So, well, thankfully, blogging has expanded my horizons. Me likey the Classics now. Me would likey, uh, I would like to read more, too.

Enter NYRB Classics and Oxford World’s Classics. [Thank you, book blogosphere, fount of new discoveries.] Both beautiful lines, stunning design, and all-around yumminess. Such good books. Such beautiful reissues. They so look good on my shelves. The former gives the spotlight to forgotten books, the latter has stunning editions of well-loved ones. And translations all around! I don’t know, they both just refresh the books in their rosters somehow. I have liked them a lot, given my limited experience with Classics in general. But I really like ’em. And, also, they so look good on my shelves.

I decided, a week or so ago, that I wanted to read as many books from these two pubs as I could manage by December of 2011. I was inspired by this post — 50 NYRBs in a year! I wanted in. I also wanted to read more books from OWC. And so I declared a project: a total 50 reads from NYRB and 25 from OWC by December of 2011.

And then I actually thought about this, and realized there was no way I could afford 75-ish books for next year — time-wise, it’ll be a tight squeez but not much of a problem; financially, it’s disastrous. So 50 and 25 is an arbitrary number — I’d love to reach that goal, but I’ll be pleased as punch with the goal of as many as I can get my hands on. I mean, I know I can make time for reading — at the risk of real life, sure, but that’s nothing new, haha — but it’s my budget that has me worried.

So, there. This is it. I’m going to get reading. You’re welcome to come along — Iris has, and that has me giddy, haha. No pressure, just some good ol’-fashioned educational fun [hee], some filling-in of this gaping hole in Sasha’s soul, and a prettier bookshelf by the end of 2011.

Nitty-gritty: This is retroactive: The books I’ve read from both lines are counted — that’s, like, seven. Wee. I’ll be tracking my progress on the freshly-minted Classics Project 2011 tab. I’ll also be making tags for the project, one for each pub: The NYRB Project and The OWC Project. And. Donations are so welcome, haha.

The NYRB Classics that I’ve read:

  1. Skylark, by Dezsö Kosztolányi.
  2. Asleep in the Sun, by Adolfo Bioy Casares.
  3. Wish Her Safe at Home, by Stephen Benatar.
  4. The Mountain Lion, by Jean Stafford.
  5. The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick.
  6. Don’t Look Now, by Daphne du Maurier.

The unread NYRB Classics on my bookshelves:

  1. My Fantoms, by Théophile Gautier.
  2. Nightmare Alley, by William Lindsay Gresham.
  3. The Slaves of Solitude, by Patrick Hamiliton.

[They look like cake, rawr. Or tofu.] So. The OWC books that I’ve read:

  1. A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Oxford World’s Classics books on my bookshelves:

  1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë.
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  3. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  4. The Lost World, by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  5. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce.
  6. Dubliners, by James Joyce.

Why, yes, I realize that I have a long way to go. Here’s to the Classics!

18 thoughts on “A project, because I need more Classics in my life, forgotten or otherwise

  1. I was going to make a tab for each publisher as well and just list the books from there. I am so glad you came up with this project :) And I’m looking forward to starting (although I am reading classics now and buying the OWC versions later on, is that the wrong way to do it? Probably. But it is the only thing that works for me until December).

    1. You know, my biggest problem right now is finding actual books — these pubs are not readily available in the bookstores I frequent. Hell, I know I’m pretty reckless investing in so many books in the future, but I really do love these pubs, so why not, right? Thanks for supporting — and joining in — this madness, Iris. :]

  2. This is soooo tempting – not least because both these publishers produce such lovely looking books! I have a new house and new space and my new bookshelves would look so yummy with rows of these… And, yes I would like to read a large quantity of the titles too! Perhaps I’ll join you, at some level. :)

    1. Like I said above, I’ve lowered my expectations from 50 and 25 to, well, a hazy number of “as many as I can.” I’m looking forward to seeing what my shelves would look like at the close of next year. :]

  3. Oh, I hope you LOVE Patrick Hamilton! I thought Slaves was amazing! And Nightmare Alley is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. Dewey Divas inspired me to take a closer look at NYRB Classics too, but I’m not crazy enought to commit to 50 of them in a year ;-)

    1. True — I realized, too, that 50 was a crazy number. The expense! The shelf space! I’m saving Hamilton and Nightmare Alley for NYRB Week next November. Looking forward to these two — kept waiting for the right time to read them.

  4. Yeay! I love this project. I would probably turn to the library — but it sounds like that isn’t really an option. I hope you can get to some good ones. I love the Victorian fiction I’ve been reading, was not a fan of the one Arthur Conan Doyle I read but it looks like you are a fan so I hope you enjoy it!

    1. Thanks, Rebecca. We don’t have the best libraries here, and hunting for books is hard enough. Thus, lowering the bar from 50, haha. Re ACD, I was really surprised that I liked it so much. I never would have thought I’d be a fan. Really looking forward to reading more of these.

  5. Great idea – I’m seriously tempted. Half of me says I should be reading more quality literature so I can debate erudite professors of English and dazzle guests at dinner parties with my witty and scintillating remarks dense with classical allusions… And then the other half says I should be reading more current stuff so I can actually join in on the office chit-chat about tattooed Swedish girls and maudlin vampires… Decisons, decisons – will have to consult the cat.

    Love your description of the OWC books as looking like tofu!

    1. It’s going to be another challenge altogether, balancing Classics and my usual go-to contemporary. Although nothing beats your description of this dilemma. Seriously, haha.

  6. Man oh man, I wish I could magically transport you to a bookstore here called Idlewild. They carry both of these imprints, so their bookshelves look fabulous.


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