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Classics Club Spin #28 Result is….Number 12!!!! Faces of War!

I’m sooooooooooooo excited! One of the new-to-this-spin titles added to my classics list WON!! Woot! Go, Martha!!Martha Gellhorn’s (sometime Mrs. Ernest Hemingway) collection of war-reporting columns/stories/essays, The Face of War, is the winner. I found an e-book copy at my library, so I’m all set!

My List

  1. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
  2. Finishing School by Muriel Spark
  3. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  4. A Far Country by Neville Shute
  5. Mornings in Mexico by DH Lawrence
  6. Portrait of a Marriage by Vita Sackville West
  7. Burmese Days by George Orwell
  8. Son at the Front by Edith Wharton
  9. Loving Spirit by Daphne DuMaurier
  10. Mariana by Monica Dickens
  11. My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
  12. The Face of War by Martha Gelhorn THE WINNER!!!
  13. The Headmistress by Angela Thirkell
  14.  We Fed Them Cactus by Fabiola Cabeza de Baca
  15. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  16. Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym
  17. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier
  18. Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter
  19. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  20. The Way Things Are by E.M. Delafield

“The Face of War is a classic of frontline journalism by “the premier war correspondent of the twentieth century” (Ward Just, The New York Times Magazine).

Whether in Java, Finland, the Middle East, or Vietnam, she used the same vigorous approach. “I wrote very fast, as I had to,” she says, “afraid that I would forget the exact sound, smell, words, gestures, which were special to this moment and this place.” As Merle Rubin noted in his review of this volume for The Christian ScienceMonitor, “Martha Gellhorn’s courageous, independent-minded reportage breaks through geopolitical abstractions and ideological propaganda to take the reader straight to the scene of the event.” (Amazon).

Tune in

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Classics Club Spin #28 List

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On Sunday 17th, October, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by the 12th December, 2021. That’s an eight week reading window for this spin. You may like to stack your list with books that you know are do-able for you within that time frame.

New to Classics Club and its fun spins? Read all about it here on the Classics Club blog.

My List

  1. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
  2. Finishing School by Muriel Spark
  3. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  4. A Far Country by Neville Shute
  5. Mornings in Mexico by DH Lawrence
  6. Portrait of a Marriage by Vita Sackville West
  7. Burmese Days by George Orwell
  8. Son at the Front by Edith Wharton
  9. Loving Spirit by Daphne DuMaurier
  10. Mariana by Monica Dickens
  11. My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
  12. The Face of War by Martha Gelhorn
  13. The Headmistress by Angela Thirkell
  14.  We Fed Them Cactus by Fabiola Cabeza de Baca
  15. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  16. Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym
  17. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier
  18. Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter
  19. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  20. The Way Things Are by E.M. Delafield

Tune in on Sunday to find out which number is drawn!

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Classics Club Spin #27 Review: Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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My Interest

I love participating in the Classics Club Spins! It’s such a fun way to read through classics you might never try.

 

The Story

Impoverished gentlewoman, Emily Fox-Seton, supports herself being useful to busy ladies. She’s the Victoria equivalent of Door Dash, Stitch Fix, Amazon and more rolled into one. She does errands to keep herself barely above penury. She fears the Work House and lies awake at night fretting that genteel ladies will no longer need her to walk a hundred miles to pick up fish and save their dinner parties from the shame of no fish course!

But, being “the right sort,” only down-on-her-luck financially, she is at least in the company of people who think nothing of hosting a house party for 20 for at least a month. Sadly, the poor thing doesn’t ride–not to the hounds or just in the home park.Nonetheless, her circumstances have the advantage of putting her in the path of well-off men, some of whom are single. Now, she’s a bit past her sell-by date in Victorian terms, but still within her childbearing years albeit at an age where a husband could only likely expect about 10 children instead of 18.

After saving the above-mentioned-dinner-party, she is rescued by the Marquess of Walderhurst–an eligible, older widower with no heir. She is a lovely, quiet, sensible thing and James Walderhurst sees her potential. He has a money-grubbing distant relative as his heir presumptive, so why not take a chance on this little chit who colors so prettily when he speaks to her. Better still, his sister likes Emily, too.

My Thoughts

This was a delightful story. Could you see the plot a mile off? Of course! Was the putative “Cousin Matthew” [Downton Abbey] hatching schemes at a rate that would have made Miss O’Brien need a cuppa and a fag out back with Thomas? [Downton, again]. Oh, yes! But this story is Victorian and we know it ends on a happy note–it must, it simply had to hadn’t it? (Yes, sadly, there are racist comments about an Indian servant. Be aware.)

I listened to the excellent audio book from Persephone Books which is only $4.99 on Audible (linked)

The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hogsdon-Burnett

My Verdict

4 Stars

To learn more about The Classics Club and their “Spins” read this post.

For my past Spin book reviews click the title to go to my review:

Wide Saragaso Sea

Tortilla Flat

Excellent Women

Groves of Academe

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Classics Club Spin #27–REVISED

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I’m LATE for another Classics Club Spin. By tomorrow, Sunday July 18, 2021, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list. This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period. Tomorrow, Sunday July 18th, the Classics Club will post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by August 22, 2021. #ccspin 

Note: I revised this after realizing I’d given away one book and forgot some recent Kindle purchases. She what happens when you are running late?

My List

  1. Loving Spirit by Daphne DuMaurier
  2. Finishing School by Muriel Spark
  3. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  4. A Far Country by Neville Shute
  5. Mornings in Mexico by DH Lawrence
  6. Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson-Burnett
  7. Son at the Front by Edith Wharton
  8. Portrait of a Marriage by Vita Sackville West
  9. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  10. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
  11. The Headmistress by Angela Thirkell
  12. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  13. O, Pioneers by Willa Cather
  14. Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym
  15. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier
  16. Burmese Days by George Orwell
  17. Working by Studs Terkel
  18. Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter
  19. Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki
  20. I, Claudius by  Robert Graves

You can see some of my former Spin Book Review posts here. The Spin Lists posts are linked within the review post:

Spin 26 Review: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Spin 25 Review: Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

Spin 24 I DNF-ed Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck so no review. *(The link is to Amazon).

Spin 23 Review: Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy

Spin 22 Review: Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

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Classics Club Spin #26

It’s time for another Classics Club Spin. Before next Sunday 18th April, 2021, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list. This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period. On Sunday 18th April the Classics Club will post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by 31st May, 2021. #ccspin 

  1. Loving Spirit by Daphne Du Maurier
  2. Finishing School by Muriel Spark
  3. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  5. Mornings in Mexico by DH Lawrence
  6. Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway
  7. Son at the Front by Edith Wharton
  8. Portrait of a Marriage by Vita Sackville West
  9. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  10. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
  11. The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  12. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  13. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
  14. Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym
  15. Jamacia Inn by Daphnew Du Maurier
  16. Burmese Days by George Orwell
  17. Working by Studs Terkel
  18. Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter
  19. Bostonians by Henry James
  20. I, Claudius by  Robert Graves
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My Classics Club Spin #25 Result Is…

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14 was the lucky number this time!

My List For Spin #25

  1. Loving Spirit by Daphne Du Maurier
  2. Finishing School by Muriel Spark
  3. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  5. Mornings in Mexico by DH Lawrence
  6. Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway
  7. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
  8. Son at the Front by Edith Wharton
  9. Portrait of a Marriage by Vita Sackville West
  10. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  11. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
  12. The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  13. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  14. Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

  15. Passing by Nella Larsen
  16. Burmese Days by George Orwell
  17. Working by Studs Terkel
  18. Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
  19. Bostonians by Henry James
  20. I, Claudius by  Robert Graves

Are you playing along with The Classics Club spins? What’s your book this time? Leave me a comment or link to your post.

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Classics Club Spin #25

It’s time for a new Spin! (Actually, I’m a few weeks late to the party). The Classics Club does these fun events to get us all ready those classics that have been on our TBR’s, shelves and Kindles just begging to be read! These are a lot of fun, but owning to being back in school at my ancient age and other things in family life, I have not yet finished my book for Spin #24, Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck. Since I’ll be on a break from classes most of the time, MAYBE I’ll finish it and the new book? If not, I’ll shoot for finishing the new book. I’ve tweaked my list a bit–I have so many on mine, that I put ones I thought I’d actually be able to read during the time period. With the holidays in the middle I didn’t want a long slog through something I wasn’t enjoying.

The rules for Spin #25:

* List any twenty books you have left to read from your Classics Club list.
* Number them from 1 to 20.
* On Sunday 22nd November the Classics Club will announce a number.
* This is the book you need to read by 30th January 2021.

My List

  1. Loving Spirit by Daphne Du Maurier
  2. Finishing School by Muriel Spark
  3. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  5. Mornings in Mexico by DH Lawrence
  6. Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway
  7. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
  8. Son at the Front by Edith Wharton
  9. Portrait of a Marriage by Vita Sackville West
  10. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  11. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
  12. The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  13. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  14. Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
  15. Passing by Nella Larsen
  16. Burmese Days by George Orwell
  17. Working by Studs Terkel
  18. Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
  19. Bostonians by Henry James
  20. I, Claudius by  Robert Graves

Spin #24’s List--book is still in progress

Previous Spin Lists and their Corresponding Book Reviews

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Review: Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy

Classics Club Spin #23 

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Combined Classics Club Spin #22 and the Review of Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

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Classics Club Spin #24

What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, before next Sunday 9th August 2020, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period. On Sunday 9th August, the Classics Club will post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by 30th September, 2020.

 

 Spin List #24

  1. Loving Spirit by Daphne Du Maurier
  2. Loitering With Intent by Muriel Spark
  3. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  5. Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon
  6. Kangaroo by DH Lawrence
  7. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
  8. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
  9. Portrait of a Marriage by Vita Sackville West
  10. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  11. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
  12. The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  13. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  14. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
  15. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
  16. Burmese Days by George Orwell
  17. House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  18. Imperial Women by Pearl S. Buck
  19. Bostonians by Henry James
  20. I, Claudius by  Robert Graves

 

 

Previous Spin Lists and their Corresponding Book Reviews

 

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Review: Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy

Classics Club Spin #23 

 

 

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Combined Classics Club Spin #22 and the Review of Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

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Classics Club Spin #23: Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy

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#ccspin

The Classics Club helps make reading the classics more fun! What is a Spin? Read all the fun details here. In April we made our lists, the wheel was spun, and we were told to read number 6 by June 1st. You can read my list here. Number 6 was a kindle bargain book I got a while back–The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy, whose Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, I read too early in my life, in the literature of self-discovery–my freshman lit/writing class first semester in the Fall of 1980. The world was very different then–Ronald Regan was about to become president. Fast-forward more years than I like to say and I read and loved her novel, The Group. I’ve always planned to read her backlist, so this is my start at that goal.

 

The Story

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The Story

Imagine teaching today at a very liberal Liberal Arts college and proclaiming your affiliation with Donald Trump? But not really–just saying you loved him. There you have the premise of this novel set in progressive Jocelyn College during the McCarthy era. Published in 1952, during the reign of Senator Joseph McCarthy, this novel has stood the test of time fairly well. In a few ways–too well.

The book opens with Henry Mulchay, an instructor who was

“…he was intermittently aware of a quality of personal unattractiveness that emanated from him like a miasma;” [Kindle location 57]

reading a letter telling of his position not being renewed. The book then showcases the machinations of Mulchay and other members of his department in concocting a narrative around the letter, including Henry’s outing himself as the Communist he never was.

McCarthy, described once as

“...earnest, and empty Liberal with no sense of how complicated it is to be human.” (Leslie A.Fiedler)

wrote this book following her own experience at progressive Bard College and another college, so it sparkles with subtle wit, making fun of the academic life and its many trivialities. Like many who have read and reviewed this book, I found the little things to be hilarious. That colleges nearly 70 years on are still debating stuff like:

whether, for example, students in the dining hall, when surrendering their plates to the waiters, should pass them to the right or to the left…at an all-college meeting…compulsory for all...”[ Kindle location 780]

Another superb example was whether it is acceptable to drop the Latin diploma. Honestly, this stuff is still going on!

Many reviewers have loved the poetry conference–the ultimate send-up of academic pretensions. The will of the participants in ignoring the time-table, the egos that must be accommodated, the manners, the utter ridiculousness of the program–it is all there, beautifully written. I’ve helped with academic conferences. She nailed it, believe me.

“He had a style of old-fashioned, elaborate compliment, in which there could be detected the flourishes of an antique penmanship and the scratching for a bookkeeper’s quill.” [Kindle location 3224]

My Thoughts

My first impression was: “Wow! They had it good back then!” Instructor Henry Mulchay (“the only Ph.d in the Literature Department,” but only an “instructor” still) complains:

“How was he expected to take care of forty students if other demands on his attention were continually being put in the way?”

Only forty? What, per class? lol. The golden days of University life!

“Hen” as Mulchay is known, then goes on to speak suggestively, and in private, to a female student to whom he is “tutor” [in the Oxbridge sense of the word]! With that, the story instantly seemed to make sense to my #metoo era academic’s brain!

There were oh, so, many familiar things here! Suggestions of work being done for students to get them a diploma and get them out of someone’s hair–very today. The unforeseen idiotic comment that loses the college a huge donation from a “liberal lady.” The backbiting, in-fighting, turf-protecting, knowledge-siloing–all still there today. And, no tenure either–at least at schools without a union. All for the equivalent of Hen’s precious $3200 a year–and Hen the only Ph.D. in the department yet an instructor–not a professor. How prescient.

My Verdict

I enjoyed this book as you can see. I still think The Group offers more to the general reader. So much of what was funny in Groves of Academe was funny to me because I’ve worked in two Universities. Some of that would not be as funny to someone looking in from outside.

4.0

The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy

 

For other fictional and funny, looks at Academic life read

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Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. My review is here.

 

 

 

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Changing Places by David Lodge.  My mini-review is here.