Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “lists”

Revisit to a Perfect Club

Back in August 2018 I discovered the Perfect Club. This was my partial introduction:

I am always interested in reading what others are reading. Somehow I discovered The Classics Club, and the main requirement is to create a list of at least 50 classics and set a read-by date. This club and I shall become besties, I know it. They are friendly and flexible and have all kinds of reading activities going on all the time. This is a better discovery than a new gelato flavor.

I proposed I would complete my reading by December 31st, 2019. Well—that isn’t going to happen. I have strayed from my list a multitude of times to pick up a new shiny. No regrets. I do relish reading, new or classic. A good read is a good read. Below is my revised and tweaked classics list. UPDATE: The list is now completed as of 6/24/20!

* indicates read and reviewed already in Goodreads.

Any of these titles look familiar to you? What would you add to the list? Are you going to join me over at The Classics Club?

  1. Green Willow by B.J. Chute*
  2. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli*
  3. Blue Willow by Doris Gates*
  4. This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart*
  5. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl*
  6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl*
  7. Charlie and the Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl*
  8. Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson*
  9. Gilead by Marilyn Robinson*
  10. Princess Bride by William Goldman* (reread)
  11. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf*
  12. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin*
  13. The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier*
  14. The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan*
  15. The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty*
  16. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (reread)*
  17. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn*
  18. Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse*
  19. Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce*
  20. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells*
  21. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisnero*
  22. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken*
  23. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving*
  24. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier*
  25. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome*
  26. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines*
  27. Swallows and Amazon by Arthur Ransome*
  28. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury* (reread)
  29. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver*
  30. Persuasion by Jane Austen* (reread)
  31. Howard’s End by E.M. Forster*
  32. Woman in White by Wilkie Collin*
  33. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle*
  34. King Solomon’s Mine by H. Rider Haggard*
  35. The Breaking Wave by Nevil Shute*
  36. The City of Gold and Lead by John Christopher*
  37. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev*
  38. The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner*
  39. The Least of My Brothers by Harold Bell Wright*
  40. The Stranger by Albert Camus*
  41. Lust for Life by Irving Stone*
  42. Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney*
  43. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke*
  44. Work by Louisa May Alcott*
  45. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (reread)*
  46. Moonfleet by J. Meade Falkner*
  47. My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin*
  48. On the Beach by Nevil Shute*
  49. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley*
  50. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell*
Image result for december 31 2019

Well, I Never…

There are so many lists out there dealing with resolutions of sorts these days: Buckets, Blessings, Brags, and I toss out my own B.I.G. (“Before I Get–too old, too lazy, too nervous…)

I think I’m on to a new kind of list. Instead of a wish list or a hopeful list or even a done it list, I’m starting a “Well, I Never and Glad of It List.”

Truthfully, aren’t there some things you’ve never done, and you are glad you haven’t?

Here are a couple of starters for me:

  1. I have never had a cup of coffee.
  2. I have never read or watched Harry Potter.
  3. I have never Twittered or Instagrammed.
  4. I have never been inked.

The first admission is usually met with surprise or doubt and sometimes an offer to buy me a cup of java.

The second one is met with shock, and once with outrage. Devotees can be so sensitive.

The third often involves a knowing nod and camaraderie, or a puzzled concern, as if the person is in the company of a technological dinosaur. 

The fourth is tricky as it involves which age group I’m talking to, since tattoos are seen differently by different generations.

Of course there are some “Well, I nevers” I shall never contemplate:

  1. Swimming with sharks.
  2. Spelunking
  3. Staying in an ice hotel.

    So–do you have a couple of “Well, I nevers” to share?

Last Minute Housekeeping: 2014 Vocabulary

Before January totally rolls into February, I wanted to take up Vanessa-Jane Chapman’s nudging to “trot out” my 2014 vocabulary list. And I only thought about doing so because she did such a cool thing by coming up with a word of personal significance for each of the 365 days in 2014. Some of the words a person can only wonder about: Pirate?

My list seems rather mundane in comparison. I set out to record all the new-to-me or review, please words as I read last year. I usually read with my iPhone nearby and type them in my notes (which I can then email to my Google Docs account–handy). I started doing this with my AP reread novel Jane Eyre, which I began in February last year. Periodically I reread books I teach, just to refresh my memory of whatever it is I’m trying to impart to my students. I soon realized my vocabulary wasn’t up to snuff. Here’s a sampling of my Jane Eyre word collection:

appanage: benefit or rank belonging to someone
meretricious:attractive with no real value
diablerie: reckless in a charismatic way
seraglio: women’s apts in Muslim palace
puerile: childishly silly
avidity:keen interest or enthusiasm
inanition:exhaustion caused by lack of nourishment
elysium: Greek mythology-the place where Greek heroes went to be honored after their death
aspirant: ambitions to follow something, as in a political career
coadjutor: bishop which assists a bishop
ineradicable:unable to be destroyed or removed
pertinaciously:holding firmly to an opinion

Some of these I doubt I will be using anytime soon: “appange”? And others I hope to pop out with aplomb at some advantageous point in a conversation: “My inanition requires we go to lunch sooner than later.”  I seriously don’t think I will ever have an ocassion for “coadjutor”; however, I am prepared now should the need arise.

Other words I added from here and there encounters, including one from watching David Suchet in a Hercule Poirot episode and I ever so want to slide it into a conversation (look for *):

poltroon: utter coward
propound: put forward
adamantine: unable to be unbroken
apocryphal: doubtful statement
quash: reject as invalid especially in a legal procedure
blazon:form of poem which describes person through body part description. (Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 is a parody of the form).
*avuncular: acting as an uncle figure
venal: susceptible to corruption or bribery
louche: disreputable or sordid
gallimaufry: jumble
kloofs: African valley
intercalary: calendar alignment-Feb 29
imbroglio: confused situation
vitiated: impair vitality
vertiginously: high or steep
antinomy: a paradox
soteriology : the doctrine of salvation
verdure: lush, green vegetation
encomiums: speech of praise
abstruse: difficult to understand
perfidious: deceitful and untrustworthy

Has collecting these words improved my overall diction? No, not really. Truthfully, I forgot most of these until I attempted to entrap them in the block quote (I give up, Mike, I can’t figure out the boxy thing–sigh). So why do I bother with finding them, typing them in, defining them–yada, yada. Why? I am a confessed word nerd. I just gotta know what that word is. I have a compunction about taking the time to look up the meaning so I continue reading (or watching) my story without being bothered by not knowing. I don’t think that’s because I’m a librarian gigging as an English teacher–I just like words.

Any other word nerds out there? Any words off the list that totally pop out at you for being extra cool? How about “kloofs”? Tish Farrell–you run into any “kloofs” in your African adventures?

Rating the Underrated

Thank you for tuning in for another round of lists. This one again comes from BookRiot, being posted by Rebecca Joines Schinsky. She shares the results of reader poll for underrated books from the 576 who decided to voice their opinion. Usually I find these findings rather dubious.  Stanford and Gallup were not involved so how do we really know how legit the findings are?  Since you are here take a look at the list.  Any surprises?  I am only familiar with a couple of the votes. Sigh, my illiteracy is showing again, I suppose.

       Posted by   Rebecca Joines Schinsky     

Are These the 13 Most Underrated Books?

  1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (9 votes)
  2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (6)
  3. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (6)
  4. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (5)
  5. Stoner by John Williams (5)
  6. The Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay (4)
  7. if on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino (4)
  8. Lamb by Christopher Moore (4)
  9. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (4)
  10. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (4)
  11. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (4)
  12. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (4)
  13. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (4)

I adored The Phantom Tollbooth in elementary school, grooved on The Princess Bride in college, and skipped The Neverending Story, both the book and the movie. Nothing else on the list rings a bell. I’m not seeing how Tollbooth or Princess Bride could be underrated since both became film adaptations.

Anyone read any of these? Are they underrated?

Check out other Riot polls:

The 25 Most-Hated Books (by Book Riot Readers)

19 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read FOREVER

20 Books You Pretend to Have Read

Top 10 Books You’re Embarrassed to Admit You’ve Read

20 Most-Loved Literary Characters



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