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Classics Club Spin #8

Classics Club Spin #8

The Classics clubI skipped the previous Classics Club Spin (I just completely missed it), but decided to participate again this time.

I also decided to give this spin’s list a twist. I realised my previous CC Spin list consisted of just 6 women versus 14 men, and my full Classics Club list was also mostly made up of men. You may remember I wrote about wanting to read more women earlier this year. That’s why I decided to dedicate this spin to female authors. It was surprisingly difficult to find (popular) classics written by women, which just made me more motivated to go through with this. I am disappointed I wasn’t able to find much (translated) classic literature by Japanese women, especially… Alas. But I am very happy with my spin list!

If you have any other suggestions for classics, let me know 🙂 I don’t mind changing around my list (before Monday, of course)

The rules:

  1. Go to your blog
  2. Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club list
  3. Post that list, numbered 1 – 20, on your blog by next Monday
  4. Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1 – 20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce
  5. The challenge is to read that book by January 5th

My list:

  1. Alcott, Louisa May – Little Women
  2. Austen, Jane – Sense and Sensibility
  3. Bronte, Anne – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  4. Bronte, Charlotte – Jane Eyre
  5. Bronte, Emily – Wuthering Heights
  6. Enchi, Fumiko – Masks
  7. Eliot, George – Middlemarch
  8. Frank, Anne – Het Dagboek van Anne Frank (The Diary of Anne Frank)
  9. Gaskell, Elizabeth – North and South
  10. Haasse, Hella S. – De Heren van de Thee (The Tea Lords)
  11. Hall, Radclyffe – The Well of Loneliness
  12. Jackson, Shirley – The Haunting of Hill House
  13. Lee, Harper – To Kill a Mockingbird
  14. Le Guin, Ursula K. – The Left Hand of Darkness
  15. Maurier, Daphne du – The Birds
  16. Mitchell, Margaret – Gone with the Wind
  17. Path, Sylvia – The Bell Jar
  18. Potter, Beatrix – The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  19. Shōnagon, Sei – The Pillow Book
  20. Wharton, Edith – The House of Mirth
[Review] The Woman in the Dunes, by Kōbō Abe

[Review] The Woman in the Dunes, by Kōbō Abe

[Review] The Woman in the Dunes, by Kōbō AbeThe Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe
Published by Charles E. Tuttle on 1982 (first published 1962)
Genres: Classic, Japanese literature, Magical realism
Pages: 239

An amateur entomologist takes a holiday in order to find a rare beetle. He ends up in a seaside village, and after supposedly missing the last bus back, he is offered a place to stay in this village that is being swallowed up by the dunes. It soon dawns upon him that he is held prisoner, condemned to shovel sand to prevent the village from disappearing.

The Woman in the Dunes was a book I had intended to read for a long time… and then it ended up being the winner of the The Classics Club Spin. Perfect!

I had no idea what to expect. I knew the book was a classic, that many people thought it was a masterpiece, and that I would be reading it sometime in the future. The plot? No clue. ‘Something with magical-realism,’ I’d heard, so I would probably like it, right?

The Woman in the Dunes ill. by Machi AbeWell, was I in for a surprise. This book gave me the creeps. For one, I don’t like sand. I won’t say I hate it, but I can do without the beach and sand between my sandwich. And this book has a lot of sand. Add to that being locked up, sad undertones, and a nice kafka-esque plot, and you’ve got the ingredients to freak me out. It’s not horror, but I was wholly expecting nightmares (thankfully that didn’t happen).

The book is brilliantly written. The style starts out very plain and straightforward. Near the end, it becomes more philosophical, which really is what you want from this story at that point. The ending is what you will begin to expect.

Additionally, my edition has illustrations by Machi Abe, Kōbō’s wife. It is amazing how well they fit the atmosphere of the book (in other words: simple but ominous).

The Classics club Japanese Literature Challenge 8Can’t stand kafka-esque plots? Stay away. Although I wasn’t aware of this plot and I’m overall not a fan of books that frustrate me. I might not have picked it up had I known. But in the end I loved how this book made me feel (although I was really quite happy to finish it).

Classics Club Spin #6: And the winner is…

Classics Club Spin #6: And the winner is…

The Classics club A few days ago I posted my list for Classics Club Spin #6. I was pleased with my list, all classics that I’ve been eager to read or that I think I ‘should’ read. Let me share my list with you once more:

  1. Abe, Kōbō – The Woman in the Dunes
  2. Alcott, Louisa May – Little Women
  3. Austen, Jane – Sense and Sensibility
  4. Brontë, Charlotte – Jane Eyre
  5. Brontë, Emily – Wuthering Heights
  6. Burnett, Frances Hodgson – The Secret Garden
  7. Dickens, Charles – Tale of Two Cities
  8. Forster, E.M. – Maurice
  9. Golding, William – Lord of the Flies
  10. Grossmith, George – The Diary of a Nobody
  11. Hermans, Willem Frederik – De donkere kamer van Damokles (The Darkroom of Damocles)
  12. Huxley, Aldous – Brave New World
  13. Isherwood, Christopher – Goodbye to Berlin
  14. Ishiguro, Kazuo – Remains of the Day
  15. Kafka, Franz – The Trial
  16. Lee, Harper – To Kill a Mockingbird
  17. Mitchell, Margaret – Gone with the Wind
  18. Mulisch, Harry – De Ontdekking van de Hemel (The Discovery of Heaven)
  19. Salinger, J.D. – The Catcher in the Rye
  20. Thackeray, William Makepeace – Vanity Fair

Well, the Classics Club announced the winning number yesterday and the winner is…


#1: The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe

The Woman in the Dunes

Awesome! I can’t wait to get started! I probably won’t get around to it until halfway June, but the aim is to read it before July 7 and that I shall do.