Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sapphira and the Slave Girl by Willa Cather


When I picked out my list of books for the Back to the Classics Challenge, I was going to read Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather as my historical novel -- mostly because one of my favorite bloggers, Thomas at My Porch, raved about it in this review.  My copy of Shadows is 1931 edition bought in Fredericksburg, TX, at an antiques store with a really nice selection of books in the basement level.   I keep putting off reading it because I'm a little afraid of damaging it.  Instead, when I was searching for my next read, I randomly grabbed Sapphira and the Slave Girl off the TBR shelves (I still have a bunch of Vintage Classics by Cather that I bought during the Borders liquidation).

Anyway, Sapphira and the Slave Girl is the final novel written by Willa Cather, published in 1941.  Unlike most of her novels, it's set in the antebellum South, in Western Virginia.  It's 1856, just a few years before the Civil War.  Sapphira Colbert is a middle-aged woman with grown daughters, and the owner of a prosperous farm and the town's mill.  Years before, after inheriting property from an uncle, she "married beneath her" to the son of Scottish immigrants and moved from the city to a rural area, much to the shock and dismay of her family and friends.  Her children have grown up and mostly moved away, and she's had some health problems which have disabled her and she's now in a wheelchair.  Her husband Henry mostly lives at the mill, so she's pretty much alone in the big farm house with all the slaves.  

One of the slaves, Nancy, is an attractive young mixed-race girl, daughter of Sapphira's maid, Till.  Nancy's father is unknown but people speculate it was one of the master's brothers, who are known for their randy behavior; or possibly a Cuban portrait painter who once visited.  Nancy was once Sapphira's favorite, but lately her behavior to Nancy has become cruel, for no apparent reason.  Soon, the reader learns that Sapphira is suspicious of Nancy's relationship with Henry.  Are they father and daughter?  Lovers?  Sapphira's behavior to Nancy becomes increasingly cruel and manipulative.  At first it just seems petty and vindictive, then the reader learns that Sapphira really has it in for Nancy, to the point at which things become drastic.  Meanwhile, Henry is struggling over the morals of slavery, and their grown daughter Rachel becomes drawn into the unfolding drama.

This book started out a little slowly, and I actually put it down for a week because I thought it was going to be incredibly depressing.  However, after I gave it another try, I became drawn into the story.  Cather's writing as always is wonderful, and she's especially good at describing scenery without becoming too flowery.  The Virginia countryside must have been stunningly beautiful.

Cather also did a really good job at showing Henry's moral dilemma.  At first, I was having a hard time figuring out if Cather was a racist or not -- there are multiple uses of the N word, which makes me uncomfortable, even thought it was in the context of a historical novel; also, there were other references to the slaves that would have been common by white people at the time, especially by slave owners.  Ultimately, Cather is exploring the issue of slavery and it becomes obvious at the end she's not racist.

While I was reading this, I kept thinking about the movie 12 Years A Slave, which was just nominated for multiple Oscars.  I haven't seen it yet because I know it's going to be really difficult to watch.  It's a really awful part of American history.  Sapphira and the Slave Girl had a few uncomfortable parts but is really worth reading. It's a Cather novel that nobody seems to read any more, but I really liked it.  

I'd like to read some more Cather this year -- I still have to choose an American Classic and a 20th Century Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge.  Besides Shadows on the Rock, I still have Lucy Gayheart, Alexander's Bridge, and A Lost Lady on the TBR shelves.  Bloggers, have you read any of these?  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

My copy looks like this one.  I think Scribner was the original publisher. 
I am a huge fan of Edith Wharton -- Ethan Frome and House of Mirth are two of my all-time favorites, not just favorite classics.   I've been hoarding her books and have had Twilight Sleep and The Glimpses of the Moon on the TBR shelves for a long time, so I planned to choose one or the other for the Back to the Classics Challenge -- maybe both!  But I picked The Glimpses of the Moon and I'm counting it as my Classic by a Woman Author. 

Published in 1922, it's not one of her more famous works, so I was a little worried that it might not be among her best.  However,  I was very pleasantly surprised.  It's the story of a young American couple, Nick and Susy Lansing, who are newlyweds, and it begins as they're enjoying a honeymoon in a villa on Lake Como.  

The original cover, maybe. Could it be the honeymoon villa in Lake Como?
Like many of Wharton's protagonists, they're society people, but they're not actually rich -- they're basically hangers-on who sponge off their wealthy friends.  Theirs is not a traditional love story by any means.  They've set up an unusual agreement -- they know that they can live for at least a year on the wedding gifts and cash that their wealthy friends give them; after that, if one of them gets a better offer, they're free to divorce and move on, which sounds rather cold-hearted and mercenary, more like a business agreement than the basis of a marriage.

Of course, things don't work out as planned.  Various friends lend them fabulous houses and apartments that they're not using, but in reality, nothing is really free -- there's always some kind of condition or favor that's expected in return.  After awhile, this causes problems in the marriage, and then circumstances change that could upset the original arrangement altogether.  Susy and Nick start to realize that their marriage has changed them both, and they begin to want different things out of life.  

This book had some of the same themes as Wharton's previous novels, but it still seemed modern.  Susy Lansing reminded me of Lily Bart from House of Mirth, and what Lily's story might have been if it were set in the 1920s instead of thirty years before.  Nick Lansing also reminded me of Lawrence Selden. 


I love this art-deco cover. 
This was a fast read and I really enjoyed it.  I found the characters well-developed, though I wish there were more back-story about Susy), and as always, Wharton's writing was excellent, with a lot of witty observations.  It was an easy, fast read, and I got really invested in the characters and how it would all play out in the end, which I found very satisfying.  The Glimpses of the Moon is definitely one of my favorites by Wharton so far.

Besides Twilight Sleep, I still have some other Wharton works unread -- The Children and Madame de Treymes and Three Novellas, which I found last year at Half-Price Books and couldn't pass up.  Bloggers, have you read any of these?  Which one should I read next?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard


My first book for a challenge completed!

Like many of the books on my TBR Challenge lists, this is a book makes me kick myself for ignoring for so very long.  Several years ago I watched The Cazalets, the BBC miniseries adaptation, and just loved it.  Then, a couple of years ago I found the first book in the series on the donation cart in the lobby of one of the library's branches; a couple of years later I found the sequel (this particular branch must have kindred spirits who donate books; I've found several beautiful editions of Angela Thirkell novels, Viragos, and some books by Zola.  I wonder who could have donated them!)

Anyway, this was another book that had been woefully ignored, but it was the book I wanted to read most from my 2014 TBR Pile Challenge.  I snatched it up even before I started the book for my new book group and began to devour it.  However, there was almost a bookish disaster.  Last week, as I was all involved in the story, about 120 pages in, I turned the page and realized that there had been a printing error -- about 30 pages had been repeated, and instead of adding extra pages, about 30 pages of the story were missing from my edition.  The horror!!

Naturally, I rushed to the online library catalog to see if another copy was readily available.  Well, wouldn't you know it, there is exactly ONE copy of this book in my entire library system (which numbers more than 2 MILLION items) and it was on hold -- in fact, there are currently four people waiting for this book.  Sadly, the author, Elizabeth Jane Howard, passed away recently, and like-minded readers must have decided to put the book on hold; it's the only explanation I can imagine.

And of course there wasn't a copy to be found at any of the bookstores in town!!  Disaster was averted, however, when I checked WorldCat, the online catalog that searches every library in America -- a nearby suburb had a copy and it was checked in.  So Saturday morning I drove 17 miles to the town of Garden Ridge, TX (population 3,503), found the library, and sat in a comfy chair and read those missing 30 pages.  And then I drove home and finished the entire book before the weekend was out.



But back to the book! The Light Years is the the first in the Cazalet Chronicles, the story of a large extended family living in suburban London, beginning in the late 1930s as the threat of WWII is looming.  The patriarch, nicknamed "The Brig," is the head of the family business, which is some kind of upscale lumber company.  His two oldest sons, Hugh and Edward, work for him; both are in their late 30s and are veterans of The Great War; Edward was gassed but survived, and Hugh lost his left hand.  Each of them is married with several children, and there are two other grown children -- Rachel, the spinster who takes care of her parents and does charity work; Rupert, the youngest, is married to his second wife, the young and beautiful, but self-centered Zoe (his first wife died in childbirth so Zoe has two stepchildren).  Rupert is working as an art master in a school but his family is pushing him to join the family business.

Much of the action takes place at Home Place, the rambling old country estate in Surrey bought by the Brig, and presided over by his regal wife, nicknamed The Duchy (Duchess).   The family spend holidays and weekends there, though the Brig commutes back and forth to London, and the action shifts back and forth between the characters and locations in London and the countryside.  Basically, the book is a portrait of the various family members of an upper-middle class clan just before the War.

What's great about the book is how well Elizabeth Jane Howard captured all the different characters -- they're all so distinct, I felt like they were real people and couldn't wait to find out what happened to them.  Just like all families, they're a little dysfunctional -- people have secrets, children are growing up, and of course there is the imminent threat of the war.  I wouldn't call it great literature, but it's really addictive.  It feels so realistic, just like I was a fly on the wall watching these people, and I've always loved the period between the wars, and reading about WWII from the home front perspective.  If you're a Downton Abbey fan, I would highly recommend the TV miniseries when you're going through DA withdrawal in a couple of months.  There's not so much about the aristocracy, but it's a really interesting period drama.  The miniseries covers the first two in the series, but there's so much in the books, I'm sure the filmmakers had to leave a lot out.

I've already started the second book in the series, Marking Time, but then I'll have to wait for the third volume until April, after the end of the Triple Dog Dare.  The fifth book in the series, All Change, was actually published last year, but it won't come out here in the U.S. until April anyway.  Something to look forward to after the end of the Triple Dog Dare!

Bloggers, how is your 2014 reading coming along?  Any great reads to start the new year?

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens



I'm nearly finished reading the entire Dickens canon.  For some reason, I'd kept putting off The Old Curiosity Shop, his fourth novel.  Something about the story just didn't interest me (though I did manage to get through Barnaby Rudge, Martin Chuzzlewit, and Dombey and Son).  The story of angelic Little Nell just didn't appeal.  

However, a couple of months ago, I signed up for the fourth round of the Classics Spin, and somehow I was convinced I'd end up with Dickens.  I actually was assigned Zola (woo hoo!) but since my library had just purchased an audiobook of The Old Curiosity Shop I decided to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did; it's a classic early Dickens, with some of his best characters.  I do agree that my initial assessment of Nell was pretty spot-on, but it's worth putting up her just because the rest of it is really good.  

So, basically, it's the story of Little Nell, a pure and beautiful golden-haired child, who's about twelve or thirteen, and her grandfather, who owns The Old Curiosity Shop.  Grandfather (whose name is never actually revealed) is not so good with money and is massively indebted to the horrible, evil Daniel Quilp, one of Dickens' most vile creations.  Nell also has an older brother, Frank Trent, who is convinced the old man has pots of money stashed away.  Frank decides to get his hands on the money by persuading his friend Dick Swiveled to marry Nell in a few years, so they can both profit.  However, Grandfather has a deep dark secret, and after Quilp comes to collect, he and Nell escape in the middle of the night.  The pair make their way around the countryside just a few steps ahead of the nasty Quilp, who wants his revenge on Grandfather and to get his nasty hands on Nell as well.  

Meanwhile, back in London, Nell's best friend and worshipper, the good-hearted Christopher Nubbins, also known as Kit, is now unemployed.  He was Grandfather's helper and errand boy, but Gramps and Nell have done a runner and Quilp's taken possession of the shop.  He finds work with the good-hearted Mr. and Mrs. Garland, and later, he and Mr. Garland get involved in the search for Nell by a mysterious stranger.  

Despite my intense dislike of the sickly-sweet Nell, I really did like this book.  Nearly all the other characters are far more interesting and well-developed -- Quilp is deliciously evil, his wife is a sniveling, abused whiner.  There's Quilp's lawyer and minion, the obsequious Sampson Brass, and his sister, the tough-as-nails Sally.  My favorite character was Dick Swiveller, a ne'er-do-well buddy of Nell's horrible gold-digging brother, Frank Trent.  Originally Dick comes on the scene as Frank's sidekick, but he becomes a key figure in the story after Quilp gets him a job as law clerk to Sampson and Sally, the better to manipulate everyone.  Dick's relationship with Sally's downtrodden servant was my favorite part of the book.

But that Nell!!!  Ugh!   Once again, Dickens has created a perfect, angelic wet blanket of an ingenue.  She is so dull as to be completely devoid of personality, other than her Good Qualities.  The story seems to come to a screeching halt when she's in the picture.   She is just so boring, I was constantly tempted to fast-forward through the audiobook and skip her portions.  I couldn't wait to find out what was happening to everyone else.

I listened mostly to the Naxos audiobook version, which is brilliantly narrated by Anton Lesser.  This is by far one of the BEST audiobook narrations I've ever heard -- Lesser created such wonderful, distinct voices for all the characters.  He made the funny parts funnier and the creepy parts scarier.  I was tempted to read the book when I wasn't in the car, but I didn't want to miss any of his performance, so I ended up taking longer to finish the book than I anticipated.  It was absolutely worth it though, and I would listen to just about anything he read.

So -- now I only have two more of Dickens' works until I've finished the whole list -- The Pickwick Papers and The Mystery of Edwin Drood -- his first and last works.  Which one should I read first?  And should I bother with the nonfiction as well?  I still have Sketches by Boz and Pictures of Italy on my shelves.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Two More Reading Challenges



Well, I've done it.  I've signed up for TWO MORE reading challenges.  But these two work together and I really think I can do both.

First, I've signed up for the Triple Dog Dare hosted by Ready When You Are, C. B.  Essentially, I can only read books from my own shelves for the next three months!  Last year, one of my reading goals was to read 50% of my books from my own shelves, and despite working at the library (which is as close as I can get to working in a candy store) I managed it.  I am making one exception, and that is books for my book group -- since I run the group, I can hardly get away with not reading the books!  But that will only be three or four books, depending on the dates (the book group meets the first week of the month).  And no more buying books, and I'm putting my Paperback Swap Account on vacation status!  I should be able to make a lot of progress on the TBR shelves this way.




And the second challenge. . . The Mount TBR Pile Challenge hosted by My Reader's Block.  This is another read-your-own-books challenge, and they overlap (and also with the TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader -- it's my third year in a row).  With this challenge, readers commit to reading a certain number of books from their own piles.  The titles are flexible, but once you commit, you must complete that number to complete the challenge.  There are eight levels:
  • Pikes Peak:  Read 12 books from your TBR Pile
  • Mont Blanc:  Read 24 books from your TBR Pile
  • Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR Pile
  • Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR Pile
  • Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR Pile
  • El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR Pile
  • Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR Pile
  • Mount Olympus (Mars):  Read 150+ books from your own TBR Pile 
Last year, I read 51 books from my own shelves (though four were rereads).  I still have about 200 unread on the shelves; this year, I think I can make it to 60, especially since I've signed up for the Triple Dog Dare, which should give me a great start to the year.  I've already finished three books . . . only 57 to go!!  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Challenge Link-Up Post: Final Wrap-Up


Congratulations!  You've completed the Challenge!  Please link your Challenge Wrap Up  Post here.  This post is only for Challenge Wrap Up Posts.  If you do not have a blog, or anywhere you post publicly, please write up your post-challenge thoughts/suggestions/etc in the comments section.

By Linking/Commenting here, you are declaring that you have finished the challenge, that each book reviewed fits the correct definition of each category and was written before 1964; and that your reviews for each category are linked in the correct post.  THIS is where I will look at the end of the year, and to choose the random winner of a bookish prize(s).  Please remember to indicate within your post how many entries you have earned for the prize drawing.  You earn one entry for completing the six required categories, an additional entry for completing three of the optional categories; complete all five optional entries, and you receive two additional entries for completing all of the optional categories.  The most entries one person can earn is three.  

Thank you!  Congratulations again!

Challenge Link-Up Post: Movie or TV Adaptation Review


Please link your reviews for your Movie or TV Adaptation Review here.  This is only for the Movie or TV Adaptation Review category.  (This should be a review of the Classic Adapted into a Movie or TV Series category previously reviewed).  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section. 
If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Bleak House)."
  

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series


Please link your reviews for your Classic Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series here.  This is only for the Classic Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Bleak House)."  

Challenge Link-Up Post: Historical Fiction Classic


Please link your reviews for your Historical Fiction Classic here.  This is only for the Historical Fiction Classic category.  Reviews linked here must be about a classic set at least 50 years before the time when it was written.  For example, Margaret Mitchell published Gone with the Wind 70 years after the end of the Civil War; therefore, it considered a historical novel.  A Tale of Two Cities and The Scarlet Letter are also historical novels.  However, older classics set during the period in which they were written are not considered historical; for example, the novels of Jane Austen. 

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Gone with the Wind)."  

Classic Link-Up Post: Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller Novel



Please link your reviews for your Classic Mystery, Suspense, or Thriller Novel here.  This is only for the Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller Novel category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Murder on the Orient Express)."  

Classic Link-Up Post: American Classic



Please link your reviews for your American Classic here.  This is only for the American Classic category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Sister Carrie)."  

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic By An Author That's New To You


Please link your reviews for your Classic By An Author That's New To You here.  This is only for the Classic By An Author That's New To You category.  This should be a classic by an author you've never read before (it doesn't necessarily have to be an author you'd never heard of.) 

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Crime and Punishment)."  

Classic Link-Up Post: Classic About War


Please link your reviews for your Classic About War here.  This is only for the Classic About War  category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section. If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (War and Peace)."  

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic in Translation



Please link your reviews for your Classic in Translation here.  This is only for the Classic in Translation category.  These should all be classics that were originally written in a language other than your primary language; that is, if you are a native English speaker, it should be a classic written in another language other than English.  If you are not a native English speaker, it could be in English (or any other language, other than your primary language). If you want to read the book in its original language, that's fine too!

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Madame Bovary)."
  


Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic by a Woman Author


Please link your reviews for your Classic by a Woman Author here.  This is only for the Classic by a Woman Author category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section. If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Jane Eyre)."  

Challenge Link-Up Post: 20th Century Classic



Please link your reviews for your 20th Century Classic here.  This is only for the 20th Century Classic category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (East of Eden)."  

Challenge Link-Up Post: 19th Century Classic



Please link your reviews for your 19th Century Classic here.  This is only for the 19th Century Classic category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Pride & Prejudice)."  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Earth by Emile Zola



Classics Spin #4!!!

I was so happy to get The Earth by Zola as my random selection (I was convinced it was going to be The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens).  I couldn't wait until the end of December to read this, so I've been sitting on this review since before Christmas.  And once again, Zola blows me away.

The Earth is #15 of the twenty novels of the Rougon Macquart series; but like most of the series, it's essentially a stand-alone novel. Set in the 1860s in rural France, not far from Paris, this is the story of two families living in a farming village, Rognes, and the plot seems loosely based on the Shakesperean tragedy King Lear.  The Rougon-Macquart connection is introduced to the readers with a day laborer, Jean Macquart, who has come to the village after serving in the Army.  Jean befriends a young girl, Francoise, who lives with her older sister Lise.  Lise is pregnant by her boyfriend, Buteau, but he refuses to make an honest woman of her.

Buteau's family quickly becomes the focus of the novel.  Buteau is the youngest child of three, and the primary action centers around Buteau's parents.  His father, Fouan, owns a good bit of land, and has decided to split it between his three children now, instead of after his death, to avoid inheritance taxes.  In return, Fouan and his wife will continue to live in their house and receive an annuity until they die.  Sounds generous, right?  Wrong!  The three siblings -- Buteau;  his drunkard brother, Hyacinthe (nicknamed "Jesus Christ") and his sister Fanny (and her husband Delhomme) can't come to an agreement about who gets which plots and how much their parents deserve to be paid for the rest of their lives (which would include firewood, wine, and various other allowances).  It's all very petty and they're haggling and bickering about it. Finally it all seems settled.

Meanwhile, Jean becomes closer to Lise and Francoise, but things take an interesting twist.  He's in love with Francoise, but feels obligated to marry Lise because she's older and has an illegitimate child.   Basically, everyone is greedy, jealous and bitter about the land they didn't get, they're all trying to wheedle more money out old Fouan, and there are several love triangles, some of them sort of icky.  The other people in the neighboring farms are just as unpleasant.  Since this is a Zola novel, things quickly spiral out of control and go from bad to worse, but it's still fascinating stuff.  Even though most of the characters are awful, I couldn't stop reading it since I absolutely had to find out how the story would turn out.  And two of the characters, Lise and Buteau, are some of the worst creations in the entire Zola canon.  Seriously, I cannot recall a nastier pair.

For the record, this book is really not for the faint of heart, or those easily offended.  This being a rural community, there's a lot of barnyard humor, much if it centering around reproduction (both animals and humans) and bodily functions.  Plus, Zola doesn't mince words, at least not in this modern translation -- I read the Penguin classic translated by Douglas Parmee.  This must have been shocking stuff back in the 1800s -- there's quite a lot of sex and violence for a classic novel.

Zola considered The Earth to be his greatest work.  I don't think it's nearly as famous or popular today as Germinalnot that I'd call any of his works terribly popular, at least not in the U.S. When I checked Goodreads, there were only 586 ratings, compared to more than 10,000 for Germinal and more than 8,600 for the next most popular, Nana, which I still haven't read.  I'm hoping Zola will get the attention he deserves -- The BBC television series The Paradise is based on The Ladies' Paradise, which I read last summer, and I noticed there were quite a few people on the waiting list for it at the library.  And there's another Rougon Macquart novel in a new translation!  Money (L'Argent), the 18th book in the series, is schedule for publication by Oxford World's Classics in March, so I'm looking forward to that.

Did anyone else read Zola for the Classics Spin?  Did you like your Spin selections? And most importantly, when is the Classics Club going to do it again?