Yesterday, I finished The Brothers Karamazov, and, with that last page, completed the Classics Club challenge. I began the challenge in September 2015, and pecked away until late 2018, when I realized I had two years left and over half the stack still to tackle. Just for my own amusement, I took a look at how my reading was dispersed, more or less*:
As you can see, I started making a concerted and deliberate effort only at the end of 2018, although this was interrupted by Red Dead Redemption 2 in late March and April of last year. (That huge dive in Q2 2019? Allllllll Arthur Morgan’s fault.) By way of wrapping up, here are a few highlights:
- Favorite from the list:
The Gulag Archipelago
- The Unfavorite: The Sun Also Rises. I figured I would take to Hemingway, but the appeal of this one was lost entirely on me.
- Books I would drop from the list were I do it again:
Most of the nonfiction (surprisingly, given my usual reading is 70% nonfiction).
- Books that surprised me:
The Gulag Archipelago (amazing), The Gallic Wars (…not exciting), The Jungle (more enjoyable than I’d anticipated)
- Book I started and stopped the most times before I finished:
Catch-22. I’d tried the book three times before, once in high school and twice during the CC period.
- Book I’m proudest to have finished: War and Peace, Bragging rights for life!
- First and last read: Emma (Dec 2015), The Brothers Karamazov (Sept 2020).
- Oldest and youngest (The Epic of Gilgamesh, ~2000 BC; 2001: A Space Odyssey, A.D. 1968)
- Authors introduced to me from this series whom I’ll be reading more of: Willa Cather (O Pioneers!), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Gulag Archipelago), and Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace).
- Fastest and slowest reads: The Picture of Dorian Gray (<2 days); War and Peace (~ five weeks). Brothers K wasn’t too far behind War and Peace, though.
Will the Classics Club return? Absolutely; I’ve been keeping a word file with ideas, and will start the challenge again on January 1st, 2021, which is when the list is scheduled to go live. So far I only have about twenty possibilies, but I’m shopping and adding.
*I stay more or less because I created it in late ’19, in anticipation of finishing Brothers K in December. For that graph to have remained accurate, I would have needed to add an extremely long tail to account for my farting around throughout all of 2020.