Announcing #CBAM2017: The Classic Book-a-Month Club


Hello, Everyone! 

A couple of months ago, I was browsing through my rather massive list of “read” books, when I began to revisit a list of “favorite books” that I started over a decade ago. One thing I realized while revisiting this list was that some of these books that I call favorites, I have never revisited. I have books marked from 10- or 15-years ago with 5 stars, and yet, I can only vaguely remember their plots and why I responded to the books so well in the first place.

I’m a firm believer that much of one’s reaction to a book is based on who we are, where we are, and what is going on in our lives during the time we read it. Isn’t this kind of like reader-response theory? Well, yes, a bit; but that’s fine because reader-response theory, in my opinion, has a great deal of merit. Reading is a very personal and human activity, and we, most of us, change over time. Now, of course, some books are just incredibly good, and their appeal has as much to do with the talent of the writer as with any individual experiences or perceptions we bring to the reading experience. See: it all matters!

Bearing that in mind, I am determined to revisit some of my favorite pieces of classic literature; those works which I love and have called “favorite” at sometime or other, but which I’ve only read once. But, I also want to continue to read new-to-me material. So, I came up with a plan for myself to read 12 books in 2017, 6 of which will be re-reads and 6 of which will be new to me. To make this even more fun, I thought I would invite anyone and everyone to join me, either for the entire year or for the books which you’re most interested in reading (or re-reading) along with me. 

There are no obligations to stick with this for all 12 months. Come and go as you please. 

My plan at the moment is:

  1. Post an announcement with the #CBAM2017 reading list (below).
  2. Ask those who would like to join me for all/part of this book club to share about it on their blog/site and post a link to the Mister Linky widget below. (spread the word!)
  3. Have an introductory post around the 1st of each month, describing the book and a reading pace (for myself – you can use it or not!) 
  4. Post a check-in each month, around the 15th, to see how people are doing, generate a Q & A, etc. 
  5. Post a wrap-up/review at the end of the month, when I finish the book, and open up the comments for discussion, just like an in-person book club. There might even be wine and chocolates! (on this end at least)

The List:

  • January: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • February: The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles
  • March: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • April: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • May: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • June: The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville
  • July: Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • August: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • September: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  • October: Angels in America by Tony Kushner 
  • November: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • December: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

So, what do you say? Come along with me for this Classic Book-a-Month Club next year? You can sign-up by posting about it on your blog and then linking to our Mister Linky widget:

Please use #CBAM2017 to share on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. 

56 Comments on “Announcing #CBAM2017: The Classic Book-a-Month Club

  1. great idea! I will do my post soon.I will join you April, July, and September, books that are on my list for The Classics Club. I was planning to read Death Comes for the Archbishop before the end of this year, so I’ll wait to do it with you. Thanks for doing this


    • Excellent! That one is a first for me. I’ve read a number of Dostoyevsky works, but I’ve been sitting on Brothers for some reason.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of my goals this year is to re-read a bunch of books I was assigned in high school (of which that is one). I was totally unequipped to get anything out most of them as a teenager, but I’m excited to see what I will find now.


  2. YOU are my hero! The first one on the list is in my top five of favorite books of all time. The entire list is terrific. You know I’m SO in. I may not be able to join in every month, but I’m sure going to try. I will post on my blog soon. In the meantime, be sure to share this in my new group for events, Sleep Less, Read More. You’re a member. 🙂


    • Ha! I tell myself every year that I’m going to FINALLY read Little Women… and it never happens. This year, it’s definite!


  3. Well, sir! I definitely might join you for Little Women in January, and The House of Mirth in March! Have you read either of them? I know you said six of your titles are rereads. They are two of my most favorite novels, & both were on my “reread soon” list. (Meaning I am fairly certain I’ll be joining you.)

    I deleted all my 2017 lists — ha ha. What was I thinking? I can’t make plans…


  4. I would like to join you on June and November to read The Confidence-Man and The Brothers Karamazov. For the moment, I just started reading Wuthering Heights but I think that it is the type of novel that encourages you to re-read it
    and generate discussion. Therefore, I’ll love join you on December as well. See you then.:)


  5. Just about five minutes before seeing this post I came across a quote from Tender is the Night and thought, “I can’t believe I *still* haven’t read that!” It was on my TBR Pile Challenge list at least once, possibly twice, but now I’m determined that 2017 will be the year I finally read it. I’d also love to read The House of Mirth, A Raisin in the Sun, and to re-read Wuthering Heights. I read Northanger Abbey pretty recently so I won’t re-read that one, though I really liked it a lot! And I love to think that I’ll read The Brothers Karamazov, but I’m not sure about that yet. I’ve been thinking that I haven’t read many classics this year and should read more of them next year, so your timing is perfect! I’ll write a post soon.


    • Awesome! Most of the ones you mentioned are re-reads for me, except Raisin and Brothers. Dostoyevsky seems intimidating, but he writes so well, with a good translation I always enjoy his work.


      • I actually mistyped my bit about The Brothers Karamazov – I meant to say I’d like to think that I’d RE-read it. I read it in college but I barely remember it now. I haven’t read any Dostoyevsky in a while, which is a shame because I really like him!


      • Coming up with a list is the hard part. I finally got my post done and have signed up, and actually looked more carefully at your list. I must say you’re quite brave for planning of read all of Paradise Lost in a month. I’d be interested in reading Angels in America sometime; I went and saw it in its first run in SF way back in, what, 1994 or something, but I’ve never read it.


      • Yes, I scheduled PL during a summer month quite intentionally. 🙂 Angels in America is fantastic! This will be my 3rd time reading it. I haven’t seen a production of the play, but I have seen the movie twice.


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  7. This is wonderful! I am happy to join you. Everything on this list is either something that I haven’t read, or something that I read as a teen so it was on my TBR again anyway.


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  11. This sounds awsome. Considering I usually don’t read anything but classics I’m in for the books I haven’t read (everything except Alcott, Austen and Brontë). I don’t know how I will discuss the books that don’t fit my theme on the blog (I wouldn’t Paradise Lost a ‘lesser’-known gem), but I’m in with reading and talking about the books in some size or form. I love the list, it’s so diverse regarding time periods. Will you be making a goodreads club or something like that, or is it strictly blogs?


    • Hmm… maybe call it a “lesser read” classic, since few people attempt it? 😉 A Goodreads Club sounds nice, I’ll set that up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good idea 🙂 Especially since I got into book blogging since I couldn’t find anyone whom had actually read Moby Dick, despite it being a very known story.


      • Ah, interesting impetus! I’ve read it twice, but nobody really reads much of his other stuff, either, which is why The Confidence-Man (a personal favorite) is on this list! 😀


      • (It also echoes Paradise Lost, which should work out nicely for those reading both with me this year).


      • I saw and it made me so happy. 😀 I have always thought of him as a one-hit-wonder. Not that anybody told me, I just hadn’t heard anything about any other book. Considering my really conflicting feelings about the book (It’s a love/hate thing), I’m courius to see how I feel about his other writings. If they lean more towards the things I love or the things I hate about Moby Dick. 🙂


  12. Hallo, Hallo! 🙂

    So thankful your hosting again! 🙂 I wanted to ask a quick Q before I start to work on my Intro Post for this challenge as I’ve felt like such a heel falling behind on my tCC readings! 😦 Blessed I have a whole new year to re-encourage myself to dig into Classics! 🙂 My focus was just ‘off’ for awhile there! 😦 Ooh, right — I’ve decided that despite my initial interest in Emily’s novel I simply cannot ‘go there’ with the story. I learnt some details about it and it’s just not my cuppa. I’d like to keep the Brontes in play though – do you have an alternative title I could try in December!?

    I’m finishing Jane Eyre in early January — ergo, anything else you think I might be keen on reading by them!? I’m all ears! 🙂 Thanks in advance!


    • Nope, no alternates! Not that kind of “challenge” (this is more like a book club). I happen to love Wuthering Heights, so I wish you’d give it a chance! But Anne and Charlotte have a few others you could certainly try if you wanted. 🙂


      • Hallo Adam,

        No, I knew that — I didn’t state myself well, sorry. You mentioned we can pop in/out of the Book Club during 2017 – reading alongside with you and then opting out if need be; I want to read along with you for 11 out of 12 months, but wanted to ask if you could suggest a title by the other Brontes, so I could read one of their stories ‘on my own’ whilst following your readings & others about #WutheringHeights. I’ve had a lot on my mind/heart this month (fam medical emergency) so I am sorry if I muddled my request.

        In regards to reading it myself – it’s one of those choices where I have to own my own truth about my bookish sensitives and recognise I cannot read every book if there are certain ‘triggers’ or inclusions that I am not comfy with reading about. That’s all. It’s not a critical mark against the book, it’s a personal choice to exclude it for personal reasons. I know a lot of dear friends who adore it, I just couldn’t follow in everyone’s footsteps.

        Again, sorry I upset you… I was excited about reading these Classics with you & everyone else.


      • There was no offense taken. From Anne, I’ve only read Agnes Grey, but I hear Tenant of Wildfell Hall is great. As for Charlotte, I think most people argue that Villette is her masterpiece.


      • *Thank you, Adam!* I was truly worried I had upset you. Thanks for this reply & I have been curious about Wildfell Hall! That is going to be my *December* Bronte! #sohappy I’ll start to work on writing up my participation post and send it as I’m able too. Have a wicked good holiday season & thanks for letting me know all is well.


  13. I’d like to join this challenge, but I can’t find 5 of these books in italian 😦 (Wharton – Hansberry – Melville – Cather – Kushner)


    • Hmmmm…. I’m surprised about the Cather, but I’m sure the other three might be more difficult to find in Italian (Hansberry and Kushner are both plays).


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  16. Looking forward to this one! My post is finally up and I joined the Linky. Also, I found Little Women with my other classics so that’s one less thing to worry about, haha. Cheers!


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  19. Fun idea! I’m happy to join and read as many of the choices as I can this year. My post is up today on the blog, I signed up with Mister LInky, and I’ve already started listening to Little Women, which has been sitting on my audible shelf for a couple of years. Thanks for hosting!


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  22. I can’t believe I missed this! There are four I will join in on for sure. I really enjoy reading books with othes. I put The Brothers Karamazov on my list to read this year and I am kind of nervous about it, so I am really happy to read that one with others!

    Thanks for setting this up 🙂


  23. I’m only just finding out about this, but I will join from here on out and try to read the books from the months I missed.


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