Joining The Classics Club


So, I keep seeing posts about this Classics Club around the book blogs, and I’ve been meaning to check it out for months now.  Beth from Too Fond is a member, so that right there tells me it must be a worthwhile endeavor.  Plus, they do monthly memes, and who doesn’t love a good meme?  I kept promising myself that one of these days I’d find out what the Classics Club is all about, and join if I thought I could make the time for… whatever the group requires.  Well, it turns out that the Classics Club is a pretty laid-back concept: all you have to do is commit to reading 50+ classics over the course of five years and write about each one on your blog.  You can read more than 50 classics in that time, or you can take less than five years to do it, but that’s the game.

I love to read classics.  I believe that, while there are exceptions, most books that are widely regarded as “classics” have acquired that status for a reason.  I’ve been an avid reader all my life, and a reader of classics for most of that time.  So committing to read classics regularly, and write about them, isn’t a hard thing for me to do.  It’s what I love, so the only question is… what took me so long to get around to starting this challenge?

The Classics Club encourages members to set their own parameters for the challenge, within certain guidelines.  So here’s what I’ve decided: I’m going to take the full five years if I need it, because I have a career and a family and, much as I may wish I could, I simply can’t spend all day, every day, reading.  (Drat.)  But I’m a fairly fast reader and if I am conscientious about priorities, I can get to plenty of books, so I’m going to make my list 100 books instead of 50.  100 classic novels, to read and “review” on the blog, in the next five years?  I think I can do that.

Here’s my list of 100 books, in no particular order (and note that re-reads, which are allowed, are starred):

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte*
Middlemarch, by George Eliot
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
Daisy Miller, by Henry James
The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
The Custom of the Country, by Edith Wharton
Eugene Onegin, by Alexander Pushkin
Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak
Swann’s Way, by Marcel Proust
Silas Marner, by George Eliot
The House of Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Fathers and Sons, by Ivan Turgenev*
The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes
Litte Dorrit, by Charles Dickens
Bleak House, by Charles Dickens
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
Confessions, by Saint Augustine of Hippo
What Maisie Knew, by Henry James
The Optimist’s Daughter, by Eudora Welty*
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen*
Emma, by Jane Austen*
Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen*
Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen*
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen*
Persuasion, by Jane Austen*
A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster
Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
My Antonia, by Willa Cather*
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Crome Yellow, by Aldous Huxley
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee*
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo*
The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins*
Everything that Rises Must Converge, by Flannery O’Connor
Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
The Garden Party, by Katherine Mansfield
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
An American Tragedy
, by Theodore Dreiser
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell
Tortilla Flat, by John Steinbeck
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger*
Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
Shirley, by Charlotte Bronte
The Professor, by Charlotte Bronte
Agnes Grey, by Anne Bronte*
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte*
The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James
The Iliad, by Homer
The Odyssey, by Homer
Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift*
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Dead Souls, by Nikolai Gogol*
The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov*
The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin*
A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier*
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
The House on the Strand, by Daphne du Maurier
Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer
David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Finnegan’s Wake, by James Joyce
Henry IV, Part I, by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, Part II, by William Shakespeare
Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens
Richard II, by William Shakespeare
Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville
Howards End, by E.M. Forster
Where Angels Fear to Tread, by E.M. Forster
The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
The Ambassadors, by Henry James
The Wings of the Dove, by Henry James
Washington Square, by Henry James
The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Study in Scarlet, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells
Excellent Women, by Barbara Pym
Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott*
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery*
Anne of Avonlea, by L.M. Montgomery*
Anne of the Island, by L.M. Montgomery*
Anne of Windy Poplars, by L.M. Montgomery*
Anne’s House of Dreams, by L.M. Montgomery*
Anne of Ingleside, by L.M. Montgomery*
Rainbow Valley, by L.M. Montgomery*
Rilla of Ingleside, by L.M. Montgomery*
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett*
The Purloined Letter, by Edgar Allen Poe
Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray
Castle Richmond, by Anthony Trollope

Whew!  That’s my list of 100 classics to read in the next five years.  I think it’s a good mix of new reads and re-reads, chunksters and quicker picks.  I suppose I’d better get cracking…

17 thoughts on “Joining The Classics Club

  1. Yay, so glad to hear that you’re joining in the fun! It really is a great group of people and yet another excuse (as if we needed one) for making time for good books. I look forward to hearing about what you’re reading, and hopefully we can knock out a few of them together. 🙂

  2. Enjoy! With all the wonderful classics out there, many of which I haven’t read, it’s a wonder I ever read anything published after 1980. I like classics more now that we’ve broadened the term to mean authors other than old white men, though some of my favorite books are written by people who meet that description. My favorite book is Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five (you may have noticed I write about it a lot), and I’ve recently revisited several of the books on your list (such as Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which I read as part of Roof Beam Reader’s read-along in July). Right now, I have The Iliad, The Odyssey, A Room With a View, and Cranford on my Kindle, waiting to be read. I loved Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, which I read in April. I can’t believe I hadn’t read any of her works earlier.

    • I am finally getting around to Elizabeth Gaskell after being prejudiced against her for most of my “young adulthood” because of her sanitized biography of Charlotte Bronte. I decided that it wasn’t fair to continue to boycott her work, especially after I heard wonderful things about her fiction! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed “North and South” – I was intrigued by the description of that one and will definitely be picking it up, I hope soon. But I happen to own “Cranford,” which is why that one made it on my list, heh.

      As for Vonnegut, the only one of his books that I’ve read was “Galapagos,” which I enjoyed very much. I want to read more. Your many endorsements of his books have definitely inspired me to push him nearer the top of my list! Plus, he’s a fellow Cornellian. 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m looking forward to getting started. Think I’m going to begin with a return trip to Avonlea. I’ve been in need of some comfort reading these past few months and L.M. Montgomery is an old favorite. 🙂

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