The Classics Club


50 classic reads in 5 years.

So here we go, a challenge in 3 parts.  Part 1, compile a list of 50 classics I’ve been meaning to read for years and never got around to.  Part 2, read said classics within 5 years and part 3, start a blog and write about each title as I finish it.

Part 1 was the fun part.  I’ve limited myself to no re-reads and only 1 title per author.  The list has changed a thousand times and might still change but for the moment I think it’s ok.  There are titles I’m looking forward to reading (Huckleberry Finn) , ones I can’t believe I haven’t already read (Middlemarch), ones that I should read for their significance to western culture (Paradise Lost), ones that will be challenging but worth it (Finnegans Wake), ones just for fun (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and ones that I think will be difficult in every way (If This is a Man).

Here’s my List, in no particular order.   Start date July 2017, finishing July 2022

Pre 19th Century

  1. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, 1794 (January 2019)
  2. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, 1726 (August 2019)
  3. Paradise Lost by John Milton, 1667 (December 2019)
  4. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri The Bible (2020) The Iliad, 700 BCE (May 2023)

I’m going to treat Dante and Milton as projects; reading with friends, over several months.

19th Century

  1. Middlemarch by George Eliot, 1871  (July 2017)
  2. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, by Thomas de Quincey, 1821 (Sept 2020)
  3. Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac, 1833 (November 2021)*
  4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, 1818 (January 2021)*
  5. The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner (March 2019)
  6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, 1817 (February 2019)
  7. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, 1848 (October 2020)*
  8. Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, 1831 (March 2022)*
  9. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, 1859 (March 2019)*
  10. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, 1866 (May 2020)
  11. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope, 1875 (April 2018)*
  12. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev, 1862 (November 2020)*
  13. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, 1869  (February 2018)*
  14. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin, 1833 (April 2022)
  15. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, 1881 (February 2021)*
  16. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1851 (May 2021)
  17. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1848 (October 2021)*
  18. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, 1889 (June 2018)*
  19. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1866 (January 2020)*
  20. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, 1884 (August 2017*)
  21. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, 1868 (October 2017)

Some of these titles look pretty boring and heavy going even as I’m typing, but I’m going to stick with them because of their significance in literature, (Eugene Onegin, for example). Plus it’s meant to be a challenge and you never know I might love them!

20th Century

  1. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, 1962 (November 2019)
  2. The Outsider by Albert Camus, 1942 (November 2020)*
  3. Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee, 1959 (August 2019)
  4. The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, 1958 (April 2019)
  5. If This is a Man by Primo Levi, 1947 (May 2019)
  6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, 1963 (September 2020)*
  7. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, 1961 (January 2018)
  8. Saplings by Noel Streatfeild, 1945 (June 2018)*
  9. Seize the Day by Saul Bellow, 1956 (April 2021)*
  10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, 1929 (January 2021)*
  11. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1920 (July 2020)
  12. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh, 1938 (May 2018)*
  13. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse, 1938 (June 2019)*
  14. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, 1939 (February 2020)
  15. A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemingway, 1929 (March 2018)
  16. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, 1905 (March 2021)*
  17. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, 1957 (November 2018)
  18. The Garden Party  by Katherine Mansfield, 1922 (July 2021)*
  19. Maurice by E.M. Forster, 1913 (June 2021)*
  20. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes, 1936 (July 2020)
  21. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, 1939 (September 2018)*
  22. The Lark by E. Nesbit, 1922 (January 2022)*
  23. The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie, 1921 (December 2021)*
  24. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, 1913 (Spring 2021)
  25. The 39 Steps by John Buchan, 1915 (June 2020)

Finnegans Wake is also going to be read as a project.  Starting September 2017.

Now on to parts 2 and 3 of the challenge!

8 thoughts on “The Classics Club

  1. Had to come have a peek at your list! Lots of great choices here, some of which I may have to sneak into my list.

    Three Men in a Boat is amazing. One of my favourite books now, I think.

    If you like audiobooks, there used to be a free audio version of Stephen Fry narrating Eugene Onegin, and it was great. The translation was really good too. The website seems to be gone now, so maybe it was only temporarily free, but that version must be kicking around somewhere. Definitely worth a purchase if they’re charging now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! I’m not really looking forward to Eugene Onegin so an audio version while I read along is a great recommendation, thank you!


  3. There’s quite a few on here that I’ve never even heard of!! I made my 50 like you did and have been working hard on it. I got antsy and made my list of the next 50 I want to read lol some of these are on it, but there’s still a ton of the ones you have that I’ve not heard of. Did you have a method to picking what you wanted to read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to be so late replying! I think a lot of these titles are just ones that I had always heard of and thought I should read but had never got around too. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy for example is just a title I know, who knows if it’s any good. I think with my next 50 I’m going to be kinder to myself, put in a few shorter easier reads. There’s a year still to go but my enthusiasm for some of these titles has completely gone!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what you mean!! Some of them I had to change out because I knew there was no way they were happening!! I’m giving myself grace because there’s always more books and I can read and it’s not the end of the world if I don’t read a couple classics that everyone has read.

        Liked by 1 person

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