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 (January 2019)
  2. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (August 2019)
  3. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
  4. Paradise Lost by John Milton (December 2019)
  5. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
  6. The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan
  7. Selected Essays of Michel de Montaigne

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

19th Century

  1. Middlemarch by George Eliot  (July 2017)
  2. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas de Quincey
  3. Old Goriot by Honore de Balzac
  4. Maude by Christina Rosetti
  5. The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner (March 2019)
  6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (February 2019)
  7. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  8. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  9. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (March 2019)
  10. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  11. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (April 2018)
  12. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  13. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy  (February 2018)
  14. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
  15. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  16. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  17. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  18. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome (June 2018)
  19. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (January 2020)
  20. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain  (August 2017)
  21. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (October 2017)
  22. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

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 there 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 (November 2019)
  2. The Outsider by  Albert Camus
  3. Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee (August 2019)
  4. The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa (April 2019)
  5. If This is a Man by Primo Levi (May 2019)
  6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  7. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (January 2018)
  8. Saplings by Noel Streatfeild (June 2018)
  9. Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
  10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  11. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  12. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (May 2018)
  13. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse (June 2019)
  14. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (February 2020)
  15. A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemingway (March 2018)
  16. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  17. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (November 2018)
  18. Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield
  19. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  20. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
  21. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (September 2018)

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

Now on to parts 2 and 3 of the challenge!




4 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

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