Classics Club Challenge


I always have good intentions about classic books. I want to read them. I want to talk about them. I want to be well read and knowledgable with my classic literature, beyond a basic knowledge of authors and texts. The trouble is that I sometimes really don’t enjoy reading them. I am basically the sloth above, dragging my brain through the books. I know I’m not alone in this, so I don’t feel too badly about it, but I would like to remedy the situation. This year, I wish to read more classics than ever- particularly considering the line of work I hope to go into. I think reading classics is important, not only to your ego (ha!), but to a general understanding of the world. How many times have you seen something referenced from a classic text, even as a passing turn of phrase? I don’t know about you, but I always feel a little like this:

cap understands

I found the Classics Club and thought it would be a great way to get my classic reading up. I don’t intend to only read classics or to read them in any particular order. I hereby set myself 5 years to read 50+ classic books! I aim to review each of them and cross them off the list.

1. Shirley- Charlotte Bronte

2. The Old Man and the Sea– Earnest Hemingway

3. Parade’s End– Ford Madox Ford

4. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Anne Bronte

5. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens

6. Northanger Abbey– Jane Austen

7. Gone With the Wind- Margaret Mitchell

8. Lolita- Vladimir Nabakov

9. War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy

10. Persuasion– Jane Austen

11. Vilette- Charlotte Bronte

12. Agnes Grey– Anne Bronte

13. Little Dorrit- Charles Dickens

14. Tess of the d’Ubervilles- Thomas Hardy

15. Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen

16. The Bell Jar– Sylvia Plath

17. Vanity Fair- William Makepeace Thackeray

18. The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger

19. The Importance of Being Earnest- Oscar Wilde

20. Emma- Jane Austen

21. North and South- Elizabeth Gaskell

22. The Picture of Dorian Gray– Oscar Wilde

23. Fahrenheit 451– Ray Bradbury

24. Goodbye to All That- Robert Graves

25. Les Miserables- Victor Hugo

26. Doctor Zhivago- Boris Pasternak

27. Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks

28. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- Arthur Conan Doyle

29. Wuthering Heights– Emily Bronte

30. Cider with Rosie- Laurie Lee

31. Middlemarch- George Eliot

32. What Maisie Knew- Thomas Hardy

33. Dante’s Inferno- Dante Alighieri

34. Jude the Obscure- Thomas Hardy

35. The Woman in White- Wilkie Collins

36. Mansfield Park- Jane Austen

37. A Room of One’s Own- Virginia Woolf

38. A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens

39. The Day of the Triffids- John Wyndham

40. Tender is the Night- F. Scott Fitzgerald

41. The Metamorphosis– Franz Kafka

42. Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

43. Crime and Punishment- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

44. For the Term of His Natural Life- Marcus Clarke

45. Lady Chatterly’s Lover- D.H. Lawrence

46. Animal Farm- George Orwell

47. One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

48. Catch 22- Joseph Heller

49. Ulysses- James Joyce

50. David Copperfield- Charles Dickens

51. Beowulf (Tolkien translation)

52. The Turn of the Screw- Henry James

53. Dubliners- James Joyce

54. My Cousin Rachel- Daphne Du Murier

55. The Grapes of Wrath- John Steinbeck

56. Three Men in a Boat- Jerome K. Jerome

57. We of the Never Never- Jeannie Gunn

58. The Life of Charlotte Bronte- Elizabeth Gaskell

59. It’s Raining in Mango- Thea Astley

60. My Family and Other Animals- Gerald Durrell

61. The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas

62. Music For Chameleons- Truman Capote

63. Other Voices, Other Rooms– Truman Capote

64. Barnaby Rudge- Charles Dickens

65. The Pickwick Papers- Charles Dickens

66. East of Eden- John Steinbeck

67. A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle

68. The Sign of Four – Arthur Conan Doyle

69. De Profundis – Oscar Wilde

70. To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf

71. Orlando – Virginia Woolf

72. The Waves: Virginia Woolf

73. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

74. The Beautiful and Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald

75. Bid Me to Live– H.D

76. Death of a Hero- Richard Aldington

77. Between the Acts– Virginia Woolf

78. Memoirs of an Infantry Officer– Siegfried Sassoon

79. Slaughterhouse Five– Kurt Vonnegut

80. A Moveable Feast- Ernest Hemingway

81. The Complete Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield

82. Wide Sargasso Sea- Jean Rhys

83. High Rising- Angela Thirkell

84. Down and Out in Paris and London- George Orwell

85. The Rainbow – D.H. Lawrence

86. Voyage in the Dark- Jean Rhys

I plan to add more on as I find them. These are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head, or ones I know are on my shelves. It’s a little bit daunting, but I intend to read as many as possible! Crossing things off lists is so much fun, it’s always really motivating to see you’ve crossed off another one.

I start with crossing off The Picture of Dorian Grey, as I finished this book yesterday and haven’t written a review on it as yet.

**Update** This has become quite the beast! I thought I’d re-post, as it’s changed so considerably, and to update on how I’m going with it all.


22 thoughts on “Classics Club Challenge

  1. I read mostly classics and I don’t have much difficulty doing so,except for some books.

    I think our appreciation of classics all boils down to which books we’re reading.I,for instance,tend to stay away from the Brontes and the Dickens,and instead read more ”modern” works!

    Your reading list looks very Victorian with lot of works from the Brontes,Austen,and Dickens.(and some from Gaskell).
    Out of the 60 books you listed,I’ve read only Crime and Punishment,Animal Farm,and Anna Karenina!

    I too am a member from the Classics Club,and you can see my list at my blog.You may discover some more modern and lesser known classics! 🙂

    • Hi! Thanks for commenting!
      I adored Jane Eyre, but have struggled to read Wuthering Heights a few times.
      I think I choose those books because they interest me, I love that period in history. That’s the great thing about classic literature, there’s so much choice!
      I’ll definitely have a look at your blog!

      • I wrote (Anne Shirley fashion) about watching the film in Atlanta for the first time a couple years ago. No spoilers, except in the one paragraph I indicate in the post. & except for citing some famous scenes and lines, which you’ve likely heard already because they are QUITE FAMOUS. 🙂

        I was pretty excited. I’m saying I AM Anne Shirley in that post, which I know you’ll be cool with, since I noticed on your CC Survey you identify with her too. 🙂

        (Sorry to share a link. No expectation for a comment. I was moving blogs this week. When I meet a new reader, I like to check out their site to see who they are. I figure you likely tried only to find my blog private. So here’s a quiet note so you know me a bit. I did the CC Survey too. It’s linked to my club list. Cheers!) 🙂

      • I’m hosting a very casual group read of Gone with the Wind May 1 through August 1 — if you’re interested. 🙂

      • I would have been but unfortunately I’m so busy with uni there’s no way I’ll be able to do it =( I’ve already committed to reading War and Peace by September so there’s no way I’ll make both. Have fun though!!

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  6. Some great titles there! Classics can seem a slog at times, more so because of the length. I would like to read more Dickens but when reading time is limited I feel bad restricting myself to one big book for ages. Definitely go for 20th century ‘modern classics’ – they’re some of my favourite ! I finally read Doctor Zhivago this year and it’s utterly wonderful – highly recommended! 🙂

  7. One advantage to reading classics is that you can easily and cheaply stock up from secondhand bookshops. I prefer ‘modern’ classics, which are less available, which is a good thing because I get so distracted by non-fiction. But I can’t recommend Ulysses. Like most people, I got halfway through and have never picked it up since (Amazon once released Kindle data that showed this was a typical response). There’s a market there perhaps for an app that can read the book for you!

    • Absolutely! It makes it fun too, you can dig around for awesome finds, especially if you’re interested in more obscure authors, like I am with forgotten women’s literature. I know a few people who have finished Ulysses and liked it, and just as many who couldn’t finish! I’m not surprised that most give up!

  8. I joined this just over a year ago, and I struggle with it SO HARD. We should buddy read some of the ones on both our lists and see if that can pull us through them lol R x

    • It’s a hard challenge! I like ticking things off lists though, so it makes it a bit fun to get through things. We so should!! Which are you thinking of?

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