Monday, August 13, 2012

The Classics Club

I've decided to join a new club-- The Classics Club, a blog that brings together other book bloggers who pledge to read 50 classic novels within 5 years' time. Literary classics rank among some of my favorite and most frequently read books, but, in thinking about it, I realized that my blog might not always reflect that. I'm hoping that taking part in The Classics Club will give me an impetus to rediscover some old favorites and to finally get around to reading a few of the more daunting titles that have sat on my To Read list for years, like James Joyce's Ulysses.

(image via here)

Coming up with my list of 50 books was no easy task, especially since the definition of a "classic" is kept pretty loose. I had some inner debates to deal with: Should I include Barbara Pym novels? How much of Jane Austen's work should I include given the fact that I happily reread them year after year? I finally settled on the list below, divided into New Reads and Re-Reads.

New Reads:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner - completed 1/14
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Between the Acts - Virginia Woolf
Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
Camilla - Fanny Burney
Cecilia - Fanny Burney
Dr. Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin
The House in Paris - Elizabeth Bowen
The Ivory Tower - Henry James
The Master and Margerita - Mikhail Bulgakov
Othello - William Shakespeare
The Other House - Henry James
Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens
Out of Africa - Isak Dinesen
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark- completed 1/13
The Secret Garden - Franced Hodgson Burnett
The Stranger - Albert Camus
The Taming of the Shrew - William Shakespeare
Ulysses - James Joyce
Up at the Villa - Somerset Maugham
Walden - Henry David Thoreau 
The Warden - Anthony Trollope -completed 6/13
The Winter's Tale - William Shakespeare
The Years - Virginia Woolf


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh -completed 6/13
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell
The Death of the Heart - Elizabeth Bowen
Felix Holt: The Radical - George Eliot
Howard's End - E.M. Forster -completed 7/13
Little Women- Louisa May Alcott
North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
Persuasion- Jane Austen - completed 12/12
Night and Day - Virginia Woolf
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen
The Picture of Dorian Grey - Oscar Wilde
Rebecca - Daphne du Murier
The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad - completed 3/13
A Separate Peace - John Knowles
Sister Carrie - Theodore Dreiser
Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
To the Lighthouse- Virginia Woolf
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

After all that, I still only have 49 books on my list, so I'm looking to you all for suggestions. What's another classic that I should add as my 50th book?

**UPDATE: I was thrilled with all of the suggestions left in the comments. I ended up deciding to go with some Edith Wharton for my 50th classic. Or rather, I should say my 50th - 52nd books, since I picked up a collection of three of her works from the library: Ethan Frome, Summer, and Bunner Sisters. Although I've read and enjoyed Ethan Frome a couple of times in the past, I feel like I may have under appreciated her other work, and was intrigued by the two titles I hadn't heard of, so decided to give them a try.


  1. Very exciting list! I have some of the same books on my list - The Bell Jar and Black Beauty and The Secret Garden are ones I want to read soon.
    For your 50th, how about something by Dorothy Whipple or Rosamond Lehmann or Winifred Holtby?

  2. Wonderful list, like you I could happily re-read Austen every year! If you're looking for one more book to add I'd recommend both Fahrenheit 451 and Franny and Zooey.

  3. I don't think I saw any Edith Wharton. How about "The Age of Innocence" or "The House of Mirth"? I love your list!

  4. agree with both Wharton and Bradbury nominations. i believe you will detest me for writing this, but what about my fav, A Tale of Two Cities?

  5. Now I know the truth. I am classically deprived!! My last classic moment was two summers ago and seems like I'm in need of fortification with these titles. My last classic read was Willa Cather's O Pioneers!. I hope you'll consider this for your list. Beautiful prairie prose, strong female character, and the ending.......WHOA.

  6. Take Dumas. If you ever need a book to read, take Dumas. That's my suggestion. If you want a thick book, Monte Cristo is perfect. If you need a lighter one, take the Three Musketeers.

    By the way, I have Eugine Onegin on my list as well. Happy reading.

  7. Love your blog dear!
    Keep going with the great work!


  8. Really like your blog :) And may I suggest Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte for your 50th? Anne Bronte is an amazing writer :)



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