Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Classics Club

So, Jillian from A Room of One's Own has been a bit fabulous and smart and come up with The Classics Club, a long term challenge wherein we choose at least 50 classics that we want to read over the next 5 years, and then, you know, we do it! I've actually managed to come up with 100, almost all of which I own and haven't read (although there are quite a few re-reads too) which is sort of frightening! Because I'm cool, I'm going to lay them out like Alice and Adam did, so, yeah- get ready for many books!

Pre-1700 (6)
The Odyssey by Homer
Utopia by Thomas More
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Anthony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
King Lear by William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

1700s (4)
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Evelina by Fanny Burney
The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
Les Liasons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos

1800s (24)
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Armadale by Wilkie Collins
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
The Bostonians by Henry James
Walden by H D Thoreau
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
De Profundis by Oscar Wilde
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

1900s (26)
The Plumed Serpent by D H Lawrence
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
A Passage to India by E M Forster
The Bell by Iris Murdoch
Once There Was A War by John Steinbeck
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
Rabbit, Run by John Updike
In Love and Trouble by Alice Walker
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence
The Reader by Bernard Schlink
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger
Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald

2000s (3)
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Re-Reads (37)
The Republic by Plato (pre-1700)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1800s)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (1800s)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1800s)
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1800s)
Emma by Jane Austen (1800s)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1800s)
Shirley by Charlotte Bronte (1800s)
Vilette by Charlotte Bronte (1800s)
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1800s)
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (1800s)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1800s)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1800s)
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1800s)
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (1900s)
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1900s)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1900s)
The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (1900s)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1900s)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1900s)
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1900s)
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (1900s)
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller (1900s)
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1900s)
The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein (1900s)
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1900s)
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1900s)
Perfume by Patrick Suskind (1900s)
The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1900s)
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1900s)
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (1900s)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (1900s)
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (1900s)
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1900s)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (1900s)
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (1900s)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1900s)

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, 'hey Laura, why all the re-reads?' And I'll tell you, oh fair blog reader- some of them are books I can hardly remember (Villette and Shirley, for example, as well as Catch 22 and a few others) but most of them are just books that I loved so much that I just want to share my joy about them with you! (hence all the Austen on the list) I'm just that kind of loving and giving person. I was quite impressed by my almost equal spread between 19th and 20th century classics, although I am already regretting the inclusion of the two Dickens books up there (I'm scared of Dickens...) The main consolation of Great Expectations, though, is this little beauty:
which is actually my favourite of all the Penguin Clothbound editions! All will be well as long as I have this book... Anyway, that's a hella lot of books, even to read in 5 years, so we'll see how I get on... Maybe I'll get the classics bug and read nothing else and be finished in a year! This is extremely unlikely, I'll admit, but stranger things have (probably) happened... Oh yeah, and I'll be transferring this giant list to my current challenges tab, so if you want to see how I'm getting on, then that'll be the place to go.


  1. We have SO MANY of the same titles on our lists!! Gone With the Wind is my favorite novel ever. I'm hoping you love it. :D

    Yay for joining!! I titally understand about Austen. ;)

  2. This is a little like the Fill in the Gaps Project I started in January - that spans a five year time scale too. I think I'm on 4 out of 100 at the minute, so I need to pull my socks up :)

    I really need to reread The Handmaid's Tale too. It's not on my list but it's been years since I read it and I can barely remember it!

    A good few of the classics are on my list as well though :)

  3. Such an awesome list. (Is it sad that I've read most of the pre 1700s-early 1900s but hardly any after that?)

    I should make my own fill in the gaps list. But it would focus on modern books probably. That would be weird.

  4. You're right - we do have so many books in common on our lists! We obviously both have great taste in books :) I've also seen several on your list that I probably should have added to mine, but I should probably just see how I do with my original 70 before I start sticking a bunch more on my list!

  5. I love the focus on rereading. If I'm being honest, I've forgotten a lot about the classics I've read - you know, I read them one time and quickly forget them. I only have a few rereads on my list for this challenge, but I want to make more of an effort to reread the ones I've forgotten.

    We've got a bunch of 19th c. books in common - Dostoevsky! Tolstoy! Gaskell! Eliot! - so I'm looking forward to comparing thoughts on them. And glad I found your blog, by the way. Although I haven't really started on the reading portion of the challenge, I'm loving the chance to read some new bloggers.

  6. No, no, no---Dickens is wonderful. If you can read and enjoy Austen and Bronte and George Eliot, you can appreciate Dickens. Great Expectations is a good book to start with.

    Happy reading to you!