Friday, January 24, 2014

Classics Club

When I was writing up my bookish goals for 2014, one of them was to read at least one classic that I'd never read before. Shortly after writing that list of goals, I stumbled across The Classics Club. When it comes to classics, I have a tendency to stick to my safety zone and reread the same things over and over again - Persuasion, Jane Eyre, pretty much anything Dickensian. In short, nineteenth century English stuff, because the Victorian era is my jam. This, I have decided, is an excellent opportunity to branch out, and also to revisit some classics that I had to read in high school or university but which I haven't revisited since.

The goal of The Classics Club is to read at least 50 classic books within a five year period and review them all. I'm planning to read 60 in just under five years, so by 1 January 2019. I've tried to include a good mix of stuff, though I couldn't entirely force myself away from my beloved nineteenth century English literature. Still, I've included some stereotypical American high school reading, some things I was forced to read in high school, a decent dose of Australian classics, some "true" classics (in the Greek and Roman sense), and a little smattering of some of my favourites that I haven't re-read in years (and therefore haven't reviewed before).

Without further ado, here's my list (alphabetically by author's surname, of course):

  1. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
  2. Lysistrata - Aristophanes
  3. Emma - Jane Austen
  4. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
  5. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
  6. Lady Audley's Secret - Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  7. Agnes Grey - Anne Bronte
  8. Shirley - Charlotte Bronte
  9. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  10. The Seagull - Anton Chekov
  11. For the Term of His Natural Life - Marcus Clarke
  12. No Name - Wilkie Collins
  13. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  14. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
  15. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  16. Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens
  17. The Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens
  18. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky
  19. The Lost World - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  20. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
  21. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  22. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  23. Passage to India - E.M. Forster
  24. The Diary of Anne Frank - Anne Frank
  25. My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin
  26. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
  27. She - H. Rider Haggard
  28. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  29. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  30. The Odyssey - Homer
  31. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  32. The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
  33. Lady Chatterley's Lover - D.H. Lawrence
  34. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold - John le Carre
  35. Picnic at Hanging Rock - Joan Lindsay
  36. The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli
  37. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  38. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
  39. 1984 - George Orwell
  40. Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton
  41. The Mysteries of Udolpho - Anne Radcliffe
  42. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  43. Macbeth - William Shakespeare
  44. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
  45. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  46. Dracula - Bram Stoker
  47. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
  48. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  49. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
  50. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
  51. The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien
  52. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  53. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  54. The Way We Live Now - Anthony Trollope
  55. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
  56. The Aeneid - Virgil
  57. The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells
  58. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
  59. A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf
  60. The Chrysalids - John Wyndham
Have you read any of these? What should I start with??

K xx


  1. I've read lots of these. i'd start with for the term of his natural life, just cos it's almost australia day and all!

    1. If I had a copy of it, I totally would. But I don't, so I think I'll start with Picnic at Hanging Rock instead!!

  2. I think I've read about 18 of those. I personally would start with Little Women or A Room of One's Own. Mostly because AROOO was such a huge influence on me during my last years of high school and I hold it dearly. Uncle Tom's Cabin is also great in my opinion.

    I hated Madame Bovary because I found it to be extremely boring. But then again, I have yet to read a Dickens novel that I like.

    You also have a couple of books on your list, that I want to read too. Middlemarch or Agnes Grey have been on it for ages. Maybe I should come up with a list of my own.

    I really hope I'll get so see what you think of all these books since I don't have GR, but we will see :)

    1. Part of Classics Club is reviewing them all on your blog, so you'll definitely get to see what I think of them all!

    2. Awesome. I may have created a list of my own classics to read or reread :D

    3. Nice! Are you going to share with the class or keep it to yourself?? ;)

    4. Hahaha, I'm going to share but not with the Classics Club cause I don't feel like joining and the minimum of 50 books sounds a lot to me even over 5 years. Just going to read those I already have but never read :)

  3. When you get to One Hundred Years of Solitude it helps if you construct a family tree as you go. Half the characters in the book have the same name and it gets a bit confusing after a while.

    1. Oh God. I struggle enough with Russian literature and the fact that every character has like 14 names... O.o Now I'm scared.

  4. This is so awesome! I'm actually surprised I've read most of these. Especially the Jane Austen/Shakespeare.

    I LOVE Little Women! It's such a great story about sisters and I always wanted to be Jo.

    Rebecca is another favorite of mine, I read the book cause I loved the Hitchcock movie, and both are fantastic.

    I had to read Diary of Anne Frank in jr. High but I really enjoyed it. I really should read it again.

    The Odyssey we had to read parts of it in high school. I wouldn't mind trying the whole thing one of these days.

    I read Brave New World this past year because it's on my Favorite Books List. It was good, but not one of my favorites. Although it is one of the original dystopian society books so it's interesting.

    I found listening to the LOTR trilogy on audio was easier, and loved it. The Hobbit is another one I had to read in jr. High but really liked it. I just bought a pocket version of it and I want to read it again since it's been so long.

    Then Dracula I read in October and I was pleasantly surprised as how quickly I read it and how much I enjoyed it. So good!

    1. Technically, I've read about half of them before. It's just that I haven't read them since some point in the 1990s, so I basically may as well have not read them! It's interesting that you loved Dracula though, because I know SO MANY PEOPLE who've hated every second of it.

  5. I'm reading Wuthering Heights right now. Emma and Mansfield Park are both lovely, though Mansfield Park is my least favorite of Austen's novels. Anne of Green Gables is one of my absolute favorites, because I identify so much with the character of Anne and completely fell in love with her vibrancy, wit, and charm. Once I finish Wuthering Heights, Little Women is next on the list, followed by Northanger Abbey (the only Austen novel I haven't read).

    1. I'm really scared of rereading Wuthering Heights. I read it during high school - we had to read Jane Eyre in year 10 and I immediately went on a "read ALL the Brontes!" mission - and remember hating every single character and basically the whole plot...

      Northanger Abbey is really great - basically poking fun at obsessed teenage fangirls because everything Catherine thinks is gothic and mysterious turns out to be completely mundane.

  6. Even though I majored in English, there are some gaps in my reading history that I'd like to fill, and reading more classics this year is one of my goals, too.

    I've read about 17 of the books on your list. Anne of Green Gables and its sequels are very dear to me, as is Little Women. Love Emma and A Tale of Two Cities. HATE Heart of Darkness. Crime and Punishment is pretty good.

    1. Small Child Kirsti was OBSESSED with Anne of Green Gables. I'm still a little mad at my parents for not taking me to Prince Edward Island when we lived in Canada... I never read any of the sequels though, which is kind of weird now that I think about it...

  7. Oh, start with Little Women!! (Since you're asking.) I adore that book. ♥

    1. I think I'm going to start with Picnic at Hanging Rock, solely because Australia Day is this weekend. But I own Little Women, so it'll be pretty high up the list of things to read next!

  8. I've never read any Dickens. On a scale of zero to WHAT?!, how ashamed should I be? I've been wanting to try A Tale of Two Cities for a while now, so maybe I'll grab it at the library.

    Grapes of Wrath and Macbeth are in a three way tie with House of the Spirits for best book I read because of school, so it's cool that they're on here. Brave New World... I need to read that again to see if I liked anything other than the worldbuilding.

    1. People seem to either love or hate Dickens. I read my first Dickens when I was ten, so I'm clearly on the "love" side of things. It really depends on the book though. I've found that I love the longer ones (David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House) more than the short ones (Oliver Twist, Great Expectations).

  9. Welcome to the club! Jude the Obscure will break your heart and Vanity Fair is a fun one!

    1. I read Vanity Fair in high school after the BBC miniseries came out and loved it, but it's been YEARS since I hung out with Becky Sharp. I'm pretty excited to reread it! And that doesn't surprise me about Jude - I've yet to read a Hardy that doesn't involve heartbreak...

  10. I just read Heart of Darkness and wasn't a huge fan. I love Little Women is delightful.

    1. Heart of Darkness seems to be one of those books that literature professor types adore and everyone else thinks is a bit crap. I've owned it for a million years but never bothered to read it because TWENTIETH CENTURY, EW.


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