Because I Love a Bandwagon: The Classics Club

One of my goals for this fall (and winter, because, really, let’s not kid ourselves) is to make a list of my (ridiculous number of) books and try to put a schedule together to read the unread ones.

So naturally, I’m sidetracking myself by joining the Classics Club. And I love a full bandwagon, so maybe you could join too?

Here’s the idea: Make a list of at least fifty classic books you’d like to read, and then commit to reading them in five years, at most. More than fifty books? Great! Your classics are all sci-fi/nineteenth-century/YA/poetry? Go right ahead and list them (but seriously. YA? Really?).

My list, as you’ll see, is rather a smorgasbord. I’m trying to fill gaps in my education (and, you know, try to stomach a few things from the eighteenth century) and refresh my memory and remedy my shocking lack of under-the-belt sci-fi classics.  You’ll also notice that there’s nary a sixteenth- or seventeenth-century work to be found on my list, because I spent five years in grad school chilling with my pals Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Middleton, Cavendish, Milton, Marvell, Jonson, and Lanyer. I feel like we can stay in touch via Facebook for at least a few more years.

Start Date: September 13, 2013

End Date: September 12, 2018

Here’s my list o’ 51. I did not alphabetize it. Please still hang out with me.

Well Before the Eighteenth Century

Homer, The Iliad

Homer, The Odyssey 

Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji


18th Century 

Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe


19th Century 

Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey

Elizabeth Barret Browning, Aurora Leigh

Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

George Sand, Indiana

Charlotte Brontë, Villette

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

To Revisit:

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (last read 2008)

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (last read 1998)

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (last read 2010ish)

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (last read 2000 or 2001)


20th Century 

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

Robertson Davies, The Rebel Angels

Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology

Willa Cather, O Pioneers!

Ford Madox Ford, Parade’s End

Graham Greene, The Quiet American

Barbara Pym, Excellent Women

Ernest Hemingway, To Have and Have Not

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

Flann O’Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds

Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

Ursula Leguin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Octavia Butler, Lilith’s Brood

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea

James Baldwin, Another Country

Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

To revisit:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles (last read sometime in the late ’90s)

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (last read sometime in the early aughts)

So, what did I miss? What would you have added? Are you already a member? How’s it going?

15 thoughts on “Because I Love a Bandwagon: The Classics Club

  1. Oooh, I love this, and I am going to join! Going back to the classics has been a kind of nebulous goal of mine, so I’m thrilled to know that there is a “support” group, so to speak. I am a real sucker for these themed projects 😉

    I love your list, and there are some new titles and authors there for me as well. I recently put The Golden Notebook on my TR list and I am very anxious to get to that. I also want to read Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, which I had started eons ago but never finished. I will be doing a lot of re-reads of the most common classics, to fill in my (memory) gaps from college. I also want to read The Tale of Genji – will be fascinating to read what is considered the world’s first novel. Looking forward to your future posts on your progress!

    • I can’t wait to see your list! I should have thought of Madame Bovary! I read Anna Karenina six or seven years ago and really liked it, which I wasn’t really expecting! The Classics Club blog has a big list somewhere with some of the most popular choices.

  2. One of us, one of us, one of us…

    I just joined the Classics Club last month, I’ve only read The Crying of Lot 49 (it didn’t exactly go well). But I love the challenge, it’s a great idea. Nice to see you get involved.

    Our lists only share three title (Crying, Robinson Crusoe, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie). I actually don’t really know a lot of yours, so this was a good lesson in education 🙂

    Good luck!

  3. Great list! I don’t know that I can commit to more reading when I have two shelves of unread books staring at me… 🙂 Good luck! I’ll look forward to reading your reviews!

What's on your mind? Leave a comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s