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,A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (2/14)

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 1998-9) (3/14)

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 Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Octavia Butler, Lilith’s Brood

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (1/14)

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)

11 thoughts on “The Classics Club

  1. Pingback: Checking Off My Classics Club List: The Big Sleep | Rosemary and Reading Glasses

  2. Wow! That’s some list! Good luck with The Tales of Genji, it becomes very repetitive after awhile. All it’s about is a guy sneaking in and seducing one Japanese maiden after another, or maybe they were wives. It was awhile back. I didn’t make it through. I have read 26 of your list, but I see that I have read more of the older books than the newer ones. I’m not sure if I want to make a list like that or not! Mine seems to change from day to day as I hear of different books.

    • Thanks, Kay! I got the new edition of the Tale of Genji, which is supposed to be great. I like this list because it gives me something to focus on besides my hundreds-long TR list, and I feel as if I’m filling in gaps in my education at the same time.

  3. Pingback: Recommended Reading (and a Classics Club Checkmark): Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, by Diana Gabaldon | Rosemary and Reading Glasses

  4. Pingback: Succumbing to Peer Pressure: The Classics Club Spin # 5 (the first for me). | Rosemary and Reading Glasses

  5. Pingback: The Classics Club Spin #6 (the second for me). | Rosemary and Reading Glasses

  6. Great list with the emphasis on 20th C. books. Tool often classic book lists are overloaded with 19th C selections. ( mine included). S.Undset isn’t on many lists and I must say this book was a great read. It really surprised me. I hope to keep up with your reviews and might borrow some of your 2oth C reading suggestions for my next CB list!

    • Thanks, Nancy! KL is both my grandmothers’ favorite book; I tried it when I was younger and couldn’t finish, but I think I’m ready for it now. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

  7. Pingback: Recommended Reading: Why Homer Matters, by Adam Nicolson | Rosemary and Reading Glasses

  8. Pingback: Recommended Reading: Excellent Women, by Barbara Pym | Rosemary and Reading Glasses

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