Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Classics Club

I've decided to take the plunge and join The Classics Club, a multi-year reading challenge to take on a big ole chunky list of classics and actually read them!

I've decided to try to do 100 books in 3 years.  Thirty-ish books a year feels doable, although we'll see once I get started! Most excitingly, my wife has said she'll read every book with me!

A key part of the challenge is making a specific list, so below are my choices.  They aren't totally set in stone -- as I do my reading, I may shift or change a title or author.  A part of this list include rereads of books I 'read' in high school (likely glossed over) or classics I've long wanted to take on.

I'm nervous and excited to start!

Note from February 2015: Since I literally haven't finished a single book from this list, I'm revising it and extending the end date to January 2017. I've decided to cut a good chunk of the list and start over -- to be honest, I'm picking shorter reads and I've cut the list from 100 to 75. I have tried to add a little more diversity, although it's still pretty straight and white.

The List (created 2015)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Jane Austen, Emma
James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
Djuna Barnes, Ryder
Elizabeth Bowen, Death of the Heart
Anne Bradstreet, Collected Works
Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Bryher, The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs
Fanny Burney, Cecilia
Octavia Butler, Kindred
Angela Carter, The Magic Toyshop
Willa Cather, My Ántonia
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
Choderlos de Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons
E.M. Delafield, Diary of a Provincial Lady
Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren
Assia Djebar, Fantasia
Daphne du Maurier, My Cousin Rachel
Lawrence Durrell, Justine
George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
T.S.  Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems
F. Scott Fitzgerlad, The Great Gatsby
Gustav Flaubert, Madame Bovary
Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
E.M. Forster, A Passage to India
John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman
Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters
Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
Nikki Giovanni, The Selected Poems, 1968-1995
Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
H.D., Helen in Egypt
Dashiell Hammett, The Thin Man
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Henrick Ibsen, A Doll's House
Christopher Isherwood, Berlin Stories
Kazuo Ishiguro, Remains of the Day
Henry James, Turning of the Screw
Molly Keane, Good Behaviour
Nella Larsen, Quicksand
Amy Lowell, Selected Poems
Mary MacLane, I Await the Devil's Coming
Naguib Mahfouz, Palace Walk
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
W. Somerset Maugham, Moon and Sixpense
Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate
Toni Morrison, Paradise
V.S. Naipaul, A Bend in the River
Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find
Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
Vita Sackville-West, The Edwardians
Sonia Sanchez, Shake Loose My Skin
Catharine Maria Sedgwick, The Linwoods
William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 1
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
Elizabeth George Speare, Witch of Blackbird Pond
Rabindranath Tagore, The Home and the World
Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
Dorothy West, The Wedding
Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway


  1. Welcome to the club. Love your list. We share a few titles but you have some additional really interesting ones. Looking forward to your responses to your reading.

    1. Thank you -- I appreciate it! Really looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading and what they think!

  2. OMG this is so very tempting. So many books I *loved* on that list, and (sadly) so many I've never read...

    1. Tempt, tempt! ;) I'm really excited to dig in!

  3. I just got through reading The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (Marian Evans), and I didn't enjoy it. I have heard that Middlemarch is better. : )

  4. Impressive! I love classics. Good luck with your list!

  5. I've read 12 from your list one of which was Moby Dick which should count at 3.

    1. My wife said the same thing about Moby Dick! Any winners of the 12 you read? Or ones I should remove? ;)

  6. Wow,that looks like it'll be quite the challenge. It'll be a lot more fun with your wife reading along too though! Good luck!

  7. Welcome to the Classics Club - great fun and very motivating being a part of a group with the same goal. I see some new to me titles on your list and some that are also on mine. Look forward to seeing what you will read first.

  8. Awesome, Audra! And I love that your wife will be joining you. You've a great list (I'm embarrassed to admit quite a few I haven't heard of so I'd better start researching). A number of them are on my list, too.

  9. Some very interesting titles there, and a good balance between the dense and the light, the long and the short. Glad to see the Brontes included and look forward to your thoughts.

  10. I remember reading a handful of these in school, but not that many. I'm actually reading one of them right now, though, snagged from my high school sophomore's bedside - My Antonia is lovely! It reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie books.

    1. Unbelievably, I've NEVER read any of the Little House on the Prairie books. (Nor any of the Anne of Avonlea books, can you believe it?!) I'm super excited for My Antonia -- I started it in middle school and loathed it, but I suspect I'm going to love it now!

  11. Good Luck with this! I have a classics plan of my own, and it relies heavily on Dickens and Austen and a few others, but some of these on the list look great!

  12. Yay, I'm so glad you decided to join :)
    And it's awesome that your wife is going to read with you, as you can discuss the books as you go and that should make the challenge a bit easier.

  13. So of all those, I've only read and like The Thin Man and Giovanni's Room. I've read Moby Dick, and want to forget about it. I always think these are books I should read, but for some reason, I never feel compelled to read them.

  14. Welcome to the club! You've picked some great books. I've always been curious about Labyrinths and I may have to add that to my list. -Melissa

  15. Fantastic list, Audra! I have a great idea -- why don't we read The Enchanted April together in April? Maybe some others would like to join?

  16. This is a really interesting list. You have lots of things I haven't heard of and lots of things I haven't read.