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!

The Big List

Abigail Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams
Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
Aristophanes, Lysistrata
Augustine, Confessions of St. Augustine
Jane Austen, Emma
James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
Djuna Barnes, Ryder
Sybille Bedford, A Legacy
Aphra Behn, Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister
William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience
Eavan Boland, Outside History: Selected Poems, 1980-1990
Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths
Elizabeth Bowen, Death of the Heart
Anne Bradstreet, Collected Works
Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Bryher, The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs
Fanny Burney, Cecilia
A.S Byatt, The Children's Book
James M. Cain, The Postman Always Rings Twice
Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus
Vera Caspary, Bedelia
Willa Cather, My Ántonia
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
Colette, The Complete Claudine
Choderlos de Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons
Christine De Pizan, Book of the City of Ladies
Liane de Pougy, The Blue Notebooks
E.M. Delafield, Diary of a Provincial Lady
Lawrence Durrell, Justine
George Eliot, Middlemarch
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems
Euripides, The Trojan Women
F. Scott Fitzgerlad, The Great Gatsby
Gustav Flaubert, Madame Bovary
Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
E.M. Forster, A Room With a View
John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman
Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters
Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
H.D., The Gift
Dashiell Hammett, The Thin Man
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Lillian Hellman, Six Plays
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-43
Winifred Holtby, South Riding
Dorothy B. Hughes, In a Lonely Place
Henrick Ibsen, A Doll's House
Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin
Kazuo Ishiguro, Remains of the Day
Alice James, The Diary of Alice James
Henry James, Turn of the Screw
William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience
Molly Keane, Good Behaviour
D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterly's Lover
Denise Levertov, Selected Poems
Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart
Christopher Logue, War Music
Amy Lowell, Selected Poems
Mina Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker
Naguib Mahfouz, Palace Walk
W. Somerset Maugham, Moon and Sixpence
Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love
Toni Morrison, Paradise
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood
Kenzaburō Ōe, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids
Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan
Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market and Other Poems
Vita Sackville-West, The Edwardians
George Sand, Indiana
Sappho, If Not, Winter (translation of Sappho's poems by Anne Carson)
Zelda Sayre, Save Me the Waltz
Annemarie Selinko, Désirée
Anya Seton, Katherine
William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 1
Muriel Spark, The Driver's Seat
Elizabeth George Speare, Witch of Blackbird Pond
Julia Strachey, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April
Marina Warner, From the Beast to the Blond
Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies
Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts
Edith Wharton, Age of Innocence
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan
Leonard Woolf, The Wise Virgins
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
William Butler Yeats, Collected Poems


  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.