“The Classics Club hopes to unite readers who blog about classic literature and inspire people to make the classics an integral part of life!”
I was excited when The Classics Club first launched in 2012. It was a breath of fresh air — a group of people enthusiastic about reading classics and who encourage others to read and write about them.
The original moderators of the group recently passed the torch to four new moderators who are now guiding the group. This “New Beginning” has inspired me to revise my classics reading list, which needed a bit of a reboot.
Below is my list of 52 classics that I plan to read by July 24, 2022. I am allowing myself to DNF (Did Not Finish). This is the second major revision of my list since I joined in in 2012. I hope it will be the last revision and that I read these books. Only time will tell. Interests change, and one of the things I like about The Classics Club is its flexibility and non-judgment. This is great for someone like me who loves to make lists, but isn’t all that great about following through on reading them!
If there’s a hyperlink on a title in the list below, it will take you to the post I wrote about the book. An * signifies a re-read.
Books To Be Read
- Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, 1605
- The Monk, Matthew Gregory Lewis, 1796
- Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, 1819
- The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1851
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, 1862
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1866
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, 1869
- The Bostonians Henry James, 1886
- The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett, 1896
- The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin, 1903
- The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams, 1918
- Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, 1919
- So Big by Edna Ferber, 1924
- The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, 1924
- Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves, 1929
- A Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, 1933
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, 1943
- From Here to Eternity by James Jones, 1951
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 1954
- Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, 1956
- Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter, 1962
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, 1968
Books Added in 2018 Revision
- The Odyssey* by Homer, 8th century BC, new translation by Emily Wilson
- The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, 1678
- Frankenstein* by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 1818
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, 1952
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, 1958
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, 1969
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, 1970
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker, 1982
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, 1813
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, 1844
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, 1847 (read May 2015)
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, 1859
- Middlemarch by George Eliot, 1871
- Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, 1872 (read 2017)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, 1890 (read July 2015)
- Maurice by E.M. Forster, 1914 (read 2018)
- This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1920
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, 1925
- The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, 1930 (read March 2015)
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, 1939 (read 2017)
- Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood, 1939
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, 1947 (read August 2015)
- The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk, 1951
- The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, 1952
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, 1962 (read April 2014)
- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, 1964 (audio version)
- Deliverance by James Dickey, 1970
- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, 1974
- The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, 1977
- The Handmaid’s Tale* by Margaret Atwood, 1985
Sad, but true. I did not finish these.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Twain, 1889 [DNF 2016]. I might try this one again in the future. The third time might be the charm.
- Catch-22, Heller, 1955 [DNF 2016]. The third time was not the charm with this one. I know you’re never supposed to say never, but I don’t think I’ll ever try this one again. I’ve tried it three times over the last three decades and I feel confident in saying nevermore.
Some Pre-Classics Club Favorites
Some of my favorite classics read prior to The Classics Club:
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
- Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories
- Emily Dickinson’s poetry
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
- The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
- A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich
- The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton
- Anything by Willa Cather!
I love that your list is set up in chronilogical order, much more organized than mine! You have great variety too! -Melissa
Great list! I recently created my own 100 books reading challenge too, comprised both of classics and contemporary books that will likely become classics by the time I finish the list. Many of our selections overlap.
On Faulkner, I've only read “The Sound and the Fury.” It was a challenging read, but I appreciated his art.
Good luck with the list!
Thanks, Melissa! I can't help thinking in chrono order and it sometimes gets in the way for me.
Thanks, Becky! It was fun to put it together. I'm much better at compiling lists than actually working through them, so we'll see how it goes. 🙂 Love your list and look forward to reading your reviews!
Hello. I just found your blog. Sorry I couldn't join you in the Cather challenge last year. How about doing an Edna Ferber challenge for 2013? Are you familiar with her? I love her strong female leads and the advocating for rights that she weaves into her stories so deftly that a casual reader may not recognize it exists. I'm new to blogging and don't really understand what all the profile terms mean so I'll sign this anonymously. DD
Hi, DD! Congrats on starting to blog! I've been blogging for about 3 years now and still feel like I'm stumbling around sometimes. It's a fun outlet, though, and I've learned a lot from other bloggers and have been turned on to some great reading. Creating a profile (easy to do it you're on Blogger or Twitter) is a good way for people to be able to link back to you, find your blog, etc. I haven't yet read any Edna Ferber but her novel So Big is on my shelves waiting to be read. Honestly, I don't know much about her at all. I've been reading around in Glenn Clark's 1922 A Manual of the Short Story Art and he uses one of Ferber's stories–“The Gay Old Dog”–as an example of the story of character. I haven't gotten to that section yet, but maybe I'll just skip ahead and read the story. If you're comfortable sharing a link to your blog, I'd love to read it. Thanks so much for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment!
I've signed up for the Classics CLub as well and am only tackling 50, and I thought that was enough! We have a few in common, of course everyone raves about the Handmaid's Tale so I look forward to reading that one.
Hi Tanya! Thanks for visiting. Happy to hear you signed on for the Classics Club. They're a supportive group and also very active on Twitter. I'm heading over to check out your list. And, yes, the Handmaid's Tale deserves all the praise it gets!
Wow! You have a really great list of authors. The fact you wrote it as a chronological list is amazing too. I hope you are enjoying Wuthering Heights. Forster, Ford and Vonnegut are brilliant but I can't believe you haven't read Anna Karenina yet, it is so good, the film doesn't do it any justice.
I read half of Anna Karenina years ago and then I put it down and never got back to it. Not sure why because I was enjoying. Will re-start that one from the beginning. Thanks for checking out my list.
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This is an awesome list. I’m glad you decided to add The Pilgrim’s Progress. That one has stayed with me since I read it. <3
Thanks! This might be the year I get to Pilgrim’s Progress.