I Join the Classics Club: 50 Classics in 5 Years

Jillian over at A Room of One’s Own has created the Classics Club, where you sign up to read 50 classics over five years.  Since I love a good book list, I thought it was worth trying to create a list of 50 classics I want to read.

I came up with this list by looking at a few “literature you must read” lists, and then looking at some of the lists of other Classics Club members, and then of course my own TBR/Challenge list.  I tried to mix up genres a little bit, though I can’t say I went too far out on a limb.  At first I thought I’d have to name a lot of re-reads to get to 50, but that wasn’t the case at all.

My list can be boiled down to: 1) books I really want to read; 2) authors I haven’t read but feel I should (like Faulkner, James, Kipling); 3) classic children’s books (Newbery winners); 4) classic science fiction; and 5) a few re-reads (like Catcher in the Rye).

For the record, I’m not going to push myself to read 50 classics in five years.  I had fun just making the list (which tells you a lot about the dorkiness level here), and it helped me generate lots of ideas about books I want to read.  Plus a lot of these are children’s books.  Ten classics a year if you include children’s books — not impossible.

Any of your favorites on this list?  Where do you think I should start?  Is there anything on this list you tried and couldn’t get through?  Do you think anything on this list (like Haruki Murakami) is too current to be considered classic?  When does a book become a classic anyway?

  1. Allende, Isabel — The House of Spirits (reread)
  2. Austen, Jane – Mansfield Park
  3. Babbit, Natalie – Tuck Everlasting
  4. Bronte, Charlotte – Jane Eyre (reread)
  5. Buck, Pearl S. – The Good Earth
  6. Chopin, Kate – The Awakening
  7. Collins, Wilkie – The Moonstone
  8. Cooper, Susan — Over  Sea, Under Stone
  9. De Cervantes, Miguel — Don Quixote
  10. Dickens, Charles – Bleak House or Oliver Twist
  11. Dumas, Alexandre – The Three Musketeers
  12. Eliot, George – Daniel Deronda
  13. Faulkner, William – Light in August
  14. Fitzgerald, F. Scott – Tender is the Night
  15. Gaskell, Elizabeth – North and South or Wives and Daughters
  16. Greene, Graham – The End of the Affair
  17. Hardy, Thomas – Far From the Madding Crowd
  18. Heinlein, Robert – Stranger in a Strange Land
  19. Hugo, Victor – Les Miserables
  20. Ishiguro, Kazuo – The Remains of the Day
  21. Jackson, Shirley – The Haunting of Hill House
  22. James, Henry – The Portrait of a Lady
  23. Kelly, Eric – The Trumpeter of Krakow
  24. Kerouac, Jack – On the Road
  25. Kipling, Rudyard – Kim
  26. Lee, Harper – To Kill a Mockingbird (reread)
  27. Leroux, Gaston — The Phantom of the Opera
  28. Lowry, Lois — Number the Stars
  29. Maugham, Somerset – Of Human Bondage
  30. McKinley, Robin — The Hero and the Crown
  31. Miller, Walter – A Canticle for Liebowitz
  32. Morrison, Toni – Song of Solomon
  33. Murakami, Haruki – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
  34. O’Brien, Tim – The Things They Carried
  35. Paterson, Katherine — Bridge to Terabithia
  36. Poe, Edgar Allen – The Raven
  37. Salinger, JD – The Catcher in the Rye (reread)
  38. Smith, Betty – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  39. Spark, Muriel – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  40. Stegner, Wallace – Angle of Repose
  41. Steinbeck, John – East of Eden
  42. Twain, Mark – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  43. Verne, Jules – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  44. Vonnegut, Kurt – Cat’s Cradle
  45. Walker, Alice – The Color Purple (reread)
  46. Wells, HG – The Invisible Man
  47. Wharton, Edith – The House of Mirth
  48. Whitman, Walt – Leaves of Grass
  49. Wilde, Oscar – The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays
  50. Woolf, Virginia – Mrs. Dalloway

  8 comments for “I Join the Classics Club: 50 Classics in 5 Years

  1. June 14, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I’m tempted to take part in this challenge, the only thing stopping me is im unsure when a book becomes a classic! lol

    • Jillian ♣
      June 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      It’s not about the date, at least in reference to tThe Classics Club. I’ve got books from the 2000s and 1990s on my list.

      “As always with the greatest works, the novel is so many-sided that over time it mirrors back the shifting concerns of those who read it, and that is the definition of a classic.” – Carl F. Hovde


  2. Jillian ♣
    June 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I would consider EVERYTHING on your list a classic! I’m so happy to see you have joined us! I know what you mean about it being fun just to come up with the list. I’m for no-pressure reading, too. I think you should begin with either The Awakening, or A Tree Grows in Brokklyn. A gentle start. 🙂 Cheers and welcome!!

  3. Jillian ♣
    June 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Oops! I commented to welcome you, but it didn’t show up. Just ignore this if it went through, and if it didn’t, pretend this is a nice, long involved and encouraging comment, and forgive the fact that I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to repeat it all. 😛 Cheers!

  4. Jillian ♣
    June 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Okay, I’m back to try again in welcoming you! I love that you are re-reading a few titles, and I can’t wait for you (or me!) to read Leaves of Grass. You’ve got some great titles on this list, and I’m wishing you the very best in your reading. Welcome to the club!! 🙂

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