Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Classics Club

A Room of One's Own is hosting The Classics Club, not so much a challenge as a long-term project.  This kind of thing is catnip to me--I absolutely cannot resist (not least because it seems a good way to work through the TBR pile).  The challenge/project is to read 50 to 200 classics in five years.

This project is so very ambitious, that I've decided to take a prudent approach:  I will read 50 classics in five years.  That puts my end date at March 15, 2017.  Here is my tentative list:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (response here)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (response here)
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (response here)
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Assault by Harry Mulisch (response here)
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells (response here)
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (response here)
Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald (response here)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (response here)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (response here)
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (response here)
David Golder by Irene Nemirovsky (response here)
In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (response here)
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
The Warden by Anthony Trollope
Middlemarch by George Eliot (response here)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (response here)

Story Collections:
The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (response here)
Five Women Who Loved Love by Ihara Saikaku
Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories by M. R. James (response here)
Dubliners by James Joyce
Selected Stories of O. Henry by O. Henry
Selected Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant (response here)
The Lady With the Dog and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov (response here)
The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Stories by H. P. Lovecraft (response here)

The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster
The Revenger's Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur (response here)

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (response here)
The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (response here)
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
The Trojan Women by Euripedes

Ancient/Medieval Literature:
The Aeneid by Virgil
Inferno by Dante
Metamorphoses by Ovid
Bhagavad Gita, by Anonymous
Ramayana, by Valmiki (retelling by Narayan)
The Legend of Seyavash by Firdausi
The Recognition of Sakuntala by Kalidasa
The Sunjata Story by Anonymous
Njal's Saga by Anonymous
The Five Books of Moses by Anonymous and Everett Fox
Narrow Road to the Deep North by Matsuo Basho (response here)
The Niebelungenlied by Anonymous

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin (response here)

The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (response here)
Tagebuch by Anne Frank (response here)


  1. So many great titles! I really, really like Isak Dinesen. I hope you enjoy her collection. And Macbeth!! Best Shakespeare ever! (That I've read so far.) :)

    Good to meet you, Amy.

    1. I love Dinesen also--I've already read Seven Gothic Tales and Winter Tales and am very eager to read these other stories too. Thanks for the great challenge!

  2. I tried to mix it up with some novels and plays as well. I loved "The Waste Land," and "The Age of Innocence is on my list as well. Best of luck!

    1. I read the Waste Land some time back and don't remember it that well. I'm hoping to get more out of it this time around. What did you like about it especially?

    2. I thought the imagery was really well done, and it evoked the mood of disillusionment that Eliot was going for. Plus, I think I liked that I actually tackled it and got something out of it, since I'm not much of a poetry reader!

  3. I love your selection of plays! I tried to incorporate some drama into my Classics Club list. I took two Shakespeare classes as an undergrad, but I haven't read much from his Renaissance contemporaries -- so I'm looking forward to reading Marlowe and Jonson. I did read The Duchess of Malfi some time ago (alongside the Shakspeare) and remember liking it. I hope you enjoy it!

    1. The Shakespeare I'm reading with another group online this year; some of those I've already read and some I haven't. But the other two (Duchess of Malfi and Revenger's Tragedy) were referred to in other books I've read over the years, and that's what sparked my interest in them. Oh, and my daughter wanted to read Don Juan last year, which spurred me to buy some more collections of Renaissance plays. Happy reading...

  4. Wow...I'm surprised to find Bhagavad Gita in your list. I think it's a great choice. I have read the Mahabharata & the sequels, but never had chance to specifically read Bhagavad Gita. Do you read the paperback or ebook?

    1. I've got the paperback on my shelf already. I've got a lot of stuff on my shelves for the kids because I homeschool, and I really need to actually read it!