My First Classics Club List

So…contrary to my past practices, I am starting to embrace epic challenges.  Before this enthusiasm leaves me, I’ve decided to finally join The Classics Club and commit to reading 50 classics within five years.

It’s a pretty reasonable goal (ten classics a year), since I mostly read classics anyway.  But I’m making it more difficult by including some chunksters and books I’ve been putting off for years and some that fall under both (*cough* War and Peace).  I also threw in some rereads that I keep meaning to return to.  The list also came out to 52 instead of 50 (sigh), but I’m only committing to 50.

  1. East of Eden – John Steinbeck
  2. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  3. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  4. Resurrection – Leo Tolstoy
  5. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  6. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte
  7. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  8. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – 4/3/19
  9. The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
  10. 1984 – George Orwell – 4/25/19
  11. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 2/8/20
  12. True Grit – Charles Portis
  13. The Red and the Black – Stendhal
  14. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  15. The Analects – Confucius
  16. Daniel Deronda – George Eliot
  17. Silence – Shusaku Endo – 3/22/20
  18. The Painted Veil – W. Somerset Maugham – 2/29/20
  19. Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain
  20. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  21. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  22. Emily of New Moon – Lucy Maud Montgomery
  23. Jayber Crow – Wendell Berry
  24. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  25. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  26. Le Morte d’Arthur – Thomas Malory
  27. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo
  28. The Last Days of Pompeii – Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  29. Common Sense – Thomas Paine
  30. The Bride of Lammermoor – Walter Scott
  31. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
  32. Paradise Lost – John Milton
  33. The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
  34. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
  35. The Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
  36. The Beautiful and the Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  37. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
  38. To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
  39. Germinal – Emile Zola
  40. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  41. Dracula – Bram Stoker (reread)
  42. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (reread)
  43. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (reread)
  44. The Secret Garden – Frances Burnett (reread)
  45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins (reread)
  46. Under Western Eyes – Joseph Conrad (reread)
  47. The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (reread) & Notebooks for The Idiot
  48. Silas Marner – George Eliot (reread)
  49. Moby-Dick – Herman Melville (reread)
  50. The Bounty Trilogy – James Hall and Charles Nordoff (reread)
  51. The Heir of Redclyffe – Charlotte Yonge (reread)
  52. The Lord of the Rings (reread)
  53. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (bonus, added 12/12/19)

31 thoughts on “My First Classics Club List

  1. mudpuddle

    wow challenging list… instead of reading no. thirty, you could listen to lucia di lammermoor: the sextet and the mad scene; i wore out a record of that when i was younger with Roberta Peters singing the lead role… she's not that well remembered now, but i thought she had a truly spectacular voice…


  2. Cleo @ Classical Carousel

    Yay! You're doing it! My only advice would have been don't go over 50 but you've stayed close, so you're alright. I started with 170 and finished about 70 on my first list, my eyes being bigger than my stomach, so to speak. ;-)Glad to see some Wendel Berry! Le Morte d'Arthur I'd love to read again … it was sort of bizarre. Paradise Lost is awesome and I really loved To The Lighthouse. Have fun with your list!! πŸ™‚


  3. Marian H

    Thanks Cleo! πŸ˜€ I think I'll genuinely like Berry…as for Le Morte, the only reason I want to read it is because it was one of T. E. Lawrence's favorites. Overall though I'm happy that I'm going outside the comfort zone with some of these.


  4. Carol

    What a great list, Marian! I should add Steinbeck to my list. I read a few years ago but I need to re-read as I can't really remember much at all. I had a sort of reading renaissance after I turned 19 & I'd like to revisit all those classics I read then.


  5. Marian H

    Yes, half my \”rereads\” listed here I haven't read in a decade, perhaps longer. I'm tentatively excited to see if my opinion has changed about them. I would be sad if I didn't love Jane Eyre anymore though, as that was one of the first classics I fell in love with. Hopefully that won't happen!


  6. Hamlette

    Excellent list! I'm on my second go-round with the CC now, and I learned with my first one that I liked to keep adding books to my list as I went along, so when I finished 50 books, I just took the extras that were on my list, added some more, and started in on my second 50. That's how it worked for me, anyway.I see lots of favorites of mine here! Jane Eyre and The Count of Monte Cristo are my top 2 favorites novels, and The Outsiders is in my top 10 as well.Have fun!


  7. Marian H

    Gotta love that optimistic ending… XD Phone payments aren't so radical (compared to credit cards), but the social credit system is really disturbing. It's sad, but I can see something like that being implemented here in the U.S., maybe not soon but in a couple of decades. Unless (in the unlikely scenario) we come together as a society and agree we don't want to live like that.


  8. Stephen

    China seems far more collectivist — group-minded, I mean — than the United States. Our problem seems to be fractiousness, not over-unity, but it's not hard to imagine someone like Google or facebook advancing that kind of system to stop 'trolls'. I was amazed by how sophisticated the robots were in that factory. The last time I saw a manufacturing robot was in an auto factory, and it was a model T compared to those thing!


  9. Stephen

    Truly — they were practically kids. (Have you read 'Player Piano'? It's a Vonnegut story about what happens when automation is so successful that the only people who have jobs are the machine techs…)


  10. S Books by the cup

    Rereads are fun so kudos for including those. After reading War and Peace a few years ago, I've been hesitant to read Anna Karenina but I've heard many say it's am easier read than War and Peace. My favorite Dickens to date is David Copperfield followed by Little Dorrit. I still have several to read but glad to see Copperfield is on your list.


  11. Marian H

    Yeah, originally I wasn't going to include Anna Karenina, but a fellow blogger friend really liked it, so I thought I'd give it a try. πŸ™‚ David Copperfield is one where I've seen a couple of film adaptations, and each time I think, \”I should read this.\”Thanks for stopping by!


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  13. Jillian

    I some how missed this! Just wanted to wish you luck with your list, Marian! I SPY TESTAMENT OF YOUTH!!!! YES ❀ We share a couple others: Hunchback & Germinal. I also want to read Wendell Berry, but I don't own any & I am making myself read books I own right now. πŸ™‚ East of Eden is a favorite of mine. Good for you on the rereads! Those are so fun. x


  14. Elena

    Hi Marian! I just joined The Classics Club. You have a great list! Here are books on your list I loved: East of Eden, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The Count of Monte Cristo, Jayber Crow (though Hannah Coulter is my favorite Wendell Berry), Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden,
    I enjoyed (but not as much as I LOVED the above): Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Scarlet Letter, The Diary of a Young Girl, Emily of New Moon, Brideshead Revisited, and Huck Finn

    I will link my list if interested. Happy reading and good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marian Post author

      Hey Elena, thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚ I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed those novels—I’ve heard so many good things about those first three!


  15. Marianne Maurer

    Brilliant. I have read 26 of the books on your list.
    As I just mentioned on your TTT list, I am a huge classics fan and my name is Marianne. Glad to have stumbled across your blog that way.
    And here is my classics club list

    Liked by 1 person

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