Classics List

IMG_0363Looking around various literature blogs, I saw a number who joined a so-called “Classics Club”. Those who join make a list of 50 books to read within 5 years, and then write a blog post on each book as they finish. I have been using Goodreads for a few months now, writing only brief reviews, but I think it would be worth the effort to deepen my reviews. Now to come up with the list…

  1. Romola. George Eliot. (#2)
  2. Felix Holt, A Radical. George Eliot. (#12)
  3. Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen. (#7)
  4. The Vulgate.
  5. The Qur’an. (#1)
  6. The Master and Margarita. Mikhail Bulgakov. (#36)
  7. Out of Africa. Karen Blixen.
  8. Kristen Lavransdatter. Sigrid Undset. (#15)
  9. The Master of Hestviken. Sigrid Undset.
  10. Rosmersholm. Henrik Ibsen. (#3)
  11. Anna Karenina. Leo Tolstoy. (#9)
  12. Barchester Towers. Anthony Trollope.
  13. Doctor Thorne. Anthony Trollope.
  14. North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell.
  15. Metamorphoses. Ovid. (#6)
  16. Ivanhoe. Walter Scott.
  17. Loss and Gain. John Henry Newman.
  18. Apologia Pro Vita Sua. John Henry Newman. (#11)
  19. Death Comes for the Archbishop. Willa Cather.
  20. O Pioneers!. Willa Cather. (#17)
  21. The Cyberiad. Stanislaw Lem. (#27)
  22. Brighton Rock. Graham Greene.
  23. Nine Stories. J.D. Salinger.
  24. To the Lighthouse. Virginia Woolf.
  25. Mrs. Dalloway. Virginia Woolf. (#13)
  26. Waiting for Godot. Samuel Beckett.
  27. Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Anne Bronte.
  28. David Copperfield. Charles Dickens.
  29. The Idiot. Fyodor Dostoevsky.
  30. Demons. Fyodor Dostoevsky.
  31. Absalom! Absalom!. William Faulkner.
  32. The Sorrows of Young Werther. Goethe.
  33. Italian Journey. Goethe.
  34. The Portrait of a Lady. Henry James.
  35. Life of Johnson. James Boswell.
  36. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Edward Gibbon. (*)
  37. The Dubliners. James Joyce.
  38. The Trial. Franz Kafka. (#8)
  39. Moby Dick. Herman Melville.
  40. Swann’s Way. Marcel Proust.
  41. Grapes of Wrath. John Steinbeck.
  42. Il fu Mattia Pascal. Luigi Pirandello.
  43. Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore. Luigi Pirandello.
  44. Il Gattopardo. Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
  45. Delta Wedding. Eudora Welty.
  46. Pilgrim’s Progress. John Bunyan.
  47. My Disillusionment in Russia. Emma Goldman. (#5)
  48. The Count of Monte Cristo. Alexandre Dumas.
  49. Helena. Evelyn Waugh. (#4) (*)
  50. A Train of Powder. Rebecca West.
  51. Out of the Silent Planet. C.S. Lewis. (#10)
  52. Eugénie Grandet. Honoré de Balzac. (#14)
  53. Decline and Fall. Evelyn Waugh. (#16)
  54. Three Elegies for Kosovo. Ismail Kadare. (#18)
  55. Adam Bede. George Eliot. (#19)
  56. My Name is Asher Lev. Chaim Potok. (#20)
  57. Remains of the Day. Kazuo Ishiguro. (#21)
  58. Thérèse Raquin. Émile Zola. (#22)
  59. Pale Fire. Vladimir Nabokov. (#23)
  60. The Frogs. Aristophanes. (#24)
  61. Letters to a Young Poet. Rainer Maria Rilke. (#25)
  62. Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon. Jane Austen. (#26)
  63. The Wild Ass’s Skin. Honoré de Balzac. (#28)
  64. Colonel Chabert. Honoré de Balzac. (#29)
  65. Comedy of Errors. William Shakespeare. (#30)
  66. Collected Novellas. Stefan Zweig. (#31)
  67. Democracy. Henry Adams. (#32)
  68. Washington Square. Henry James. (#33)
  69. Cyrano de Bergerac. Edmond Rostand. (#34)
  70. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Muriel Spark. (#35)
  71. Omer Pasha Latas. Ivo Andric. (#37)
  72. The World of Yesterday. Stefan Zweig. (#43)
  73. A Little Larger than the Entire Universe. Fernando Pessoa.
  74. Ulysses. James Joyce.
  75. Alcibiades. Plato. (#38)
  76. Gorgias. Plato. (#39)
  77. Perelandra. C.S. Lewis. (#40)
  78. That Hideous Strength. C.S. Lewis. (#41)
  79. A Moveable Feast. Ernest Hemingway. (#42)
  80. Ubik. Philip K. Dick. (#44)
  81. A Confederacy of Dunces. John Kennedy Toole. (#45)

Well, there it is. I will probably not be super consistent in sticking to this. Most of these books are either sitting on my shelf, sitting on my Amazon wish list, or have come up in recent conversation. I first wondered if I could come up with a list of 50, and then I wondered how it could stop there! But it will serve as a reference (and at least encourage me to finish the books on my shelves!). I only put two George Eliot novels on the list, but I will probably continue to read whatever else I can find by her. The same goes for Anthony Trollope–I do not know how much I will like him, but I may end up reading far more than the two books I put on the list.

[Update, 7 May 2017: The numbers in parentheses indicate the order in which I read them. An asterisk indicates an extra post on the same book.]

[Update, 20 Nov 2017: When I read a classic beyond my original list of 50, I will append it to this list, starting from spot 51. The remainder upon reaching 50 will perhaps be the start of a future list.]

[Update, 26 May 2018: My last three titles were not on the original list. I’m sensing a pattern.]

[Update, 6 July 2021: Definitely had a slow year. Starting to renew ancient reading habits.]

More information here:

Start date: April 22, 2017
Projected completion date: April 22, 2022.

5 thoughts on “Classics List

  1. wow, great titles here. Though The Vulgate is technically a group of books, quite ambitious. So I assume you will read it in Latin, as I’m not sure there’s really a good close enough translation in English, is there. But the Latin of the Vulgate is easy, compared to Cicero’s Latin let’s say.
    In my teens, i loved so much your #32.
    Here is my own list, but I think you visited:
    Say hello to Kalamazoo campus for me, I’ve been there several times to attend or even deliver a talk at the amazing Medieval International Congress. And beautiful place as well

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am indeed reading it in Latin, though I have not been diligent. I am about 10 chapters into the book of Exodus. Having some familiarity with the Bible in English definitely helps fill in the blanks! It is leaps and bounds easier than Cicero.

      I will have to check out the Medieval Congress! Whenever I mention Kalamazoo in academic settings, that is the one thing everyone seems to know about it, though I have never gone myself.


  2. Pingback: Two Poets: Aristophanes and Rilke | vogliodio

  3. I am delighted that you have read The Qur’an, I have read it in the original text, yet sometimes I like to compare the English to Arabic writing.


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