Another Round of Classics

The first classics challenge was a success: I read 50 classics within 5 years. I did this even with sets of months where I read almost nothing. The existence of the goal always prompted a return to reading, and so it makes sense to start again. Last time, my starting list was composed mostly of books that were sitting on my shelves. So also now: there are two shelves in my room filled with literature I have not read, so these are the titles I will start with.

  1. Naguib Mahfouz, The Cairo Trilogy.
  2. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield.
  3. James Joyce, Ulysses.
  4. Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.
  5. Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons.
  6. Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain.
  7. Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot.
  8. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.
  9. Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady.
  10. John Steinbeck, East of Eden.
  11. Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers.
  12. Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet.
  13. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Italian Journey.
  14. Rumer Godden, In this House of Brede.
  15. Orhan Pamuk, The Black Book.
  16. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  17. Italo Svevo, Zeno’s Conscience.
  18. Fernando Pessoa, A Little Larger than the Entire Universe.
  19. Orhan Pamuk, Snow.
  20. Charles Dickens, Hard Times.
  21. Olga Tokarczuk, Flights.
  22. Rebecca West, The Fountain Overflows.
  23. William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses.
  24. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth.
  25. António Lobo Antunes, The Natural Order of Things.
  26. Molière, The Misanthrope.
  27. Molière, Tartuffe.
  28. H.G. Wells, The Time Machine.
  29. Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth.
  30. Leo Tolstory, The Kreutzer Sonata.
  31. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
  32. José Saramago, The Elephant’s Journey.
  33. Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons.
  34. Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
  35. Ismail Kadare, The Traitor’s Niche.
  36. Stanislaw Lem, Hospital of the Transfiguration.
  37. Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.
  38. Henry James, The Europeans.
  39. Hugo von Hofmannsthal, The Lord Chandos Letter.
  40. Stefan Zweig, The Post-Office Girl.
  41. J.A. Baker, The Peregrine.
  42. Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne.
  43. Luigi Pirandello, The Late Mattia Paschal.
  44. James Joyce, The Dubliners.
  45. George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life.
  46. Graham Greene, Brighton Rock.
  47. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick.
  48. Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows.
  49. Isaac Bashevis Singer, Shosha.
  50. Honoré de Balzac, Père Goriot.

As I finish books, I will edit this post and move them from the list above to the list below.

  1. Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo.
  2. Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness.
  3. Honoré de Balzac, Treatise on Modern Stimulants.

First Classics Challenge Complete

Within this last week of 2021, I have completely the challenge I set out for myself of finishing 50 classics within five years, starting from April 22, 2017. If I were to include dates, it would be clear that there were vast stretches of time without any books finished, and certain intense periods when I read a number of titles quickly.

It is also apparent from the lack of hyperlinks after #30 that I no longer took time to write about the books I finished. The benefit didn’t seem to justify the time spent on them. All in all, participating in this challenge probably helped me read more than I otherwise would have in the last five years, so it was worth it over all. My next post will contain a proposal for renewing this challenge. Continue reading