Kicking off with The Classics Club

I know I promised to post about what I planned to read for the two reading challenges I’ve undertaken this year, but before that post comes, I wanted to set myself up for a five year challenge I’ve decided to join!  The Classics Club is a blogging community that encourages bloggers to get out there and delve into classic literature.  In order to be a part of this wonderful journey, I have to post fifty classics that I plan to read in the next five years.

Twelve of these books will come straight from the book club I’m a part of on my friend’s blog (said friend also introduced me to The Classics Club!).  The rest will include texts I’ve been cataloging in a notebook entitled “for mental consumption,” as well as texts I’ve previously read that I think are due for a reread, or texts that I’ve heard are absolutely necessary reads for my continued existence as a bibliophile.  Some of them will be included in this year’s book challenges.  But no matter how they made their way onto this list, I’m thrilled to read and write about them all!

Start Date: January 25, 2015
End Date: January 25, 2020

On the Road,
by Jack Kerouac

Steppenwolf,
by Hermann Hesse
(I read Siddhartha over the holiday break and absolutely adored it!)

The Age of Innocence
Ethan Frome,
by Edith Wharton

The Iliad,
by Homer

The Odyssey,
by Homer

The Aeneid,
by Virgil

A Study in Scarlet,
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Canterbury Tales,
by Geoffrey Chaucer

Persuasion,
by Jane Austen
(For some surprising reason I haven’t read this one!)

A Room with a View,
by E. M. Forster

A Moveable Feast,
by Ernest Hemingway

The Scarlet Letter,
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Beloved,
by Toni Morrison

The Handmaid’s Tale,
by Margaret Atwood

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,
by Mark Twain

Candide,
by Voltaire

Les Misérables,
by Victor Hugo
(One of my cats is named after a character from the musical adaption.)

The Pillars of the Earth,
by Ken Follett

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Finnegans Wake,
by James Joyce
(Yes, I do plan on fighting my way through his final work.
I’m only a little scared.)

Thus Spake Zarathustra,
by Friedrich Nietzsche

The Principles of Psychology,
by William James
(Couldn’t escape psychology entirely. Oh well!)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,
by Philip K. Dick

The Count of Monte Cristo,
by Alexandre Dumas

The Pilgrim’s Progress,
by John Bunyan

The Faerie Queene,
by Edmund Spenser

Middlemarch,
by George Eliot

Robinson Crusoe,
by Daniel Defoe

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,
by Robert Louis Stevenson
(A story I know well, yet have never read the novella.)

Old Mortality,
by Sir Walter Scott

Anna Karenina,
by Leo Tolstoy

The Color Purple,
by Alice Walker

The Awakening,
by Kate Chopin

War of the Worlds
& The Invisible Man,
by H. G. Wells

China Men,
by Maxine Hong Kingston
(I pointblank loved The Woman Warrior.)

Paradise Lost,
by John Milton

Dracula,
by Bram Stoker

Blackberry Winter,
by Margaret Mead

The Portrait of a Lady,
by Henry James
(I included his brother, so it’s only fair to include him!)

Beowulf,
translated by Seamus Heaney

To the Lighthouse,
by Virginia Woolf

The Chimes
A Tale of Two Cities,
by Charles Dickens

Little Women,
by Louisa May Alcott
(I just want to live Jo’s life,
from what I remember from reading it as a child.)

Lady Chatterley’s Lover,
by D. H. Lawrence

Their Eyes Were Watching God,
by Zora Neale Hurston

The Invisible Man,
by Ralph Ellison

The Secret Garden,
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
(A favorite from my childhood.)

Looking at that list is a little intimidating.  However, as long as I remember I have five years I should be able to stay sane!  I’ll post thoughts on each piece as I read it, starting with Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence this coming Thursday!


As I’m always in the pursuit of more knowledge. I’ll include classics I read outside this list below:

Little Men,
Louisa May Alcott

Frankenstein,
by Mary Shelley

Much Ado About Nothing,
by Williams Shakespeare

Doctor Zhivago,
by Boris Pasternak

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
William Irving

To Kill a Mockingbird,
by Harper Lee

Jane and John in June series

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  • Welcome to the club! Persuasion and A Moveable Feast are two of my favorites.

    • Sarah Elise

      Thank you! Both of those books are ones I’ve started, but found myself unwilling to finish for whatever reason (I’ll blame youth. Always a good excuse.) I’m thrilled to successfully get through them this time around!

  • You’ve never read Persuasion? It is seriously one of my favorites. Austen just gets better with age (hers and mine).

    Margaret Atwood is a God among women. Handmaid’s Tale is some good stuff.

    Finnegan’s Wake? I am impressed (and surprised and mildly terrified for you).

    And then the rest of your list is pretty similar to mine. Yay reading buddy!

    • Sarah Elise

      I tried to read Persuasion once! No idea what stopped me. But I can’t wait to officially read it and write about it!

      Keaton actually suggested The Handmaid’s Tale, and after reading about Margaret Atwood, I’m probably going to have to add several of her books to my shelf. She sounds like a spectacular lady.

      & I am firm and set to read all of Joyce’s fiction works. But I fully admit I’ll probably need a month in seclusion to get through it without major psychological distress 😛

  • Any particular reason you chose A Study in Scarlet by Doyle? I ask because it’s pretty commonly considered the weakest of Holmes stories–it was written first, before Doyle had fully got a handle on what he was doing, and has a long, weird interlude about Mormons in Utah. If you want a really good Holmes story you might look at a different one, unless you specifically wanted to see ‘how it started.’ Just a suggestion. 🙂

    This is really inspiring! Best of luck with your endeavor.

    • Sarah Elise

      I chose it for a few reasons, probably the greatest of which being that I am reading it with a friend, and she selected it 🙂 But I actually do plan on reading all of the Holmes stories in the next few years, though I didn’t include them here!

      Thanks for the luck! I’m sure there will be times I’ll need it 🙂

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