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The Classics Club was created to inspire people to read and blog about classic books (their words). In high school, I relied on SparkNotes to help me ace my tests and never read any of the required classics until Frankenstein, or the last assignment.
I learned about The Classics Club from This Tangled Skein and, as someone wanting to work classics into my reading, see it as a great challenge for myself. Having a community and as long as five years to complete my list makes this a practical challenge for myself, so I’m giving it a shot.
My list of 50 classics to read by January 7, 2024
Links to my reviews will be added as applicable.
- “Affinity” by Sarah Waters
- “Annie on My Mind” by Nancy Garden (1/20/20)
- “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
- “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy
- “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu
- “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath
- “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell
- “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
- “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller
- “Cold Sassy Tree” by Olive Ann Burns
- “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
- “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- “Dracula” by Bram Stoker
- “Emma” by Jane Austen
- “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
- “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway
- “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley (reread)
- “Giovanni’s Room” by James Baldwin
- “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald (reread, sort of)
- “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell
- “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
- “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
- “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” by Italo Calvino
- “Inferno” by Dante Alighieri
- “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë
- “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo
- “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
- “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
- “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville
- “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf
- “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck (reread, sort of)
- “The Picture of Dorian Grey” by Oscar Wilde
- “The Portrait of a Lady” by Henry James
- “The Price of Salt” (or “Carol”) by Patricia Highsmith
- “Rubyfruit Jungle” by Rita Mae Brown
- “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse
- “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut
- “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson
- “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston
- “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells
- “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
- “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith
- “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare
- “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins
- “Ulysses” by James Joyce
- “Vanity Fair” by William Makepeace Thackeray
- “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson
- “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle
- “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë
My criterion for creating the list
- Diversity: Variety is important, whether expressed via genres, page counts, themes, author demographics, etc.
- No repeat authors: Because of the wide array of classics out there, I opted out of repeating authors so I cansample various classic authors without having to commit to them.
- Woman writers: 21/50 books on this list were written by women. I tried to find books that interested me and that I generally wanted to read for pop culture reasons, and titles written by women that I figured I could read off the list would suffice in favor of adding a book that I need a little more motivation to read to the list instead. Otherwise, half the list would be books written by women.
I used the list provided by The Classics Club, books commonly shelved #theclassicsclub on Goodreads, and Book Riot’s “Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books” list for assistance in creating my own.
In my review posts, I’ll be including why I selected a particular book if it’s one I selected for more than sampling reasons.
Banned and/or challenged books
From my list, a handful of books are banned/challenged:
- Animal Farm
- Brave New World
- The Color Purple
- A Farewell to Arms
- The Great Gatsby
- Gone with the Wind
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Lord of the Flies
- Of Mice and Men
Reading banned/challenged books has been a dream of mine for awhile, so I’m excited about this!
Milestones & rewards for myself
I initially had non-monetary/non-food rewards here for myself, but as I’ve practiced self-care and made a habit of it, those rewards have been redundant. I do them already, when I have the spoons.
Thus, instead of setting up milestones/rewards, I’ll consider the reward to be reading the books and completing however much of this list I complete.
Sharing my progress
I’ll be sharing my progress as I review the books! I selected many of them with deeper reasons that I think might interest certain people, i.e. those who like my book reviews already, but even more so when I get a little personal in them. I’ll a roundup of books I finish in monthly updates. I’ll also be tagging posts accordingly.
Fifty books comes out to, roughly, one book per month. As there are 60 total in five years, I should have 10 months leeway. I tend not to take one month to read a book, however, unless my mood causes me to jump around to different books.