Monday, August 5, 2013

My Classics Club List

A number of the bloggers I follow are members of The Classics Club. I have actually wanted to join for a while, but found the idea of putting together a list of 50 books to read in 5 years very daunting. On the one hand, there are so many books to read. On the other hand, where to begin?

Feeling like I was missing a party I really wanted to attend, I finally hit on a two-part strategy. The first part of my list came from my existing TBR on Goodreads. That part of the list contains “classic” classics (if that’s a thing) that I just haven’t found time for – a.k.a., I wasn’t assigned – like Eliot’s Middlemarch and Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.

The second part came from an imprint that I absolutely love, and wanted to explore more thoroughly, NYRB Classics. I love this imprint because of its broad range: history, biography, memoir, mystery, humor, and romance are all represented. Because of the nature of the list, these books are more international in nature, decidedly modern, and maybe a bit more obscure, including titles such as Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel and Nancy Mitford’s Voltaire in Love.

There are no re-reads on my list, which is a bit scary. A majority of the authors are completely new to me as well. But I feel like I will have accomplished something when I finally get through the list. Hopefully, that will be before August 5, 2018!

Col Reads’ Classic 50

1. Baker, Dorothy: Cassandra at the Wedding

2. Bengtsson, Frans G.: The Long Ships

3. Borges, Jorge Luis: Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi

4. Braddon, Mary Elizabeth: Lady Audley’s Secret

5. Cather, Willa: Death Comes for the Archbishop

6. Choderlos de Laclos, Pierre: Dangerous Liaisons

7. Collette: The Pure and Impure

8. Collodi, Carlo: Pinocchio

9. De Balzac, Honore: The Unknown Masterpiece

10. De Maupassant, Guy: Alien Hearts

11. Dundy, Elaine: The Dud Avocado

12. Edwards, G.B.: The Book of Ebeneezer Le Page

13. Eliot, George: Middlemarch

14. Eliot, T.S.: Murder in the Cathedral

15. Fearing, Kenneth: The Big Clock

16. Fermor, Patrick Leigh: The Traveller’s Tree: A Journey through the Caribbean Islands

17. Fielding, Henry: Tom Jones

18. Finley, F.I.: The World of Odysseus

19. Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby

20. Gadda, Carlo Emilio: That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana

21. Gaskell, Elizabeth: North and South

22. Gogol, Nikolay: Dead Souls

23. Grossman, Vasily: An Armenian Sketchbook

24. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Blithedale Romance

25. Hemingway, Ernest: A Moveable Feast

26. Hughes, Richard: A High Wind in Jamaica

27. Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes Were Watching God

28. Inoue, Yasushi: Tun-Huang

29. Ishiguro, Kazuo: The Remains of the Day

30. Jansson, Tove: The True Deceiver

31. Kerouac, Jack: On the Road

32. Malory, Sir Thomas: Le Morte d’Arthur

33. Mitford, Jessica: Hons and Rebels

34. Mitford, Nancy: Voltaire in Love

35. Murakami, Haruki: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

36. Nabokov, Vladimir: Lolita

37. Pepys, Samuel: Diary of Samuel Pepys

38. Pirandello, Luigi: The Late Mattia Pascal

39. Pym, Barbara: Excellent Women

40. Sabbatini, Rafael: Scaramouche

41. Simenon, Georges: Act of Passion

42. Sorokin, Vladimir: The Queue

43. Taylor, Elizabeth: Angel

44. Twain, Mark: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

45. Van Vechten, Carl: The Tiger in the House

46. Von Arnim, Elizabeth: The Enchanted April

47. Warner, Rex: Men and Gods

48. Wharton, Edith: Ghost Stories

49. White, T.H.: The Once and the Future King

50. Zola, Emile: The Belly of Paris

I'll be tracking my progress on a separate blog page. Right now the 0/50 has me pretty motivated to get moving on some classics!


  1. Good luck! This sounds like a great challenge. Let me know if you highly recommend any of these after reading!

    1. You bet -- considering they're all considered classics, I'm assuming I'll like a good number of them!

  2. Like you, I have several fellow bloggers who do this challenge (and now, one more!). I have been tempted but not quite enough (yet). I'm too busy reading new books. I do try to read a classic every now and then, though. I read To Kill a Mockingbird the last few weeks. And I downloaded a book by Maxim Gorky (although I can't promise I'll read it soon).

    Your Murakami and Ishiguro are excellent choices!I don't think I've read any of the others. Good luck with the challenge!

    1. I do think of you as a contemporary lit blogger, but I know you do classics as well. I am looking forward to those two Japanese titles in particular.

  3. I have a Collette book, too, which I've never read. In fact, there are so many classics I long to bury myself in! Lots of titles on your list are new to me, so thanks for that. As for me, I've changed my list of 50 so many times I feel like I'm somehow cheating! :)

    1. We should find a mutual title on our lists to make into a group read! It would be fun, and I always appreciate your insights into books -- you see things I never see!

  4. What a wonderful idea! I can't wait to hear what classics you love.

    1. I am looking forward to it too -- I have some ideas about which will be my favorites, but I'm trying to withhold judgment!

  5. Some of these I adore but others I hated so much I never finished them. Some, of course, I haven't read. I hope you record your thoughts here -- I'm curious which you'll like.

    1. I will definitely be reviewing them here -- now I'm dying to know which ones you hated! I am planning to replace books that I absolutely can't finish, since the point of this is FUN :)

  6. What a wonderful and eclectic list. It includes some of my favorites: Barbara Pym, Zola, North & South, Middlemarch, Enchanted April. . . I wish I was reading them for the first time!

    1. Thanks, Karen! I hope the list has enough variety so that there's something for every mood. I'm a little worried I don't have enough comedy -- but I can always add books if it isn't working.

  7. Eee, so cool! I 'started' this year, but have only done one read so far, which I haven't even reviewed, but...well, I'm trying! Here's my list -- we have a few overlapping reads, if not overlapping authors. Would love to know what you plan to read -- I may try to jump in/read along!

    1. I love your list! We overlap on quite a few. We definitely need to read and review one together, and see if anyone else wants to join!


I absolutely love comments. Thanks for taking the time to share! Col