Saturday, March 24, 2012

75 Classics in 5 Years

I saw on Goodreads that there's a new Classics Club, run by Jillian of A Room of One's Own.  I adore making lists and I have a ton of classics on the TBR bookcase, so this was a no-brainer.  At first I was just going to choose 50 from my own books, but that would be too easy. (Plus including 15 works by Trollope does make the list run over.)  So I decided to expand it to 75.  I'm sure I can read an average of 15 classic books per year.  So here's my current lineup -- of course, it could change, and it will probably grow longer.  I'm including two books (Framley Parsonage and The Fountain Overflows) which I've technically started already, but I've made so little progress with either I think it's fair.   A lot of these are on my 2012 challenge lists so this will give me added incentive.  Click here for specifics and to sign up.

I hope to finish this list by March 24, 2017.  That gives me just over five years to complete the list.  I really don't know that I deserve any special rewards for finishing these, but Amanda at Fig and Thistle gave me the idea of purchasing Penguin Clothbound Classics -- one for every five completed?  I do love those beautiful covers!

Titles in blue are from the TBR shelves.
  1. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
  2. Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac
  3. The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
  4. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
  5. Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck
  6. A Lost Lady by Willa Cather
  7. My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather
  8. One of Ours by Willa Cather
  9. Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
  10. The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
  11. Armandale by Wilkie Collins
  12. No Name by Wilkie Collins
  13. The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
  14. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  15. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  16. The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
  17. Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert
  18. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
  19. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  20. Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
  21. New Grub Street by George Gissing
  22. The Odd Women by George Gissing
  23. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  24. The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hacek
  25. A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
  26. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
  27. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  28. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  29. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  30. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  31. The Four Feathers by A. E. W. Mason
  32. Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham
  33. Theater by W. Somerset Maugham
  34. Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant
  35. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  36. Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant
  37. The Mystery of Mrs. Blencarrow by Margaret Oliphant
  38. A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
  39. Giants of the Earth by A. E. Rolvaag
  40. The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West
  41. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  42. The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
  43. Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
  44. Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
  45. Saplings by Noel Streatfield
  46. The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki
  47. Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
  48. Ayala's Angel by Anthony Trollope
  49. Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope
  50. Cousin Henry by Anthony Trollope
  51. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope
  52. The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope
  53. Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
  54. He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
  55. The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
  56. Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope
  57. Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope
  58. Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope
  59. Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope
  60. The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
  61. Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope
  62. The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
  63. Kipps by H. G. Wells
  64. Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty
  65. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West
  66. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
  67. The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton
  68. The New York Stories of Edith Wharton
  69. Twilight Sleep by Edith Wharton
  70. The Debacle by Emile Zola
  71. The Drinking Den (L'Assommoir) by Emile Zola
  72. The Earth by Emile Zola
  73. The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola
  74. The Masterpiece by Emile Zola
  75. Nana by Emile Zola
So how are my choices?  Any I should delete, or start reading right away?  


  1. Excellent choices, Karen! East of Eden is one of my all-time favorites. I also loved The Portrait of a Lady, Pavilion of Women, and several others. I really need to make a list, too.

    1. Somehow I keep putting off East of Eden, I don't know why. I loved Grapes of Wrath but I swear I'm going to read EoE this year. Period.

      I'm reading Pavilion of Women for book group soon so I'm looking forward to that, I've been wanting to read more by Pearl Buck forever. And I'm scared of Henry James but I've heard great things about Portrait. I look forward to reading your list!

  2. There is part of me that really wants to join up with this, and part of me that worries that if I make a list, I"ll be tempted to read it all immediately, until I get tired of the speeded up process, then I'll crash adn decide to quit. I'm no good at moderation in these things!

    1. Well, I know I'm going to have to stretch it out because of all my book groups (unless I can persuade ALL of them to become strictly classics groups. Ha!!) And I can only read so many Victorian doorstoppers in a year, so that will force me to pace myself. About 1/3 of these books are over 500 pages!

      I predict you'll be seeing some of these in my book club nominations for the next few years, as long as the library has enough copies.

  3. Yes... reward yourself with those Penguins! They are so beautiful and a great treat that will not only bring pleasure when you read them but when you look at them. I support your Dickens' choices, although I have had the most difficulty with Pickwick. I will cheer on Drood for picking up right away because it is that good and you could finish in time for the pbs adaptation. Best wishes and happy reading:)

  4. It's a tossup between Drood and Our Mutual Friend for my next Dickens -- Drood because of PBS and OMF because I've heard so many good things about it. And my library has ordered an audio of OMF, and I'm first on the list. Seems like I've been waiting for it forever. But the short length of Drood is tempting!

  5. What a wonderful list! We have many similar titles. I love Dickens, Collins, Bowen, and Zola. Armadale is my favorite! I, too, can't wait to read Trollope. Oh, and Saplings was one of my most favorite reads from last year.

    1. I still haven't read anything by Elizabeth Bowen, so that's a must-read. I bought The Death of the Heart more than five years ago, because it was on the Modern Library Top 100. Still haven't touched it other than moving it from house to house. And I really need to get working on my Persephone to-reads, haven't read any in months.

  6. Wow! That's a lot of Trollope. :D Although I can't fault you because I, too, have multiple books by each author. Good luck!

    1. Yeah, I might have to cut some Trollope, I keep remembering books I didn't put on the list, so he might have to be edited. Or maybe I'll just add another 25 and make it an even 100!

  7. Hi and welcome!! I might need to add The Four Feathers to my list. I've wanted to read it for a while and didn't even think of it when I made mine. I'm glad you've joined! :D

  8. Thanks! I'm looking forward to reading lots of reviews -- and adding a lot of books to my TBR list as well.

  9. I've been offline for a while so I missed the announcement of this, but it does sound like great fun. I have been wanting to read more classics--the last couple of years my classic reading has been down, so maybe this would be a way to bump it up. I love your list and I love the rewards you're giving yourself for when you read from the list! There are lots on your list that I want to read as well!

    1. I think there's plenty of time to join if you want. My only fear is that I'll never finish the list, I'll just keep fiddling with it. I've already thought of books I'd forgotten -- and I'm going to keep finding new books to add from all the blog postings. Oh well, I guess this will keep me busy for five years.

  10. Great list. I also felt compelled to expand mine, though in my case it's due to including every Dickens novel I haven't yet read. I did include two Trollope titles: The Warden and Barchester Towers. I've not read anything by Trollope yet, so I'm looking forward to getting acquainted with him.

    I hope you enjoy your reading, and I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on all of these.

    1. I did leave off three more Dickens I haven't read, Barnaby Rudge and The Old Curiosity Shop. I think I got carried away with the Trollope! But I finally made some progress with Framley Parsonage yesterday and if all the Trollopes on my list are as good, it will be time well spent. I look forward to seeing your list!

  11. What a fantastic list, Karen! I can't wait for your reviews -- so many of these are on my TBR list (except for the Trollopes *hahahaha*)!

    1. I may have gotten carried away with all the Trollope. I'm reading Framley Parsonage right now and parts of it are annoying me a little. I might cut some of the Trollope and add Barbara Pym instead, whom I'd completely forgotten.

  12. I can't wait to read your thoughts on all of these over the coming years! I'm glad to see some Cather on your list. She's recently become a great favorite of mine and one of those authors I am urging everyone to read.
    The Odd Women by Gissing is a bit different from other Victorian novels I've read and one that has stayed with me, though I read it almost a year ago.

    1. I got a bunch of Cathers at the Borders closeout last year, mostly her lesser-known works. I think I have about six unread on the shelves.

      George Gissing keeps popping up on the blogs. I have a couple of his books I got from Paperback Swap so I thought I'd give him a try. Might be a nice break from the more famous Victorian writers.

  13. Great list! I have a lot of Trollope on my list as well. I think he's my favorite Victorian novelist.

  14. I'm finding him easier to read than Dickens. I still love Dickens, but I think he's a great alternative for people who think they hate Victorians. Sometimes I get a little bogged down in his political satire but I still enjoy his books.

  15. Good list. I have quite a lot of Trollope in mine too, I want to finish the Palliser series. You're fairly getting through Zola! I quite enjoyed The Odd Women.

    1. I've read 5 of the Rougon-Macquart series by Zola, plus Therese Raquin. Don't know if I'll ever get through the whole thing since some of them are still only available in pretty poor translations. I'm starting to think I may have gotten carried away with so much Trollope!

      I keep hearing good things about Gissing so I am looking forward to him, would like to read at least one this year for my Victorian challenge.

  16. Wow, I have nothing but admiration for anybody taking on these challenges. Good to see several Cather titles on your list - look forward to the reviews!

  17. I love your choice of Bel ami !!

  18. A Lost Lady by Willa Cather is one of my favorites!

    And, although I don't ever really respond to the "what's your favorite book" question, because it's basically impossible to answer... if any book comes close to sealing the deal, it is absolutely EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck. So, so, so wonderful.

    I'm reading The Hunchback of Notre-Dame right now... liking it, but not as much as Les Miserables. We shall see (I'm only about 1/3 of the way in).


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