The Classics Club – 50 Classics in 5 Years

There are a few particularities I’d like to take a little bit of time to explain about my Classics Club reading list.

Basically, I’ve divided up my list into several categories and sub-categories. I’ve done this to visually ensure that I’ve included some categories of books I don’t feel like I’ve explored enough yet. For me – I’d like to make this first 5 year goal a very rounded one – ‘Well Read’, if you please. You will find books on this list from several different time periods, countries, genres, styles, and languages (though I will most certainly be reading the English translation in all cases – except perhaps one). I also wanted to make sure I included several works written by women, because like most readers, I don’t tend to read at a very healthy gender ratio, and what better way to rectify that than to make sure I added them initially to this list??

I have huge gaps in my reading repertoire. I’ve never read any Dickens, for example, or Austen (both are included on my list). Because a lot of these authors have such an expanse of work, all I’ve included on the list are their names. I’ve done this to give myself some wiggle room (freedom with guidance) as I move through the list. As far as I’m aware this is not against the rules if the challenge, so I’m going to go with it!

One more peculiarity of this list: a ‘bonus’ section. This is where I listed some children’s classics I’ve not yet read. I’ve really been wanting to re-read some classics from my childhood and read a few that I haven’t yet – I’m sure I could have added these in as my 50 books, but I thought I’d further challenge myself with the additional ten and link them up here as well.

Also, I’m planning on recording somewhere the classics that I read that don’t happen to be on this list. Somewhere down the line I may switch out some titles or something, but I’m sure I’ll be reading some that I haven’t included here, it’s inevitable! We’ll see how that all pans out, but I will be adding to the running list in a separate section.

Without much further ado, here is my list of books to read in the next five years::

1-Catch-22, Joseph Heller (1961)
2-Hamlet, William Shakespeare (1600-1602)
3-Animal Farm, George Orwell (1945)
4-Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)
5-The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (1979-1984)
6-Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger (1951)

7-Alexandre Dumas
8-The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo (1831)
9-Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1856)
10-20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne (1870)
11-Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand (1897)

12-For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway (1940)
13-White Fang, Jack London (1906)
14-The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (1963)
15-Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck (1962)
16-Leatherstocking Tales, James Fenimore Cooper (5 Books, 1823-1841)
17-Edgar Allen Poe

18-American Sea Writing
19-American’s in Paris

20-Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer (1470s)
21-The Jungle Books, Rudyard Kipling (1894)
22-Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien (3 Books, 1954-1955)
23-Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray (1848)
24-The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde (1890)
25-Charles Dickens

Women in England::
26-Middlemarch, George Elliot (1874)
27-Jane Austen
28-Cranford (1853) or/ Rebecca (1938)

Around the World::
29-Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott (1820, Scotland)
30-Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough (1977, Australia)
31-The Swiss Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss (1812, Switzerland)
32-Kristin Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset (3 Books, 1929-1922, Norway)
33-Don Quixote, Miguel Cervantes (1605, 1615, Spain)
34-1,001 Nights, Anonymous (1706 [first English Edition] South/West Asian/Middle Eastern)
35-100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967, Colombia)
36-Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (1873-1877 Russia)

Fairy Tales::
37-Hans Christian Andersen (1840s, Denmark)
38-Grimm Brothers (1812, Germany)

Greek Classics::
39-The Illiad, Homer (800 BC)
40-The Odyssey, Homer (700 BC)
41-The Aenid, Virgil (29 BC)
42,43-Assorted Plays of Sophocles & Aristophanes (496 – 380 BC)

44-The Birthday Letters, Ted Hughes
45-Walt Whitman
46-Edna St. Vincent Millay
47-C.S. Lewis
48-T.S. Eliot

49-Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1971-1961
50-The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Letters from 1872-1890)

Bonus, Young Adult/Children’s Classics:

1-Heidi, Johanna Spyri (1880, Switzerland)
2-Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White (1952)
3-Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls (1961)
4-A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)
5-Peter Pan, JM Barrie (1902)
6-Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (1865)
7-Aesop’s Fables (600 BC)
8-Beatrix Potter
9-King Arthur & his Knights, Howard Pyle (1902)
10-Roald Dahl

Please leave me a comment if you are interested, or are already taking part in The Classics Club – I’d love to get to know some of you! I will officially start this challenge on April 1st, 2013 – so my challenge will end on April 1st, 2018. I’m not sure if I should be superstitious about starting and ending on Fool’s Day ;-) Eh, I’m not worried!



11 thoughts on “The Classics Club – 50 Classics in 5 Years

    • Thank you! It was not on my first draft, but I saw it on my shelf and added it. I have the ‘Ultimate’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which includes all of the series, I believe. They’re so creative and funny :-)

    • Thank you! I like it organized as well, breaks it down into manageable chunks…I will feel accomplished after completing each section (though I’m not planning on reading them in order by any means). Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  1. Welcome to the challenge! I joined earlier this year so I’v e only read one book towards my goal so far but I am really enjoying the challenge! We have a lot of the same books on our lists. I’m also interested in classics children’s literature. Lately I’ve been wanting to learn more about it but I’m not sure where to start.

    • Oh, me too, Hillary (children’s lit). I started by read the Little House series, then Anne of Green Gables, a Wrinkle in Time, Little Women, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess. I definitely want more Lucy Maud and Louisa! And I’m finally (slowly) reading Harry Potter. Then The Chronicles of Narnia, Tom Sawyer, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Lois Lowry, and etc, etc. I love children’s classics. Can’t believe I never read them!

      • I read the Little House series as a kid and I loved it! I also read a couple of the Anne of Green Gables but I don’t remember much. I read a Wrinkle in Time in the 5th grade for school and I absolutely hated it! I was also obsessed with the Harry Potter books when I was younger and yet I hated the Narnia books for some reason. Reading Emma’s list actually got me thinking a lot about children’s lit and I made a list over at my blog of all the children’s classics I want to eventually get around to. Here’s the link if you’re interested in checking it out:

        • I read the first Narnia book as a kid over and over, but I’ve never read the others. Now I own them! I’m going to read them at night before I go to bed, once I finish Aesop’s Fables. Maybe. I might reread the Little House books instead. :) Love the project!!

  2. Pingback: Classics Club Challenge Update | emmabookblogger


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