Joining the Classics Club

I’m afraid that this is a shameless steal from Kirsty from The Literary Sisters … she recently joined the Classics Club too and now I am following suit.  I had a lot of reading plans for 2014 that kind of fell by the wayside as I started getting sent a lot more Advance Review Copies.  I love Advance Review Copies – they make me very happy, I still whoop out loud whenever I get one but I am not going to let them dominate 2015 in the same way that they have done for 2014.  I have so many books I want to read and while I like reading books for other people, I don’t want another year of reading under pressure.  This is a challenge to make me remember my Reading Bucket List.

So I have picked one hundred books as a target.  Some of them are re-reads (or books I may have read/left uncompleted) but there are lots that I haven’t gone near in a decade or more.  I want this to be a way of restructuring the way I plan out my reading but I have a real issue with the word ‘classic’.  The term ‘classic’ is all too often (in my very humble opinion) deployed as a way of making other people feel inferior about their choice of book.  I am not someone who thinks that ‘any reading is better than none’ because I think that is a pretty patronising thing to say but I do believe in the importance of respecting personal preferences.  If everybody thought the same thing about books then conversations would be very dull.

The other issue I have with the term ‘classic’ is what makes a book one.  Does it only happen the moment it passes out of copyright?  What about ‘modern classics’?  Do all the ‘free’ Amazon kindle titles have the status of classic?  How do you know when a book has real staying power?  A hundred years ago, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poetry was all the rage but who has actually read anything by him these days?  So, choosing my list has been tricky.  I have gone with books I want to revisit, ones I am curious about, books sitting patiently waiting for me, ones that I already have access to/can be found inexpensively/in the library – I am not looking to break the bank.  Being realistic, this is not doable in a year given the way that I read.  So.  I am going with a target of 31 December 2020.  Five years.  I have no idea what Girl with her Head in a Book will be like by then but as long as I draw breath, I know I will be a reader.  So we will see where we are.

Rereads

1) An Old Fashioned Girl, Louisa Alcott
2) Little Women, Louisa Alcott
3) Good Wives, Louisa Alcott
4) The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
5) Emma, Jane Austen
6) Persuasion, Jane Austen
7) Lorna Doone, R D Blakemore
8) Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte
9) Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
10) Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
11) Evelina, Fanny Burney
12) A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
13) Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
14) Atonement, Ian McEwan
15) Silas Marner, George Eliot
16) Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
17) The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
18) Catch 22, Joseph Heller
19) To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
20) The Chronicles of Narnia, C S Lewis
21) The Pursuit of Love/Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
22) Anne of Green Gables, L M Montgomery
23) His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
24) Ballet Shoes, Noel Streatfeild
25) The Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff
26) The Hobbit, J R R Tolkien
27) The Sword in the Stone, T.H. White

New Reads

28) Eight Cousins, Louisa Alcott
29) Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
30) The Bottle Factory Outing, Beryl Bainbridge
31) Master Georgie, Beryl Bainbridge
32) Regeneration, Pat Barker
33) Solitary Child, Nina Bawden
34) The Last September, Elizabeth Bowen
35) The Testament of Youth, Vera Brittain
36) Shirley, Charlotte Bronte
37) Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
38) The Awakening, Kate Chopin
39) And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
40) Childhood’s End, Arthur C Clarke
41) The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
42) Sisters By A River, Barbara Comyns
43) Family Roundabout, Richmal Crompton
44) The Man in the High Castle, Philip K Dick
45) David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
46) Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens
47) Mariana, Monica Dickens
48) The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
49) Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe
50) My Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell
51) Adam Bede, George Eliot
52) Middlemarch, George Eliot
53) The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
54) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
55) Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
56) Where Angels Fear to Tread, E M Forster
57) My Brilliant Career, Miles Franklin
58) The River, Rumer Godden
59) Travels with my Aunt, Graham Greene
60) The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
61) Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
62) Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell
63) The Matchmaker, Stella Gibbons
64) The Rich House, Stella Gibbons
65) Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
66) The Odd Women, George Gissing
67) Loving, Henry Green
68) Caught, Henry Green
69) The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
70) The Go-Between, L. P. Hartley
71) The Grand Sophy, Georgette Heyer
72) The Last Enemy, Richard Hillary
73) Rogue Male, Geoffrey Household
74) A London Child of the 1870s, Molly Hughes
75) Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
76) What Maisie Knew, Henry James
77) Three Men in a Boat, Jerome Jerome
78) The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
79) Ice Cold In Alex, Christopher Landon
80) Invitation to the Waltz, Rosamund Lehmann
81) The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing
82) Picnic at Hanging Rock, Joan Lindsay
83) Amongst Women, John McGahern
84) Her Privates We, Frederic Manning
85) One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
86) Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
87) The World My Wilderness, Rose Macaulay
88) Emily of New Moon, L. M. Montgomery
89) My Own Story, Emmeline Pankhurst
90) Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Poste
91) Saplings, Noel Streatfeild
92) Tristan and Isolde, Rosemary Sutcliff
93) Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
94) War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
95) A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
96) Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope
97) Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
98) Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, Winifred Watson
99) The Fountain Overflows, Rebecca West
100) We Were Sisters, Dorothy Whipple

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11 thoughts on “Joining the Classics Club

  1. Welcome to the club! You have some lovely choices on your list (in both categories). "What is a classic?" is certainly a vexed question and I don't have a good answer to it. On my list I tried to include books that have stood the test of time to a certain extent, and been recommended or talked about by many people. Basically, I am curious to know what the fuss is about. So far, I've been pleased with what I've found out!

  2. Good luck on your challenge! I also have some classics on my TBR, classics that I have never read. I am going to try for a nice mix of current and classics.

  3. I think that's it – seeing what the fuss is about. Plus, I do find blogging about a book and writing down my thoughts to be a very different experience to just reading it so it's nice to revisit old favourites too. I've only been reviewing for three years – there is a massive archive to look back on! 🙂

  4. Some gorgeous choices – on both lists. I do so hope you enjoy The Fountain Overflows. It is one of my favourite books ever – possibly even my favourite book ever – and there are two sequels: This Real Night and Cousin Rosamund (which West sadly never finished). The characters are the sort you can’t bear to leave: you long to know what is going to happen to them ultimately but of course you never do… Have fun!

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