Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fifty Classics

I'm joining the Classics Club, a project in which bloggers list at least fifty classic works of literature they'd like to read and set a deadline, up to five years in the future in which to finish reading them.  Follow the link to read the full instructions and to join if you want.  I hereby set my own deadline as March 28, 2017.

My list:

1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
2. The Virginians by William Makepeace Thackeray
3. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
4. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
5. Absalom Abaslom by William Faulkner
6. The Hamlet by William Faulkner
7. The Town by William Faulkner
8. The Mansion by William Faulkner
9. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
10. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
11. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
12. The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell
13. Yeats--the Autobiography
14. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams
15. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
16. The Red and the Black by Stendhal
17. Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
18. Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
19. Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
20. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
21. The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
22. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
23. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
24. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
25. Old Man Goriot by Honore de Balzac
26. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
27. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
28. Ulysses by James Joyce
29. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
30. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
31. Point Counterpoint by Aldous Huxley
32. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth
33. The Diary of John Evelyn
34. A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne
35. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
36. Framely Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
37. The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
38. The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
39. Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope
40. Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope
41. The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope
42. Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope
43. The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
44. The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope
45. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
46.  The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
47.  Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
48.  Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
49. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
50. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

Some of these are re-reads--the rules say that this is OK.  I got the name Patience Crabstick from Trollope's novel The Eustace Diamonds, and I read a lot of the Dickens and Faulkner novels in college and of course I have read Mansfield Park. The definition of "classic" is left up to the person who is participating.  I don't know who considers Cold Comfort Farm to be a classic, except for anyone who has read it.  What classics would you like to read?

Edited to add that as I finish these, I'll highlight their titles according to a color-coded system I use that ranks the books I read.  Purple=LOVE, definitely read again.  Blue=Good.  Maroon=Soso. Green=Bad.


  1. Every few years I find a list by some publication or another with a title like "100 classic books to read before you die" and I vow to make a dent. That vow usually lasts for 2 or 3 books until I'm defeated.

    The biggest gap in my reading education is Russian novelists. I've read War and Peace and Anna Karenina and that's it.

  2. I need to read Jane Eyre, something by Henry James and Eudora Welty. Those are the glaring oversights in my reading...

  3. Jane Eyre is great! Oh, good luck with Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. I've given up on it a long time ago. Maybe in the years to come, when I have enough guts, I'll put it in my second list of 50 books for another five years.

  4. My favorite book that is not on this list is "A Moveable Feast," by Hemmingway. I also quite like Poe. I probably would include Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina," as well.

    In a more modern bent, I quite like Irwin Shaw and John O'Hara.

  5. I say Cold Comfort Farm is a classic because it has endured. It may not be literary enough to be included on a college syllabus, but it's hilarious and people are still reading it, so that's good enough for me. I would include Three Men in a Boat in the same category.

    And nice to see so much Trollope! I'm working on Framley Parsonage right now and it's getting really good. I hope to finish the Barsetshire series this year and maybe read a couple of the stand-alone Trollopes before tackling the Pallisers. And North and South is just wonderful. If you haven't read it you're in for a treat.

  6. That's quite a list, and I wish you well of it.
    If I tried that lot, I reckon my brain would implode of absolute boredom, ennui and bone-deep depression before I reached number 5.
    Actually, probably before the end of 1.

  7. Great very well thought out list.

  8. AWESOME list!

  9. I am now reading The Brothers far, so good! You have a wonderful variety of titles on your list...Enjoy ~
    Beth :-)

  10. Excellent list!! I can't wait to see your thoughts on these titles. Especially the ones I don't recognize, like a few of the Faulkner titles. I love Faulkner, so I'll be curious to widen my knowledge of his works. I've only read The Sound and the Fury and a couple short stories, so far.

    I'm excited you've joined. It's great to meet you. :)

  11. I dislike many classics. I get inspired by them lists too, and then read a couple and go, wft? I think most classics suck. The only ones I enjoy are what I consider 'soft-er' classics like Jules Verne, Dumas, Austen, Twain, Maugham.

    I've given up on Tolstoy, Faulkner, whom I find baffling, incomprehensible and lots of other similar words. Anna Karenina sucked.

    I do love Gogol and Dostoevsky though. And would also add Master and Margarita by Bulgakov as a great read.