Friday, February 8, 2013

The Classics Club

My list of Bookish Goals for 2013 included joining The Classics Club and I'm excited to finally have my list together! I'm seriously starting to think I have some sort of addiction to lists though (do you think there's a support group for this kind of thing? No? Well, I suppose there's no true harm in it!) Anyway, this awesome club is (obviously) a community committed to reading and blogging more about the classics. Considering I've only posted about one lonely classic on this blog (that I didn't even like very much!) and yet I keep adding new ones to my collection, I'm way overdue for something like this. The goal is pretty straight-forward: read 50 classics over a 5 year period, so my end date is February 8, 2018. That's quite a lot of time, so don't worry, I will still be reading and reviewing other types of books as well! 

This is something I've been wanting to do for some time now, but a few excellent reviews like this one about Rebecca from the Insatiable Booksluts has really reminded me just how much I've been missing out on. At first, I was worried this would feel too much like "homework," but unlike in high school, I get to pick the books, so I don't think that will be a problem.


The Club's guidelines state this can be a "living list" and it's allowed to change over time, so now that it is already 2016 and I have only made a small dent in my goal, it's time to reevaluate and reboot. Over the past three years, I kept adding SO MANY titles to my list while reading hardly any of them. I've finally come to the realization that I can read any classic that strikes my fancy and count it for the Club (assuming I want to blog about it!) But having an unwieldy list of 125+ titles is not helping me prioritize or figure out what to read next. Since I've been on a major children's lit kick, I thought I'd give my list a makeover that realistically reflects the types of classics I most want to read at this point in my life. After all, I can always join again in the future with a new list! A lot of these are in 1001 Childrens Books to Read Before You Grow Up which I've been paging through again lately and I'm feeling inspired :)

(Updated: 1/3/2016)

Club Progress:
32/50 Classics read

1.  A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens (re-read)
2.   Great Classic Humor, by Mark Twain, et al
3. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan (re-read)
4. Beowulf (re-read)
5. Oedipus Rex (re-read)
6. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller (re-read)
7. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
8. Selected Shorts, by Edith Wharton & Edgar Allen Poe
9-12. Winnie-the-Pooh books, by A.A. Milne
         The House at Pooh Corner
         When We Were Very Young
         Now We Are Six
13-14.  A Bear Called Paddington + More About Paddington, by Michael Bond
15-18. More Paddington sequels, by Michael Bond
            Paddington Helps Out
            Paddington Abroad
            Paddington at Large
            Paddington Marches On
19. Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White
20. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson
21. A Celebration of the Short Story: Timeless Classics
22. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
23. The Complete Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
24. A Literary Christmas: An Anthology
25. A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle
26. The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
27. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, by Betty MacDonald
28. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic, by Betty MacDonald
29-30. Gone-Away Lake + Return to Gone-Away, by Elizabeth Enright
31. A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen
32. Turn of the Screw, by Henry James

The Sign of Four, by Arthur Conan Doyle
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit
The Enchanted Castle, by E. Nesbit
My Father's Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Aesop's Fables, by Aesop
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
The Caravan Family, by Enid Blyton
The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge
Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie (re-read)
Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales (selected edition)
Grimm’s Fairy Tales, by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm (selected edition)
Betsy Tacy, by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (+ more in the series?)
Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
Ginger Pye, by Eleanor Estes
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Stuart Little, by E.B. White
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery (+ rest of series?)
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis (+ rest of series?)
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle (+ rest of series?)
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg
The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander
Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
Matilda, by Roald Dahl
The Phantom Tolbooth, by Norton Juster
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle
Bedknob and Broomstick, by Mary Norton

Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
Poetry Speaks, edited by Elise Paschen & Rebekah Presson Mosby

(Updated 10/23/2017)


  1. I was an English major, so I read a lot of classics, and I enjoy classics, but what got me was the constant need to nit-pick and over analyze every scene, every character, every line to sound "intelligent." now that I'm out of school, I love reading a classic just to read it and enjoying the story instead of worrying about motif or larger social implications. I highly recommend Jane Eyre - most peole are Austen and Darcy fans, but I would take Bronte and Rochester any day. I also recommend Farenheit 451 and The Chronicles of Narnia - fantastic, make you think reads. Good luck and enjoy!

    1. Thanks Kristin! And I have to agree about the over-analysis in school -- I think I'll enjoy these books much better now. And thanks for the recommendations. The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe and Fahrenheit 451 are two I actually have read before, but want to re-read for the Club. I never read the rest of the Narnia series, so I think I need a refresher before reading the other books. And 451 was one of the few books I read for school and really enjoyed, so I'd like to revisit that one for the Banned Books Challenge :)

    2. It is the quintessential banned book . My students love the irony of a book about censorship being censored.

  2. Welcome to the club, Christine! I love your list, but that's no coincidence. Most books on your list are either favourite books of mine (e.g., Christie's crimes, F.H. Burnett's and Jane Austen's novels, Pullman's wonderful trilogy) or also on my Classics Club list. So, we seem to have a very similar taste... Hence, I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on the classics on your list.

    1. Thanks Eszter! I will definitely be checking your list out -- so excited to have found this new community :)

  3. Excellent list!! I agree on Jane Eyre. That was my first classic. It made me want to read MORE. :-)

    1. Thanks Mabel! That is one I'm very much looking forward to :)

  4. Great list! I hope you enjoy the club.

  5. Welcome to the group, Christine. Looks like we share a couple of titles. I'm like you in that my list is quite elastic and ever-growing even though my official goal is 50 books in 5 years.

    I love that you have a short works section. I have the same. Thanks to a short stories challenge I found last year, I now have a Short Works Reading Challenge in full swing. Some of the titles are also on my Classic Club list.

    I need to highlight the banned books on my list and make a note to participate in your Banned Books challenge.
    My Classics Club reading list.
    My Short Works Reading Challenge.

    Oh, Nina Sankovitch (Tolstoy and the Purple Chair) recommended the short stories by Katherine Mansfield. I'm going to check those out.

    Good luck.

    1. Thanks Vikk -- I'm really looking forward to finally reading all these great books. The more I looked over my shelves and thought about which books I really wanted to read, the more I realized I really had to include some of those collections. It will be nice to have some choices that I can read a bit at a time if I feel like it. Good luck with your list too!

  6. It seems like you have put together a great list to ease yourself in to more classics. There are many books on your list that I have read, and loved, myself, but there are also a bunch that I too hope to get round to some day. I wish you luck with meeting your list, I'll definitely be keeping up with your progress! Haha.
    Oh, and I'm a list person too. You can never have too many lists :-)

    1. Thanks Jade -- I love when I hear about everyone else's favorite classics & am looking forward to figuring which ones I like best too. Unfortunately I read so few for school, but I've got plenty of time to remedy that :)

  7. I want to read Narnia books, too. Coming from non-English language society, I knew nothing of this kind of popular Western children's literature when I was small. Shame, but then again, I read many other books :)

    Props for taking on poetry, plays and shorter stuff! I keep away from poetry... generally because I think I don't understand it. But one should sometimes push oneself to learn new things, right.

    1. And I'm sure there are books you've read that I missed out on as a kid!

      Poetry is not the easiest, but between studying some of Emily Dickinson's work in school and attending an event at a local Botanical Garden that incorporated her poetry a few years ago, I felt like hers at least was starting to make more sense to me. I still think it will be quite a project to make it through all of her poems though. I am trying to push myself a bit, so we'll see how it goes!

  8. Good luck with the list, we have about half in common! And I am so bummed, I had put thought of Princess Bride yesterday but forgot to add it in...maybe i can sneak it as #51. I love all the children's and mystery classics you have, Those are the ones I am most looking forward to from my list as well.

    1. Thanks Tanya! And the good thing about the Classics Club is that you're allowed to change your list. I'm sure I'll end up making a few adjustments myself :) Looking forward to checking out your list!

  9. I'm in the Classics Club, too, and I noticed you and I have a lot of the same books on our lists.Maybe at some point we could co-host a read-along or something?

    1. Thanks for stopping by Rachelle! I really appreciate the offer, but as you can see by how long it took me to reply to this comment, I've been very sporadic about blogging lately -- soon to be even more sporadic as I am expecting my first baby next month -- so I can't really commit to something like that. I hope you enjoy you Classics Club books and maybe find another participant who is able to co-host with you :)

  10. Murder on the Orient Express is SO GOOD! My favourite by Christie (so far).


I'd love to hear what you think :)