Classics Club

The Classics Club

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The Classics Club

I’ve decided to sign up for The Classics Club. I disliked almost every classic I had to read in school but I usually enjoy reading them when I choose them for myself. I’m just contrary that way, I guess. I do tend to overlook classics when I’m choosing my next book though, so I’m hoping this gives me the motivation I need to read more.

I started choosing my list way back in October after seeing Mareli’s post at Elza Reads. Then I forgot about it for a while. Oops. Deb’s announcement at Readerbuzz that she just finished her second list and started her third reminded me that I still need to sign up.

My goal is to read these 50 classics by April 15, 2026. I haven’t done much homework on these titles so if something turns out to be 1000 pages, impossible to find, definitely not my cup of tea, or a bit too recently published to be a “classic,” I’ll switch it out for another title. I made a conscious effort to include books written by women, translated books, and books from other cultures. My list could still be more diverse but I’m pretty happy with the mix I’ve got here. You can find more details and sign up for yourself at The Classics Club site.

Let me know what you think of my choices! Where should I start?

Progress: 19/50

My List:

  1. Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart–I remember that my sister had to read this in school (she was four years behind me) but I never did.
  2. Alcott, Louisa May: Little Women–I’ve never managed to finish this book and I’ve started it several times! I get to a sad part and put it aside. I will conquer it! One day. I love Little Men though and I’ve re-read it countless times.
  3. Allende, Isabel: The House of the Spirits–I’m adding this one last, as I realize that I’ve chosen a book from every inhabited continent except South America. This will fill the gap.
  4. Atwood, Margaret: The Handmaid’s Tale–This book is such a big deal at the moment because of the show. I can’t believe I haven’t read it.
  5. Brontë, Anne: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall–I’ve read books by the other Brontës (love Jane Eyre, really dislike Wuthering Heights) so I need to complete the sisterly trifecta.
  6. Cather, Willa: O Pioneers!–I loved My Ántonia so I’d like to read more of Cather’s work.
  7. Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales–This feels pretty foundational for English literature. We read a few bits of it in high school but I’d like to know more.
  8. Cooper, James Fenimore: The Last of the Mohicans–The movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis was filmed around my hometown so I’d like to read the book.
  9. de Cervantes, Miguel: Don Quixote–My father-in-law is Cuban and my husband is bilingual. A Spanish-language classic feels like a must (I’ll be reading an English translation).
  10. Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe–This just seems like an adventure book that everyone should read.
  11. Dickens, Charles: The Old Curiosity Shop–I struggle a bit with Dickens but I read somewhere that American readers met ships at the docks when this book was serialized, anxious to find out what happened to Little Nell. A book that can create that kind of stir is something I want to check out.
  12. Douglass, Frederick: A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass–I believe every American should read a book written by a slave. I think this one is on my old nook.
  13. Dumas, Alexandre: The Three Musketeers–I own The Count of Monte Cristo but it’s in storage at the moment. I’ll start with something smaller and less intimidating.
  14. Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man–I don’t know much about this but I included it for diversity.
  15. Faulkner, William: As I Lay Dying–I haven’t read much Faulkner at all yet I host the Southern Literature Challenge. That feels like a huge gap in my knowledge.
  16. Gaskell, Elizabeth: Cranford–I read and liked North and South by Gaskell so I decided to read more of her work.
  17. Grahame, Kenneth: The Wind in the Willows–I can’t believe I’ve never read this children’s classic.
  18. Hansberry, Lorraine: A Raisin in the Sun–I’m familiar with this title but that’s all I know about it. I included it for the sake of diversity.
  19. Liliuokalani: Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen–I love Hawaii and I’ve read James Michener’s book, Hawaii. It seems better to read a version written by a native Hawaiian.
  20. Lindsay, Joan: Picnic at Hanging Rock–This book has been on my TBR forever and I’ve hit most other continents; it’s time to add something Australian.
  21. Lowry, Lois: The Giver–I can’t believe I never had to read this for school.
  22. Macdonald: George: The Princess and the Goblin–A fantasy classic.
  23. Malory, Sir Thomas: Le Morte d’Arthur–I’ve picked up bits and pieces of the Arthurian saga here and there but I don’t care for T. H. White’s The Once and Future King. This seems like the closest thing to source material that I’m going to find.
  24. Milton, John: Paradise Lost–Epic poetry isn’t really my thing but since I’ve read The Inferno, I should probably read Paradise Lost as well.
  25. Momaday, N. Scott: House Made of Dawn–I wanted to include a classic by/about Native Americans and this was the first one that came up in a Google search. It won the 1969 Pulitzer prize and I’ve had good luck with those winners in the past.
  26. Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye–So many people love Morrison’s work but I didn’t care for Sula when I had to read it in college. I think it’s time to give her a try on my own time.
  27. Murakami, Haruki: Norwegian Wood–Again, so many people love Murakami but I didn’t care for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I’m willing to try again.
  28. Nesbit, E.: The Enchanted Castle–I wanted to mix in some children’s titles.
  29. O’Connor, Flannery: A Good Man is Hard to Find–Like Faulkner, I haven’t read many of O’Connor’s stories. That creates a glaring hole in my knowledge of Southern Lit.
  30. O’Dell, Scott: Island of the Blue Dolphins–When I visited Mission Santa Barbara last year (pre-COVID), I saw a room sharing details about “The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island,” who is buried at the Mission. This book is loosely based on her life.
  31. Orczy, Baroness: The Scarlet Pimpernel–The Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig is one of my guilty pleasures. I think the concept of the series owes a bit to this classic so I’d like to read it.
  32. Orwell, George: 1984–I haven’t read any of Orwell’s work, believe it or not. 1984 seems more to my liking than Animal Farm so that’s the one I chose.
  33. Ovid: Metamorphoses–I have a pretty good foundation in Greek and Roman mythology thanks to a couple of classes that focused almost exclusively on the old myths. I’ve read The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid, some more than once. It feels like time to add this book to the mix.
  34. Plath, Sylvia: The Bell Jar–I haven’t read any of Plath’s work and she feels like an important female author to read.
  35. Radcliffe, Anne: The Mysteries of Udolpho–I’ve been curious about this book since reading Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. (The main character reads it, which sets the stage for the whole plot.)
  36. Rostand, Edmond: Cyrano de Bergerac–References to Cyrano surface often enough in pop culture that I’d like to read the actual book.
  37. Sackville-West, Vita: All Passion Spent–Sackville-West feels like another important female author I should read.
  38. Salinger, J.D.: The Catcher in the Rye–This is so controversial and I honestly know very little about it. I’d like to read it for myself and see what all the fuss is about.
  39. Shakespeare, William: The Tempest–What’s a classics list without Shakespeare? I never read this one in school.
  40. Spark, Muriel: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie–I really don’t know anything about this book but I’m including it to have another female author.
  41. Steinbeck, John: Cannery Row–I loathed Steinbeck’s books in school but I’ve read a few of them in the past 10-15 years and really like them.
  42. Valmiki Narayan, R. K.: The Ramayana–I had to read Beowulf and The Epic of Gilgamesh in high school (maybe excerpts?) so I thought I should include another culture’s epic poetry. (Note: I realized that Valmiki’s version of The Ramayana is incredibly long. I stumbled on a shortened version by R. K. Narayan and decided to read it instead. Since the shortened version was published in 1972, it still counts as a classic in its own right.)
  43. Verne, Jules: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea–Honestly, this is on my old nook so I might as well read it.
  44. Vonnegut, Kurt: Slaughterhouse-Five–I’ve never read any of Vonnegut’s work.
  45. Walpole, Horace: The Castle of Otranto–I have a soft spot for Gothic literature and this book is supposed to be the grandfather of the genre.
  46. Watson, Winifred: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day–I’ve heard of this before but don’t know much about it.
  47. Waugh, Evelyn: Brideshead Revisited–Another classic that I don’t know much about.
  48. Wollstonecraft, Mary: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman–A feminist classic seems pretty important to me.
  49. Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway–I’ve never read any of Woolf’s work.
  50. Wright, Richard: Native Son–I’m realizing how little I know about diverse classics as I comment on this list. Another one that I know little about beyond the title.


  1. I’m happy to see that you are joining this challenge. Your book choices will nicely overlap some of your other challenges, and that’s great, too. I like how you have added lots of diversity to your list, and I think it’s a great idea to replace anything that doesn’t work for you. I’ve loved The Wind in the Willows; The Giver; The Bell Jar; All Passion Spent; Island of the Blue Dolphins; Norwegian Wood; Little Women; Island of the Blue Dolphins; Don Quixote; A Good Man is Hard to Find; and Mrs. Dalloway. Sometimes it’s tricky reading classics as the characters are often disappointingly so much a part of their times. But it’s also lovely to see characters, even in the distant past, taking steps forward that have helped to change things for the better.

  2. I’ve read a lot of Willa Cather and loved O’ Pioneers! Good choice. I’m also due for a reread of The Giver, which I read several years ago and loved. Such a thought-provoking book. I’ve only read one book by Momoday (The Way to Rainy Mountain) and will be interested in your thoughts on this other book. I haven’t read too much of Toni Morrison, but I loved Beloved (and didn’t care for The Bluest Eye). Loved Mrs. Dalloway, which I read after reading The Hours. You have a lot of good choices here!

    1. I had never even heard of Momoday before, sad to say. His was just the first book that came up when I Googled “Native American classics” or some variant of that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the other books too!

      1. If you need another idea for a Native American classic, I can recommend The Absolute Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I loved it! (Reviewed here)

  3. This sounds like a great way to read some classics! I like that you tried to include diverse classics, too. Not may of those are taught in school and bringing awareness to them is important.

  4. I like all of your choice, many of which are on my list as well. I’d probably recommend The Three Musketeers from this lot, but I think it’s a spin, and the choice isn’t in your hands? Udolpho and Scarlet Pimpernel are also favorites, but The Princess and the Goblin is what caught my eye because I have been hunting down some historical fantasies lately. Hope you enjoy this one!

  5. This is a great list to start with. I’ve read many of these and want to read others. I wonder if you will get through Don Quixote – it is over 1000 pages and rather a slog, I found. I took it in two parts (it is really two books published 10 years apart) and that helped.

    Lots of books that I love are on there too I hope you enjoy the journey!

  6. I recently discovered this as well and am considering doing it! You have several on your list that would be on mine as well. I want to read A HAndmaid’s Tale, Little Women, 1984, Catcher in the Rye, and several others. Good luck!

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