Monday, 15 October 2012

The Classics Club Challenge: 50 Classics in 5 years

I have been following the Classics Club blog for awhile now and really enjoying reading the reviews of the various posts of the classic books as well as looking at the lists people have chosen to read.

As there are many books I really want to read I have decided to jump in and see how I go because it is a great way to stay focused and also see what others think of the same books. The dates of this challenge will be from 1 January, 2013 to 1 January, 2018. Although I may start this a bit earlier as we are very close to the new year, 2013 and my enthusiasm now is high.

It really is an on-line book group that I think will offer great opportunities to chat to people who are interested in more traditional (and sometimes not quite traditional) books that have been recognised as good reads over the years.

I have spent quite a bit of time devising my list of 50 and although this is the list I hope to stick to there could be the odd change within it.

Many of the books listed are from my Vintage Penguin book collection currently on my shelves TBR. Many choices are American classics as having moved to Australia so long ago I have gotten away from American literature and love it so much so am going back to revisit it. Many books are English as growing up in America we didn't read a lot of English classics in school so would like to remedy that. There are a sprinkling of other nationalities of authors as well so overall I think this list will be a great starting point.

So without further adieu these are the 50 books I have chosen.

Click on the links to see review.

1.  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (American)
2.  Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (American)
3.  A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute (Australian)
4.  Middlemarch by George Elliot (English) (our summer book group read) Finished
5.  Moby Dick by Herman Melville (American)

6.  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (American)
7.  To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (American)
8.  Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (English)
9.  Madame Bovary by Flaubert Gustave (French)
10. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (English)

11. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (English)
12. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (English)
13. Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens (English)
14. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (English)
15. Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (American)

16. Old Curiosity Shoppe by Charles Dickens (English)
17. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (African-American)
18. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (American)
19. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (American)
20. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (American)

21. The Invisible Man by Ralph Waldo Ellison (American)
22. Native Son by Richard Wright (African-American)
23. My Antonia by Willa Cather (American)
24. Beloved by Toni Morrison (African-American)
25. Hiroshima by John Hersey (American)

26. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (American)
27. Gone To Earth by Mary Webb (English)
28. Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell (American)
29. I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall (Australian)
30. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller (American)

31. Walden by Henry David Thoreau (American)
32. Turn of the Screw by Henry James (American born-became British)
33. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (American)
34. If Beale St. Could Talk by James Baldwin (African-American)
35. Steinbeck: A Life in Letters by John Steinbeck (American)

36. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (American)
37. Claudine & Annie by Collette (French)
38. The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck (American)
39. Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner (Australian)
40. The Harp in the South by Ruth Park (Australian)

41. Letters of Rachel Henning by Rachel Henning (English born-moved to Australia)
42. Confessions of a Beachcomber by E. J. Banfield (born England-moved to Australia)
43. Farewell To Arms- Ernest Hemingway
44. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Columbia, S America)
45. The Plague by Albert Camus (French)

46. The Trial by Franz Kafka (German Jewish - Lived in Prague)
47. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigerian)
48. Woman in a Lampshade by Elizabeth Jolley (born in Englan- moved to Australia)
49. Germinal by Zola (French)
50. Narrative of Life of Frederich Douglas by Frederich Douglas (African-American)


  1. Sounds like a great challenge & I like your list. I've read 27 of them (I can't resist counting what I've read when I see lists like this) mostly English & Australian which isn't surprising! I like a challenge that helps to whittle down the tbr shelves. Good luck with it.

    1. I am as bad as you are when it comes to counting things on a list. I like to do that too. I have read some of them but was very young and am sure I'd appreciate them more now so looking forward to that. Nice to hear from you Lyn

  2. I've had loads of fun with making and starting to read my list so I'm glad you decided to make the jump to join in. Looking forward to seeing some of the Australian books reviewed, I recognise most of the authors but don't know much about the specific titles. :)

    1. Nice to hear from you Alex. The list of people signed up for the Classics Club is amazing. Should be fun to read all the reviews. thanks for your comment

  3. I have read 34 of the books on your list. I read most of them when I was in my twenties. Years ago I used to collect the Black Penguin Classics and own many of these.


    1. I think people who love book lists are a bit autistic. Everyone loves a list and likes to see how many they have read. I read several of them years ago but no doubt will have more fun this time. I think I'll do some of them on audio books. Lovely to hear from you Frances. Pam

  4. You've got a great list - lots of variety! I don't know much about Australian writers, other than Nevil Shute (if he counts, being a transplant). I'll look forward to your reviews.

    1. From what I have heard it seems most Australians my age grew up reading English classics and not a lot of Australian fiction. I think Australian fiction could have its own list of TBR books. But I can only do one, maybe two things at a time. haha
      thanks for your comment Lisa.

  5. An excellent list - welcome to the 'club'!

  6. That's interesting you split them up by nationality. You've got some great books!

  7. I couldn't resist counting either! I've read 25 of them at some stage or other. It is an interesting selection, with some great titles, and I like the way you've made your choice so international.


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