Book reviews

The Classics Club


I’ve joined The Classics Club, with the intention of reading 50 classic books before 26 August, 2023.

The following is my list:

1 Adams, Richard: Watership Down – because somebody once told me told me that when they read this book, they forgot that the main characters were rabbits. Completed.

2 Atwood, Margaret: Alias Grace – because this story is supposed to be even more frightening than The Handmaid’s Tale. Completed.

3 Atwood, Margaret: The Blind Assassin – because Margaret Atwood writes as if she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her and what goes on in her imagination. Completed.

4 Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park – because I am hoping to learn to love Fanny Price, my least favourite of Jane Austen’s heroines.

5 Austen, Jane: Complete Juvenilia – for the fun of the stories. Completed.

6 Bronte, Charlotte: Villette – because I have owned this book for many years but have never read it. Completed.

7 Bronte, Emily : Wuthering Heights – because when I last read this, as a teenager, I couldn’t see what Cathy and Heathcliff saw in each other. Completed.

8 Chekhov, Anton: Major Plays – because I have owned this book for years too and have never read it. Completed.

9 Dickens, Charles: Great Expectations – because I had already started reading this when I joined The Classics Club and thought it would be a good book to start with. Completed.

10 Dickens, Charles: The Old Curiousity Shop – because I was enjoying Great Expectations so much that it seemed like a good idea to add more Dickens to the list. Completed.

11 Du Maurier, Daphne: Rebecca – because this is a book which deserves a re-read. Completed.

12 Eliot, George: The Mill on the Floss – because more than twenty-five years ago, somebody told me this was their favourite book. I started reading it and didn’t finish. Now I think I’m ready for it. Completed.

13 Eliot, George: Middlemarch – because I feel as if I should. Sigh.

14 Faulks, Sebastian: Birdsong – because I loved Jeeves and the Wedding Bells. Completed.

15 Fielding, Henry: Tom Jones – because (this is becoming a theme) I’ve also owned this book for a long time and never read it. Completed.

16 Fitzgerald, F. Scott: Tender is the Night – not sure why. Sigh. Maybe because I own a copy of the book and want to get it off my shelves. This story is said to mirror their lives. Completed/DNF.

17 Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby – because I loved the film with Leonardo di Caprio so much. I’ve read this book previously and while I didn’t love it, after reading The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian, I got interested in the story of The Great Gatsby all over again. Completed.

18 Forster, E.M.: A Passage to India – because Howard’s End and Where Angels Fear to Tread were so well written. I’m hoping for more likeable characters in this one, though. Completed.

19 Forster, E.M.: A Room With a View – the same as for my reasons for wanting to read A Passage to India.

20 Fowles, John: The Collector – because of the quality of this author’s writing. Completed.

21 Fowles, John: The French Lieutenant’s Woman – because this book is on every list of books to read before you die.

22 Franklin, Miles: My Brilliant Career – because this book is an Australian classic, written when the author was in her early twenties. Completed.

23 Hardy, Thomas: Far From the Madding Crowd – because I’ve never read any Thomas Hardy and must consider myself as unfinished business until I can say I have. Completed.

24 Hardy, Thomas: Tess of the D’Urbervilles – because… I’m not sure why this made it onto my list. The advice has been to read Tess with a box of tissues close by.

25 Hartley, L. P.: The Go-Between – again, because I have owned this book for longer than I can remember and have never read it. I can’t even remember where I bought it from or why. Completed.

26 Henry, O: Collected Stories – because The Gift of the Magi is such an extraordinary short story that I felt I had to read more short stories by this author. I’ve started reading a story each night from this collection and estimate that it will be around six months before I will finish the collection. When I’ve finished with the book, I’ll use it as a doorstop. Completed.

27 The Iliad – because I haven’t read this since I was in school. As a teenager I read this story over and over and over. I may have been more than a little in love with most of the male characters, and that was before the movie Troy came out.

28 Homer: The Odyssey – as per The Iliad.

29 Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World – because this is one of the most famous dystopian stories ever written.

30 James, Henry: The Portrait of a Lady – oh, jeez. I hope He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers doesn’t read this, because The Portrait of a Lady is yet another book I smuggled into the house ages ago and haven’t read yet.

31 James, Henry: The Wings of the Dove – this is becoming embarrassing. Another book I’ve owned for years and never read. Completed.

32 Joyce, James: Dubliners – Good question. I tried Ulysses and couldn’t finish it so I don’t know why this is on my list. Clearly I’m hoping for better luck with Dubliners. Completed.

33 Kafka, Franz: The Trial – I’ve no idea why I chose this… maybe so I can say that I have read it? Completed.

34 Kipling, Rudyard: Kim – because I feel as if I’ve missed out on something important by not having read any Kipling yet. Completed.

35 le Carre, John: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – because this book is supposed to be the best spy novel ever. Completed (although if I’m being completely truthful, I read of half of this then gave it up because I couldn’t figure out what was going on).

36 London, Jack: The Call of the Wild – because I’ve never anything by this much-loved author. Completed.

37 London, Jack: White Fang – since everyone in the world loves this author so much, why stop at one? Completed.

38 Marquez, Gabriel Garcia: One Hundred Years of Solitude – because Love in the Time of Cholera was one of the most memorable books I’ve read in the past few years. Completed.

39 Maugham, W. Somerset: Of Human Bondage – because I’ve read and enjoyed other books by this author.

40 Morrison, Toni: Beloved – because this book is too important not to read.

41 Pamuk, Orhan: My Name is Red – because I’ve never read a novel by a Turkish writer. Completed.

42 Radcliffe, Ann: The Romance of the Forest – **in a small voice** – because I own this book and haven’t read it yet. Completed.

43 Richardson, Samuel: Pamela – because this book is often discussed by people who read Jane Austen (and yes, since you ask, because I own this book and haven’t read it yet either). Completed.

44 Rushdie, Salman: Midnight’s Children – because I haven’t read anything by Salman Rushdie and feel as if this is an oversight on my part. Completed.

45 Steinbeck, John: The Pearl – because I can’t face East of Eden or The Grapes of Wrath again, even though it has been at least thirty years since I read either. All I can remember is misery, misery, misery. Let’s hope The Pearl is a happy story. Completed.

46 Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tom’s Cabin – probably everyone should read this, not just me. Completed.

47 Thackeray, William Makepeace: Vanity Fair – this is a re-read, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen what Becky Sharp has been up to. I remember admiring her enormously for making the most of her opportunities. It will be interesting to read this as an adult. (And for the last time, yes, I have a copy of this book hiding somewhere). Completed.

48 Wharton, Edith: The Buccaneers – because Ethan Frome is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I’ll be satisfied if The Buccaneers is even half as good.

49 White, Patrick: The Tree of Man – because Patrick White is such an important Australian writer and I’ve never read anything by him. I’ve always had the feeling that his writing is hard work, but am hoping it will be worth the effort. Completed.

50 Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest – a re-read for pleasure. Completed.

51 Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway – because this is a book which always makes it on to ‘best books’ lists. After reading A Room of One’s Own I decided the kitchen was mine. Plus, I can’t count. I thought I had 50 books, then I started messing about on a spreadsheet and adding my comments about why each book had been chosen, then all of a sudden there were 51…. Completed.

Comments on: "The Classics Club" (12)

  1. What a fantastic list! Did I miss you posting about joining the Classics Club? So glad you’ve joined up! And Tess and Vanity Fair will well outweigh the horror of Mrs Dalloway… 😉

    • Oh, thank you! I’m excited about the list too, but now I’m worried about Mrs D…
      I don’t think I posted about joining, I meant to but confused myself… easily done.

  2. I’ve been worried about Woolf too, so decided to read her in chronological order in the hope that me ability to read her will evolve with Woolf’s own writing style! So far I’ve only read the first – The Voyage Out – to great enjoyment, but have put the 2nd one on my CClist 2….

    Luck with the rest 🙂

    • Thanks, Brona. I’ll see how I go with Mrs D before committing to other Virginia Woolf books, although I you might be right, reading authors in chronological order is a joy 🙂

  3. Great list! I just joined the Classics Club too – happy reading!

  4. I think you created a good list, with a nice mix of long and short titles. Welcome to the Club!

  5. What a great list, it’s really fun putting it together isn’t it? A real favourite on your list is Of Human Bondage, I loved that – don’t google it though, all sorts of funny things will come up!

    • It was fun putting the list together, although I started with around 20 books from my bookshelf which I haven’t read yet…
      Oh, I hadn’t thought of the perils of googling Of Human Bondage! Did you google it? I’m laughing and cringing at the same time!

  6. I was warned in time!

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