Comments 55

50 Classics by 2015

Inspired to make it official by the Classics Club, here is a list of 50 books I’d like to read in the next three years:
  1. Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart
  2. Adams, Richard: Watership Down
  3. Alcott, Louisa May: Little Women
  4. Bennett, Alan: The Uncommon Reader 
  5. Bronte, Charlotte: Agnes Grey
  6. Bulgakov, Mikhail: The Master and Margarita
  7. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: A Little Princess
  8. deCervantes, Miguel: Don Quixote
  9. Dickens, Charles: David Copperfield
  10. Dickens, Charles: Great Expectations
  11. Dickens, Charles: Little Dorritt
  12. Dickens, Charles: Nicholas Nickleby
  13. Dreiser, Theodore: Sister Carrie
  14. Eco, Umberto: The Name of The Rose
  15. Faulkner, William: Light in August
  16. Fitzgerald, F. Scott: Tender is the Night
  17. Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Beautiful and Damned
  18. Forster, E.M.: Room With a View
  19. Hardy, Thomas: Far From the Madding Crowd
  20. Irving, John: A Prayer For Owen Meany
  21. Irving, John: The World According To Garp
  22. Ishiguro, Kazuo: Remains of the Day
  23. Lawrence, D.H.: Sons and Lovers
  24. Lewis, Sinclair: Babbitt
  25. Mann, Thomas: Death in Venice
  26. Mann, Thomas: The Magic Mountain
  27. Maupassant, Guy de: Bel-Ami
  28. McCullers, Carson: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  29. Melville, Herman: Moby Dick
  30. Murakami, Haruki: Norwegian Wood
  31. Nabokov, Vladimir: Ada
  32. Nesbit, Edith: Five Children and It
  33. Pamuk, Orhan: My Name is Red
  34. Proulx, Annie: The Shipping News
  35. Pym, Barbara: Excellent Women
  36. Rhys, Jean: Wide Sargasso Sea
  37. Rushdie, Salman: Midnight’s Children
  38. Shikibu, Murasaki: The Tale of Genji
  39. Shonagon, Sei: The Pillow Book
  40. Stendhal: The Red and the Black
  41. Stephenson, Neal: Snow Crash
  42. Thackeray, William Makepeace: Vanity Fair
  43. Tolstoy, Leo: The Death of Ivan Ilych
  44. Turgenev, Ivan: Fathers and Sons
  45. Yates, Richard: Revolutionary Road
  46. Wharton, Edith: The Age of Innocence
  47. Whipple, Dorothy: Greenbanks
  48. Whipple, Dorothy: Someone at a Distance
  49. Williams, John: Stoner
  50. Wouk, Herman: The Winds of War
If you’re so inspired, go to the Classics Club Blog to see what others are reading and perhaps sign up yourself!


  1. Yikes! I like the idea of this… but there are some names on that list I know I'd never be able to read…

    Maybe I'll sign up just to see how I do?


  2. Great list – being an English Major has helped me here – I have read 21 of the 50 and each one was good in its own way – and you have a few of my favorites on here as well. Enjoy

  3. Sure, there's no pressure! Only doing your “personal best”. Can you tell I'm watching the Olympics every night? ;)

  4. There are so many books here I've been longing to read for quite some time, and several I've begun once upon a time but for some reason or another never finished.

    Now I want to know your favorites? Do tell.

  5. Now that you have a list, I have a list of suggested additions and replacements – no, I'm just kidding! That's a great list. At least four of them are on my “next three years” mental list.

    You've got a nice balance of length. I count only three or four really ambitious books – Genji topping the list, obviously – which fits your time frame perfectly.

  6. Hey, Tim, did you see I have nothing by Saramago On this list? It's not on purpose although Baltazar and Bliminda did succeed in kicking my ass. I'm also discouraged about not finishing Midnight's Children. Anyway, as reading is supposed to be one's joy, I'm moving on ahead with what I consider to be a nice blend from all of my favorite countries.

    Always open to suggestions and amendments if you care to offer any. :)

  7. Read “about” only? Maybe you'll join me in reading one or two of these titles yourself? In any case, I'm greatly affirmed that you concur with many of these titles on my list. The more I think of the classics I want to read the less time I realize I have for anything else. Especially as I begin teaching again in two weeks!

  8. Announce a Little Women readalong – perhaps as a holiday book, or a “school's out” June book – and I bet you'll have plenty of company, quite likely including me.

  9. Great list! Many of the titles are on my TBR boxes. I'm too chicken to join the classics club, but I'll follow all of you and wish you all a great journey. BTW… I noticed Maupassant's Bel Ami is on your list. What a coincident, I've just read it and posted a review. ;)

  10. Love the list! I've read quite a few of them already and let me just say you will definitely enjoy them! I'm stoked you have Jean Rhys on there – she is on of my favorite authors, so I really can't wait to see what you think of her work. I love this idea of reading these classics and pacing yourself over a few years – definitely gives me a bit of a nudge to want to join. Hmmm.

  11. A Little Women read-along sounds great! I have a friend who has a friend who reads it every Christmas. Perhaps we could aim for then? Let me get through the fall, first, and then let's talk. I'd love to read it with you sometime in 2012, and I promise to do better than I did with Baltazar and Blimunda. Promise.

  12. Arti, I sent you an email yesterday, but perhaps it didn't come through. I'm off to read your review of Bel Ami right now! xo

  13. Nadia, good to hear that you like Jean Rhys so much. I've had The Wide Sargasso Sea on my list for forever so I'll definitely have to get to it sooner than later. You know you want to join; classics so rarely disappoint. :)

  14. I added my own list earlier in the week, I'm in awe of how many people are taking part now. As a teacher, I loved Agnes Grey and felt like I could related my own experiences to those of Agnes. I'm sure it will be the same for you :)

    We have some similarities on our lists but they are largely different so I'll look forward to your reviews.

  15. Bellezza,

    No I didn't receive your email. But have sent you one (my new Gmail address). Hope we can finally connect there. ;)

  16. I'm so glad you decided to join in! :) Love your list-there are a lot of great books on there!

  17. I'm hyped up for the Classics Club! Your list gave me a couple of ideas; I'm still compiling mine. Just two more slots to fill!

  18. Yay for you joining the challenge. The Master and Margarita is now of my favourite books after re-reading it last month with my book group. :)

  19. What a wonderful challenge, 50 in three years seems like an achievable goal :) I like your list a lot! I really have to stop myself from adding even more books to my to-read list… The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Norwegian Wood and Remains of the Day are all books I liked. My Name is Red not so much… and I still have to continue with Midnight's Children. Salman Rushdie's style does not appeal to me much unfortunately.
    Have you decided with which book you will start?

  20. You are ambitious, dearie! Not a club I'd want to join. :<) (says the English/American lit major)

  21. Great list, some of which I've read & enjoyed, list below
    Adams, Richard, Watership Down :Bulgakov, Mikhail, The Master and Margarita : de Cervantes, Miguel, Don Quixote : Eco, Umberto, The Name of The Rose, Hardy, Thomas, Far From the Madding Crowd
    Irving, John A Prayer For Owen Meany:
    Irving, John, The World According To Garp:
    Ishiguro, Kazuo, Remains of the Day:
    Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers:Mann, Thomas: Death in Venice:
    Mann, Thomas, The Magic Mountain:
    Maupassant, Guy de Bel-Ami: Murakami, Haruki, Norwegian Wood:
    Nabokov, Vladimir, Ada:Stephenson, Neal, Snow Crash: Tolstoy, Leo, The Death of Ivan Ilych:
    Turgenev, Ivan, Fathers and Sons: Others I've read and not. best of luck, but most of all enjoy.

  22. I remember loving Little Women when I was younger but I can barely remember it now! I see some Irving on this list! :-) Good luck with this.

  23. Very ambitious list but I am very happy to see some of my favourites on there, notably The Master And Margarita. Have you read any Murakami before? If not, I'd really recommend going for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle instead of Norwegian Wood. They are both very good, but for me Wind-Up Bird is much more unique, more magical, just more 'Murakami'! Lots on there I have never heard of as well so will definitely do some research and maybe add to the TBR!


  24. I love how you connect Agnes Grey to teachers, now I'm really looking forward to it. Villette made me cry…

  25. Allie, I'm so glad you're part of sponsoring such an awesome idea/blog! The more classics I read, the more I want to dwell with them permanently. I just want to dive into this list right now, and sadly, it's already the end of my summer as school starts in a week or so…

  26. The leader of our Dostoevsky discussion for The Idiot is an expert in Russian literature (one of my life goals ;) and when I asked her for a recommendation she gave me this title by Bulgakov. I bought a paperback edition in Toronto, had her sign it, and now I can't wait to read it. Glad to know that you love it, too!

  27. I hope that 50 in 3 years is reasonable! I suspect I'll have to say no even more to review requests. It's just that I love the classics so much…

    I need to finish Midnight's Children, which I abandoned during Book 3. I think the issue with me is that I need to go straight through a book, not lay it down to pick up something else, then return to it a few weeks later.

    As to which book with which to start? Right now, I haven't a clue. :)

  28. Nan, now that college is long behind me, along with my two degrees in psychology and elementary education, I realize how much I would like a literature major. I just didn't see how it would support me in the manner to which I'd become accustomed (not that teaching is lucrative!). Sorry this doesn't inspire you, but perhaps a book or two during the course of the next three years will. xo

  29. I loved Watership Down, too; that will be one of the rereads from this list. (There are several.) I'm really looking forward to The Master and Margarita, and I can't wait to post on A Prayer for Owen Meany at the end of the month. I picked up Snow Crash for a song (about .50 cennts) a few summers ago; what a steal! You've read tons from this list, Parrish!

  30. Tom and I were speaking of rereading Little Women in December…we'll see if there's time. I'm reading Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany this month, with a review coming in the middle of August. I look forward to your thoughts about it.

  31. You're the third person to mention The Master and Margarita! That's so exciting to me, as I've just bought it in July. I adore Murakami. My favorite work of his, which I've read twice, is Kafka on The Shore. But, I also loved The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Everyone speaks of Norwegian Wood (as his most realistic work) so I'm ready to try that next.

  32. You have a very eclectic list; your reading journey should be interesting! I just signed up today…I think the only two titles we share are “Age of Innocence” and “Stoner.” A friend raves about “Stoner” so I'm quite curious about it.

  33. You guys start early! I have a few more weeks (they just finalized our calendar and we start on the 4th of September). I'm going to try and cram in as much as I can before then since I know I'll be busy once school begins!

    So glad you joined. :) I love the project, so when Jillian was looking for help, I jumped on it as fast as I could. :)

  34. An eclectic list for an eclectic blog, I guess. How I love Russian literature, Japanese literature and classic literature! I was hearing good things about Stoner, too, and so it had to go on the list. Look forward to reading and sharing our thoughts together!

  35. One of the good parts about committing to this is the generous timeframe. You set the 'due date' for your fifty books. Within five years, I think. ;)

  36. Little Women is pretty much my favourite book so I hope that it's as inspirational for you! Your list is great – really eclectic!

  37. Hmmm. I've only read 6 on that list and I wasn't terribly impressed, with the exception of A Prayer For Owen Meany (which I think is a bit odd to be on this list, don't you?). I would like to read Remains of the Day, though. LOVED that film!

  38. Well, it's a bit odd to be on the list because it's my list; a crazy assortment of all the genres I like. Wierd, I know. I'm wondering if I saw Remains of the Day…is that the one with Anthony Hopkins? I'll have to check it out. If it comes from Japanese literature it has to be good, right? ;)

  39. Methinks I've already read the ones I ever wanted (want) to. Okay, 'cause I know that you and Les love lists, I'll tell you which ones I've read. :< )
    Watership Down – LOVED
    Little Women – LOVED, and read probably six times
    The Uncommon Reader – own and do plan to read
    Light in August – thought it great forty years ago, but don't know if I could bear the subject matter now.
    Not sure if I've read those particular FS Fitzgeralds but probably will one day. LOVED Gatsby. One of top five faves in my life.
    Far From the Madding Crowd – excellent. Hardy sad, but oh, so good. Am tempted to reread all of them. Had THE BEST professor at BU on Hardy. He was like a world expert.
    The Enchanted Castle – I own it, along with a few of hers. The only one I have read is The Railway Children, with my kids. Liked it a lot.
    The Shipping News – thought it very good, but it's been quite a while.
    Excellent Women – LOVED it. My first introduction to a now-favorite author.
    There are a few there I'm sure I read, but I've forgotten and am happy to have done so – like Lawrence, Lewis, Mann.

  40. Nan, I do love lists, and I love this one from you! I think Watership Down is spectacular; it will be a reread for me. I've begun Little Women more times than I can remember, but I've never finished it. I think that will change when I read it this November. You know, I'm sure, that DiCaprio will be Gatsby when it's released the Summer of 2013, and Daisy is that wonderful girl from An Education. I'm wondering if my class would like Enchanted Castle? Hm….

  41. I just joined this challenge last week, and am super excited that you are in too. Our books list is somewhat different. Don't be discouraged about not being able to finish Midnight's Children. I feel you need to be in a certain frame of mind to enjoy it. I started and stopped several times before managing to finish it last year. I eventually ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

  42. Everything I've heard about The Master and Margarita has been incredible. I can't wait to read it! This list has me so enthused I'm practically ready to abandon all else on my shelves and go through it systematically. Even better is the opportunity to discuss classics with one another!

  43. Thanks for your encouragement regarding Midnight's Children. I'm so close to finishing it, just the last book (Part 4) to go! Perhaps I will finish it by the film's release, October 26 in the US. That's a goal, anyway. It's just that I ran out of steam as the year of teaching was closing, and I didn't continue on. I'm glad to knowt hat you ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

  44. “Wide Sargasso Sea” – I read that close to 20 years ago and I can still recall it in an instant – that one touched my heart and mind – great choice!

  45. It's a great list! You are going to enjoy The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. I rarely see it on other member's list; it's a touching story.

  46. Interesting list! it's diverse and from various era. I see that we chose the same title from Fitzgerald.. and Murasaki's Tale of Genji is so inviting… (been wondering about that book as well)

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