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My Classic Book List

Update on 9th may 2016: As per suggestions in this post I’m going to make a list of all the classics I’ve read since the date I first joined the club – 17th October 2012. I’m not abandoning my original list – it’s still below – but as a reflection of my changing reading habits and the way I’ve been reading classic books not on the original list, and the way seeing my original list makes me feel I’ve not read many classics, which is untrue, I’m changing things up a bit.

  • F Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby (1925)
  • Jane Austen: Persuasion (re-read) (1818)
  • Margaret Mitchell: Gone With The Wind (1936)
  • Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol (1843)
  • Jane Austen: Mansfield Park (1814)
  • Elizabeth Von Arnim: The Enchanted April (1922)
  • Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina (1875-1877)
  • Charles Dickens: Nicholas Nickleby (1838)
  • H G Wells: The Time Machine (1895)
  • Kate Chopin: The Awakening (1899)
  • Horace Walpole: The Castle Of Otranto (1764)
  • Elizabeth Gaskell: Cranford (1853)
  • Thomas Hardy: Far From The Madding Crowd (1874)
  • Alice Dunbar-Nelson: Violets And Other Stories (1895)
  • Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (1865)
  • Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird (1960)
  • F Scott Fitzgerald: Tender Is The Night (1934)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland (1915)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman: With Her In Ourland (1916)
  • Lewis Carroll: Through The Looking-Glass (1871)
  • Edith Wharton: The Age Of Innocence (1920)
  • Charlotte Smith: Emmeline (1788)
  • Charlotte Lennox: The Female Quixote (1752)
  • Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar (1963)
  • Anne Brontë: Agnes Grey (1847)
  • L M Montgomery: Anne Of Green Gables (1908)
  • L M Montgomery: Anne Of Avonlea (1909)
  • D H Lawrence: Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928)
  • Maria Edgeworth: Belinda (1801)
  • Louisa May Alcott: Little Women (1868)
  • Louisa May Alcott: Good Wives (1869)

Books I’ve read but am not sure of their ‘status’: Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns; The Brandons by Angela Thirkell; The Late Monsieur Gallet by Georges Simenon; Bird In A Cage by Frédéric Dard; Now In November by Josephine Johnson; The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

So here’s my (original) list for The Classics Club, 62 books. Because my goal is to read literature from a range of periods, I’ve decided to list the books by era, even if it will expose the bias towards 19th and 20th Century novels. I would actually have liked to include more medieval work but it being very old it can be difficult to get a hold of copies. After much thought I decided to list by first name to make it easier. Five years from now… 17th October 2017. Seems a long way away, but it likely won’t be. Titles I’ve completed are in italics.

Ancient Texts
  • Various/Unknown: The Epic Of Gilgamesh
  • Various/Unknown: One Thousand And One Nights
  • Plato: The Laches
Medieval and Early Modern
  • Christine de Pisan: The Book Of The City Of Ladies
  • Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
  • Madame de La fayette: The Princess Of Cleves
  • Murasaki Shikibu: The Tale of Genji
  • Niccolè Machiavelli: The Prince
  • William Tyndale: The Obedience Of A Christian Man
  • Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries Of Udolpho
  • Choderlos de Laclos: The Dangerous Liaisons
  • Frances Burney: Cecilia
  • Frances Burney: Evelina
  • Georgiana Cavendish: The Sylph
  • Horace Walpole: The Castle Of Otranto
  • Samuel Richardson: Clarissa

What do you think, any glaring omissions?

Edit on 18th October: the count is now 60 books rather than 53, thanks to Scott for the recommendations, and Alice’s commenting which by itself reminded me of a couple more. And thanks to Audra for two works. I’m glad I asked you all for your opinions!



October 17, 2012, 9:38 am

Great list Charlie, I’m so glad you decided to join The Classics Club. I’m particularly impressed that you’ve picked some really early work!


October 17, 2012, 10:43 am

I have heard of all these books, but read only a few. I hope you’ll have a great time with the classics!

If you have an ereader you could probably download most of these books for free (e.g., with


October 17, 2012, 10:45 am

What a great list! I’m glad you joined in too. Now I get to see what you think of all of these books!!

Roof Beam Reader

October 17, 2012, 12:21 pm

Woo hoo! Welcome aboard! You’ve got a great list, here. Good luck with Clarissa! *face palm*


October 17, 2012, 2:21 pm

The list looks great, and as Judith mentioned you can get most of these for free off, which is a plus. There are a few I would add if you are still open to suggestions:

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (11th Century) for, ostensibly, being the first novel ever written (as well as a great read in itself).
I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki (~1906) for being approachable and hilarious.
The Well at the World’s End (1896) for its charm and obscurity.

Good luck, though, you definitely have a lot of great reading ahead!


October 17, 2012, 2:44 pm

Great list and I’m glad you’ve joined in the fun! I like that you listed them by era, very good idea.


October 17, 2012, 8:01 pm

Great choices, Charlie! You’ve got some of my favourite authors on your list – Daphne du Maurier, Wilkie Collins, the Brontes, Alexandre Dumas. It’s good to see that you’ve included some historical fiction classics as well. I really enjoyed Shogun and Forever Amber.


October 18, 2012, 1:51 pm

Yay! Now I can get all my classic recommendations from you, hehe.

I was tempted to join, but I am not sure I know of enough classics I am interested in reading.

Good luck with your challenge, I look forward to seeing what you enjoy.

I’ve only read around 8 on your list, 6 of which I really enjoyed; Plato is heavy (I studied him at A-Level) but fascinating.


October 18, 2012, 4:46 pm

Oooh, fantastic list — some wonderful inclusions — unusual but good! Have you read Christine de Pisan? I’m quite fond of her (medieval-y) — her Book of the City of Women is quite wry and funny.

I don’t know how wedded you are to Alcott’s Little Women, but her potboilers are AMAZING — A Long Fatal Love Chase is one of my all-time favorite desert island pics. Pure fun. I suppose it isn’t a ‘classic’ in the sense of Little Women, but Alcott herself called it ‘moralistic pap’!


October 19, 2012, 6:53 pm

I love how you have this all organized by time period. I was excited to think up 50 titles that I forgot to put them chronologically. ;)

So…Bleak House. Readalong November and December?!


October 21, 2012, 10:32 am

Great list! The classics are not my forte, I just added titles to my list that sounded vaguely familiar or those that I had been wanting to read. I’m thinking now that most of the titles in my list are 18th century or later :s


October 22, 2012, 4:19 pm

Jessica: It’s just a pity not much has been translated or saved. I was surprised to learn that even The Canterbury Tales aren’t complete, despite the extensiveness of them.

Judith: That is what I intend to do where possible, Gutenberg is doing such a good job.

Heather: You may have to hang around for a while, though ;)

Adam: Glad to be here. Clarissa’s there thanks to the blogger readalong, I figure books chosen for those challenges will likely be good.

Scott: Thank you, those are some awesome additions (I wasn’t happy with the lack of diversity in my list). Make that 56 books.

Jennifer: Glad to have joined! Yes, it made sense to do so, even if it showed up the gaps.

Helen: I’m embarrassed to admit that I almost forgot du Maurier, despite the fact that I have four more books on my shelf. That’s good to hear – Shogun is pretty daunting but I’ve had a copy for years now, and Forever Amber has been discussed so much in the past.

Alice: And then you comment and suddenly I remember another few books that need adding (Peter Pan, Parade’s End…) You’d be surprised, I’d say; I wondered how I’d possibly reach 50, but give yourself a few days and you get there. I had a glimpse of Plato in my course two years ago, it was enough to get me interested – though I can see reading the book itself taking a while.

Audra: Thank you, that’s brilliant, I’m adding both! I want to read as much medieval literature as possible, and if Alcott derided her own work, that’s got to be worth reading.

Trish: My organisation obsession came out, as well as my “need” to read as far back in history as possible (here I damn my dislike of poetry). I might be able to participate in a readlong, is it one already set or are you proposing we start a new one?

Tze-Wen: They’re only just starting to become acquainted with me, I’ve done what you did for the most part. The age thing I’ve put down to the difficulty of preserving old books, though of course newer stories will relate to our era more than ones about ancient religions, for example.

Arie Stotle

October 23, 2012, 2:38 pm

I love the organization! Mine is just a jumbled list. I may need to reorganize soon. Welcome to the club!



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