Friday, July 25, 2014

Twenty classics I want to read

I'm currently participating in the TBR Pile Challenge, which is enough for one year, especially given my three book groups. Last weekend, though, I came across this post from Behold the Stars in which she announced the completion of her Classics Club list. I thought, "I want to read more classics." I thought, "I could totally join Classics Club." I read the requirements, and was delighted and relieved that you can count re-reads, and you can change your list at any point. Immediately, I spent a weekend making a list of 50 classics to read in the next 5 years. I came up with 20 easily. Then I added another 8 that I've been wanting to re-read.

I actually have three classics checked out of the library right now - one as a potential community read, one for the TBR Pile Challenge, and a third just because - and this made the timing seem even more urgent. I want these three books to count.

So then I was at 28 and had to come up with 22 more. Since they can be changed I thought I'd just go through some lists of classics and pick out more things that I should totally read at some point in my life. I read the Classics Club list of classics, and then moved on to Goodreads, where I went through a few different lists, adding anything that wasn't an obvious and immediate turnoff.

Then I began to come to my senses.

I am in three (3) book groups. I am on the community read committee at my library. I am doing the TBR Pile Challenge. This all equals a lot of books and I have been trying so hard to whittle down my To Read list on Goodreads, trying to delete books I think I might not read so I will stop feeling that pressure.

This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to post my list of classics that I actually want to read here. I will maybe attempt to read them sometime in the foreseeable future (i.e. between now and retirement.) I will not hold myself to any promises.

Here's my list:

  1. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  2. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  4. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  5. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  6. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  7. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  8. War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy
  9. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne duMaurier
  10. The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  11. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  12. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  13. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  14. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  16. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  17. Babbit by Sinclair Lewis
  18. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  19. Complete Poems by Dorothy Parker
  20. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker

So there. I haven't read any of these. (Ok, I might have read Mrs. Dalloway but I can't quite remember so that doesn't count. And I read "The Lottery" in school, but not any other of Jackson's stories.) I would also like to read something by Faulkner, maybe, but I'm not sure what. And maybe something by John Updike? I don't know. It doesn't matter. But if you have suggestions I'll take them.

A few of these are chunky. I don't know how I'll get through War and Peace or Moby-Dick or Middlemarch. I'd like to be taking a class on them because that helped a lot in college, and I really think you get more out of a book if you're discussing it. Occasionally the Cambridge Center for Adult Education will hold a class on a particularly long book (in fact they are doing War and Peace this fall, which may work out for me!) There are also read-alongs online that I will look for as well.

I just came perilously close to doing something ridiculous, and I'm so glad I caught myself before actually signing up. But I'm also glad to be thinking about reading more classics.

What are your favorites? Are there any you have been wanting to read and just haven't managed to get to? What's the best Faulkner novel to start with, or should I just skip him altogether? Please share your thoughts and opinions below!


Icy Daylight said...

Let me know if/when you start A Separate Peace, I'd love to re-read and discuss. And I've never read The Awakening but I've been meaning to, so let me know if/when you start that one too. I *might* come with you on Middlemarch, but no promises. Good luck!

3goodrats said...

Earliest for any of these would probably be October, by which point I will likely forget about this list entirely. But I will *try* to remember this conversation if/when I start any of these!