Monday, April 02, 2012

Classics Club Challenge

As much as I love contemporary literature, I love the old stuff--especially now that I'm, uh, a bit older myself. So I always get a thrill when other book bloggers decide to focus on classics instead of whatever the publicists and publishers determine to send our way. Maybe I won't be sidetracked from starting that Gissing I've been eyeing for a couple of years now that Jillian's started the Classics Club.

My objective will be to read 50 books from the list below by April 2, 2015. In addition to obvious classics like Dostoevsky, Trollope, Eliot, and Gissing, I'm calling anything published by NYRB, Virago, Persephone, Penguin or Modern Library modern classics. Science fiction classics count as well, no matter the publisher.

I'll be adding books to this initial list; we had a flood earlier this year and until the new floor is in place (finally ordered last week after weeks of agonizing over what to put down in place of the ruined carpet), an entire bookcase full of tbr possibilities is out of commission.

Really Old Stuff
New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha
The Book of the City of Ladies. Christine de Pizan
Coriolanus. William Shakespeare
Journal of the Plague Year. Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe. Daniel Defoe
Candide. Voltaire

Nineteenth Century
The Adolescent. Dyodor Dostoevsky
The Eternal Husband. Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Idiot. Fyodor Dostoevsky
Adam Bede. George Eliot
Felix Holt. George Eliot
Bouvard and Pecuchet. Gustave Flaubert
North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell
Born in Exile. George Gissing
Eve's Ransom. George Gissing
The Nether World. George Gissing
Our Friend the Charlatan. George Gissing
Thyrza. George Gissing
Workers in the Dawn. George Gissing
Far from the Madding Crowd. Thomas Hardy
The Mayor of Canterbridge. Thomas Hardy
The Charterhouse of Parma. Stendhal
Orley Farm. Anthony Trollope
Phineas Finn. Anthony Trollope
The Eustace Diamonds. Anthony Trollope
Phineas Redux. Anthony Trollope
The Prime Minister. Anthony Trollope
The Duke's Children. Anthony Trollope
The Small House at Allington. Anthony Trollope

New York Review Book Classics
Miami and the Siege of Chicago. Norman Mailer
The Balkan Trilogy. Olivia Manning (April 2012; counts as three)
Letty Fox. Christian Stead

Persephone Books
The Winds of Heaven. Monica Dickens
The Wise Virgins. Leonard Woolf

Virago Modern Classics
Plagued by Nightingales. Kay Boyle
Sisters by a River. Barbara Comyns
A Touch of Mistletoe. Barbara Comyns
The Vet's Daughter. Barbara Comyns
The Beauties and the Furies. Christina Stead
Salzburg Tales. Christina Stead
At Mrs. Lippincote's. Elizabeth Taylor

Twentieth Century
The Aleph and Other Stories. Jorge Luis Borges
Death Comes For the Archbishop. Willa Cather
My Mortal Enemy. Willa Cather  (March 2012)
The Man Who Was Thursday. G.K. Chesterton
The Enormous Room. E.E. Cummings
Death in Venice. Thomas Mann
Doctor Faustus. Thomas Mann
Song of Solomon. Toni Morrison
The Discovery of Heaven. Henry Mulisch
The Sacred and Profane Love Machine. Iris Murdoch
A Dance to the Music of Time. Anthony Powell
Call It Sleep. Henry Roth
The Abbess of Crewe. Muriel Spark (April 2012)
Robinson. Muriel Spark
History of Mr. Polly. H.G. Wells
Kipps. H.G. Wells
Black Lamb and Grey Falcoln. Rebecca West
A Train of Powder. Rebecca West
Night and Day. Virginia Woolf

Science Fiction
Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction
The Man Who Folded Himself. Gerrold
The City and the City. China Mieville
Perdido Street Station. China Mieville
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. James Tiptree
The War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells


  1. I loved North and South (even though I am told it is not her best). I read it, watched the film and am now listening to it on audio. I keep hearing about this but have been trying to pretend I haven't as I love making lists and then reading something else entirely different. Still, it's a project that is nice to think about! Lots of books here I want to read, too, including The Balkan Tilogy which I had on my reading pile then it got bumped off very disrespectfully by other books--but I do still plan on reading it! Sorry to hear about the flood.

  2. So sorry to hear about your flood and your lost books! :-( But I'm impressed by your list, so many great authors! I loved North and South and I'm always happy to see another Trollope fan.

    I only put a few modern classics on my list and now I wish I'd included more Persephones, Viragos and NYRBs. And lately I've heard good things about Adam Bede -- I haven't read that much Eliot, I loved Middlemarch but I started Daniel Deronda last year but got stuck halfway through and I haven't touched it since. I look forward to seeing more of your list.

  3. Working my way through some Borges short stories slowly, very slowly, but enjoying them.


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