Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Journey Through Classics

New month (almost!), new stuff in one's head. I have decided to join good people over at the The Classics Club. Although high-school is prone to ruin most people's craving for any older book (and many more things, but I digress), there comes a time in life when your views grow more mature and soul starts asking for something more... well. Sophisticated, in lack of a better word. At least that's what happened to me. I have decided to battle the demons of "high-school-compulsory-reading-list" and have ordered one of them, "Hamlet" - so that my little project can start with a big bang. Sorry Prince of Denmark, I shan't be such an easy prey this time.
Since some of those books I already own, and some part of them are in my home language, there are a few that I will read in Estonian. Or at least, attempt. I have marked those in the list. I have some concerns when it comes to "Beloved", "Swann's Way" and "Howards End", because I am afraid to miss out on richness of original language. So if it feels very awkward, I will switch to English.
Some books in the list are re-reads. When it comes to certain ones, I have actually been waiting for a reason and an opportunity to re-read, with "Unbearable Lightness of Being" in the top of the list. Many of the classics I have read were during high-school and university years, and since a lot of time has passed (not to mention I wasn't that motivated to read with deep interest since it was, youknow, schoolwork and compulsory and stuff), they will kind of be like new reads anyway. I have marked re-reads in the list as well.
When making this list, I didn't follow any particularly systematic principles, I just added books/authors that I have always wanted to read, or which have had great impact in the world of literature. Since I usually and in normal life tend to lean more towards fantastic worlds, I added maybe somewhat more books from that field (Wells, Bradbury, Herbert, Zamyatin). I also tried to grab plenty of literature from non-English parts of the world.
Thinking about the time frame for this to end, I was stuck between two and three years, but I decided to make it a safer trip and pick three years. There will be a lot of other stuff I read as well, because my tastes and moods can go quite ecletic, so mayhaps longer time frame is a sensible idea.
So that makes the end date of this classics journey of a 100 books, let's say, 1st of February, 2016.
I will be fiddling with this list during the days (weeks, months... :p) to come, adding years of being published, correct typos, and maybe even Goodreads links, if I happen to feel very brave. Or any other tidbits I feel are necessary and enlightening.

The books I have read have been link-ed and crossed through; the books I own will be marked in bold.

1. Richard Adams “Watership Down
2. Louisa May Alcott “Little Women” - re-read
3. Margaret Atwood ”The Blind Assassin”
4. Jane Austen “Mansfield Park”
5. Jane Austen “Persuasion”
6. Ray Bradbury “The Illustrated Man”
7. Ray Bradbury “Something Wicked This Way Comes”
8. Anne Brontë “Agnes Grey”
9. Emily Brontë ”Wuthering Heights” - re-read
10. Charlotte Brontë ”Jane Eyre” - re-read
11. Charlotte Brontë “Villette”
12. Truman Capote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
13. Willa Cather “My Ántonia”
14. Kate Chopin “The Awakening”
15. Wilkie Collins “The Moonstone”
16. Joseph Conrad “Heart of Darkness”
17. Michael Cunningham “The Hours”
18. Daniel Defoe “Moll Flanders”
19. Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”
20. Charles Dickens “Bleak House”
21. Charles Dickens “Oliver Twist”
22. Charles Dickens “Tale of Two Cities”
23. Fyodor Dostoyevski “Crime and Punishment”
24. Fyodor Dostoyevski “Idiot” - re-read
25. Arthur Conan Doyle “The Complete Sherlock Holmes”
26. Daphne du Maurier “Rebecca”
27. Alexandre Dumas “The Count of Monte Cristo”
28. Umberto Eco “The Name of the Rose”
29. George Eliot “Middlemarch”
30. George Eliot “The Mill on the Floss”
31. Ralph Ellison “Invisible Man”
32. Jeffrey Eugenides “Middlesex”
33. William Faulkner “As I Lay Dying”
34. William Faulkner “Light in August”
35. William Faulkner “The Hamlet”
36. F. Scott Fitzgerald “Tender is the Night”
37. E.M. Forster “Howard’s End”
38. Elizabeth Gaskell “Cranford”
39. Elizabeth Gaskell "North and South"
40. Nikolai Gogol “Dead Souls” - in Estonian
41. Günter Grass “The Tin Drum”
42. Thomas Hardy “Jude the Obscure”
43. Thomas Hardy “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”
44. Joseph Heller “Catch-22”
45. Ernest Hemingway “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
46. Frank Herbert “Dune”
47. Victor Hugo “Les Miserables”
48. Henrick Ibsen “Doll’s House”
49. John Irving “The World According to Garp”
50. Kazuo Ishiguro “Remains of the Day”
51. Henry James “The Portrait of a Lady”
52. Henry James “Turn of the Screw”
53. Jerome K. Jerome “Three Men in a Boat”
54. Franz Kafka “Metamorphosis”
55. Barbara Kingsolver “The Poisonwood Bible”
56. Milan Kundera “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” - re-read
57. D. H. Lawrence “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”
58. John le Carre “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
59. Sinclair Lewis “Arrowsmith”
60. Gabriel Garcia Marquez “One Hundred Years of Solitude” - in Estonian; re-read
61. Thomas Mann “Death in Venice” - in Estonian; re-read
62. Ian McEwan “Atonement”
63. Herman Melville “Moby Dick”
64. L.M. Montgomery “Ann of Green Gables”
65. Toni Morrisson “Beloved” - re-read
66. Vladimir Nabokov “Invitation to a Beheading”
67. George Orwell “Animal Farm”
68. Sylvia Plath “The Bell Jar”
69. Marcel Proust “Swann’s Way” - in Estonian
70. Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged”
71. Salman Rushdie “The Satanic Verses”
72. J.D. Salinger “Nine Stories”
73. William Shakespeare “Hamlet” - re-read
74. William Shakespeare “Macbeth”
75. Mary Shelley “Frankenstein”
76. Betty Smith “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”
77. Alexander Solzhenitsyn “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”
78. John Steinbeck “East of Eden”
79. John Steinbeck “The Winter of our Discontent”
80. Stendhal “The Red and the Black”
81. Bram Stoker “Dracula”
82. Patrick Süskind “The Perfume” - re-read
83. Jonathan Swift “Gulliver’s Travels”
84. Leo Tolstoy “War and Peace”
85. Anthony Trollope “The Warden”
86. Mark Twain “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
87. Mark Twain “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” - re-read
88. Jules Verne “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”
89. Kurt Vonnegut “Slaughterhouse Five”
90. Evelyn Waugh “Brideshead Revisited”
91. H.G. Wells “The War of the Worlds”
92. Edith Wharton “The Age of Innocence”
93. Elie Wiesel “Night”
94. Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray” - re-read
95. Tennessee Williams “A Streetcar Named Desire”
96. Virginia Woolf “Mrs Dalloway”
97. Yevgeny Zamyatin “We”
98. Emilé Zola “Germinal”
99. Emilé Zola “Therese Raquin” - re-read
100. Emilé Zola “Nana”


  1. I'm including a few rereads in my list as well. Every time I return to my favorite books I get something new from them! Welcome to the club!

    1. Thanks! I think re-reads are good, in case of having read something, say, in high school, I have discovered my take on some of the classics has changed drastically when reading them later in life (has to do with more mature age I guess).

  2. So many great books on your list. I admire your commitment to such a long list in only a three year time frame! I went with the standard 50 books in 5 years, though I do want to join again once I'm finished and make up a new list! This time around, I mostly stuck to the titles collecting dust in my own collection, but hopefully 5 years from now, I'll be ready to branch out a bit more. I'm certain the Club will help me discover titles I hadn't even considered before :)

    1. Ugh... You know after I made the list and set the date and started looking at that I kind of thought whether I was maybe a bit too optimistic there... But I read a lot, so maybe, maybe it's possible. Although there are other books always tempting too, like now I started reading Stephen King instead and feeling a bit guilty that I am not reading "Persuasion" instead (which is wrong and one should never feel guilty reading something they want to read!)

      I am soo glad I discovered Classics Club! So inspiring to see bunch of all those other people wanting to read old(ish) books, too! :)

  3. 100 books in 3 years! Wow, that's a lot! And some of them are REALLY HUGE...
    I like it that you have quite a lot of good old science fiction in your list, I really love all of them and I hope you'll love them too! Good luck! :)

    1. I know! I think I was being a bit overly optimistic when putting together this list :p But oh well, I'll just see where I am by that time. And yes, good ol' sci-fi! :)

  4. Wow, great list! I like that you went for 100 titles instead of 50, like the rest of us. ;)

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks! I think I might have been a bit overambitious with the number and the time frame, but we'll see how it goes :)


Leave a comment if you feel like it - it warms my little bookish heart. :)