50 classics in 5 years

One of the blogs I follow, The Classics Club, is centered around the challenge of reading 50 classic books in 5 years. Now, given that I am a “classics” major, I need to specify that this means any book that is considered a “classic” rather than any book from the period of Classical Greece or Rome (although a couple of those certainly made my list).

In order to participate (and I will be!), I have to put a list of the 50 books I want to read on my blog. So, here it is! For the sake of simplicity (as well as my own sanity), I have alphabetized it, and I will be updating this post as I read the books, and linking to reviews as I post them.

This is slightly an intense commitment for me, because aside from my college degree this is the longest commitment I have made to anything. We shall see how it goes! (And I hope you all like books because it’s going to be very book-ish around here for a while…)

Start date: June 2020
End date goal: June 2025

  1. Achebe – The African Trilogy (I know I’ve already started this, but it’s three books and I’ve read one, ok?)
  2. Alcott – Hospital Sketches
  3. Alfred, Lord Tennyson – Idylls of the King
  4. Angelou – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  5. Anonymous – Homeric Hymns (trans. Sarah Ruden) (NB: although called Homeric Hymns, they are not actually by Homer, hence “anonymous”)
  6. Anonymous – The Way of the Pilgrim
  7. Apollonius Rhodius – Argonautica
  8. Aristophanes – Lysistrata
  9. Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale
  10. Barrie – Peter Pan
  11. Brontë (Charlotte) – Vilette
  12. Brontë (Emily) – Wuthering Heights
  13. Christie – And Then There Were None
  14. Dante – The Divine Comedy
  15. Dostoyevsky – The Brothers Karamazov
  16. Dostoyevsky – Notes from Underground
  17. Eco – The Name of the Rose
  18. Eliot – Middlemarch
  19. Euripides – Alcestis
  20. Euripides – Herakles Furens
  21. Euripides – Hippolytus
  22. Euripides – Ion
  23. Euripides – Medea
  24. Goudge – The Scent of Water
  25. Herbert – Dune
  26. Heschel – The Sabbath
  27. Hesiod – Theogony
  28. Lewis – Mere Christianity
  29. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters
  30. Lewis – The Space Trilogy
  31. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
  32. Murakami – Killing Commendatore
  33. Orczy – The Scarlet Pimpernel
  34. Ovid – Metamorphoses (trans. Charles Martin)
  35. Plath – The Bell Jar
  36. Salinger – Franny and Zooey
  37. Sayers – Gaudy Night
  38. Shakespeare – The Tempest
  39. Shakespeare – Othello
  40. Shelley (Mary) – Frankenstein (1818 version)
  41. Spenser – The Faerie Queen
  42. Stoker – Dracula
  43. Tolstoy – Anna Karenina
  44. Tolstoy – War and Peace
  45. Virgil – The Aeneid
  46. Vonnegut – God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
  47. Walker – The Color Purple
  48. Wharton – The Age of Innocence
  49. Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray
  50. Woolf – To the Lighthouse

Updated 1/10/21 to remove 2 Jane Austen novels (I don’t like her; don’t hate me) and Dickens (I also don’t particularly like him), as well as Strout’s Olive Kitteredge because I found it boring.

I’m also going to be joining up with Sue Jackson’s 2020 Big Book Summer Reading Challenge, so I can start getting through some of these. There are several on this list which are over 400 pages which I could tackle. I am most likely going to start with Jane Austen’s Emma, and then we’ll go from there! With all that said, I have a ton of reading to do now, so let’s get this party started!

2 thoughts on “50 classics in 5 years

  1. Welcome to the 2020 Big Book Summer Reading Challenge, Catherine! I’m so glad you decided to join the fun!

    That’s an awesome list of classics! I’m not doing The Classics Club, but I do another classics challenge every year, so I hope to include a classic or two this summer also. In fact, I read Emma for a previous Big Book Summer!

    Remember that you can come back to the challenge page anytime to link up (in the 2nd links list) a review of a Big Book or an update, if you want.

    Enjoy your Big Books AND your classics this summer!


    2020 Big Book Summer Challenge


  2. Hi Catherine! I just joined the Classics Club this month and found your blog on the member’s list! I LOVED I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. If you like the audiobook format at all, I would highly recommend finding this on audiobook, specifically read by Angelou! Her voice is perfection and brings the words to life. I am sure it will be awesome even in print, but that was a really wonderful experience for me. And then There Were None was fantastic!!! I loved Middlemarch too, though it is a HUGE book, so it was daunting at first, but the character development was fantastic. I JUST finished The Scarlet Pimpernel, so I will link my (spoiler-free) review, if interested! Mere Christianity is amazing, though I had to read it slowly (and re-read chapters sometimes because Lewis is far too brilliant for my brain to comprehend on first read). I am going to hop on over to your link since you’ve already read and reviewed it! I am currently reading his novel on grieving his wife, A Grief Observed.

    I have Villette on my list too! Looking forward to continuing my Bronte reading. So far, I LOVED Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (5 stars), and really enjoyed Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey (4 stars).


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