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Sneak Peek into My Reading List for the Next Five Years – The Classics Club oath

11th April, 2017

The Classics Club list

Love classics? Modern classics? Books by forgotten authors? I sure do! Here is a sneak peak into my Classics Club list of novels that I ‘propose to read and presume will count’ (in Italo Calvino’s words).

There is nothing for it but for all of us to invent our own ideal libraries of classics. I would say that such a library ought to be composed half of books we have read and that have really counted for us, and half of books we propose to read and presume will come to count—leaving a section of empty shelves for surprises and occasional discoveries.” – Why Read the Classics by Italo Calvino

I make lists, a lot of lists; but I am such a forgetful person that I often lose my lists or sometimes end up with many versions of the same list, each one very different from the other. So, inspired by the recent Classics spinoff by many bloggers (which was a part of an event by Classics Club), I thought of coming up with a bullet list of classics to read in the next five years.

The rules are simple – make a list of fifty classics to read in the next five years; read them and review them. I am not sure if I will be able to read and review all of them, but I hope I will at least read them all, if not review them (Hey! Goodreads reviews count, right?).

I had a few classics I really wanted to read on my list (the scrap paper list) such as North and South and Ruth by Gaskell, both of which I read this year. So I have deleted them from the list and added new ones. The list has a mixture of classics and modern classics that I am very eager about. Without further ado, here is the list revealed in all its glory:

  1. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  2. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  3. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  4. Silvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
  5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  6. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  7. The Old Curiosity shop by Charles Dickens
  8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  9. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  10. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  11. Villette by Charlotte Bronte
  12. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
  13. The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
  14. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  15. Lady Audley’s secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  16. Evelina by Francis Burney
  17. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  18. Black Tulip Alexandre Dumas
  19. Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  20. Dead Souls Nikolai Gogol
  21. The Master and Margharita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  22. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
  23. Brothers Karazamov by Dostoesky
  24. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  25. Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
  26. Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
  27. The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
  28. The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
  29. Can you Forgive Her by Anthony Trollope
  30. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
  31. Snow Country Yasanari Kawabata
  32. Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  33. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  34. The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
  35. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  36. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  37. Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  38. Frost in May by Antonia White
  39. Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
  40. Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  41. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge
  42. Diary of a Provincial lady by E. M. Delafield
  43. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  44. Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  45. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  46. Stoner by John Williams
  47. The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
  48. Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector
  49. Thus were their faces by Silvina Ocampo
  50. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


Is there anything ore joyful than re-reading your favourites? If I am forced to pick two, my favourite classics would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, both of which I have re-read many times. I wanted to re-read Austen’s all works last year, but ended up reading only Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Want to know a novel that I have read more number of times than Pride and Prejudice (my absolute favourite comfort read)? It is Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. I am sure I will be reading it at least once in the next five years (or maybe six?).

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  2. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  4. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  5. Agnes Gray by Anne Bronte
  6. Silas Marner by George Eliot
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Phew! That was a long one. I hereby pledge that I will work my way through these classics over the next five years. There are so many more classics (eg: Howard’s end, Tender is the Night), modern classics (eg: Angel by Elizabeth Taylor, Voyage Out) and re-reads (eg: Les Miserables) that I really want to squeeze in. I might add them in and remove a few from this list. So this list will remain a flexible one.

Don’t forget to follow me on my Instagram blog where I will be updating my progress.

Start date : 11th April, 2017

End date : 11th April, 2022 (2023 for all the re-reads)

If you are interested in pledging to read more classics, check out The Classics Club for rules and more inspiration.

Let's discuss

Do you enjoy classics, modern classics and books by forgotten authors? What are your favourites that you think I must add to this list? Tell me which ones you will include in your list or leave me a link to your Classics Club list so that I can take a look.

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This Post Has 55 Comments
  1. Just reading your list makes me wish that we all had more time! I would also like to read many of these. A few I have already read – Bleak House probably being my favourite. Middlemarch is probably the one right now that I most want to read. Although, I’m always tempted by Thomas Hardy.
    Have fun with them!

    1. Thanks Naomi. I hope I will make a good dent in this list over the years. I have been intimidated both by Middlemarch and Bleak House for years because of their size. But I thought if I am making a Classics list, these both definitely deserve to be on it.

  2. Start with #50, then add her book, The King’s General to the list! 🙂
    I’ll never do 50 in 5 years, but 5 in 5 maybe. Still, I’ll work on a list–I love book lists. I’ve read (and enjoyed) many on your list and have stalled (but not given up) on several more. I may dust a few off and finish them. Right now I’m working thru Les Miz on the Serial Reader App (a great way to read classics in small, daily bites–pay the tiny amount for the upgrade so you can highlight, etc) and Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott. I read from this list (actually a homeschool curriculum but a super reading list) and track my reading from it on a barebones blog here:

    1. Thank you for sharing Ambleside curriculum and your list with me. Wow, that is an impressive list. And you have read so many blogs. You should do a write up of your experience with reading the home schooling curriculum on Hopewells Library of Life. I am sure so many people will be interested.

      I am not familiar with this curriculum and I am definitely going to explore and see what it talks about. I did get a gist that it focusses on all round reading and development, something we often miss out in conventional schools

  3. This is awesome! I’ve seen the Classics Club on a few other blogs and have been tempted to join. I probably will one day – otherwise I might not have the incentive to get to all the classics that are lingering on my TBR. I’m glad to see Middlemarch on your list! You know I’m a big fan of that one. I have never read Elizabeth Gaskell but I am pretty sure that I would really enjoy her. Best of luck on your pursuit!

    1. Thank you Laila. I remember your updates on Middlemarch and I am eager to read that one. I hope you will try Gaskell. She is so similar to present day literary fiction – perhaps because her topics are more realistic and we can relate to them more. I recommend North and South. I loved the read.

  4. Great list, amazing concept! I’ve always thought about reading the classics myself, because I read so many contemporary authors for the most part. I’m thinking of joining this challenge… thanks for sharing and good luck!

  5. Wow, this is such a great idea, I might do that as well! At the beginning of the year, I had decided I wanted to read more classics and I’ve already read three (Sense and Sensibility, Cousin Bette and I finished Tess of the d’Ubervilles yesterday)! I also love Far from the Madding Crowd so much – it was one of my favourite books of last year – so I need to reread it! 😀

    1. I am always glad to see a fellow lover of Far from the madding crowd. I must read Tess of Dubervilles one day. I tried reading it once but found it depressing. I think I might be able to appreciate the book now, as an adult. I hope you will put up a Classics list too. Let me know when you do. I would love to take a look.

  6. A very good list Susan. Quite complete. (Lots of Dickens?)
    I would add Dostoïewski’ “Idiot”. And I would substitute Dumas “Black Tulip” by The count of Monte-Cristo, possibly Dumas best.
    (I wonder: am I on your spam list?)

    1. Thank you! You are the second person who suggested The Count of Monte Cristo to me. So the book must be worth adding to the list. I must admit I put That Dostoesky because it is a book I own and I keep postponing reading it every time. I will look into Idiot if I enjoy his writing style.
      Thank you for the valuable additions to the list. 🙂

      1. Now I am reassured that I’m not on your spam list. 🙂
        Monte-Cristo is a must. Now books on shelves have priority.
        I will go back to your list too. You have very good picks.
        One more thing: Check your WP settings, because I don’t “get” your replies.
        They don’t appear in my message list. Which is weird.
        And unfortunate as I do enjoy our exchanges.
        Have a lovely week-end.

          1. It is weird and confirmed. A WP bug I guess. I have to go back to your post, ‘coz I’m not notified of your reply. Très étrange… Hmmm. Let me check my own settings. Be good.

      2. And about Dostoïevski and writing style: I love Russian authors, but one needs a notecard to write the characters’ full names, father’s name and nickname. 🙂 Otherwise one gets lost. 😉

        1. That’s true. I picked up Anna Karenina in Feb. (I am still in Part 6 btw). I tried doing the audio version first so that I can finish it inbetween chores. But I found it really hard to follow the names and switched to a print version.

  7. I’m not a big fan of the classics, mainly because of the lack of diversity and the sense of it being something of an elitist, white club, not to mention some of the long winded narratives that try my patience.

    But I see you’ve put Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God on the list, that is a brilliant book, I read it last year and it was one of my top reads of the year.

    I have also read and enjoyed Elizabeth von Arnim’s Enchanted April, which I think you’ll enjoy and Madame Bovary I absolutely adored, though expected it to be like other slow going classics, not at all, I love Flaubert’s prose.

    Another classic I finally read in a read along after having it on the shelves for years and was pleasantly surprised was Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, it’s hilarious! And I second Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, it’s brilliant in its characterisation.

    Happy Reading and good luck with the challenge.

    1. I agree about classics being less inclusive of diversity and they often make fun of non-white people. I have enjoyed Dickens as a child. But as an adult I came across his racist views and I was in two minds. I have decided to keep his personal racist views aside and read the ones that I have enjoyed. However I don’t think I would have made that exception had it been a contemporary racist author.

      I am very eager about Zora’s book. I started the book last year but the dialogues in slang did not work with me. I want to give it more time and slowly enjoy the read. Thanks for the comments about Arnim and Flaubert. I am excited about both. Madame Bovary especially because I have been longing to read it after I read The Bad Girl by Maro Vargas LLosa which was inspired by Madame Bovary.

      I will definitely look into Idiot. I wanted to include Pushkin but wasn’t sure if A collected stories list would be okay in this list. I am very eager to read his short story Queen of Spades. I think I read somewhere that Eugene Onegin is in verse? Not sure. I need to look it up.

      1. This is such an ambitious list and project! I wish you all the best of luck and am eagerly looking forward to your posts. I’ve seen so many people post about the Classics Club, but you’ve inspired me to make my own list. I think I’ll have to do 20 books in 5 years though! There are always so many other books I want to read, that it is hard to make time for the Classics sometimes (but there’s always time to reread Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters…)

        1. I agree; I have my doubts about the list too because I like reading contemporary fiction too and there are so many new releases every month. But I am glad I made a list anyway. 🙂

      2. Yes, Onegin is prose poetry and for years I was intimidated by it, hence I read it in a readalong and then said to myself, why I was so hesitant to pick it up!! It’s not a difficult read and it’s hilarious.

        About Zora’s book, I read it not long after reading Marlon James A Brief History of Seven Killings, much of which is in Jamaican patois, after pushing through that, I found Zora’s lilt more poetic and the rhythm easier to get into, once you just let it go, you discover its rhythm and I found I understood it much more easily. It just takes a while to quieten that voice in our own mind that demands something more conformist, its like the same voice I have to get over to read more of the classics! 🙂

        1. Thank you Claire. Your words are very encouraging and I am going to try reading Zora again. It might be easier the second time around. Perhaps I was not in the right mood for the novel when I picked it up first. The same thing happened with Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Happiness of Being. I hated it at first; but when I picked it up after I was a year or two older, I found so many thought provoking passages. I hope I will enjoy Zora when I pick it up again. As for Onegin, you have definitely piqued my curiosity. I might give it a try one day.

  8. Love this idea! I own so many classics but recently I’ve been reading just recent releases and neglecting all the big tomes published many years ago. So many of the ones in your list are on my TBR, I might just have to join you on this one and hey, 5 years seem doable 😉

  9. I make a lot of lists myself as well, and I actually have a list of classics I want to read as well! But at the moment I am just trying to get through all the books I own but haven’t read yet first! Hopefully that will be one list I can conquer.

  10. What a wonderful idea and a wonderful reading list too! I read many of these when I was in college studying English lit and I loved them all. I was an especially big fan of Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, and Charles Dickens. I can’t wait to read your reviews as you work your way through these books.

  11. So glad you’re joining up and what a brilliant list! Mind you, I’m biased – any list with that number of Dickens novels on it is bound to meet with my approval. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy being part of the club as much as I do. 😀

    1. I loved Dickens as a child. So I wanted to read him as an adult and see if I enjoy his books. It was so hard to pick the Dickens titles. I really wanted to squeeze in Little Dorrit, a Dickens that I have not read as a child. But he writes such huge books and I didn’t think I would be able to finish them all.

  12. Wow! That’s quite an impressive list. And there are many on there that are on my list as well, but I would need to get really lucky, and have loads more time, to get to even half of that list in the next 5 years. But more power to you girl!

    Have you read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte?

    1. Thank you! I hope I can make a dent in this list over the years. I have read Jane Eyre. I have actually read The Professor too, but I do not remember anything of the story, so I put it in the list. I really want to read all the novels of the Brontes

  13. Wonderful list. Good luck with it. I fallen off the wagon a bit. I’m supposed to finish my CC list in October this year. Yet I don’t know if I will do it. My mistake was adding to it and making it so long. I haven’t added anything to for ages but fear there are titles on it I don’t even own. I really need to get back to it.

    1. Thank you Ali. I hope I stick to my list (or atleast half of it). I always read on impulse so I don’t know if my habits of picking a new read will be in sync with the list. It is always a bummer when we don’t own the book but want to read it. October is a long way to go. Hope you will be able to complete your goals by then.:)

      I am not surprised you added so many to your list. I published this post yesterday and in one day I remembered ten more titles that I should have put but didn’t. Maybe I should put a seperate list for Virago and Persephone titles. Not a challenge; just something to remind me that there are books to get to. There are so many good classics and modern classics out there that it is so hard not to have the urge to read them all. But I am sure you had an enjoyable time reading through the books that were on your list.

    1. Ooh! That’s a great idea. Trust me when you start making a list you will get so many more. I am eager to see what you will put in your list. And it is great to have a checklist to read whether you read it in five years or ten.

  14. Classics are a love/hate relationship with me. I normally fall head over heels for them or fail to connect at all. This list is a bit daunting haha, but spreading it over the span of five years makes the idea much more approachable. I hope you read Great Expectations soon! A favorite of mine 🙂

    1. Oh yes! That happens. Sometimes classics can be long winding and they definitely do not feel appealing. You would be glad to know that I am reading Great Expectations in the next three months. I have already put out a copy from the shelf on to the table

  15. What a fantastic list! Several of my favorite books are on there, and there are many others that I would also like to read. I look forward to reading your reviews. 🙂

  16. I’m such a fan of classic literature too, it helps that publishers like Penguin release the classics in beautifully bound editions so new generations can discover and enjoy them. Austen and Bronte would be among my favourites but have a particular fondness for children’s classics too. Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Wizard of Oz. Really looking forward to following your progress (and how was I not already following you on Instagram?) <3 <3

  17. Wow, that’s an ambitious list! I wish you good luck with this project.
    I have myself started a project to read more classics, ‘Back to Classics’, for which I’m going to read classics from different countries and post about them on my blog. I haven’t finalized my lists for each country yet, so I may find inspiration on your blog 🙂
    I am currently reading ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley and I’m loving it, it’s very effective and quite terrifying, I recommend it!

    1. That is an even better project. I will check out your updates. I would love to have a few classics recommendations from Japan. I have read a bit of Brave New World and loved it. It is so amazing. I need to read the full thing

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