Tuesday 5 February 2013

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library - Jorge Luis Borges

I'm restless. I don't know what's going on, but I don't seem to be able to settle. Still having tests and seeing doctors about my shoulder, would you believe. One year after my accident. How depressing is that?

So I'm looking for a new challenge. To focus. To settle me down. To put my energy into. Instead of moping after things that I cannot control. That I cannot have.

And, as if by magic, The Classics Club appeared. A group of bloggers reading books they consider classics. And sharing the experience with fellow bloggers. Sounds fab to me.

The challenge? To join, you need to provide a list of a minimum 50 books that you pledge to read over the next five years maximum. As you know, I cannot resist a list. And a list of classics?! It was a no-brainer.

So I’ve mooched and wondered. Reflected and puzzled. Checked out my other lists. And here’s what I’ve come up with. The classics that I would really like to read by 10 February 2017:

3. Adam Bede, George Elliott
4. An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser
6. Catch 22, Joseph Heller
8. Cider House Rules, John Irving
9. Doctor Faustus, Thomas Mann
10. Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
12. Faust, Johann Goethe
13. For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
14. Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
16. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
17. Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
18. Manhattan Transfer, John Dos Passos
19. Metamorphoses, Ovid
22. Oblomov, Ivan Goncharov
23. Of Human Bondage, Somerset Maugham
24. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
25. Sketches from a Hunter’s Album, Ivan Turgenev
26. Testaments Betrayed, Milan Kundera
27. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
29. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
31. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
32. The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
33. The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams
36. The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper
37. The Odyssey, Homer
39. The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
40. The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine
41. The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell
43. The Screwtape Letters, C S Lewis
44. The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
47. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
48. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
49. Utopia, Thomas Moore
50. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Now I don't say that I'll read them in this order. I usually have to go with what I’m feeling at any particular time. But we’ll see. And I’ll keep the list updated as and when I read them. So feel free to pop back and check up on my progress.

I'm excited by the challenge. I'm pleased with my list. More or less. The only books that I'm really concerned about are the Dickens, Ovid and Homer.

We studied Dickens in school. In particular, Great Expectations. I was not a fan. I am still not a fan. Now I love his stories. And they make stunning films. But I just don’t love his style. It’s way too heavy on the descriptive for me.

Still, I felt compelled to put The Old Curiosity Shop in there, because it has sat on a bookshelf of mine since I was 12 years old. I received it as a school prize. My copy still has the congratulatory school certificate on the inside cover. And it’s hardly long, is it?
As for the Ovid and Homer, well, just reading their names seems well over my head. We shall see. As I said, this is a challenge. It's not meant to be easy, is it??  Wish me well. Join me if you dare…


  1. Don't tell me you've never read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - How can this be?

    1. I know!! Have only ever seen the films. In fact, I've never read any Roald Dahl. Passed me by completely... :0(

    2. Call yourself Welsh and not read any Roald Dahl - shocking! Have got them all nearly plus The Roald Dahl Treasury if you want to borrow them. I've also got a couple of others on your list but I've never read them. Far too classical but they look good on the shelf. Just let me know....

    3. Harsh! But not unfair. Still, better late than never, eh? Thanks for the offer, but you know me - can't borrow. They're all in my Amazon basket. I'll be buying them sooner than I thought with all this pressure... And why not join me in reading the classics you have. We can read them together, book club-like :0)

  2. I'm so glad you found the club! I'll also say that Roald Dahl is fantactic, so you'll have to read more of his work!

    1. Helloooo! Me too!! I'm v excited about reading Charlie now with all this encouragement. Wish I'd put more Roald Dahl on my list...

  3. Hi. I have to admit to never reaing and Roald Dahl either! I didn't realise I was missing out so I guess I'll have to add him to my list. What counts as a classic? I'm never very sure. Jo

    1. As for what counts as a classic, I think there are many definitions. The Classic Club gives a guideline for those taking part (http://theclassicsclubblog.wordpress.com/how-to-join/). Basically, you decide! Which I think is fair enough :0)

  4. I'm now quite chuffed with myself that I've read 8 of the ones on your list! This is ony remarkable as you have always been my "extremely intelligent, interlectual and well-read" friend :)

    1. Oooh do let me know which ones you've read so that I can come to you for encouragement if ever I'm struggling with them!! And thanks for the compliment. Not so sure it's deserved though...

  5. What a great idea! I love about half of the books on your list and the other half are books I've always wanted to read. I wish you the best on this incredible endeavor!

    1. Oooh thank you so much for the encouragement! You could always put the other half of books on a list and join me ;0)

  6. I wish you the best. I'm not ready for the risk.:)

    1. Thanks! But it's actually quite fun. When you get past the stress... :0)

  7. What an INCREDIBLE idea!!! I love this. I want to do this!! hahah :)
    And what a fabulous quote.. Im already a sucker for quotes so the fact that you have them for every post (that Ive read so far) makes my day.

    Nice to "meet" you!

    1. Hi there, Lindsay! It seriously is a great idea. I luuurve lists, crossing out ones I've done, adding new ones. Love it, love it. You simply HAVE to do it! Keep me posted :0)