Classics Club Lists

Here is the new list of at least 50 classics I vow to read and blog about by December 1st, 2021.  It is a fluid list, and will very likely change over the next five years, but it will always have at least 50 books on it.  Most of these are novels, but there are a few plays and one or two books of nonfiction.  Rereads are marked with an asterisk.  As I read and post reviews on my blog, I will link these titles to those posts.

I define "classic" as being more than 50 years old (written before 1966), being well-known (or by a well-known author), and being influential on society or other writers.

  1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  2. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
  3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  4. April Twilights and Other Poems by Willa Cather (Finished 4-23-17)
  5. The Big Sleep* by Raymond Chandler (Finished 7-29-17)
  6. The Blythes are Quoted by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 11-16-16)
  7. By-Line:  Ernest Hemingway
  8. Camille by Alexandre Dumas fils
  9. A Christmas Carol* by Charles Dickens (Finished 12-16-16)
  10. Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  11. Coriolanus by William Shakespeare
  12. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  13. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  14. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (Finished 4-23-18)
  15. The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper
  16. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  17. The Door into Summer by Robert Heinlein
  18. Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds
  19. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (Finished 12-15-16)
  20. Evelina by Frances Burney
  21. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  22. Further Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  23. Good-bye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
  24. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  25. The Great Gatsby* by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Finished 6-29-17)
  26. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
  27. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  28. Howard's End by E.M. Forster
  29. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  30. The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
  31. I, Robot* by Isaac Asimov (Finished 5-9-17)
  32. Ivanhoe* by Sir Walter Scott
  33. Jane of Lantern Hill by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 2-4-18)
  34. The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott
  35. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  36. Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien (Finished 12-19-16)
  37. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
  38. Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  39. A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall
  40. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  41. The Merchant of Venice* by William Shakespeare
  42. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  43. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  44. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
  45. Montana Rides! by Evan Evans (Max Brand) (Finished 2-25-17)
  46. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  47. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Finished 6-18-18)
  48. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
  49. The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
  50. Northanger Abbey* by Jane Austen (Finished 4-9-18)
  51. The Once and Future King by T. H. White
  52. One Day in the Live of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  53. The Phantom of the Opera* by Gaston Leroux (Finished 3-12-17)
  54. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  55. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
  56. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy
  57. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (Finished 11-21-17)
  58. Silas Marner* by George Eliot
  59. "Smith of Wootton Major" and "Farmer Giles of Ham" by J.R.R. Tolkien (Finished 4-2-18)
  60. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre
  61. The Story Girl by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  62. Tales of India by Rudyard Kipling
  63. A Tale of Two Cities* by Charles Dickens
  64. The Taming of the Shrew* by William Shakespeare
  65. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  66. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  67. Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
  68. To Kill a Mockingbird* by Harper Lee
  69. The Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway (Finished 1-12-18)
  70. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  71. True Grit* by Charles Portis (Finished 12-18-16)
  72. Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  73. Under the Deodars by Rudyard Kipling
  74. Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy
  75. Villette by Charlotte Bronte
  76. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Here is my first list of 50 books for the Classics Club.  I started it at the beginning of January, 2014, and I finished my fiftieth book in November of 2016.
  1. Anne of Avonlea* by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 2-26-16)
  2. Anne of Green Gables* by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 1-23-16)
  3. Anne of Ingleside* by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 7-2-16)
  4. Anne of the Island* by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 3-17-16)
  5. Anne of Windy Poplars* by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 4-28-16)
  6. Anne's House of Dreams* by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 6-2-16)
  7. Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace (Finished 10-1-14)
  8. The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer (Finished 4-6-16)
  9. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 9-10-15)
  10. The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes* by A. Conan Doyle (Finished 2-7-14)
  11. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (Finished 11-25-14)
  12. Dear Enemy by Jean Webster (Finished 9-3-15)
  13. Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Finished 3-6-14)
  14. The Further Adventures of Zorro by Johnston McCulley (Finished 3-2-16)
  15. Greenwillow by B. J. Chute (Finished 7-24-16)
  16. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark* by William Shakespeare (Finished 12-22-15)
  17. The High Window* by Raymond Chandler (Finished 4-20-16)
  18. His Last Bow* by A. Conan Doyle (Finished 1-10-14)
  19. The Hobbit* by J.R.R. Tolkien (Finished 2-10-14) 
  20. The Hound of the Baskervilles* by A. Conan Doyle (Finished 11-18-14)
  21. Jane Eyre* by Charlotte Bronte (Finished 11-12-16)
  22. A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich (Finished 6-13-16)
  23. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart (Finished 12-06-15)
  24. Letters on an Elk Hunt by Elinore Pruitt Stewart (Finished 11-3-16)
  25. The Light in the Forest* by Conrad Richter (Finished 9-30-16)
  26. The Light of Western Stars by Zane Grey (Finished 2-5-15)
  27. Little Women* by Louisa May Alcott (Finished 6-9-15)
  28. The Lord of the Rings* by J.R.R. Tolkien (Finished 7-1-14)
  29. The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley (Finished 5-27-14)
  30. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (Finished 8-12-15)
  31. Middlemarch by George Eliot (Finished 7-3-15)
  32. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Finished 5-18-15)
  33. And Now Tomorrow by Rachel Field (Finished 5-16-16)
  34. Of Mice and Men* by John Steinbeck (Finished 8-21-15)
  35. The Old Man and the Sea* by Ernest Hemingway (Finished 7-21-14)
  36. The Outsiders* by S. E. Hinton (Finished 9-21-16)
  37. Persuasion* by Jane Austen (Finished 2-27-15)
  38. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Finished 3-9-14)
  39. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes by Vincent Starrett (Finished 6-26-14)
  40. The Quiet Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott (Finished 12-11-15)
  41. Rainbow Valley* by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 8-19-16)
  42. Rilla of Ingleside* by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Finished 10-1-16)
  43. Shane* by Jack Schaefer (Finished 2-16-15)
  44. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Finished 10-16-15)
  45. Spiderweb for Two* by Elizabeth Enright (Finished 12-15-14)
  46. The Sun Also Rises* by Ernest Hemingway (Finished 4-30-14)
  47. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (Finished 3-30-14)
  48. Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Finished 3-23-14)
  49. Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (Finished 7-15-14)
  50. The Witch of Blackbird Pond* by Elizabeth George Speare (Finished 8-28-16)


  1. Hello Hamlette, I am doing the Classics Book Challenge as well. Your list is very different than most. This is actually very refreshing. More authors and books for me to explore :) Good luck!!

    1. Hello! I'm intrigued now -- how is my list different? I'm going to have to find some time t check out other people's lists and see, eh? I'm guessing maybe I have fewer really famous books or something.

      Thanks for dropping by, and good luck to you too!

  2. Welcome to the club! I love Alcott and Tolkien.

  3. I don't remember if I congratulated you on making the list! So congratulations on joining. How did you choose your books?

    Don Quixote was my first CC title. (I sure do miss DQ).

    1. Thanks! I chose my books by copying my to-read list and deleting everything that I didn't consider a classic, then adding in some things I plan to re-read until I had about 50 titles. So really, this is just a condensed version of my to-read list as a whole, hee.

      Once I finish LOTR, I want to start DQ. So probably this summer or fall!

  4. What a great list with lots of variety! Are going to begin to read DQ with plans of starting The Well-Educated Mind novel list?

    1. Thanks! No, I don't have plans to start a WEM list, as I haven't read "The Well-Educated Mind." I'd actually never heard of it before I started reading Ruth's blog. Do you recommend it? I minored in English in college, so I do know how to read books, and I don't know... what I've read about it makes my instincts say, "I like how I read books -- I like my system." But maybe I should give it a whirl? My library does have it.

      (And by "give it a whirl," I mean, "read it when I'm done with the 3 books I'm currently reading and the 3 that are begging me to read them, plus the 1 I just decided to read for Dickens' birthday month.")

    2. It is definitely worth reading. It's not a formula nor do you have to do everything she says. It's teaching how to read in depth and in the beginning it takes some work but eventually it becomes rather natural just to ask yourself the questions. Ruth and I and a couple of others (one of them Robin from 52 book in 52 weeks) are going to be reading through the biography list starting in May if you want to join us, or want to join us for a book or two. It's on this group on Goodreads: if you are interested. That might fit in with your schedule, giving you enough time to clear all those reads!

    3. Okay! I've added WEM to my to-read list, but I make no promises as to how soon I'll get to it :-) It'll probably be a couple of weeks before I finish anything and start in on the Dickens book, etc.

      And I don't really do GoodReads because I simply don't have the time, so thanks for the invite, but you won't see me popping up in the group. But it does sound like a good way to get motivated to read things!

    4. I admire that you set limitations for yourself. I am trying to do this because I have the problem of saying yes to everything and then overloading myself. Let me know what you think of the WEM, when you've had a look! :-)

    5. I have that same problem! In fact, my only New Year's resolution last year and this year is to say 'no' more often. I keep finding more reading challenges online that look so fun -- but I set myself the limit of 3 for the year, and I've already fudged a little on that by doing the Dickens birthday celebration next month and joining the Classics Club.

      I'm sure I'll be posting about WEM when I read it! And I'll try to let you and Ruth know when I start it :-)

  5. Great list! I read Moby-Dick last year and even though it took a while to get through it, it was well worth it!

    1. How did I miss this comment? Anyway, thanks! I keep adding things and my list gets longer and longer -- it's almost 60 books now! But as long as I get 50 read in 5 years, it doesn't matter if I finish my whole list. Right? Right.

      I tried Moby-Dick years ago and got about a chapter in. Then set it down and said, "This is not the right time for this book." One of these days!

  6. I spy The Mysteries of Udolpho and Agnes Grey on your list: two of my favorites. :) Enjoy!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I just introduced my mom to Northanger Abbey two weeks ago, and that has me rather eager for Udolpho, hee.

  7. What a great list! We do have quite a few books in common and I would love to do a read-along for some of the more intimidating ones. Let me know if you'd be open to that :) I look forward to following your blog!

    1. Thanks! The only trouble with this list is how it keeps getting longer and longer, lol.

      I'm hosting a read-along of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" beginning in mid-October, and planning a read-along of "Little Women" for early 2015. You can see my list of prospective read-alongs here and suggest some if you'd like! I will note, though, that on a whole I'm loath to host a read-along of a book I haven't read myself yet. But I'm totally open to suggestions! Even of books that aren't on my to-read list.

  8. You've picked some wonderful novels there! I loooove North and South, The Screwtape Letters, Anna Karenina and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I really hope you will! I'm making my own Classics Club list at the moment actually and I have a question for you. I'm thinking of putting one and only one Ernest Hemingway novel on the list but I have no idea which one I should go. Which book would you suggest? I realise that this might be hard for you and I'm very sorry for any distress that I might cause! :)

    1. I'm sorry, I can't do that.

      I just can't recommend One Hemingway Book! Impossible. I'll give you 4 recommendations, and you can take your pick.

      Are you committed to it being a novel? If so, The Sun Also Rises is thus far my favorite, and I think it's pretty accessible to someone unused to Hemingway (I'm assuming you are, since you're asking for recommendations.)

      However, by far my favorite work of his so far is not a novel, it's his memoir of his life in Paris in the '20s, A Moveable Feast. (I haven't actually read everything by Hemingway yet, I must admit.) Definitely a classic, just not fiction.

      Or there's a fantastic collection of some of his short stories, called The Nick Adams Stories, that I'm also really fond of. He returned to that character many times, over decades, and it's got some of his most famous stories in it, like "Indian Camp" and "Big, Two-Hearted River." Very accessible, and I like how that collection is arranged according to when the stories happen in Nick Adams' life, not according to when they were written.

      Finally, there's By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, which is a collection of some of his newspaper and magazine articles spanning 40 years. Everything from the Spanish Civil War to ex-pat life in Paris to WWII. You'll notice this is on my CC list too -- I read the first hundred pages or so when I was at my parents' house, then promptly bought my own copy when I got home and have failed to pick it up again because I'm a slacker. Or something. Anyway, it's soooooooooo readable and enjoyable, and informative too! And the articles run every emotional gamut, from funny to sad to wistful to angry to enthusiastic...

      So take your pick!

    2. Thanks! I am committed to it being a novel so I'm going to go with The Sun Also Rises for my list. But I am interested in your other recommendations!

    3. You're welcome :-) Enjoy!

  9. So many of these I need to read!!!
    How did you get the bubble thing on your side bar to go with this?

    1. MovieCritic, I got the progress bar widget from this page.


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