Reading Challenge!

This is the list of books that I would like to read (or re-read) for The Classics Club.  I think I have a fair selection of “old” and “modern” classic books, and I can’t wait to both meet the new authors and fall in love with the new characters, and to reacquaint myself with the old friends…


  1.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  One Hundred Years of Solitude
  2.  Upton Sinclair.  The Jungle
  3.  Robert Graves.  The Golden Fleece
  4.  Josephine Tey.  Daughter of Time
  5.  James Joyce.  Ulysses
  6.  Herman Melville.  Moby-Dick
  7.  E.M. Forster.  A Passage to India
  8.  Thomas Mann.  The Magic Mountain
  9.  Edmond Rostand. Cyrano de Bergerac
  10.  Voltaire.  Candide
  11.  Erich Maria Remarque.  All Quiet on the Western Front
  12.  Franz Kafka.  The Trial
  13.  Thomas Hardy.  Jude the Obscure
  14.  George Eliot.  Middlemarch
  15.  George Eliot.  Silas Marner
  16.  Anthony  Trollope.  Castle Richmond
  17.  Thomas Pynchon.  Mason and Dixon
  18.  Nathaniel Hawthorne.  The House of the Seven Gables
  19.  Virginia Woolf.  To the Lighthouse
  20.  Henry James.  The Portrait of a Lady
  21.  Edward Albee.  Who Is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  22.  Saul Bellow.  The Adventures of Augie March
  23.  Emily Bronte.  Wuthering Heights
  24.  Anne Bronte.  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  25.  John Buchan.  The Thirty-Nine Steps
  26.  Michelle Houellebecq.  Submission
  27.  Joseph Heller.  Catch-22
  28.  Kazuo Ishiguro.  The Remains of the Day
  29.  Sinclair Lewis.  Babbitt
  30.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores
  31.  Yukio Mishima.  The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea
  32.  Orhan Pamuk.  My Name is Red
  33.  Anne Radcliffe.  The Mysteries of Udolpho
  34.  Bernhard Schlink.  The Reader
  35.  Tennessee Williams.  A Streetcar Named Desire
  36.  Thomas Mann.  Joseph and His Brothers
  37.  Amos Oz.  A Tale of Love and Darkness
  38.  Knut Hamsun.  Hunger
  39.  Suetonius.  The Twelve Caesars
  40.  Margaret Atwood.  Cat’s eye
  41.  James George Frazer.  The Golden Bough: A Study of Magic and Religion
  42.  Henry James.  The Wings of the Dove
  43.  Ryunosuke Akutagava.  Rashomon and Other Stories
  44.  Koushun Takami.  Battle Royale
  45.  Vladimir Nabokov.  Pale Fire
  46.  Mircha Eliade.  The Myth of Eternal Return
  47.  Honore de Balzac.  Lost Illusions
  48.  Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  Demons
  49.  Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Idiot
  50.  Hermann Hesse.  The Glass Beads Game

Looking back at this list, I just hope that all these books won’t depress me too much :).

I marked re-reads in Italics.  I love re-reading books.  Sometimes I start one for the second time the moment I am done with it!  There are some books that I re-read on yearly basis, though; for instance, Dostoyevsky’s novels.  He is one of my favorite writers, and I am very fortunate that I am able to read him in Russian.  For the life of me I can’t imagine how his convoluted style sounds in English!  I suppose I always come back to his books because as I grow older, my understanding of the characters and their actions grows deeper.  Some of the Italicized 😉 books made it to the list because I read them in my early twenties, and while I remember the general idea of the plot, the fleating impression of the essense of the book is gone by now.  I hate when it happens to good books!  They deserve to be remembered.  Balzac’s Lost Illusions and Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain are in this second category.  Third category of the re-reads includes books that I read in Russian and would like to know how they sound in English.  Would they make the same impression on me, I wonder?  I guess I will know soon.  These are One Hundred Years of Solitude, Jude the Obscure, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Golden Bough (ok, maybe transalation won’t make that much of the difference in this particular instance, but I am still curious).

My dirty little secret: I am very intimidated by Ulysses.  I tried to read it a few times already, but me and James Joyce never clicked.  I hope this time will be the charm.

Let’s be realistic: a lot of other books and my weekly doses of The New Yorker will be interfering with this venerable classic (and maybe not so classic) list.  So, I will give it 2 years from today, 09/21, and let’s see if I will be able to keep up with it!


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