I was one of those odd young adults who enjoyed reading the classics in school. Except Shakespeare at least. Still don't care for his work. I rarely minded an assigned reading assignment, although I preferred it when I got to choose what to read from a provided list. Unfortunately, I think the "assigned reading" status given too many classics while we are in school has given them a bad rap. Many of us expect them to be difficult reads, and sometimes even boring. And even though I enjoyed most of the assigned books I read in school, I still find myself hesitating to read them now for my own pleasure. They intimidate me. I was never good at seeing the individual fibers stitching the words together, and so I worry I will miss something, that the book will be too smart for me. I don't have the classroom experience these days to help me through.
I love the idea of classic read-alongs, but often I am too busy or too involved with something else to participate. I would have loved to join in the Les Miserables read-along that took place in November/December, but it was over such a short period of time . . . I knew I would never be able to finish it in time. Not even close.
When I first heard about the The Classics Club, I felt a little bubble of excitement creeping up. It soon was dashed when I read the requirements. Fifty plus classics in five years. To some of you that may seem very doable. And on the surface, it does for me too. However, the more I got to thinking about it, the less enthused I became about the idea of trying to fit in 10+ classics a year. Taking into account my reading rate, and my shifty reading moods, trying to read a classic a month--or close to it--seems like an awfully big commitment. One I am not willing to make. I might be willing to try one every other month--but I'd never make it to 50 in five years that way.
I do want to read more classics, however, and I don't think my not qualifying for the Classics Club should keep me from doing so. I have several classic titles on my list that I know I want to read, and quite a few of those titles are already on my shelves. I am not going to make a goal to read a certain amount of classics in a set amount of time. I don't need that kind of pressure. Instead, I am simply making a list of of the classics I would like to read in my lifetime. It isn't a complete list, by any stretch. Just a list of titles I can think of off the top of my head.
A few of these authors probably don't quite qualify as classic authors in terms of the passage of time, but they've appeared on many lists as if they are (including the The Classics Club website), and so I am adding them in here because I think it's fair to count them as having written modern classic novels.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Margaret Atwood (just about anything by this author, really)
Jane Austen (I have read three Austen novels and would like to eventually read her other books as well.)
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Agatha Christie (whatever I haven't read yet!)
Wilkie Collins (No Name & The Moonstone immediately come to mind)
Charles Dickens (Bleak House & The Mystery of Edwin Drood)
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I managed to get through half the book in college, but I'd like to try again.)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (maybe the 2nd time will be the charm?)
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montegomery
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (listening to currently)
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Leo Tolstoy (The Death of Ivan Ilyich & War and Peace)
Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five & Mother Night)
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Conte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Have you read any of these titles? What classics would you like to read that you haven't read yet?
© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.