I don’t want to be left out! So I’m joining the club – the Classics Club. Jillian at A Room of One’s Own is our president. You can see the ‘rules’ of the club here. I’m really very happy to join because I have discovered over the past few months that I do much better with my reading when I have a bit of structure to it. Having a list helps me to know where I’m headed with my reading and what books I have to look forward to. It makes me feel prepared.

I decided this is a great chance to read a lot of books that are sitting on my shelves (or on my Kindle)  lonely and neglected. About 95% of these are titles I already own and the other 5% are ones I really want to read and know I can get from the library. I’m trying to cut down on my Amazon purchases (have you ever added up all the money you spend on online book purchases? I just did tonight and it wasn’t pretty). The following 53 titles have officially been chosen for my list (which is subject to change, because I’m fickle).

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. Alexander’s Bridge by Willa Cather
  3. The Angelic Avengers by Isak Dinesen
  4. Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  6. The Battle of the Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden
  7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  8. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  9. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
  10. The Californians by Gertrude Atherton
  11. Cheri by Colette
  12. The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart
  13. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  14. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
  15. East Angels by Constance Fenimore Woolson
  16. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  17. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
  18. Fanny Herself by Edna Ferber
  19. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  20. Fidelity by Susan Glaspell
  21. The Fox in the Attic by Richard Hughes
  22. The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton
  23. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  24. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  25. The Group by Mary McCarthy
  26. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  27. Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
  28. Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  29. Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis
  30. Macaria by Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
  31. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  32. The Morgesons by Elizabeth Stoddard
  33. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  34. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  35. The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
  36. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  37. The Professor’s House by Willa Cather
  38. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  39. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
  40. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  41. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
  42. The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
  43. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  44. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
  45. The Story of Avis by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
  46. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  47. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  48. Tracks by Louise Erdrich
  49. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  50. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
  51. The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf
  52. The Warden by Anthony Trollope
  53. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

What do you think of the list? Anything I should read first? Are there any titles you loathe and want immediately banished?


  1. I’ve only read 17 on your list and I did enjoy them all but where should you begin, decisions decisions! Good old Huck maybe or number 2. I was most impressed recently by Lady Audley’s Secret, mainly because I hadn’t even heard of the author. The one I enjoyed least was no 14 – Crossing to Safety – I really disliked one of the characters who was exactly like my mother-in-law!

    • It seems Lady Audley’s Secret is a popular choice! I am going to read it later on this year for the Victorian Challenge.
      Now I am going to be curious about which character in Crossing to Safety resembles your mother-in-law…I might have to read that sooner rather than later!

  2. What an interesting list! I haven’t heard of some of the books (or authors) which is exciting as I can go off and check them out now (without buying of course – I’m way to scared to add up my Amazon spend!).

    Lady Audley’s Secret is a great read and I also loved The Good Earth, North and South, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and The Great Gatsby. I really disliked Beloved though so I’ll be interested to see what you think of all these.

    Happy reading 🙂

    • Beloved is one of those books that I like the idea of, but have a strong feeling that I will hate. I’m really looking forward to Lady Audley’s Secret and North and South, though – two Victorian gems!

  3. I’m really excited you’ve joined, Anbolyn!! You’ve got some titles on your list I’ve never heard of, so I’m looking forward to your thoughts. 🙂

    (Don’t forget to join here.) 😀

    • Thanks, Jillian! I’m very excited to start this project. It will give me a chance to read all of those books I’ve been meaning to read for years.

  4. East of Eden and Moby Dick are a couple of my favorites on your list. I love Moby Dick, it’s almost like reading poetry. There is a ton of whale talk. (Think Les Miserables and the sewer system but instead whales and whaling) I don’t mind that kind of segue though.

    East of Eden is amazing too.

    • I’m glad to hear that you like Moby-Dick, Marie. When I get stuck or frustrated (I think I will) I’ll call you and you can talk it up so I’ll keep going!

  5. I love the picture on this post, I’ve been trying to decipher the titles on the shelves! You have a great list, with several authors new to me, like Augusta Jane Evans Wilson and Rebecca Harding Davis. I look forward to learning more about them, and reading your reviews.

    Not being on twitter, I’m also wondering what new tea you like?

    • I kind of like this photo, too! It is a photo of my main bookcase which is in my downstairs dining room. Were you able to make out any of the titles? 🙂
      I’m not much of a tea drinker – I’ve always tried to like it, but it has never taken hold. The tea that I discovered recently and really like is Twinings Lady Grey. It’s very good! I love the citrusy flavor of it. What is your favorite tea?

      • I can see Trollope 🙂 The Small House at Allington – and also a Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – but otherwise lots of intriguing Virago & Penguin & OUP spines.

        I drink a lot of tea – a strong Irish blend in the morning (Bewleys) and one called Tippy Yunnan in the afternoon/evening. We get really good tea in Houston, especially in the Asian markets.

  6. Hi, I’m new here and just wanted to say thank you for telling us about the Classic’s Club. It sounds like a lot of fun. Howards End is probably my all time favorite book, along with Anna Karenina. But you may want to put The Great Gatsby near the top of your list as it is being made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio – and one would certainly want to read the book first.

    • Welcome, Michelle! Thanks for dropping in!
      And thank you for the reminder about the new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. I had heard the news a while back and am very excited to see it later this year. I really like Leo and Carey Mulligan, the actress who’ll play Daisy. The novel has gone to the top of my list!

  7. Great list! I’ve read a chunk of them but we have a lot of overlap on our TBR lists. (I’m posting my Classics Club list as soon as I can decide what I want). I have a lot of Cather on my list too. And your list includes some of my favorites, including Excellent Women by Barbara Pym — I need to add more of her books to my list! And I loved North and South and Lady Audley’s Secret, two of my favorite reads from last year. O Pioneers is really good, so is Their Eyes Were Watching God. Part of it is written in dialect that puts some people off, but I got used to it pretty fast. The Warden is a little slow but it’s worth getting through, especially since Barchester Towers makes more sense if you read it first. There are some in that series that could stand alone, but I think it’s better to read them in order.

    I myself never made it through 50 pages of Sound & the Fury. I got so frustrated by the shifting narrators I gave up. I did finish As I Lay Dying so I think I’ve given Faulkner a fair try.

    • I LOVED The Sound & The Fury. 🙂

    • I’m glad to hear that you endorse so many books on my list!
      I am one of those who was bothered by the dialect in Their Eyes Were Watching God when I tried to read it a couple of years ago. I want to give it another shot, though, because I think I will like it in the end.
      Faulkner is someone who I am extremely wary of because I have never met anyone who has liked his novels. He is a huge and mysterious figure for me and his work seems impenetrable, but I don’t want to not give him a try. Everyone deserves a chance! 🙂

      • As I Lay Dying was okay. I was utterly confused at first by the multiple narrators which I couldn’t keep straight, but then I got an audiobook from the library with different readers for the different characters, and that helped. And I broke down and checked Oprah’s website because she did A Summer of Faulkner a few years ago, and there were podcasts and such. This was before I read book blogs or researched literary criticism. Don’t think I’ll be reading any more Faulkner for awhile, I have way too many other classics to read first.

  8. Great list! I’ve just finished Ann Veronica and its fab – would definitely recommend it.

    • Ann Veronica is one of my choices for the Classics Challenge so I will definitely be reading it this later on this year. I don’t know much about it so I’m pleased to hear you can recommend it!

  9. Good luck with this! I can highly recommend Lady Audley’s Secret, South Riding and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I hope you love them as much as I did! I enjoyed North and South, Ann Veronica and The Warden too. There are a few titles on your list that I haven’t heard of so I’ll be interested to see your thoughts on them.

    • Lady Audley’s Secret, The Warden and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall all seem to be universally liked so I am glad I chose them.
      Won’t it be fun to track everyone’s progress through the years? I am looking forward to it!

  10. I, too, will be mainly reading books I already own for the Classics Club. I don’t even want to know how much I’ve spent on books over the years. 🙂

    I love North and South as well as The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I think Anne Bronte is unjustly overshadowed by her sisters. She’s a fabulous writer in her own right! I hope you enjoy it.

    • I think it is about time that I try Anne Bronte – I’ve never read either of her novels and I’m curious to see what they’re like.
      It is probably a good idea not to tally up the money you’ve spent on books – it was definitely an eye-opener and something I won’t do again!

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