The Classics Club

Fifty in Five Years

CLASSICS CLUBThe Classics Club was created in 2012 to inspire bloggers to read and write about classic books and has since become a well-established community of serious readers. I had been shilly-shallying over joining for some time but, after watching a succession of blog buddies take part, could resist no longer.

I was surprised and rather pleased to discover works by one of my favourite authors, Margaret Atwood on the Big Book List. However, I have included both modern classics and old favourites on my list, reflecting my diverse taste in books. In fact, I’ve gone for a real mishmash of titles in a variety of genres – a couple are rereads (also half-reads), but the majority are fresh off my TBR list.

What Constitutes a Classic?

In this instance, I will go with the official Club definition of ‘classic’:

For the purposes of your project list, it’s your choice, really. Modern classics, ancient classics, Eastern canon, Western canon, Persephone, Virago, African literature, children’s classics… You make your own goal, and you decide what is “a classic.

The Rules Made Simple

  • Choose a minimum of 50 classics.
  • Create a post in which to list them on your blog.
  • Choose a completion date (up to 5 years hence) and note the date on your list.
  • E-mail the Club moderator with the link to your list.
  • Write a post on each title as you finish reading and create a link from your list.
  • When you’ve written about every single title on your list, let the moderators know.

Start Date: 1st August 2018
End Date: 1st August 2023

Running Total: 15/50

My List of 50 Classics

  1. Allatini, Rose: Despised and Rejected
  2. Atwood, Margaret: Alias Grace 
  3. Bach, Richard: Jonathan Livingston Seagull
  4. Baldwin, James: Giovanni’s Room
  5. Barnes, Djuna: Nightwood
  6. Beerbohm, Max: Zuleika Dobson
  7. Borges, Jorge Luis: Ficciones ✓
  8. Bradbury, Ray: Fahrenheit 451
  9. Brontë, Emily: Wuthering Heights
  10. Bulgakov, Mikhail: The Master and Margarita
  11. Calvino, Italo: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
  12. Capote, Truman: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  13. Capote, Truman: In Cold Blood
  14. Colette: Chéri
  15. Conan Doyle, Arthur: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  16. Dahl, Roald: Matilda 
  17. Davies, W.H.: Autobiography of a Super-Tramp
  18. Dinesen, Isak: Out of Africa
  19. Drabble, Margaret: The Millstone
  20. Du Maurier, Daphne: My Cousin Rachel
  21. Fallada, Hans: The Drinker
  22. Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby
  23. Gautier, Théophile: Mademoiselle de Maupin
  24. Gibbons, Stella: Cold Comfort Farm
  25. Gide, André: The Immoralist
  26. Gissing, George: New Grub Street
  27. Grahame, Kenneth: The Wind in the Willows
  28. Greene, Graham: Brighton Rock
  29. Hemingway, Ernest: The Old Man and the Sea
  30. Henry, O.: The Gift of the Magi
  31. Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World
  32. Jackson, Shirley: The Haunting of Hill House ✓
  33. Jackson, Shirley: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  34. Jerome, K. Jerome: Three Men in a Boat
  35. Kafka, Franz: The Trial
  36. Lee, Laurie: Cider with Rosie
  37. Lindgren, Astrid: Pippi Longstocking
  38. Mansfield, Katherine: The Garden Party & Other Stories
  39. Miller, Arthur: The Crucible
  40. Plath, Sylvia: The Bell Jar
  41. Prichard, Caradog: One Moonlit Night
  42. Sackville-West, Vita: No Signposts in the Sea
  43. Smith, Dodie: I Capture the Castle
  44. Stevenson, Robert Louis: Treasure Island
  45. Tolstoy, Leo: The Death of Ivan Ilyich
  46. Townsend Warner, Sylvia: Lolly Willowes
  47. Wells, H.G.: The Invisible Man
  48. West, Rebecca: The Return of the Soldier
  49. Wiesel, Elie: Night
  50. Williams, John: Stoner

Categories: The Classics Club

Tags: , , , , , ,

111 replies

  1. That is a fantastic list!

  2. What a great list – extremely diverse. I’ll look forward to hearing how it goes. Cheers, Brian

  3. After re-reading your post, I’m going to have to give this a look. It’s something I think I’d both enjoy and benefit from. Thanks, Brian

  4. Great list, Paula! 🙂

  5. Wonderful list! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Classics Club. Among many wonderful reads, you’ve listed some of my all-time favourites: The Old Man and the Sea, I Capture the Castle and Stoner. I hope you love them as much as I did.

  6. That’s a great list! I’ve read quite a few off it – the Atwood and the Plath and the West are just brilliant! Good luck! 😀

  7. Great list. I too have dithered over joining in, as I don’t read nearly enough old books! Maybe… good luck anyway

  8. I wasn’t aware of this club. Psshhtt-I read classics all the time. Best I sign up!

  9. Great list, I look forward to follow your reading!

  10. All the best finishing your list! You’ve got some lovely ones on there. I did not realize Mary Poppins was originally a book. I’ll have to go look that up!

  11. Wonderful list, Paula. And I love your initial shilly-shallying. Haven’t heard that word for years!

  12. Cold Comfort Farm is a book???!! I’m rushing to buy a copy right now😁

  13. Paula, you never fail to inspire me. I am interested in this … I also wonder if I could do justice to classics in my reviews. Hmmm. I am so pleased you chose Night! Regardless of what I do, I will be following you on your journey! One more thing- I love the phrase “shilly shallying!” We have one similar, “dilly dallying.” Do you use the latter in Wales?

    • Thank you so much, Jennifer. You’re very kind. The only reason Night is on my list is because of your excellent Shabby Sunday review. My old Nan used the phrase shilly-shallying (usually because I was reading a book and holding her up) but she was from Manchester originally, so perhaps the expression is from NW England. I’ve heard dilly-dallying but I’m not sure from whom. Perhaps on a US TV prog at some point!

      • You’re welcome, Paula. 😊 I plan to start using shilly-shallying. I absolutely love it, and I love that your Nan used it because you were reading.

      • It suddenly came to me that the expression ‘dilly-dally’ features in an old music hall number called My Old Man (it’s something I would associate with a good raucous Cockney singalong in a pub). I looked up the lyrics, although I remember them fairly well. The chorus, which is repeated frequently, goes like this:

        My old man said: “Foller the van,
        And don’t dilly-dally on the way”.
        Off went the van wiv me ‘ome packed in it.
        I walked be’ind wiv me old cock linnet.
        But I dillied and dallied,
        Dallied and dillied;
        Lost me way and don’t know where to roam.
        And you can’t trust a “Special”
        Like the old-time copper
        When you can’t find your way home.

        Funnily enough, it was something my Nan often sang when she was baking (she was a great one for singing all the old songs from her youth). Hope you can make sense of it, Jennifer. I can translate if required! 😊

      • This is amazing, Paula! I love that your grandmother sang that as she baked. I have no idea what the song is actually saying, Paula, but I can google it if it’s too much trouble. I would love to learn more Cockney; I find it absolutely fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing this with me either way!

      • No problem, Jennifer. I suspected you might have difficulty deciphering the lyrics! Wikipedia says that although the song was humorous , it also reflected:

        “…some of the hardships of working class life in London at the beginning of the 20th century. It joined a music hall tradition of dealing with life in a determinedly upbeat fashion. In the song a couple are obliged to move house, after dark, because they cannot pay their rent. At the time the song was written, most London houses were rented, so moving in a hurry – a moonlight flit – was common when the husband lost his job or there was insufficient money to pay the rent.”

        So this is a London woman singing about doing a ‘moonlight flit’ from her house to avoid paying rent. I’ll try to break it down for you:

        My old man [husband]
        said follow the van [because it’s so full there’s no room left for her]
        and don’t dilly dally
        on the way [in other words, keep up! ]

        Off went the cart [no doubt the horse and cart carrying all their worldly goods]
        with the home packed in it
        I walked behind
        with me old cock linnet [a caged male linnet – a family pet, closely related to a goldfinch]

        And I dillied and dallied [she stoped in a pub for a drink]
        dallied and I dillied [and generally ‘shilly-shallied’]
        I lost the van – [lost sight of the cart]
        and don’t know
        where to roam [she was lost]

        You can’t trust the specials [voluntary policemen]
        like the old-time coppers [usual police constables]
        when you can’t
        find your way home. [they would probably take advantage of her in her squiffy state]

        I hope this has simplified the words and not made them more confusing. You can see all the verses if you follow this link:

      • This is wonderful, Paula! Thank you for taking the time to do that! I know it’s slang, but I’m fascinated that it’s still English. It reminds me of when we first arrived in England, my mom called the tour director on the phone and ended up getting frustrated (she is typically easy going), and tossed the phone at me, “I have no idea what she’s saying!” Granted, it was on the phone, so I think accents are harder, we had literally just flown over the Atlantic with no sleep yet (we don’t sleep well on planes), and mom’s hearing is not 100%. I didn’t have any trouble understanding, but I can understand why she did. I absolutely love accents and languages and differences. Now I want to use the word “squiffy!” Thanks, Paula. You are the best!

      • You’re very welcome, Jennifer. I never sleep on planes either!

  14. Awesome list! Left Hand of Darkness was definitely unique but awesome.

  15. A refreshingly varied list. I’m delighted to see one of my all-time favourites Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm on your list – its delightful. I’v e read it several times over the years.

  16. An interesting selection. Good luck.

  17. If you’re looking to read Wuthering Heights, I’d suggest you check this out:

    Why not?! Rare chance at winning a Folio Society edition.

    Great list, by the way! Eclectic. I love it.

  18. Great post! I love reading and writing about Classics, and I really want to read some of Atwood’s work 🙂

  19. I have read a shocking number of these books! A whole 15! It turns out that your classics tastes must be fairly similar to my own. 😉 What made you decide to take the plunge and join up? It sounds like unintentional peer pressure.

  20. Great list of classics. There are a quite a few I’d like to read. In particular, The Great Gatsby. I’ve got to get a copy of that book.

  21. A fantastic list and so diverse! I was surprised to find I had read eighteen of them and a few more are on my tbr list. I read nothing but classics when I was young!

  22. I have read only 5 of your selected 50. And I remember chuckling all the way till the last page while reading Three men in a boat. I loved Alias Grace as well, did you watch the Netflix adaptation of the same?


  1. Blogger Recognition Award #1 – The Mystique Books
  2. Winding Up the Week #29 – Book Jotter
  3. Winding Up the Week #30 – Book Jotter
  4. THE CLASSICS CLUB: Brave New World – Book Jotter
  5. Winding Up the Week #31 – Book Jotter
  6. Winding Up the Week #32 – Book Jotter
  7. Winding Up the Week #35 – Book Jotter
  8. THE CLASSICS CLUB: Alias Grace – Book Jotter
  9. Winding Up the Week #38 – Book Jotter
  10. 1944 CLUB: Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges – Book Jotter
  11. THOUGHTS ON: Matilda by Roald Dahl – Book Jotter
  12. Winding Up the Week #40 – Book Jotter
  13. THE CLASSICS CLUB: The Haunting of Hill House – Book Jotter
  14. Winding Up the Week #41 – Book Jotter
  15. Winding Up the Week #42 – Book Jotter
  16. Winding Up the Week #44 – Book Jotter
  17. THE CLASSICS CLUB: Treasure Island – Book Jotter
  18. READING: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – Book Jotter
  19. Winding Up the Week #45 – Book Jotter
  20. Winding Up the Week #46 – Book Jotter
  21. Three Things… #4 – Book Jotter
  22. Winding Up the Week #47 – Book Jotter
  23. THE CLASSICS CLUB: The Wind in the Willows – Book Jotter
  24. 2018 Reading Year in Review – Book Jotter
  25. DEWITHON WEEK 1: The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies – Book Jotter
  26. DEWITHON WEEK 2: The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies – Book Jotter
  27. DEWITHON WEEK 3: The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies – Book Jotter

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: