My Reading List for The Classics Club

Some of you will be very familiar with The Classics Club, but if it’s new to you, there’s some more information about it here. It’s a way of uniting people who like to read and write about classic literature as part of the range of books they cover on their own blogs.

Classics Club members are invited to put together a list of at least 50 classics they intend to read and blog about at some point within the next five years. The structure allows for some flexibility – each member can set their own end date provided it’s within five years. Also, the definition of what constitutes a “classic” is fairly relaxed – as long as the member feels the book meets the guidelines for their list, he or she is free to include it. All books need to be old, i.e. first published at least twenty-years ago – apart from that, the definition is pretty flexible.

With this in mind, I’ve put together a list of fifty classics that I would like to read by December 2018. (I’ll be reading other books as well, so this list will run alongside my other reading choices.) Most of these books having been hanging around on my shelves for a few years, but I’ve also added a handful of new ones to freshen things up a little. There are twenty-five classics by women writers on my list, which gives me a 50:50 split between male and female authors. All the titles on my list are 20th-century classics as these are the books I tend to enjoy the most.

Here is my list (A-Z by author). I’ve tried to include a few translations alongside British and American Classics, plus some short story collections and classic noir for a bit of variety. None of these books are rereads.

  1. Pitch Dark by Renata Adler
  2. They Were Counted by Miklós Bánffy + an additional post on the politics and history
  3. A Legacy by Sybille Bedford
  4. The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
  5. Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain
  6. The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
  7. My Ántonia by Willa Cather
  8. The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate
  9. Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
  10. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
  11. An Evening with Claire by Gaito Gazdanov
  12. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
  13. Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
  14. The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley
  15. Vain Shadow by Jane Hervey
  16. Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith
  17. In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
  18. The Hunting Gun by Yasushi Inoue
  19. Mr Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
  20. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  21. The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata
  22. The Adventures of Sindbad by Gyula Krudy
  23. The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  24. Passing by Nella Larsen
  25. The Doves of Venus by Olivia Manning
  26. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  27. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore
  28. Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara
  29. One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes
  30. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
  31. Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys
  32. Hotel Savoy by Joseph Roth
  33. A Certain Smile by Françoise Sagan
  34. Improper Stories by Saki
  35. The Widow by Georges Simenon
  36. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  37. The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark
  38. The Gate by Natsume Soseki
  39. Love in a Bottle by Antal Szerb
  40. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
  41. A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor
  42. Spring Night by Tarjei Vesaas
  43. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  44. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
  45. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
  46. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  47. Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams
  48. Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates
  49. The Burning of the World by Béla Zombory-Moldován
  50. Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig

Do you have any thoughts on my list? Have you read any of these books?

Update – March 2016: I keep coming across more books that will fit my definition of a ‘modern classic’ so I’m going to add them to the list as I read them:

109 thoughts on “My Reading List for The Classics Club

  1. Pingback: The Adventures of Sindbad by Gyula Krúdy (tr. George Szirtes) | JacquiWine's Journal

  2. BookerTalk

    wow, this is some list. your additions are almost as many as the original selections. I’m taking it that you are not planning to read both lists by Dec this year? Seeing the Larkin in your new list made me realise that it would have been good to add some poetry to mine too – I never get around to reading my collections so it would have been a way to nudge me in that direction

    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Well, the extra books are a bit of a cheat as I’ve been adding them to this post as I go along! With the exception of book group stuff, virtually every book I read could qualify for the Classics Club as they’re mostly modern classics. So, I’ve just been recording them here as a way of keeping my own list.

      Funnily enough, the Larkin is a novel. I don’t think it’s terribly well known – a shame really as it’s actually very good!

  3. Pingback: Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh | JacquiWine's Journal

  4. Pingback: My reading list for the Classics Club – an update | JacquiWine's Journal

  5. Pingback: Members Updates #8 – The Classics Club

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