I’ve joined The Classics Club!

The main reason I started this blog is so that I could participate in The Classics Club!


Millions of hearts to The Classics Club! I am so enamored of the idea of people from all over coming together to read wonderful books and share ideas in such a friendly manner. I appreciate the cohesive yet not rule-bound approach they are taking to studying literature!

The way I’m choosing to participate is 50 books, 5 years. So, by July 15, 2017 my goal is to complete these titles:

1. The Classic Fairy Tales – Tartar

2. Angels and Insects – Byatt

3. Babel Tower – Byatt Completed 9/16/12 Review

4. Ragnarok – Byatt

5. Remembrance of Things Past: Vol I Swann’s Way and Within a Budding Grove – Proust

6. Don Quixote – Cervantes

7. David Copperfield – Dickens

8. Hard Times – Dickens Completed 12/20/12 Review

9. Great Expectations – Dickens

10. The Plague – Camus

11. 1984 – Orwell

12. Crime and Punishment  – Dostoyevsky

13. The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoyevsky

14. The Professor – C. Brontë

15. Jane Eyre – C. Brontë

16. Villette – C. Brontë

17. Howl and Other Poems – Ginsberg

18. The Importance of Being Earnest – Wilde   Completed 8/19/12 Review

19. Hamlet – Shakespeare

20. Macbeth – Shakespeare

21. King Lear – Shakespeare

22. Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare

23. The Tempest – Shakespeare

24. Twelfth Night – Shakespeare

25. As You Like It – Shakespeare

26. War and Peace – Tolstoy 

27. Wuthering Heights – E. Brontë Completed 10/25/12 Review

28. The Marriage Plot – Eugenides

29. The Bloody Chamber – Carter

30. Tropic of Cancer – Miller

31. The Dharma Bums – Kerouac

32. The Bell Jar – Plath

33. Colossus – Plath

34. Complete Poems – Dickinson

35. Frankenstein – Shelley

36. Walden – Thoreau

37. Leaves of Grass – Whitman

38. Huckleberry Finn – Twain

39.  The Complete Poems – Sexton

40. Moby Dick – Melville

41. The Poisonwood Bible – Kingsolver

42. Mrs. Dalloway – Woolf

43. Orlando – Woolf

44. The Rainbow – Lawrence

45. Pale Fire – Nabokov

46. Ham on Rye – Bukowski Removed 8/19/12 replaced by Howards End – Forster

47. Rimbaud Complete Works – Rimbaud

48. The Ambassadors – James

49. Poems Published in 1820 – Keats

50. Written on the Body – Winterson Removed 8/19/12 replaced by Rebecca – Du Maurier Completed 12/1/12 Review

51. The Hobbit – Tolkien Added 11/5/12 I couldn’t bear to take anything off my list! Completed 11/24/12 Review

52. A Christmas Carol – Dickens Added 12/5/12 Again, I couldn’t bear to take anything off my list! Completed 12/16/12 Review

Some of these titles are a little unconventional. A few have been released as recently as this year! How in the world could they be considered classics, you ask? What I’m using as my definition of classic is closely aligned to what Calvino thought of as a classic. I also couldn’t help but look up classic in the OED (yes, I’m that kind of nerd), and the recurring theme of the definitions relate to acknowledged excellence or importance. Most of the definitions relating to age or time were marked “rare” but the definitions relating to quality and value are the most vital uses.

The other thing I wanted to note before I am immersed in reading and thinking is that I want this to be an exercise in quality instead of quantity (which is why I didn’t pick more titles, even though I will most likely read hundreds of books in the next five years).  I would like each of these books to generate a flurry of biography, letter, journal article, etc. etc. etc. reading, and the writing of a thoughtful piece.

I am so excited to be participating. Many thanks to Jillian and the moderators who make The Classics Club possible!



  1. N@ncy

    I have only read 6 of your 35 authors on your list. This will be a real eye opener for me while following your Classic Club journey! ( ps I too had to open a blog just to join…glad I did!). Are you a member of Good Reads website too?

    • jackiemania

      Hi Nancy! I just added you on GoodReads 🙂 I love the way you arranged your list by geographic area. One of the most moving authors I’ve read recently is Solzhenitsyn – so good to see him on your list.

    • jackiemania

      Thank you, Patty! Love your list, too – we have quite a few in common! I was careful to follow my heart and not look at anyone else’s lists when making mine, so seeing books in common with others is an extra special kindred spirit delight!

  2. Jillian ♣

    Villette!! Walden!!! (Pssst. Villette and Walden.) 🙂 I’m really happy you have joined us, Jackie! Macbeth is my favorite play by Shakespeare so far. And Jane Eyre!!!! Will this be your first time reading it?

    I’m excited to follow your progress! Welcome to the club. 😀

    • jackiemania

      Yay! I found your comment!!

      I’ve read Jane a bunch of times – I think it’s my favorite book in the world – but then I reread David Copperfield and think that’s my favorite book in the world. You know how that cycle goes 🙂

      I’ve been meaning to read more Shakespeare, especially after reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream this spring and going crazy over it. The Classics Club will give me the perfect inspiration.

      • Jillian ♣

        Ah, a rereader!! I adore rereading!

        I read A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the first time last year. I expected to hate it because I vaguely remembered being subjected to the play in kindergarten, but I think it’s my favorite of his comedies so far! I REALLY liked it, especially the play within a play. 🙂

    • jackiemania

      Juli, I loved both of those books and am rereading so I can study them better. I was so overwhelmed when I first read the Poisonwood Bible. I think I cried for a month afterwards! Tropic of Cancer is one of those touchstone books for me. I have to reread it at least every five years so I can see what my “accumulated wisdom” (har har) thinks of it!

      Your blog is amazing!! I love your favorite classic meme answer. Wuthering Heights blew me away too. I read it in high school, not understanding it At. All. but reread it recently and flipped over it! I’m reading it once again for a read-a-long in September, and it’s part of my Classics Club list too. I’m thinking about my answer to that question right now.

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  4. Bex

    I love your list! And can I just say,The Bloody Cbamber is AMAZING. I based my university dissertation on it and had such a great time. One of the best things about the club in my opinion is that nobody is trying to be prescriptive about what constitutes a classic, which means we can read as we are inspired. War and Peace seems to be on lots of people’s lists- I think it’s probably the book I’m most intimidated by!

    • jackiemania

      Bex – I’m so excited to read The Bloody Chamber. I’ve literally wanted to read it for over 15 years. I am obsessed with fairy tales and their reworkings (evidenced by the Tartar, Byatt, Sexton, etc on my list) and Carter NEEDS to be read 🙂 🙂 🙂

      I was a voracious reader when I was young, and my mother didn’t know what to do with me because I’d gobble books up in a day. She gave me War and Peace because it was the biggest book she could find! I must have been 11 – I hardly understood it on the most basic plot level, but always vowed to reread it once I was older. The Classics Club seemed the perfect time to get to that vow my little peanut self made 🙂

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  7. Risa

    Wow! I was reading your list and thinking how I haven’t heard of half those names. The end of your post explained it, though. 😀

    I’ve just come across your blog from Unputdownables….and it proves a delightful find. Am looking forward to keeping up with your posts. 🙂

      • Risa

        Oh! I’m dreadfully embarrassed to have that mentioned since I never saw the whole thing through. I’m glad you enjoyed that one play though! 🙂

        • jackiemania

          Don’t be 🙂 That opportunity kicked my Shakespeare love into overdrive! I have quite a few plays on my list because I enjoyed that one so much – and I have your read-a-long to thank for digging out my giant Riverside Shakespeare.

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