Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Classics Club - COMPLETE!


Five years, fifty books...

When I joined The Classics Club back in April of 2012, my goal was to read fifty classics in five years. On October 10, 2017 I turned the last page of The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope, classic #50.  That's actually closer to five and a half years, but what a wondrous journey it has been. Along the way I discovered new authors and favorite books, learned more about classic literature in general and, even more importantly, connected with an incredible community of like-minded readers. I joined read-alongs, hosted a year-long Clarissa project with Terri, participated in Classics Club Spins, and even visited a famous literary site or two.

My 50 books:

Austen, Jane -  Emma (12/15)
Austen, Jane - Sense and Sensibility (7/17)
Bly, Nellie - Ten Days in a Mad-House (11/16)
Bowen, Elizabeth - The Hotel (11/14)
Brontë, Anne - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (12/12)
Brontë Anne - Agnes Grey (10/16)
Brookner, Anita - Hotel du Lac (7/13)
Buck, Pearl S. - Imperial Woman (8/14)
Calvino, Italo - If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (11/13)
Capote, Truman  - Breakfast at Tiffany's (9/14)

Christie, Agatha - And Then There Were None (4/12)
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy (9/14)
Dreiser, Theodore  - Sister Carrie (1/15)
Eliot, George - Middlemarch (4/14)
Gaskell, Elizabeth - Cranford (6/16)
Gaskell, Elizabeth - North and South (8/12)
Greene, Graham - The End of the Affair (11/12)
Jackson, Shirley -  The Haunting of Hill House  (9/14)
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw (10/16)
James, Henry - Washington Square (1/13)

James, Henry - What Maisie Knew (3/16)
Hardy, Thomas - Far From the Madding Crowd (5/15)
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles (7/13)
Hemingway, Ernest - The Old Man and the Sea (9/12)
Markham, Beryl - West With the Night (5/16)
Maupassant, Guy de - The Horla (7/15)
Plath, Sylvia  - The Bell Jar (5/14)
Pym, Barbara - A Glass of Blessings (2/13)
Pym, Barbara - Some Tame Gazelle (5/13)
Sagan, Françoise  - Bonjour Tristesse (7/15)

Stewart, Mary - The Ivy Tree (9/13)
Strachey, Julia - Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (11/13)
Tanizaki, Junichiro - The Makioka Sisters (5/12)
Thackery, William Makepeace - Vanity Fair (3/13)
Thirkell, Angela - High Rising (4/13)
Thirkell, Angela - Christmas at High Rising (12/14)
Trollope, Anthony - The Warden (2/15)
Trollope, Anthony - Barchester Towers (3/15)
Trollope, Anthony - Doctor Thorne (5/15)
Trollope, Anthony - Framley Parsonage (7/15)

Trollope, Anthony - The Small House at Allington (10/15)
Trollope, Anthony - The Last Chronicle of Barset (11/15)
Trollope, Anthony - Can You Forgive Her? (3/17)
Trollope, Anthony - Phineas Finn (7/17)
Trollope, Anthony - The Eustace Diamonds (10/17)
Wharton, Edith - The Age of Innocence (9/13)
Whipple, Dorothy  - They Were Sisters (1/15)
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray (3/13)
Williams, John - Stoner (10/13)
Zola, Emile - Germinal (9/16)

Links to my reviews (and I use that term loosely!) may be found by clicking on the Classics Club tab under the header photo.


Overall Favorites//

  • The Barsetshire Chronicles (all six of them!) by Anthony Trollope - read with Audrey and a few other friends
  • Germinal by Emile Zola - a readalong with Care and Melissa
  • Stoner by John Williams
  • An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser - for a Classics Club Spin
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy earned a spot on my list of favorite authors

An unexpected treasure//
The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki

Most anticipated//
An American Tragedy... it had been on my shelf for 35 years

Biggest fail//
Clarissa by Samuel Richardson - an epic fail of a year-long project I co-hosted. Several brave souls actually made it through and they're listed in my wrap-up post.

Longest// 
The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope - 890 pages

Shortest//
The Horla  by Guy de Maupassant - 79 pages

Most important lesson learned//
Classics are more fun with friends :)

A few observations//
 I fell for Trollope in a big way.
When it comes to reading the Russians, I tend to procrastinate.
I'm better at finishing classic series than contemporary series.
My original list of 50 became an evolving list, and that worked for me.
There are still SO many authors I want to try and SO many books I want to read.

Perhaps it's time to start a new list.
Stay tuned...

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

51 comments:

  1. Yay you and CONGRATS! How cool that you met this challenge, and I love your most important lesson. Most things are better with friends. Clap, clap, clap!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beth F - Thanks... and I agree, just about everything is better with friends!

      Delete
  2. Wow! That's an amazing accomplishment. As someone who has read far too few classics, I really admire you taking on so many. I know I should go back and read more of the classics. Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susie - For my second list, I'm considering a few rereads from high school :)

      Delete
  3. Congratulations! What a great accomplishment, especially considering the length of some of those novels. I've just finished my first year of the challenge, and you've given me hope that I'll be able to finish some day! I didn't put any Trollope on this particular challenge, choosing instead to go with the Musketeer series by Dumas, but I have them all and am looking forward to reading them eventually. It's good to know that your list evolved. I may have to do some tweaking myself. Congratulations again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nick. Trollope wasn't on my original list either, so I'm doubly happy to have switched to the evolving list concept. By the fifth year, I was no longer interested in some of the books included in 2012. Tweaking things a bit allowed me to succeed. I see you posted about finishing year 1... I'll be by this evening to read it.

      Delete
  4. Wow! Congratulations! That is such an achievement. Love your "lesson learned" part

    ReplyDelete
  5. what an accomplishment! I don’t know if I could set myself a goal like this but you certainly tackled it and it sounds like a very positive experience. I will check out the list and see some of your reviews that I missed. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tina - Thank you! Five years ago, I wasn't quite sure I would ever make it, but now I'm working on a second list.

      Delete
  6. I'm very impressed by your achievement. Congrats! You have inspired me along the way and perhaps I will start my own Classics 50 list. I have not read many classics but I need to. Bravo, well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan - Thank you. My love of classics has definitely grown over the last decade or so, but a high school English teacher is responsible for planting the seeds.

      Delete
  7. Congratulations! I'm impressed!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congratulations. You are inspiring to me as well. I think I've only read one on your list - The Old Man In The Sea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat - I positively hated The Old Man and the Sea in high school, but had quite a different experience with it this time around. In my review, I wrote about how it seemed like a totally different book!

      Delete
  9. Congratulations! Awesome to finish and basically on schedule--what's half a year between friends? :)

    I like your approach--getting large swaths of an author read. My list, I fear, will never be completed as there are some books on there that I have decided are just not for me.

    Are you going to create another list for the next 5 years?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JaneGS - You're right... a half year between friends is really nothing :) The 50 books I ended up reading are far from my original 50. In fact, I don't think Trollope even made an appearance on the 2012 list! The evolving list really allowed me to complete the challenge.

      I'm working on a second list now... two Gaskells so far.

      Delete
  10. Congratulations! I have just finished my list too - and it also took me closer to five and a half years. I love Anthony Trollope and Thomas Hardy so I'm pleased to see their books were some of your favourites. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helen - And congratulations to you, too! Will you start a new list?

      Delete
  11. Congratulations! Finishing is impressive in and of itself. Your list of books is also very impressive.

    As you know I have also fallen for Trollope. I am in the middle of The Prime Minister right now. So far it is great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian - Hooray for Trollope! I was tempted to start Phineas Redux as soon as I finished The Eustace Diamonds. Glad to hear The Prime Minister is great, too :)

      Delete
  12. Congratulations, JoAnn! That’s quite a list.

    ReplyDelete
  13. BRAVO!!! What an accomplishment. I still have Stoner on my TBR list, as I recall several bloggers giving it high praise. I may also have to give Trollope a try. One of his short novels. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Les - Stoner was so good! Quiet and slow though... I kept my copy on the shelf for a reread some day. As for Trollope's shorter novels, The Warden is the only one I've read and it's not a favorite.

      Delete
  14. I'm very impressed, and even more delighted that I got to read along with you for some of these! Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Audrey - The Barsetshire Chronicles were the best!! So happy to read those books with you:)

      Delete
  15. Congratulations on completing your Classics Club challenge :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congratulations! What a fabulous accomplishment. I loved reading your summary of the books you read. Can't wait to hear what new list you may come up with!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iliana - Thank you! I remember making my initial list and thinking 2017 would never arrive, yet here we are.

      Delete
  17. Congratulations! From your list, I've only read Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Bell Jar. Sigh. I do have What Maisie Knew, The Age of Innocence, and Some Tame Gazelle on Pippa...waiting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Thank you! I think you would enjoy Some Tame Gazelle.

      Delete
  18. What a fantastic accomplishment! Congratulations! I love your idea of an evolving list. I haven't had too much success with my Classics Challenge because several of the first few books I chose weren't so great. I want to get back into it, though, so perhaps it's time to revive it ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Melissa. It didn't take long before I lost interest in some of my original selections and then DNF'd a few others. I knew the challenge wan't going to work unless I gave myself a little flexibility.... in fact, I don't think any Trollope novels were included on my initial list. That really made all the difference!

      Delete
  19. Congrats! I bailed on the challenge - for some reason, setting myself the challenge made me kind of dig in my heels against reading classics. I still want to do better at reading them - may have to look to jump in with others when they pick up classics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa - I gave up on challenges years ago, then somehow convinced myself this was really a "project" ...seemed to work. There are lots of readalongs for classics out there. James (James Reads Books) has two more months left of his Austen project. The Classics Club blog also lists events and readalongs.

      Delete
  20. Stoner is such a great book! I'm glad it made it your favorites! CONGRATULATIONS on getting through your first list! Your stick-to-it-ness is so impressive. :) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jillian - I really need to check out Williams' other novel, but have kept Stoner on my shelf for a reread. Such a beautiful novel!

      Delete
  21. Wow! I've made some progress on mine but have really been mostly ignoring it though I can feel it lurking in the background! You've read so many interesting books through this project you've inspired me to go revisit my list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katherine - The evolving list is definitely the key... maybe a tweak to include books you're interested in now would be just the thing!

      Delete
  22. What a feeling! 5 years 50 Classics, congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  23. That's so funny that you read Clarissa! I read it years ago and it was quite a slog. It's pretty stupid book, actually. Did you know it was made into a movie starring Sean Bean?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patience_Crabstick - I *tried* to read Clarissa, but ended up bailing somewhere around 500 pages. Just couldn't do it! It was actually pretty embarrassing since I was co-hosting the readalong ;-)

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails