Friday, 7 December 2012

Classics Club

It's got to that time when planning for the next year for a lot of us is already well underway. And in the book blogging world, sign-ups for reading challenges start appearing.

One that has caught my eye, and can be signed up to at any time is the Classics Club. Over the summer, we had a family adventure reading some of the children's classics from Vintage. We enjoyed that and it spurred all sorts of discussions. We also just received a copy of The Ultimate Teen Book Guide (thanks YA Library UK) which includes recommendations for all sorts of classic books, some teen, some children's and some adult.

The Classics Club challenge is a big one and it's longitudinal: 50 classics over 5 years - and you need to start off with a proposed list of 50 books.

Because our blog has always tried to focus on sharing and discussion in reading, we thought that this would be perfect for us, so both  myself and Little M are signing up for it. It will be fascinating to see whether our reading lists diverge - or whether we both read the same 50!

We'll likely start this in the new year so we're setting out goal end date as 31 December 2017.

The club leaves the definition of 'classic' open. We'll start off by defining it for ourselves as books that publishers have deemed 'classic' or books that have passed among generations of readers. Our We Sat Down 50 Classics Club reading list includes some books that will be rereads for M and some brand new reads for both M & Little M. Some of the books have been chosen because they are already on our bookshelves! New additions and progress will be posted as time goes on.

1. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
2. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (on our shelf)
3. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Joan Aiken (on our shelf)
4. Emil and the Detectives - Erich Kastner (on our shelf)
5. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell (on our shelf)
6. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier (M's re-read)
7. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (on our shelf; M's re-read)
8. The Little Prince - Antione de Saint-Exupery
9. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (M's re-read)
10. My Friend Flicka - Mary O'Hara (on our shelf; M's re-read)
11. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne
12. A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula le Guin (M's re-read)
13. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (M's re-read)
14. A Dream of Sadlers Wells - Lorna Hill (on our shelf; M's re-read)
15. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4 - Sue Townsend
16. Franny and Zooey - JD Salinger
17. The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (on our shelf; M's re-read)
18. The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier (M's re-read; on our shelf)
19. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee (on our shelf; M's re-read)
20. Tamar - Mal Peet
21.  Discworld: Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett
22. The Color Purple - Alice Walker (on our shelf; M's re-read)
23. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (on our shelf; M's re-read)
24. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
25. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (on our shelf)
26. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou (on our shelf)
27. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
28. The Trial - Franz Kafka (on our shelf)
29. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
30. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
31. East of Eden - John Steinbeck (M's re-read)
32. Waiting For Godot - Samuel Beckett (M's re-read)
33. My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk (on our shelf)
34. The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco (on our shelf)
35. The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli
36. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
37. The Story of an African Farm - Olive Schreiner
38. My Antonia - Cather Willa
39. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
40. The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera (on our shelf; M's re-read)
41. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates (on our shelf)
42. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
43. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
44. Ulysses - James Joyce (on our shelf)
45. The Sea, The Sea - Iris Murdoch (on our shelf)
46. The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
47. Hamlet - William Shakespeare (M's re-read)
48. Othello - William Shakespeare (M's re-read)
49. Travel Light - Naomi Mitchison
50. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
51. Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell (on our shelf; M's re-read)

If you're wondering why there is 51, that's because there was a small typing error which meant that no.51 was originally not numbered!


  1. This sounds like a lot of fun, a lot of reading, but fun.

    1. Oh yes, at first I thought 'this is too much'. But then I mentioned it to Little M and she said, "Easy, that's only 10 books a year." Clearly she hasn't looked at Ulysses!

  2. Very best wishes to you both, on this adventure! :)

    1. Thank you, Mabel; yes, it really does feel like a great adventure :)

  3. Welcome to the club! I'm thinking about re-reading A Christmas Carol this December.

    1. Thank you Arie. Little M got an illustrated copy of A Christams Carol for Christmas :)

  4. Hope you enjoy the Classics Club as much as I have been, although my proposed list is already in tatters with ring-ins and add-ons all over the place. I suspect A Christmas Carol is going to be another such extra. Everyone is talking about it this year in blog-o-land and it's so long since I read it, that it just feels right :-)
    Happy reading to both of you

    1. Thank you Brona. I'm sure our list we go happily astray too :)

  5. Just discovered your fabulous blog. I'm a school librarian and therefore always looking for inspiration. I'm currently designing a classic literature display for students inspired by the World of Stories campaign. I'm definitely going to take part in the classics challenge.

    Thanks and merry Christmas.

    Glynis (

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Glynnis. Good luck with your display. It sounds fantastic!


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