Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Finished My Classics Club Challenge

In March 2012, I joined The Classics Club and pledged to read 50 books in five years.  At the time, I had just started blogging (in January) and was following The Well-Educated Mind reading list.  All of the books on the novel list were considered classics, and that was all I was reading.  Later I joined other challenges, too, and started reading three or four books at a time.  It was obvious that I would reach my goal in plenty of time; so I added twenty-five more books to my challenge.  Now I'm done!

Basically, I finished about 18 months sooner, and I could have kept going if I wanted to add another twenty-five books; but I think I am done.  Yay!

I'm glad I participated, and I had a lot of fun when I was more involved.  The best part was connecting with other book bloggers who were also reading the classics.  The Classics Club is a great challenge for people who usually do not read the classics, but would like to be encouraged to read more.

Here is a review of my list:

Titles with * are rereads.

1.   Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes   Completed 3/24/12
2.  The Pilgrim's Progress * John Bunyan  Completed 4/11/12
3.  Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift  Completed 4/28/12
4.  Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen  Completed 5/11/12
5.  Oliver Twist Charles Dickens  Completed 5/31/12
6.  Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë  Completed 6/12/12
7.  The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne  Completed 6/29/12
8.  Moby-Dick - Herman Melville  Completed 7/18/12
9.  Uncle Tom's Cabin * Harriet Beecher Stowe  Completed 7/31/12
10Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert  Completed 8/10/12
11Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky  Completed 9/9/12
12Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy  Completed 11/9/12
13The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy  Completed 12/18/12
14The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James  Completed 1/27/13
15The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain  Completed 2/10/13
16The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane  Completed 3/25/13
17Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad  Completed 4/13/13
18The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton  Completed 5/11/13
19The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald  Completed 5/30/13
20. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf  Completed 6/27/13
21The Trial - Franz Kafka Completed 7/18/13
22Native Son - Richard Wright Completed 8/19/13
23The Stranger - Albert Camus  Completed 9/6/13
241984 * - George Orwell  Completed 9/26/13
25Invisible Man Ralph Ellison  Completed 11/10/13
26Seize the Day - Saul Bellow  Completed 11/20/13
27One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez Completed 1/20/14
28If on a winter's night a traveler - Italo Calvino  Completed 2/15/14
29White Noise - Don DeLillo  Completed 3/26/14
30Possession - A.S. Byatt  Completed 5/31/14

1.  The Confessions - Augustine  Completed 6/30/14
2.  The Book of Margery Kempe - Margery Kempe  Completed 7/20/14
3.  Essays - Michel De Montaigne  Completed 9/30/14
4.  The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself - Teresa of Ávila  Completed 11/25/14
5.  Meditations - René Descartes  Completed 12/20/14
6.  Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners - John Bunyan  Completed 2/6/15
7.  The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration Mary Rowlandson  Completed 2/18/15
8.  Confessions - Jean-Jacques Rousseau  Completed 3/23/15
9.  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - Benjamin Franklin  Completed 4/10/15
10. Walden * - Henry David Thoreau  Completed 5/18/15

SUPLEMENTAL LIST: These are classics that are not on the Well Educated Mind list, but I have read them in between WEM titles.  They are from my TBR list.

1.  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain Completed 3/1/13
2.  The Crucible Arthur Miller  Completed 3/7/13
3.  The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien  Completed 4/2/13
4.  O Pioneers! - Willa Cather Completed 8/1/2013
5.  The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde Completed 8/25/13
6.  Persuasion*Jane Austen Completed 2/20/15
7.  Frankenstein - Mary Shelley  Completed 10/28/13
8.  A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens  Completed 12/15/13
9.  Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell Completed 1/28/14
10A Christmas Carol *- Charles Dickens Completed 12/20/13
11Great Expectations  - Charles Dickens (2014)  Completed 2/16/14
12Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll  Completed 2/24/14
13Candide - Voltaire  Completed 3/29/14
14. Germinal - Émile Zola  Completed 4/13/14
15. Arthurian Romances - Chrétien de Troyes  Completed 3/28/14
16. Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton  Completed 5/15/14
17The Story of Sir Lancelot and His Champions - Howard Pyle  Completed 5/18/14
18The Old Man and the Sea *Ernest Hemingway  Completed 7/22/14
19. The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger Completed 8/3/14
20. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.  Completed 9/23/14
21The Story of the Grail and the Passing of Arthur - Howard Pyle  Completed 10/28/14
22. The History of the Kings of Britain - Geoffrey of Monmouth Completed 9/29/14
23. Little Woman - Louisa May Alcott  Completed 10/31/14
24. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck  Completed 8/5/15
25. My Ántonia - Willa Cather  Completed 12/12/14
26. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy  Completed 12/28/14
27. The Fortune of the Rougons - Émile Zola  Completed 4/23/15
28. Lord of the Flies - William Golding  Completed 7/21/15
29. Beowulf - unknown/translated by J.R.R. Tolkien  Completed 1/4/15
30. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe  Completed 1/18/15
31. Dracula Bram Stoker  Completed 10/1/15
32. East of Eden - John Steinbeck  Completed 2/23/15
33. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson Completed 6/7/15
34. The Voyage Out - Virginia Woolf  Completed 4/10/15
35. The Kill Émile Zola  Completed 8/19/15


  1. Wow! It seems like so many of us are finishing up. Are you going to make another list? What was your favorite title(s)?

    Congrats, Ruth!! x

    1. Thanks, Jillian. I probably won't make another list. This year I felt a little pressured about my reading challenges, and I think I won't join so many next year, if at all.

      As for which were my favorites: I loved so many of them, especially from my WEM novel list. Reading through the books on TWEM list was an amazing experience for me that I want to start over from the beginning again. But I still have four more genres to go through. It would be easier to ask which books were my least favorite. Or maybe I just need more time to think about it.

  2. Yay! Well done! Excellent job, and well done too for reviewing them! :)

    Echoing Jillian - will you make another list? :)

    1. Thanks, o. I'm glad I joined b/c it helped keep me accountable. But I probably won't make another list. I already only read the classics, or mostly classics. And I still have TWEM Reading Challenge to finish, and that will take me another 10 years, probably.

  3. Brava! I'm envious of your accomplishment.

  4. Congratulations on finishing! This is a really impressive list. :)

  5. Way to go! I'm so impressed!! Were all these books on your list right when you initially started it, or did you add as you went along?

    I have fallen off lately in reading from my classics list so you've given me inspiration to get back at it again.

    1. Not at all. I started w/ 50, and they were mostly my WEM novels and some bios. Then I realized I was going to finish early, so I added more and more.

  6. Huzzah! Three cheers for you! I am just a little over half done with my list, but it keeps growing and growing, and I figure once I finish the first 50, I'll "re-up" and do another 50. But I might also decide to just quit there, we'll see.

    You read an amazing amount of important literature -- well done.

    1. Thanks, Hamlette. It's easy to grow the list when you think of more things to read.

  7. Wow! Congratulations! I am sooooo far away from my goal, it feels a bit impossible right now, so I am very impressed. :)

    1. Thanks, Jean. It wasn't difficult to finish the list (early) b/c classics are really all I read; I can see how it may be a challenge for someone who either doesn't read classics usually, or mixes it up a bit, like you do, with a wide variety of books. But you'll do it.

  8. Congratulations!

  9. Well done! I keep adding to my initial list and I don't know that I'll ever finish.

    1. Thank you, Carol. See, that is what I wish I did not do. I wish I stayed with my initial 50. But I added and added and changed out a lot of books, so it took longer. If I had to do it over, I wouldn't have altered it, and when I finished, I would have decided if I wanted to make another list and started again.

  10. This is an impressive list! Congratulations! I'm excited for you. Are you going to keep reading from The Well Educated Mind?

    1. Thank you, Heidi. Yes, I definitely will continue reading through the list. I'm reading through the biographies right now.