A year ago I had the ambitious – or insane, that depends on your perspective – idea of joining the notorious classics club. The classics club is a book challenge where the goal is to create a list of 50 classics novels and read them in the coming 5 years. And then you win totally nothing :); but you can boast to your friends that you’ve read 50 classics in 5 years and they will mock you.
But how I do I look back on my first year of participating? And am I still on track? Which means I should have read a fifth of the list by now. By the way: you can find the whole list here.
Well, the good news is that I have already read 11/50 classics and am in the middle of my 12th which I hope to finished around New Year. So I’m on track.
- The tenant of Wildfell hall by Anne Brontë (read January)
- The man in the iron mask by Alexandre Dumas (read January)
- Howards end by E.M. Forster (read February)
- The color purple by Alice Walker (read March)
- Lady Chatterly’s lover by D.H. Lawrence (read April, as a result from CC Spin #26)
- Far from the madding crowd by Thomas Hardy (read June)
- Treasure island by Robert Louis Stevenson (read August, as a result from CC Spin #27)
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (read September)
- The cacher in the rye by J.D. Salinger (read October)
- Love in time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (read November, as a result from CC Spin #28)
- Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier (read December)
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoj (in progress December)
As you can see, I’m more or less aiming at a monthly frequency of reading a classic. For me, that’s a way to structure this project. I also did participate at all the spin editions, which helped me choose my next novel.
I did notice that I hadn’t read a real bumpy classic yet this year, so that’s why I decided to start my first Tolstoj, which are lengthy novels. I’m also aware that it’s easier to read classics for me during the Winter (especially December – January), so I’m just going with the flow at the moment.
Before starting, I thought that reading classics would have an impact on my reading pace. Literature tends to read slower and takes more time, but this wasn’t really the case. I’ve never read more books than in 2021.
I must admit that there were times when asked myself why I started this challenge in the first place. There were some disappointing reads which made me scan the books and look forward to finishing it. I had expected to love these books as they survived for so long and pop up at everyone’s favorites’ list. But I sometimes just didn’t get it, or I could only admit that it was well-written prose but that I just didn’t liked the plot.
But the good news is that there were 4 books that I did enjoy enough and that I can recommend if you want to read a classic during the holidays. These were my favourites of 2021:
Jamaica Inn by Du Maurier is just a great gothic novel. I know by now that I mostly enjoy gothic or Victorian classics, so this one was right up in my alley.
Alexandre Dumas is another author whereof I knew I like his writing and storytelling. The man in the iron mask is full of humor and adventure. Maybe not so good as ‘The three musketeers’ (because it lacked Milady, one of my all-time favourite characters), but still good.
The tenant of Wildfell Hall was my first Anne Brönte. It’s a very readable classic that incorporates modern themes. I’m eager to read ‘Agnes Grey’ now.
And then The color purple! The most recent book on my whole list. This is a great book about the struggle of black American woman in the previous century. It has an unique writing style and I understand now why they say that every woman or girl should read this. I would certainly recommend it to my daughter or sister. If I had one of the two.
I don’t know what 2022 will bring, but it will bring some more classics for me. I’ll not give up on this project yet and I hope I can give you a higher number of recommendations in a year from now.
How many classics have you read in 2021?
5 thoughts on “My first year of the classics club”
Well done! I haven’t read The Color Purple yet, but I enjoyed your other three favourites. I’ve only read 8 books from my Classics Club list this year, but hope to read more next year!
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8 is also not bad at all. I
can only The color purple, it’s a great book!
Jamaica Inn was surprisingly good–I wasn’t sure I’d like it in spite of liking DuMaurier. But, it’s nothing compared to Anna Karenina! I’ve read several of the others. It’s really amazing to really sit down and read some of these. I was especially surprised by how much I got out of Frankenstein.
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I’m still looking forward to read Frankenstein, I don’t know what to expect 😃
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