Reading the Classics: My Hope-to-Read List from Classical Literature

The good folk over at The Classics Club are doing a great job of encouraging readers to seek out those books we might call ‘classical literature’ and give them a go. There are plenty of Books to Read Before You Die compilations out there but with all that wonderful new stuff being published all the time, it’s easy to forget about the ones we collect at church fairs with good intentions of crossing them off the list.

The good ones never really go away and publishers such as Penguin with their orange series, Virago’s Modern Classics (Hachette) and Persephone Books bring out lovely new editions that can be addictively collectible – to say nothing of public libraries. The Classics Club offers a chance to keep them on your radar with online discussion and sharing part of the deal. But first you have to make a list.

I confess my list is roughly thrown together and in no particular order. I have included a mix of books that are obvious classics and quite a few from early to mid 20th century women authors – a particular interest of mine. There are some I’ve read before and want to read again to see if I still like them. Tweaking and adding to the list is also a possibility. This is what I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Sanditon by Jane Austen 
  2. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte 
  3. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell 
  4. Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth Von Arnim 
  5. Kim by Rudyard Kipling 
  6. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West 
  7. My Antonia by Willa Cather 
  8. The Happy Foreigner by Enid Bagnold 
  9. Open the Door by Catherine Carswell 
  10. Pomfrett Towers by Angela Thirkell 
  11. Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield 
  12. Frost in May by Antonia White 
  13. Company Parade by Storm Jameson
  14. Full House by M J Farrell (Molly Keane)
  15. The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann
  16. Silas Marner by George Eliot
  17. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  18. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
  19. Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
  20. The Group by Mary McCarthy 
  21. A Question of Upbringing by Anthony Powell
  22. Friends and Relations by Elizabeth Bowen
  23. The Sweet Dove Died by Barbara Pym
  24. Victoria Cottage by D E Stevenson
  25. The Corner that Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner
  26. The Wings of a Dove by Henry James
  27. Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham
  28. The Beat of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
  29. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
  30. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winnifred Watson
  31. Justine by Alexander Durrell
  32. Chéri by Colette
  33. Harriet Hume by Rebecca West
  34. The Bell by Iris Murdoch
  35. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
  36. Round the Bend by Neville Shute
  37. The Women’s Room by Marilyn French
  38. The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing
  39. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
  40. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  41. We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
  42. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  43. Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence
  44. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  45. True Grit by Charles Portis
  46. Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott
  47. Lorna Done by R D Blackmore
  48. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  49. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  50. Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man by Sigfried Sassoon
  51. Tender Is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald
  52. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  53. The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
  54. Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge
  55. Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons
  56. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  57. King Solomon’s Mines by H Rider Haggard
  58. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  59. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
  60. Green Dolphin Country by Elizabeth Goudge
  61. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  62. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  63. The Foundling by Charlotte Brontë
  64. The Warden by Anthony Trollope
  65. Squadron Airborne by Elliston Trevor
  66. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
  67. The Land of Spices by Kate O’Brien
  68. Green Hands by Barbara Whitton
  69. Lotte in Weimar by Thomas Mann
  70. Stoner by John Williams
  71. Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
  72. ‘The Forsythe Saga by John Galsworthy
  73. A Buyer’s Market by Anthony Powell
  74. The Acceptance World by Anthony Powell
  75. At Lady Molly’s by Anthony Powell
  76. Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant by Anthony Powell
  77. The Kindly Ones by Anthony Powell
  78. The Valley of Bones by Anthony Powell
  79. The Soldier’s Art by Anthony Powell
  80. The Military Philosophers by Anthony Powell
  81. Books Do Furnish a Room by Anthony Powell
  82. Temporary Kings by Anthony Powell
  83. Hearing Sweet Harmonies by Anthony Powell
  84. The Doves of Venus by Olivia Manning
  85. South Riding by Winifred Hotly
  86. One Pair of Hands by Monica Dickens
  87. Perfume by Patrick Suskind
  88. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
  89. Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
  90. How I live Now by Meg Rosoff
  91. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
  92. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
  93. Music in the Hills by D E Stevenson
  94. Susan Settles Down by Molly Clavering
  95. Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
  96. All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West
  97. O Pioneer! By Willa Cather
  98. The Rainy Moon and Other Stories by Colette
  99. Mandoa, Mandoa! by Winifred Hotly
  100. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  101. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
  102. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  103. A Passage to India by E M Forster
  104. Howard’s End by E M Forster
  105. A Room with a View by E M Forster
  106. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  107. The Harp in the South by Ruth Park
  108. Station Life in New Zealand by Lady Barker
  109. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  110. Emma by Jane Austen
  111. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  112. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  113. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  114. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  115. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  116. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  117. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  118. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  119. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  120. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  121. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  122. The Waves by Virginia Woolf
  123. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  124. Miss Buncle’s Book by D E Stevenson
  125. The Makings of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  126. Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
  127. Cheerful Weather for a Wedding by Julia Strachey
  128. Saplings by Noel Streatfield
  129. At Mrs Lippincote’s by Elizabeth Taylor
  130. The River by Rumer Goden
  131. Kingfisher’s Catch Fire by Rumer Goden
  132. George Beneath a Paper Moon by Nina Bawden
  133. Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay
  134. A Woman of My Age by Nina Bawden
  135. Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky
  136. Thank You, Jeeves by P G Wodehouse
  137. Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
  138. The Nine Taylors by Dorothy L Sayers
  139. Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor
  140. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  141. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  142. The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark
  143. The Garden Party and other stories  by Katherine Mansfield
  144. Nor the Years Condemn by Robin Hyde
  145. The Godwits Fly by Robin Hyde
  146. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stephenson
  147. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  148. The Shrimp and the Anemone by L P Hartley
  149. The Sixth Heaven by L P Hartley
  150. Eustace and Hilda by L P Hartley

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