TBR Thursday 300 – Joining the Classics Club 2.0

The Second List

Now that I’m very close to completing my first Classics Club list, I’ve hit a little problem in that I’ve used up all my Dickenses and, as regular blog buddies will know, I like to read a Dickens novel over the Christmas period each year. So I’ve decided to post my second list early, although other than a Dickens I won’t be reading any of these till my first list is done – probably around February or March next year.

Plus, adding a zillion extra books to my TBR/wishlist seems like a suitably dramatic way to mark the fact that this is my 300th TBR Thursday post! 😱

For people who aren’t familiar with the idea of the Classics Club, the rules are simple. Basically, a list of at least 50 books is required, along with a commitment to read and post about them within 5 years. The Club leaves it up to each member to come up with their own definition of “Classic”. I’m sticking with the same definition as I used first time round, namely, that any book first published more than 50 years ago counts, so my cut-off this time is 1971. Happily the Classics Club Gods don’t punish us if we run over time or swap books as we go along. As far as I know…

Because I generally read and re-read a lot of classics, I’ve decided this time to list 80, divided into four categories. Here goes…

The Scottish Section

The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett (1748)
The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides/A Journey to the Western Isles by James
….Boswell/Samuel Johnson (1785)
Guy Mannering by Sir Walter Scott (1815)
The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott (1816)
Old Mortality by Sir Walter Scott (1816)
The Heart of Midlothian by Sir Walter Scott (1818)
The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott (1819)
Hester by Margaret Oliphant (1883)
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)
Doom Castle by Neil Munro (1901)
Gillespie by John MacDougall Hay (1914)
Open the Door! By Catherine Carswell (1920)
John Macnab by John Buchan (1925)
The Quarry Wood by Nan Shepherd (1928)
The Shipbuilders by George Blake (1935)
The Land of the Leal by James Barke (1939)
Young Adam by Alexander Trocchi (1954)
Tunes of Glory by James Kennaway (1956)
A Song of Sixpence by AJ Cronin (1964)
Consider the Lilies by Iain Crichton Smith (1968)

The Bride of Lammermoor
Henry Gillard Glindoni (1852–1913)
The New Art Gallery Walsall

The English Section

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (1766)
Evelina by Frances Burney (1778)
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens (1848)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (1848)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)
Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1853)
Hard Times by Charles Dickens (1854)
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1854)
Silas Marner by George Eliot (1861)
The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens (1870)
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (1874)
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (1875)
She by Henry Rider Haggard (1886)
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (1907)
The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett (1908)
Howard’s End by EM Forster (1910)
The Painted Veil by W Somerset Maugham (1925)
Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (1936)
The Third Man by Graham Greene (1949)
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden (1969)

The Foreign Section

Written in English

Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth (1800)
Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu (1864)
The Story of a New Zealand River by Jane Mander (1920)
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (1929)
Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton (1948)
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1955)
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh (1956)
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (1967)
A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1967)
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies (1970)

In Translation

The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Jan Potocki (1810)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (1831)
Père Goriot by Honoré de Balzac (1835)
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (1840)
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas (1850)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)
Germinal by Émile Zola (1885)
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (1947)
In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse (1949)
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)

The Genre Section

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne (1864)
Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy (1888)
The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1912)
The Land That Time Forgot Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1918)
Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth (1928)
The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett (1931)
The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler (1939)
Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (1940)
Laura by Vera Caspary (1942)
Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper by Donald Henderson (1943)
Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie (1944)
In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B Hughes (1947)
Vanish in an Instant by Margaret Millar (1952)
A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin (1953)
Gideon’s Day by JJ Marric (1955)
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955)
The Guns of Navarone by Alastair MacLean (1957)
The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon (1959)
The Chill by Ross MacDonald (1963)
The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout (1965)

* * * * * * * * *

Thanks to all the many bloggers and commenters who have inspired me to add one or more of these books to my new list. The list will undoubtedly change over time but, meantime, what do you think? Any on there that you love? Or that you think doesn’t deserve a place?

Thanks for joining me on my reading travels!

68 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 300 – Joining the Classics Club 2.0

  1. You’ve got a lot of my favourites on here! North and South, The Way We Live Now, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, In a Lonely Place… in fact, the only book you’ve got in here that I’ve read and not liked is Howards End, and I do think that’s a very good book, it just wasn’t for me. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve read an enjoyed The Way We Live Now before, but all the others you mention will be new reads for me so I’m glad to have your recommendation. I think I mentioned to you recently that I haven’t read any Gaskell other than a few short stories, so I’m really looking forward to North and South.

      Like

    • I’m sure it was a blog review from someone – maybe Helen? – that put The Manuscript on my list. Crime and Punishment is there because of my deep shame that I’ve never read it, and I can’t for the life of me remember what inspired me to put The Betrothed on, but I’m hopeful about it anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So much to choose from! Having worked so long in the book trade in one way or another I find it almost impossible to to wean myself off the shiny and new but my partner keeps telling me I should read Trollope, partly because of its contemporary resonance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read loads of classics in my teens and twenties, and then when work began to dominate my life I switched to contemporary for many years and hardly read a classic at all – somehow they seem to require more concentration and commitment than I had available. Now that I’m retired I seem to have drifted back to them without any real planning…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful list of enticing reading! I’ve read some of these, and recognise many of the authors. I haven’t read any books from your Scottish list and look forward to being prompted in my own reading from your reviews from this list and the others. Of those I’ve read, I found The Master and the Margarita an enjoyably wild reading ride,

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of the Scottish books are complete unknowns to me, collected from various “best of” lists, or recommended mainly by my brother. Looking forward to reading more Scott though – I’m ashamed at how little I’ve read, especially since I usually really enjoy him. Hah, I’m not sure how I’ll get on with The Master and Margarita given my resistance to magical realism, but I did love his The White Guard, so we’ll see!

      Liked by 1 person

        • I get the impression the two books are very different in style. The White Guard is definitely realist, although it has a vague nightmarish quality, emphasised for me by the fact that I wasn’t at all clear about who all the various factions were. But I still loved it!

          Like

  4. What a list! I got quite excited when I came across some that I’ve read – there were a few (a very few) 😊 I wonder which Dickens will be chosen for this Christmas 🤔 Needless to say, I am feeling uncomfortably guilty about my own CC list – now hopelessly over the 5 year mark and changed about so much as to be unrecognisable. I’ve read far more than I’ve reviewed – and far more classics than I would ever have done otherwise so I’m still pleased to have started it. Would be nice to complete such a challenge one day. I have no doubt that you will manage it! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s taken me nearly six years to finish my first list – assuming I do finish it as planned! And I’ve changed lots of books as I’ve gone along, probably about 10% of them. But it does remind me to include classics in my reading and in truth I tend to enjoy them far more than contemporary fiction. These all look shiny and bright and alluring at the moment, but I’m sure some of them will linger so long they’ll be dull and tarnished before I get to them… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You certainly know how to set yourself some pretty tough challenges, 80 books is a lot, and I have a feeling many of them are chunksters, but I’m sure you will manage within 5 years. I need to get a move on and read more Scottish classics, as I have yet to read anything by Walter Scott amongst others. Maybe next year. Reading Dickens at Christmas is a tradition of course, and you have plenty to choose from now. I’m thinking of looking at a couple of his short stories this year, most likely the other Christmas ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, but I cheated by putting twenty genre books which should be nice, quick reads! I’m always ashamed about how little Scott I’ve read, especially since I’ve enjoyed the ones that I have. So it seemed only fair to give him the same number of slots as Dickens this time! I have a Dickens combo for Christmas this year – book & matching audio – so that should be fun. I read the other Christmas stories a couple of years ago and enjoyed them, but actually only a couple of them had anything to do with Christmas and some were surprisingly grim…

      Like

  6. You have so many great books here, FictionFan! I’m really impressed with how many of them there are, too. And several of them are on my ‘I really need to read that!’ list, so going along with you on your journey will help spur me on to actually read them! As for Dickens at Christmas, it’s a tradition of yours that I really like, so I’m looking forward to seeing which one you choose.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have a Dickens combo lined up for this Christmas – book and matching audiobook with an excellent narrator, so that should be fun. Title to be revealed soon! All these books look shiny and bright to me at the moment, but I wonder if they still will five years from now… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That looks like a nice varied selection! I’ve read a lot of the books in your English and Foreign sections and enjoyed most of them, particularly Alone in Berlin, The Black Tulip and The Master and Margarita. I’m much less familiar with the Scottish and Genre books, so will look forward to hearing more about them as you work through them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pretty sure one or two of the Foreigners got onto my list courtesy of your reviews! I have a tendency to avoid translated classics especially, so this will force me to read at least a few of them. The genre ones are there to give me a bit of fun along the way, and I don’t know much about most of the Scottish ones either – they’re mostly picked up from various “best of” lists. I hope I find some gems among them!

      Like

    • I tend to really struggle with the Russians so Crime and Punishment might be a disaster, but it does sound like one of the more appealing ones! Fingers crossed! I like having the sections – it stops me reading exclusively English authors, which sadly is my real comfort zone. (Don’t tell the SNP!!!)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t read as many “classics” as I should . (and I think “classics” can be defined in more than one way) Bleak House is at the top of my Dickens list, so maybe if you read it this year, I’ll try to join you. I’d forgotten I had The Master and Margarita on my wish list, so maybe I’ll actually add it to the TBR, as well. I hope you read and review The Chrysalids. I loved his Triffids book and wonder if this one is as good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that the Classics Club leaves it up to us to define classic in our own way. It allows me to put in all the genre stuff which lightens the whole thing up and ensures some quicker reads! I loved The Chrysalids when I read it long ago, but perhaps not quite as much as Triffids, which ranks as one of my favourite science fiction novels of all time. The Master and Margarita could go either way for me – I’m not big on magical realism, but I did love his The White Guard. Ah, this year I’ve planned for Dombey & Son sadly – I’ve acquired a matching book and audiobook combo – but if you read Bleak House I know it more or less off by heart anyway so will be happy to hear how you get on with it. In my humble opinion, it is the best book ever written! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I spent some time researching The Classics Club earlier and I’m feeling inspired. I like your definition of classic and feel sure I could come up with 50 books I want to read. Ten books a year is certainly doable and I think I could force myself to review them on my blog. I might not have time to come up with my list before the end of the year, but we shall see. I believe the seed might have been planted…. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, great! The secret is not to go for all the great big hefty tomes you’ve been putting off for years or it becomes a nightmare (the voice of experience! 😉 ). I love including the shorter genre reads which are just as much classics as War and Peace and considerably more fun! Can’t wait to see your list. The spins are fun too, though again my experience is they will always find the book I least want to read at any given time… 😂

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve already got my list ready. Ahaha. Just waiting to begin in January. I’m sure I’ll make my initial post long before then and you’ll be able to see what an influence you were on me. (Think Golden Age Crime).

            Liked by 1 person

            • Can’t wait to see it! 😀 Remember to link it to the Classics Club site when you begin and follow them to get notified of spins and stuff. Haha, I’m always frightened when I influence anyone to read a book in case they hate it and throw it at me… 😉

              Liked by 1 person

  9. Kudos to you on almost completing your first list! I’ve got about 15 months till the expiration date on my five years, and 18 titles still to read… hmmm… I’d better get busy! 🙂 The Master and Margarita, North and South, Howard’s End, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall are all on my list too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I ended up taking nearly six years for my first list, but in my defence I had ninety books on it! So this time I’ve cut back to a more realistic eighty… 😉 I’m looking forward to all four of those, especially North and South which will be my first Gaskell – a shameful admission for a Brit to make!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What an over-achiever you are, FF! Reading this list makes me feel guilty over throwing out the classics in favor of shiny, new titles. Maybe I’ll remedy that in the coming year. I’ve read a few on your list, but I’m ashamed to admit not all. English major … hmph!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I don’t know if I’m an over-achiever or just an over-ambitious list-maker! 😉 I find more and more that I enjoy the classics far more than contemporary fiction, which I seem to be completely out of tune with these days. So I’m really just indulging my existing preferences rather than challenging myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your Scottish section has a lot of weighty and wordy ones on it, I’ve only read six of them but I have The Black Arrow on my second list which I’m nearly finished. I’ve read a lot of your books in translation though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s why I have a genre section, to give me some lighter, quicker reads to break up the weighty ones! I’m always ashamed of how little Scottish fiction I’ve read so this is a good way to remedy that a little. And really the same goes for translated classics. I have a tendency to stick to the tried and true English classics, which I love, but it can be too tempting to get in a rut with them. Hope you’re enjoying The Black Arrow more this time!

      Like

  12. What a marvelous list with the mixture of books you’ve picked! A few of my favorites would include (no surprise) The Master and Margarita (think of the magic realism as the way he tried to bluff the censors, it’s realism but in a different key), The Mask of Dimitrios (love Ambler), and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (by my favorite Bronte sister). Well, no matter how long it takes enjoy the journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great way to think of the magical realism and may well help me to appreciate it more! I haven’t read any Ambler nor any Anne Bronte before, so both will be new experiences. For some reason I seem to have had a resistance to the Brontes – for many years the only one I’d read was Jane Eyre, which I loved, but kept ignoring all the others. Still, at least it means I have them to look forward to!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Good luck with your classics. I just finished Voltaire and read a bit of Locke and Rousseau, for my studies, but I enjoyed reading extracts from them (or whole book) much more than I imagined.
    What I would recommend is adding Warrior by Jack Seely, as a modern-classic of some sorts. This is my latest review (before publishing later today on Voltaire).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always felt I should read some of the Enlightenment people but have never got up the willpower to actually do it! It’s a pity because, like you, I usually enjoy these types of books once I start them. I shall take a look at Warrior. I toyed with having a modern classics section this time, but on the whole I usually find I’m happier with the older books, especially the Victorians.

      Like

  14. I so admire your commitment to read even more classic books and finishing your first list or almost? I was considering in the past joining the Classics Club and although reading fifty classics does not scare me in the least, writing about them does 🙂 Reviewing classics can be so challenging for me not least because I love some works so much that I cannot imagine finding words to express everything and I’d rather not say anything and just recommend them! This applies to Dickens, of course, too. I feel like I either will have to write a nine thousand word essay on all the themes and characters, or not write anything all! I read many in your English and in Translation sections, but in the Scottish one I’ve read only The Black Arrow by Stevenson and would love to try some of the others. This section is very inspiring for me, so many thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know exactly what you mean about writing reviews for the major classics – it’s an impossible task! I’m trying to write one for Vanity Fair this weekend and struggling badly. I’ve found the only thing I can do is not even try to write a review, but instead to concentrate on just one or two aspects that I enjoyed (or hated) most. I must say that my posts on the classics generate far more conversation than any other posts because so many people have read them and therefore have something to say, which makes it a lot of fun. So I say go for it! 😀 The Scottish section is always interesting for me because I’ve read so little Scottish literature, comparatively speaking. In my day, it was English literature that was taught in Scottish schools, and as a result it has always been the English authors I’m most comfortable with, sadly. I think Scottish schools are better at introducing kids to Scottish writers now.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. This is a great list. Seeing The Painted Veil included your list reminded me that I need to read more books by Somerset Maugham! I read his The Razor’s Edge a few years ago and loved it! Have you read?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I don’t think I’ve read any Somerset Maugham before – it’s possible I did when I was young and voraciously reading library books, but if so I don’t remember them. So this one will be a new experience for me and if I like it I’ll have all his others to look forward to! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. That is a great list, I look forward to when you are reviewing books from it. Many of them are new to me. And you have some very good crime fiction classics on there. I have read and enjoyed: Farewell, My Lovely; Laura; In a Lonely Place (which I have yet to review), Vanish in an Instant, A Kiss Before Dying, and The Manchurian Candidate. Rex Stout is my favorite author of all time, but I haven’t read The Doorbell Rang for a long time. I should reread it.

    I thought I was too ambitious with 70 books on my list (which I am not doing so well on) but you having 90 books on the first list and 80 on this one… That is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The classics are really my greatest love – I’m much happier with a Victorian than a contemporary so this challenge is really made for me! I’ve read very little classic American crime and mystery writing – always stuck in my British rut – so this seemed like a great opportunity to cross the Atlantic. Glad you think I’ve picked some good ones! 😀

      Like

  17. Having a list built from categories is a really smart idea. It took me a lot longer than 5 years to finish my classics club list because I lost interest in so many of the books I’d chosen. If I’d had ‘categories’ to choose from I have a feeling I would have not felt so restricted.

    Love the fact you have my favourite all time classic on your list – Germinal

    Liked by 1 person

    • The categories are good for forcing me to go outside my usual well-worn track of English classics, but I still need to work on reading more from the world beyond the UK! Looking forward to Picnic at Hanging Rock… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, most of the Scottish ones I’d never heard of either until I started searching Best Of lists. And since I’ve been Scottish all my life that really is embarrassing! I’m looking forward to getting started on this new list – they all look shiny and tempting… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment - I'd love to know who's visiting and what you think...of the post, of the book, of the blog, of life, of chocolate...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.