Classic Literature Challenge

classicsI’ve been inspired.  Which isn’t exactly a rarity where reading is concerned.  I recently read about a reading challenge on a fellow blogger and lover of literature’s website and have decided to embark on one of my very own, though I am scaling it down a bit only because there isn’t enough time in one person’s life to read ALL the things.

Here’s the scoop: my challenge is to make a list of 10 classics, not necessarily American classics – just any book generally considered a classic in literature.  The source of my inspiration allows for books you’ve previously read but I am limiting myself to ones I’ve never gotten to and some I’ve even dreaded reading but feel I owe it to myself as a literature enthusiast to read.  (It is a challenge, after all.)  As soon as I’m finished with the book I’m currently reading (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond, if you must know), I will embark on reading every title on this list, hopefully with no more than a week or two devoted to each selection.

So, here’s my list:

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot

Wow.  Looking at it now, I realize there is only one book by a female author on it.  (George Eliot is the pen name of female British author Mary Ann Evans.)  Before you judge me, allow me to say it’s only because I’ve already read every book by Jane Austen, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, The House of Mirth and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, which are, collectively, the most popular and famous classics by women.  I guess it’s time I give the men their fair shake.

For anyone else up to the challenge, make your list and share it in the comments.  And get ready… in a few weeks, the games will begin!


13 thoughts on “Classic Literature Challenge

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  4. I am interested for your reviews! I have already read A Tale Of Two Cities ( and most of Dickens other works) totally enjoy His stuff. Animal Farm back in high school for Mr Gage’s class, was good but not my style. The same with Fehanhite 451, good but not my style. The Jungle I enjoyed. I would like to try Dorian Gray and The Brothers Karamazov. I am more into the older classics I tend to stick to them. I am actually running out of ones to read. I need to send you a list of what I have and see if you have any recommendations. I just ended up rereading Pride & Predjudice for the 100 th. lol Can never get enough of that one

  5. Woohoo and way to go! Atta girl….some of the books on that list are my all-time favorites, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Grapes of Wrath and Animal Farm like top my list of all best reads….I was just about to eulogize about each of them, when I stopped myself and will let you come up with your own conclusions!!! Then we can exchange notes! Currently, i plod through Madame Bovary (Sigh!) and two of my all-time favorites Persuasions and Vanity Fair! Have Fun!

    • I love Persuasion! Pride & Prejudice is my absolute favorite Austen novel but Persuasion runs a close second. Anne Elliot seems to me a more serious, solemn version of Elizabeth Bennet and Captain Wentworth is a great guy to root for – mildly arrogant and stubborn but not so much that he gets in his own way (ultimately).

      I’m curious to know how you’ll like Madame Bovary this time around. Come back when you’ve finished it and let me know what you think!

      Oh, and thanks for the great idea! 🙂

      • oh! P&P is my obsession – I am happy, I read P&P, I am sad, I read P&P!! And my second favourite is a close tie between Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. I know what you mean about Captain Wentworth….he ia arrogant but he does come round to right thinking….I have started Madame Bovary ..I do see the details and there is a lot of beauty in the word pictures…will keep you posted on my progress! 🙂

    • Great! I included that specifically because I have never read anything by Oscar Wilde (!!) and it sounded the most intriguing by title alone. I know nothing about it otherwise but I like to come at stories without any preconceived notions, just a clean slate.


  6. I hope you’ll enjoy A Tale of two cities. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. A few of those sound like challenging reads! I liked 451, Ray B is always a good time and it will be a breeze to get through! Other than those two and Animal Farm in high school, I haven’t read the rest. Looking forward to your recommendations!

    • I’m looking forward to A Tale of Two Cities. I’ve read Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol and really loved Dickens’ style.

      And even though I’ve read 1984 a few times and consider it one of the best books EVER written, I’ve never read Animal Farm. And I own it!

      Thanks! 🙂

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