February 11, 2014

Classics I want to read

I had this simple idea for a blog post, and it grew more and more complicated as I was outlining my thoughts. There are a lot of classic books out there, and while the ultimate goal is to read as many as possible, the short term goal is to read the ones I really want to first. So, I was going through my bookshelf, my to-read and read shelves on Goodreads, and my e-book library for the classic books I want to read. It sounded easy enough, until I ran into a few books that I am still unsure if they count as a classic book.

And the genre modern classic makes things even more complicated. I excluded from my list books I considered modern classics, although I suppose they are classics I want to read. I consider Holes by Louis Sachar a modern classic. But it kind of looks funny with all the other books on the list because it is so relatively recent a publication.

I wrote my list of classics I want to read before I wrote the list of classics I have read, but I'll start with the shorter list of classics I've read:
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
These are in no order. I loved all of them except The Scarlet Letter. I'm willing to give it a re-read and I have no shame in using SparkNotes. Also my copy is kind of pretty and I wish I could like the content as much as I do the cover. 

Now the classics I have yet to read and would like to:
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  • Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Again, no order. There are a few, I admit, that I want to read because every other high school student in the world had to read it but I didn't, The Great Gatsby being the best example. Doing that might lead to disappointment, though, because I read The Scarlet Letter for that reason. I might have appreciated more if I had read it and discussed it with a class, maybe. 

In English class we did look at Frankenstein and Oliver Twist, but we never went beyond reading excerpts and watching clips. We read a lot of Macbeth, but I am not putting it in the classics I've read because we skipped over a whole lot of reading and instead acted the parts out. I'm also not putting it in the classics I want to read because we studied Macbeth for probably three entire months of the school year and I am still burned out. That goes for Julius Caesar, aswell. I'm just not into Willy Wiggledagger (William Shakespeare, get it?) like I should be. 

One of my challenges this year is to read a classic a month, and that list is definitely over twelve items long. It's hard to say which ones I want to read this year. Well, I want to read all of them as soon as I can, but I read too slowly and usually one book at a time, so a year isn't a long enough time to do that.

Some classics and classic authors I am very aware of but am in no hurry to read are:
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Homer
  • any other Dickens besides Oliver Twist
  • Victor Hugo
  • John Steinbeck
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Kurt Vonnegut
Like I said though, the ultimate goal is to be lying in my death bed, smiling and glad I read as many classics as I could. The classics I'm in no hurry to read are not books I don't want to read ever, they're just not ones I want to get to so quickly as the others.

If this post weren't so long already, I'd go into modern classics I've read and want to read, but I guess that will be another post for another time.

What are your experiences with classic literature? What classics did you love? Hate? Do you have any recommendations? 


  1. Such a good list! To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time faves! I really need to read some new classics too!
    ­Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. I'm ashamed to admit this, but...I've never read To Kill A Mockingbird. I think we should chip away at your "Yet To Read" list together. I'd also like to give Charles Dickens another chance. I happen to really enjoy Willy so I've read several of those outside the classroom. :)

  3. 1. To Kill a Mockingbird *IS* amazing.
    2. I read The Scarlet Letter in high school, with class discussion, and hated it. I just really don't like Hawthorne.
    3. The Bell Jar. Read that one. :)

    1. I just bought The Bell Jar today and I'm very excited to read it, it'll probably be the next one I read :)


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