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Classics Club reading challenge 2022-2025

Traditionally, the New Year is a time for setting goals and targets. Me being me, I have decided to set myself a (very) long-term reading challenge, by joining the Classics Club. Here is all the information you might be craving as a fellow book lover.

In a nutshell, it's a list of modern classics I plan to read and review in the course of the next four years. After some pondering, here is my list of novels and novellas. I have decided to stick to the century from 1883 to 1982, and chosen works that I want to challenge myself to read or re-read, but that can also (hopefully) review well, thus encouraging other readers to give them a go. This is the reason why I have left out some major classics that are either very well known, and so I feel there is no real need for me to review them, or unreviewable nutshell-style - a good example being Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, still my proudest read but not one to be flamboyantly reviewed here. In choosing, I was guided by my usual criteria - an interesting use of narrative structure and language, as well as challenging thematic concerns and a diversity of voices. I have opted for chronological rather than alphabetical order in drawing up my list because I wanted to go on a journey across time as well as space.

There were many other novels I thought about including, but two in particular that I have already read and loved are Sigrid Undset's Gunnar’s Daughter (1909) and Irène Nemirovsky's Jezabel (1936). However, since these two novels were originally written in Norwegian and French, and I wanted to put my cap at 50 books, I felt it made more sense to stick to works written in English(es). I will review them both anyways at some point, even if they did not make the list.

Suggestions and additions are all welcome :) Also, post a link to your list if you decide to join!

1. Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm (1883)

2. Amy Levy, The Romance of a Shop (1888)

3. Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896)

4. Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (1898)

5. Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899)

6. Edward Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905)

7. Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (1911)

8. Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915)

9. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (1915)

10. Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier (1918)

11. D. H. Lawrence, The Lost Girl (1920)

12. Elizabeth Von Arnim, Vera (1921)

13. May Sinclair, Life and Death of Harriett Frean (1922)

14. Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room (1922)

15. Hope Mirrlees, The Counterplot (1924)

16. Mary Webb, Precious Bane (1924)

17. Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes; Or The Loving Huntsman (1926)

18. Rosamond Lehmann, Dusty Answer (1927)

19. Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929)

20. Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)

21. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)

22. Willa Muir, Imagined Corners (1931)

23. Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933)

24. C.L.R. James, Minty Alley (1936)

25. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

26. Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart (1938)

27. Willa Cather, Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940)

28. Daphne du Maurier, The King’s General (1946)

29. Dawn Powell, The Locusts Have No King (1948)

30. Gore Vidal, The Pillar and The City (1948)

31. George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

32. Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt (later republished as Carol - 1952)

33. James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956)

34. Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners (1956)

35. Barbara Comyns, The Vet’s Daughter (1959)

36. Dorothy Baker, Cassandra at the Wedding (1962)

37. Mary MacCarthy, The Group (1963)

38. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)

39. Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man (1964)

40. Margaret Laurence, The Stone Angel (1964)

41. Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)

42. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

43. Margaret Walker, Jubilee (1966)

44. Anna Kavan, Ice (1967)

45. John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969)

46. Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat (1970)

47. Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter (1972)

48. Leonora Carrington, The Hearing Trumpet (1974)

49. Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977)

50. Rachel Ingalls, Mrs Caliban (1982)

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