Classics Challenge Reading List

A month or so ago I mentioned participating in the 2011 Classics Challenge hosted by Sarah Reads Too Much.  I wanted this challenge to really force me to read things that have been sitting on my shelves collecting dust.  And while it's been difficult picking and choosing, I think I finally narrowed it down.

Classics Challenge list:

1. A banned book- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

I know!  Can you believe I haven't read this one?  I'm stealing it from J and getting through it.  Must be done.

2. A book with a wartime setting- Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

I started this novel earlier in the year, but set it aside for another title.  This time I vow to finish it.

3. A Pulitzer Prize Winner- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

I really enjoyed Ethan Frome and have had numerous conversations about the value of Wharton's work. This one was on the list without a doubt.  And to prove that fact-- I'll admit that this is the only novel on the list that I actually have to purchase.

4. A Children's/Young Adult classic- The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

I remember reading these as a child.  Somehow I don't remember too many details.  I thought the first book in a seven book series might be just the break I need from all the massive commitments I'm making in the literary world.  Plus, if I'm transported to the time when I did nothing but play in the woods surrounding my home with my three brothers, I have six more to really feel like a kid again!

5. 19th century classic- Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol

Ah, Gogol.  As a lover of Russian literature, I am quite ashamed to admit I've never read any of his work.  Dare I also admit to a literary life devoid of Pushkin, as well? Yes, a true sin.  Bumping George Eliot's Middlemarch off the list, Gogol is a must this year.

6. 20th century classic- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Another book I started and never finished because of other reading commitments.  I have always enjoyed Plath's poetry and knew that I couldn't respect myself until I finished this classic.

7. A book that should be considered a 21st century classic- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I've heard time and again that The Book Thief is a favorite by young and old.  Projected to be a classic in years to come, I threw it on the list because I've heard great things, and because I thought it might be another to calm me down while juggling the book club meetings, the volunteer positions and the maintenance of a social life.

8. Re-read a book from your high school/ college classes- Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I will say, and perhaps you'll never forgive me, but I've never favored Marquez.  I read this, as well as, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I absolutely detested, in college.  However, I thought I'd pick this novel up and try again.

I feel my list offers diversity, and will be nothing less than entertaining and informative.


  1. Great list. I'm surprised to learn "The Jungle" was banned. I'm not surprised you didn't read it and I applaud that you do. Sinclair is not an easy writer. He's pretty straightforward, but his style is very austere. I read "Oil!" and I have yet to return to him

  2. Ben- Thanks. Trying to tackle some that add a little shock value to the small blogging community that follows this- like, "holy shit, she really hasn't read that." Anyway, The Jungle was banned in several countries, including Germany and South Korea, as well as cities in the US like Chicago and Boston (Chicago for obvious reasons-let's just try and brush it under the rug). I want to read Oil! as I loved the film adaptation.

  3. Ok LOVE this list. Gogol has been on my radar since I got the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die book for Christmas. He's featured in it a few times and I've been dying to get my hands on one of his works. I've also never read The Jungle (nor do I know much about it) so don't feel bad. I'm so excited to read your reviews of these!

  4. Also, let me just say that I love your new header! :)

  5. Brenna,
    The Classics Challenge is proving to be quite the event. I am really looking forward to getting to books I've been putting off, as well as, reading posts from other bloggers (like you) who are also tackling books I'm interested in but haven't attempted. I'm so intimidated by The Jungle, like Dead Souls, and feel like the "real" challenge will be to actually get through the two titles. Thanks for the compliment, and let me thank you for introducing me to my newest obsession: picnik. I love it!

  6. I'm so glad you love picnik! It's like and easier and free version of photoshop.

  7. I am thrilled that you are still posting some of your other activities. I would like for you to read an old book by Morris West, called Clowns of God. He was an Australian novelist that wrote" Shoes of the Fisherman" and Devil's Advocate. Those were his more popular books and were made intp movies. I will try to locate the book for you, I may still have it. I read it in the late 80's, but still find it interesting.

  8. Monna- Thanks for the suggestion. I still have to find time to fit Fall of Giants in before you're wanting it back!

  9. This is very weird ... I just added Dead Souls to my library list for my next visit to the library and then I looked at your blog and it popped up again ... You have some great choices for the challenge!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...