The Classics Club – 50 Classic Books in 5 Years

The Classics Club

Hi everyone! Today I’m committing myself to a project/challenge that really suits my reading habits and you get to be part of a club too! The Classics Club asks you to pledge a list of at least 50 books to read in a maximum of 5 years. You can find out more via their FAQ!

I will be including novels (or other long forms of prose), novellas, plays, short story collections, and poetry collections in this list because I love all of these forms. I’m defining a Classic as something ‘judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality’ since that’s one of the OED definitions. Re-reads will be marked with an asterisk (*).

A few stats about this list:

  • 25 pre-1700 texts
  • 25 post-1700 texts
  • 24 texts by men
  • 24 texts by women
  • 2 anonymous texts

Start date: 21st April 2017
End date: 21st April 2022

Okay, on to the list…


  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605)
  • The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (1021)
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)
  • The Professor by Charlotte Bronte (1857)
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871)
  • The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (1907)
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905)
  • We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1924)
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)
  • Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (1847)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920)
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (1934)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1963)
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)
  • A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe (1790)
  • Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (1905)
  • Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (1889)
  • Belinda by Maria Edgeworth (1801)
  • The Plague by Albert Camus (1947)


  • Iliad by Homer* (c.1180 BC)
  • Odyssey by Homer* (c.1178 BC)
  • Divine Comedy by Dante (1320)
  • Beowulf (c.975-1025)
  • Renaissance Women Poets by Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney and Aemilia Lanyer (c.1560)
  • Stung with Love: Poems and Fragments by Sappho (c.570 BC)
  • The Complete Poems by Sir Thomas Wyatt (c.1530s)
  • The Poetic Edda (c.985)
  • On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius (c.60 BC)
  • The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson (c.1890)
  • Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1850)


  • The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon (Collection, c.1000)
  • The Devil’s Charter by Barnabe Barnes (Play, 1607)
  • The Blazing World and Other Writings by Margaret Cavendish (Prose, 1666)
  • Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory (Prose, 1485)
  • Utopia by Thomas More (Prose, 1516)
  • Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare (Play, c.1605)
  • The Changeling by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley (Play, c.1622)
  • The Tragedy of Mariam by Elizabeth Cary (Play, 1613)
  • The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney (Prose, c.1580)
  • The Alchemist by Ben Jonson (Play, 1610)
  • The Major Works by John Donne (Collection, c.1600s)
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (Prose, c.170)
  • Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (Novellas, c.1353)
  • Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe (Non-Fiction, c.1563)
  • Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor (Short story collection, 1971)
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (Essay, 1790)
  • Candide by Voltaire (Novella, 1759)
  • The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (Novella, 1897)

Well, that’s it. I can’t wait to get started.

This will also be posted as a permanent page.


28 thoughts on “The Classics Club – 50 Classic Books in 5 Years

  1. YOUR LIST IS AMAZING! I’m so glad you joined! I’ve been with them since they started. (Five years.) 🙂

    I’ve read just a few on your list: Agnes Grey & Wollstonecraft. I loved both. 🙂 The House of Mirth is one of my absolute favorites, and I really enjoyed Rebecca. Little Women is in my top favorite novels of all time list. x

    I’ve read about half of Middlemarch. So far it’s incredibly intellectual in the best way. If you know what I mean.Love the characters, but THE WRITING. It’s magnificent.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I had found the challenge earlier but I actually found it via your twitter account so I have you to thank for this 🙂

      I’ve read other Wollstonecraft essays and I love her writing so much. I’m looking forward to reading them all.

      I definitely understand what you mean and I can’t wait to read it because I love it when the writing is wonderful and intellectual.

      Thank you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😊 It’s such a great challenge and I’m really looking forward to interacting more with the community (when I have the time to go through the blogs!) 🙂


    1. Thank you! I’ve had some of these books/texts in mind for a while and I’m so glad that I found The Classics Club because I can share my reading with people who love classics as much as I do. I’m most looking forward to my “other” books too (although I am looking forward to reading every single one of these books) 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I get it. You can’t play favourite, yet you still secretly want to 😄 The Classics Club is such a great way to find other people who want to talk about the same things you want to talk about. Let me know if you want to buddy read or anything like that. While I have read some of the books on the list, there are still a lot of books I think would be fun to read and discuss together. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Brilliant. I haven’t either, so we can learn together on how it works. 😄 When you have the time just pick three/four books you want to read, and I can check what I have/haven’t read and what I can get ahold of and we can take it from there. 🙂


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