The Classics Club – 50 Classics in 5 Years

The Classics Club

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

All links are to my reviews of the books.

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) [Read June 2017]
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920) [Read June 2017]
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (1934)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1963) [Read August 2017]
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)
  • A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe (1790) [Read September 2017]
  • 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) [Read September 2017]
  • The Blazing World and Other Writings by Margaret Cavendish (Prose, 1666) [Read May 2017]
  • 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)