> The Things You Can Read: Classics Challenge

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Classics Challenge

Currently Reading: September/October 2013
Classics Club Read-Along

To the Lighthouse by  

Reading: October 2013


Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Reading schedule: One Act a Week
Hosted by Suzanne (Biliosue) and Adam (Roof Beam Reader)

November 2013

December 2013 Read will be:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude

Here is a list of Classics we have challenged ourselves to read between September 14, 2012 and September 14, 2017.
NOTE: If the book title has been linked to GoodReads it has been read for the CHALLENGE

Atlantic Article defining What makes a Classic?
  1. Gone With the Wind by -2nd READ Finished July 2012
  2. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by -2nd READ 
  3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by 
  4. The Wind in the Willows by 
  5. Black Beauty by 
  6. White Fang 
  7. Moll Flanders-2nd READ
  8. Jane Eyre-2nd READ
  9. Peter Pan 
  10. Ethan Frome 
  11. The Sign of Four 
  12. Moby Dick
  13. Scarlet Letter*
  14. Light in August
  15. The Town: A Novel of the Snopes Family
  16. The Last of the Mohicans*
  17. Atlas Shrugged by -Finished November 18, 2012
  18. The Grapes of Wrath
  19. Of Mice and Men*
  20. The Age of Innocence
  21. The House of Mirth
  22. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn-2nd READ
  23. Everything That Rises Must Converge
  24. The Bridge of San Luis Rey*
  25. Great Expectations*3rd Read
  26. A Tale of Two Cities
  27. The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1
  28. The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 2
  29. The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes Volume 3*
  30. Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by 
  31. Middlemarch*
  32. Cranford
  33. North and South
  34. The Power and the Glory*
  35. Tess of the D'Urbervilles
  36. Jude the Obsure
  37. The Return of the Native*
  38. A Passage to India*
  39. Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained*
  40. 1984: New Classic Edition
  41. Animal Farm*
  42. Ivanhoe
  43. The Painted Veil*
  44. Frankenstein
  45. My Man Jeeves*
  46. Things Fall Apart*
  47. The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov, Volume 1*
  48. The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov, Volume 2*
  49. Don Quixote
  50. The Stranger*
  51. The Brothers Karamazov
  52. The Idiot
  53. Crime and Punishment
  54. Rebecca by 
  55. The Count of Monte Cristo*
  56. Ulysses
  57. Despair*
  58. Beyond Good and Evil
  59. The Scarlet Pimpernel*
  60. All Quiet on the Western Front*
  61. War and Peace
  62. Anna Karenina*2nd Read
  63. Wuthering Heights
  64. The Canterbury Tales
  65. Oliver Twist
  66. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  67. The Woman in White
  68. The Moonstone
  69. Narcissus and Goldmund
  70. Dracula by 
  71. Vanity Fair
  72. The Mysterious Affair at Styles*
  73. Gulliver's Travels
  74. Little Women
  75. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  76. David Copperfield
  77. Treasure Island
  78. The Three Musketeers
  79. The Man in the Iron Mask
  80. Alice in Wonderland by -Finished March 2, 2013
  81. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by 
  82. by 
  83. The Once and Future King
  84. A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Movement*
  85. The Lair of the White Worm by 
  86. The Confederacy of Dunces-2nd Read
  87. Lady Chatterley's Lover
  88. Can You Forgive Her
  89. Mansfield Park by 
  90. Villette
  91. Pride and Prejudice by 
  92. Northanger Abbey by 
  93. Sense and Sensibility by 
  94. All the Kings Men
  95. Portrait of a Lady
  96. The American
  97. The Fountainhead-2nd Read
  98. A Handmaid's Tale by 
  99. The Blind Assassin*
  100. The Beautiful and the Damned by  Finished May 2013
  101. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  102. Les Miserables
  103. The Satanic Verses
  104. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-2nd Read
  105. Beyond Good and Evil
  106. The Return of the Native
  107. Steppenwolf
  108. The Idiot
  109. Their Eyes Were Watching God*
  110. Brave New World
  111. Tropic of Cancer
  112. King Solomon's Mines by 
  113. by 
  114. by 
  115. by *
  116. To the Lighthouse by  
  117. Agnes Gray by Anne Brontë Finished March 2013
  118. Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know Editied by Hamilton Wright Mable-Currently Reading May 2013
  119. The Hobbit by 
  120. Macbeth by          
The Classics Club Sync Reads

September 10 through October 10To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

November 1 through December 30David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

* Asterisk and BOLD title means I don't have a copy of the book

If you would like to join The Classics Challenge click here.

Image Credit: Philipp Rumpf 1821 - 1896

Why are you reading the classics?

I love quotes.  I'm not sure why, but I do. I collect them. My favorites come in handy. The right quote used in the right situation is pure ecstasy, so when I read the Classics Club question for October, I knew I had the perfect quote that answers in part the question: Why do I read classics? "Reading has a history-The Kiss of Lamourette" and by reading classics, I am participating in the history of literature.

Let me try to explain this a bit more with an example.  I recently took a class in the history of English literature and the very first novel that we were required to read was Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe, which some experts feel is the first English novel. Really, the first English novel!  I didn't know what to expect going into the book, but enjoyed the adventures of Moll.  Moll was one "bad mama jama".  She made today's reality television look tame, and this novel's setting was back in the 1700s.  When I finished reading about Moll, I sat back with complete satisfaction knowing that I had read something written in the eighteenth century, and liked it.  I had lived in Moll's world for the short time I was reading Defoe's novel, and now the history of Moll's world was inside my head.  I was forever changed by the reading experience.  In other words:
"Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds— " Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human.
I'll  take this a step further, Virginia Woolf, the author of a few classics herself, said that Moll Flanders is one of the, "...few English novels which we can call indisputably great."  Why does this matter? Because I am connecting through literature with other readers and with greatness.  Now, consider this, Virginia Woolf and I have a shared reading experience.  How great is that?  I'm not the first person to like this novel.  In fact, greater minds than mine have said it's an outstanding piece of literature, and I now have a shared reading experience with all those who have read this work before me.  We can talk Moll Flandersbecause we have a common source of words.

I reread the classics too, and according to Alberto Manguel, the author of A Reader on Reading, "A book becomes a different book every time we read it," so even when I reread a classic, I see the book through new eyes or older, and hopefully more mature, eyes because I bring to the book all the additional experiences that the years have offered me, since I last read the book, which is why I like to reread To Kill a Mockingbird every five years.  One of my favorite classics remains fresh and new with each read, and my most recent life experiences offer me the ability to recognize something I may have missed in my previous readings of the classic.  Again, how great is that?

Another reason I read the classics is that I find them challenging.  The challenge depends on the classic.       Take War and Peace for example, I have tried unsuccessfully on two different occasions to read this novel.  The first time was after completing Anna Kareninawhich is by the same author.  However, each occasion has met with failure.  I am looking forward to my third attempt, because we all know that the third time is the charm.  Again, Alberto Manguel, the author of A Reader on Reading, reminds us that, "...the best guides...are the readers whims-trust in pleasure and faith in haphazardness--which sometimes lead us into a makeshift state of grace, allowing us to spin gold out of flax."  So, I wait for the magical moment whereby I "spin gold out of flax" and I win the  War and Peace battle. 

I also believe the words of Gore Vidal--who stated that “The unfed mind devours itself.”   So, I feed my mind with the the very best--the classics.

Finally, let me say that books have always been my friends-my companions, but the classics have always been my best friends.  As Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon said, "They [books] make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.”  All the more reason to read them.

I'm sure as I mull this question over in my mind, I will want to add to this post, but for now this will suffice.  Let me know your thoughts on this response, and don't forget to check out the Classic Challenge page on The Things You Can Read.

Happy Classics Reading!
Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!


Lewis Carroll's Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, adapted by Dame Darcy

Classics, Classics, Classics...we can't seem to stop thinking about them. We, here at The Things You Can Read, were pleasantly surprised to discover that a graphic novel version of many of the classics is available.  The collection of literary classic comics is entitled The Graphic Canon, Vol. 2: From "Kubla Khan" to the Bronte Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Once we read the description and sampled a few of the illustrations, we immediately added this one to our wish list.  What a great way to introduce the classics in a user friendly way to younger readers.  Take a peek at Brain Pickings post for further details on literary comics.

Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, adapted by Dave Morice

Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, adapted by Elizabeth Watasin

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Huxley King & Terrence Boyce

Let us know what you think of the idea of graphic literary classics.  Would you use them in the classroom?
Happy Reading!
Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books
Introduce Yourself:  Classics Club

  • Your blog name:  I have two:  The Things You Can Read and The Writing Whisperer
  • How many books you hope to read for the club: 108 
  • Joined:  September 2012
  • Describe your literary background:  I am an English teacher.  I started working on my Master's in English, but was sidetrack when I had three babies in two years...twins and a singleton. 
  • Why you joined The Classics Club:  I wanted to interact with others who had similar reading tastes.
  • One interesting fact about you:  My family does not watch TV, but I love old, old, movies-1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s era movies. 
  • The favorite book you’ve read so far for the club:  Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (I'm reading it now).  However, I have several books on my list that I will be rereading one is To Kill a Mockingbird, my all time favorite classic.
  • The one you’re most intrigued to read:  Ulysses by James Joyce and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Link ONE POST from your blog that you believe speaks to who you are: Active Readers
  • Answer the one question you wish everybody would answer who enters this thread: When you are not reading classic, what other authors do you enjoy reading?  John Irving is one of my favorite modern writers.  I also enjoyed Stephen King's latest...11/22/63.
Happy Reading!
Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!

The Hobbit
Image Credit: Goodreads

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Image credit: Shelf Awareness

We all know the book is always better than the movie, so join The Hobbit Book Club and read the book before you see the movie.  If you want a Hobbit preview, view the movie trailer below:

The Hobbit Book Club provides all things Tolkien...lesson plans, readers guides, educator guides, Hobbit reference guides...you need it, this site has it.  Come join the fun, and read The Hobbit with The Hobbit Book Club.

Take a peek at The Guardian's slide show of orginal Tolkien images from the book. 

If you are interested in a writing prompt associated with The Hobbit check out our Hobbit writing prompt post on The Writing Whisperer.

Have a Hobbitty Friday!
Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!


Again, classics, classics, classics and when it comes to classic the Penguin Group has it going on.  Their site offers all kinds of extras.  Take a peek at their cutting edge video below, which has been created in celebration of The Penguin English Library.  Here is how Penguin describes the video...
To celebrate the launch of the Penguin English Library, we commissioned this animation from award-winning director Woof Wan-Bau, of a peculiar journey for one particular Penguin.

Visit the Penguin English Library where you can find 100 of the best novels in the English language.

In addition, check out the Video Radio Network at Penguin, this is a collection of video and radio shows dating from 2009-2011.  Take a listen to this one about the Bronte sisters.

Let us, here at The Things You Can Read,  know your favorite classics, and don't forget to visit our Classics Challenge page on The Things You Can Read.

Have a Classis Weekend!
Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!

Classic Resources

Get free Literature courses from the world’s leading universities. You can download these audio & video courses straight to your computer or mp3 player. For more online courses, visit the complete collection of Free Courses found on Open Culture's site.
  • American Literature I: Beginnings to Civil War iTunes Video - YouTube - Cyrus Patell, NYU
  • Approaching Shakespeare - Web - Emma Smith, Oxford
  • Cervantes’ Don Quixote YouTube - iTunes Video - iTunes Audio - Web Site - Roberto González Echevarría, Yale
  • Dante in Translation - YouTube - iTunes Audio - iTunes Video - Download Course - Giuseppe Mazzotta
  • D.H. Lawrence - Web - Catherine Brown, Oxford
  • Existentialism in Literature & Film iTunes - Hubert Dreyfus, UC Berkeley
  • George Eliot - Web - Catherine Brown, Oxford
  • Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner - YouTube - iTunes - Web Site - Wai Chee Dimock, Yale
  • Holocaust in Film and Literature - YouTube - Todd Presner, UCLA
  • Introduction to Pre-Modern Japanese Literature and Culture - iTunes Audio - John Wallace, UC Berkeley
  • Introduction to Theory of Literature - YouTube - iTunes Audio - iTunes Video - Download Course - Paul H. Fry, Yale
  • Invitation to World Literature - Web Site - David Damrosch, Harvard
  • Literature and Psychoanalysis - Web Site - John Fletcher, University of Warwick
  • Literature in English: Late-17th to Mid-19th Century - iTunes - Charles Altieri, UC Berkeley
  • Milton - YouTube - iTunes Audio - iTunes Video - Download Course - John Rogers, Yale
  • Modern Poetry Download Course - Langdon Hammer, Yale
  • Not Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean Popular Theatre - iTunes - Oxford
  • Old English in Context Web - Stuart Lee, Oxford University
  • Restoration and 18th Century Poetry: From Dryden to Wordsworth - Web Audio - William Flesch, Brandeis
  • Shakespeare iTunes - Charles Altieri, UC Berkeley
  • Shakespeare After All: The Later Plays - Multiple Formats - Marjorie Garber, Harvard
  • Spenser and Milton - Web Audio - William Flesch, Brandeis
  • Survey of Shakespeare’s Plays Web Audio - William Flesch, Brandeis
  • The American Novel Since 1945 - YouTube - iTunes Audio - iTunes Video - Download Course - Amy Hungerford, Yale
  • The Art of Living - Web Site - Team taught, Stanford
  • The Epic iTunes - UC Berkeley - Maura Bridget Nolan and Charles Altieri
  • The Literature of Crisis - iTunes - Marsh McCall & Martin Evans, Stanford
  • The Western Canon: From Homer to Milton - Web Audio - William Flesch, Brandeis
  • This Craft of Verse: The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures - Web Audio - Jorge Luis Borges, Harvard
  • Virgil’s Aeneid: Anatomy of a Classic - iTunes - Susanna Braund, Stanford
Happy Reading!
Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!


  1. The Sign of Four is so good! It's my favorite Sherlock book so far. Welcome to the club!

  2. Nice list! You clearly aren't going to be shy about putting in more than 50 books! I think if I listed ALL the classics I wanted to read, I would never stop adding to the list...so I tried to keep it to 50. :) I can always start again when it's done!

  3. I have some books I failed to finish, but I plan to reread them because I need to :)

  4. "Now, consider this, Virginia Woolf and I have a shared reading experience. How great is that?" - I love this, totally feel the same way. I love the connection that comes from the classics and what they have survived.


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