The Classics Club is a club created to inspire people to read and blog about classic books. There’s no time limit to join and you’re most welcome, as long as you’re willing to sign up to read and write on your blog about 50+ classic books in at most five years. The perk is that, not only will you have read 50+ incredible (or at the very least thought-provoking) works in five years, you’ll get to do it along with all of these people. Join us! We’re very friendly.

What determines a book to be a “classic”? Well according to Wikipedia:

classic is a book accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy, for example through an imprimatur such as being listed in a list of great books, or through a reader’s personal opinion.

Classic book – Wikipedia

According to ThoughtCo.:

The definition of a classic piece of literature can be a hotly debated topic. Depending on what you read, or the experience of the person you question on the topic, you may receive a wide range of answers. So, what is a “classic” in the context of books and literature?

Qualities of Classic Literature

  • A classic expresses artistic quality. It is an expression of life, truth, and beauty. A classic piece of literature must be of high quality, at least for the time in which it was written. While different styles will come and go, it can be appreciated for its construction and literary art. It may not be a bestseller today due to pacing and dated language, but you can learn from it and be inspired by its prose.A classic stands the test of time. The work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written, and the work merits lasting recognition. In other words, if the book was published in the recent past, the work is not a classic. While “modern classics” may apply to books written after World War I or II, they need longevity to achieve the designation of a simple “classic.” A book of recent vintage that is of high quality, acclaim and influence need a few decades to determine whether it deserves to be called a classic.A classic has a certain universal appeal. Great works of literature touch readers to their very core beings, partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional responses. You can read classics from Jane Austen and Cervantes and relate to the characters and situations despite the intervening centuries and changes in every aspect of life. In fact, it can change your view of history to see how little has changed in our basic human makeup.
  •  A classic makes connections. You can study a classic and discover influences from other writers and other great works of literature. Of course, this is partly related to the universal appeal of a classic. But, the classic also is informed by the history of ideas and literature, whether unconsciously or specifically worked into the plot of the text. Likewise, a classic will inspire other writers who come after and you can trace how it influenced works in its own time and down through the decades and centuries.

And according to Italo Calvino:

  1. The classics are those books about which you usually hear people saying: ‘I’m rereading…’, never ‘I’m reading….’
  2. The Classics are those books which constitute a treasured experience for those who have read and loved them; but they remain just as rich an experience for those who reserve the chance to read them for when they are in the best condition to enjoy them.
  3. The classics are books which exercise a particular influence, both when they imprint themselves on our imagination as unforgettable, and when they hide in the layers of memory disguised as the individual’s or the collective unconscious.
  4. A classic is a book which with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading.
  5. A classic is a book which even when we read it for the first time gives the sense of rereading something we have read before.
  6. A classic is a book which has never exhausted all it has to say to its readers.
  7. The classics are those books which come to us bearing the aura of previous interpretations, and trailing behind them the traces they have left in the culture or cultures (or just in the languages and customs) through which they have passed.
  8. A classic is a work which constantly generates a pulviscular cloud of critical discourse around it, but which always shakes the particles off.
  9. Classics are books which, the more we think we know them through hearsay, the more original, unexpected, and innovative we find them when we actually read them.
  10. A classic is the term given to any book which comes to represent the whole universe, a book on a par with ancient talismans.
  11. ‘Your’ classic is a book to which you cannot remain indifferent, and which helps you define yourself in relation or even in opposition to it.
  12. A classic is a work that comes before other classics; but those who have read other classics first immediately recognize its place in the genealogy of classic works.
  13. A classic is a work which relegates the noise of the present to a background hum, which at the same time the classics cannot exist without.
  14. A classic is a work which persists as a background noise even when a present that is totally incompatible with it holds sway.

Perhaps most poetic is Calvino’s 11th definition, bespeaking the idea that there is room for subjectivity even in a term as deterministically universal as a “classic,” and offering a witty answer to the nitpicky reader: “‘Your’ classic is a book to which you cannot remain indifferent, and which helps you define yourself in relation or even in opposition to it.”

Stacy’s List:

(To Be Completed By 6/1/2023) (Not in any particular order)

  1. Richard Adams– Watership Down (reread)
  2. Louisa May Alcott– Little Women (reread)
  3. Maya Angelou– I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
  4. Anonymous– One Thousand And One Nights
  5. Jane Austen– Pride and Prejudice (reread)
  6. Giovanni Boccaccio– The Decameron
  7. Ray Bradbury– Fahrenheit 451 (reread)
  8. Emily Bronte– Wuthering Heights (reread)
  9. Pearl S. Buck– The Good Earth
  10. John Buchan–  The Thirty-Nine Steps
  11. John Bunyan– Pilgrim’s Progress
  12. Frances Hodgson Burnett– A Little Princess (reread)
  13. Frances Hodgson Burnett– The Secret Garden (reread)
  14. Olive Burns– Cold Sassy Tree (reread)
  15. Willa Cather– My Antonia
  16. Geoffrey Chaucer– The Canterbury Tales (reread)
  17. Joseph Conrad– Heart of Darkness (reread)
  18. Joseph Conrad– Lord Jim (reread)
  19. Stephen Crane– Red Badge of Courage
  20. Antoine de Saint-Exupeny– The Little Prince
  21. James Fenimore Cooper– The Last of the Mohicans
  22. Charles Dickens– David Copperfield (reread)
  23. Charles Dickens– Great Expectations
  24. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle– The Complete Sherlock Holmes
  25. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle– The Hound of the Baskervilles (reread)
  26. Daphne Du Maurier– Rebecca
  27. Alexandre Dumas– The Count of Monte Cristo (read 6/24/2018 to 7/10/2018)
  28. Alexandre Dumas– The Three Musketeers
  29. George Eliot– Romola
  30. George Eliot– Silas Marner
  31. Ralph Elison– The Invisible Man
  32. William Faulkner– As I Lay Dying
  33. Marcel Proust– Swann’s Way
  34. William Faulkener– Intruder In the Dust
  35. Henry Fielding– Joseph Andrews (reread)
  36. Henry Fielding– Shamela (reread)
  37. Henry Fielding– Tom Jones
  38. Gustav Flaubert– Madame Bovary
  39. Thomas Bulfinch– Bulfinch’s Mythology
  40. Thomas Hardy– Far From the Madding Crowd
  41. Anne Frank– The Diary of Anne Frank (reread)
  42. Nathaniel Hawthorne– The House of Seven Gables
  43. Herman Hesse– Steppenwolf
  44. Homer– The Iliad (reread)
  45. Homer– The Odessy (reread)
  46. Victor Hugo– The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  47. John Irving– Cider House Rules
  48. Franz Kafka– The Trial
  49. John Keats– Poems
  50. Jack Kerouac– On The Road
  51. Rudyard Kipling– The Two Jungle Books (reread)
  52. John Knowles– A Separate Peace
  53. D. H. Lawerence– Women In Love
  54. Harper Lee– To Kill A Mockingbird (reread)
  55. Gaston Leroux– The Phantom Of The Opera
  56. Jack London– The Call Of The Wild (reread)
  57. Jack London– White Fang (reread)
  58. Thomas Mann– The Magic Mountain
  59. Kamala Markandaya– Nectar In A Sieve
  60. Margaret Mitchell– Gone With The Wind
  61. W. Somerset Maugham– Of Human Bondage (reread)
  62. Herman Melville– Moby Dick
  63. L. M. Montgomery– Anne Of Green Gables (reread)
  64. Toni Morrison– Beloved
  65. Toni Morrison- Jazz
  66. Vladimir Nabokov– Lolita
  67. Baroness Orczy– The Scarlet Pimpernel
  68. George Orwell– 1984 (reread)
  69. Boris Pasternak– Doctor Zhivago
  70. Alan Paton– Cry, The Beloved Country
  71. Edgar Allan Poe– Collected Poems And Other Stories
  72. Howard Pyle–  The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (reread)
  73. Samuel Richardson– Clarissa
  74. Amy Tan– The Joy Luck Club
  75. Esther Forbes– Johnny Tremain
  76. Scott O’Dell– Island Of The Blue Dolphins
  77. William Shakespeare– Henry V
  78. John Steinbeck– Cannery Row (reread)
  79. John Steinbeck– Tortilla Flat (reread)
  80. John Steinbeck– The Pearl (reread)
  81. Mary Shelley– Frankenstein
  82. Bram Stoker– Dracula
  83. John Steinbeck– The Red Pony (reread)
  84. William Makepeace Thackeray– Vanity Fair
  85. John Steinbeck– Of Mice And Men (reread)
  86. J. R. R. Tolkien– The Hobbit (reread)
  87. John Steinbeck– The Moon Is Down (reread)
  88. J. R. R. Tolkien– The Lord Of The Rings (reread)
  89. J. R. R. Tolkien– The Twin Towers (reread)
  90. Stendhal– The Red And The Black
  91. Laurence Sterne– Tristam Shandy (reread)
  92. Robert Louis Stevenson– Kidnapped
  93. Robert Louis Stevenson– The Black Arrow
  94. Robert Louis Stevenson- The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
  95. Mark Twain– A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court (reread)
  96. Mark Twain– The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (reread)
  97. Mark Twain– The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (reread)
  98. Jules Verne– Around The World In Eighty Days 
  99. Jules Verne– The Mysterious Island (reread)
  100. H. G. Wells– The Time Machine (reread)
  101. Walt Whitman– Leaves Of Grass
  102. Emile Zola– Germinal
  103. Edna Ferber– Showboat
  104. Elizabeth George Speare– The Witch Of Blackbird Pond (reread)
  105. Elizabeth George Speare– The Bronze Bow (reread)
  106. Enid Bagnold– National Velvet (reread)
  107. Robert Harris– Imperium
  108. Charlotte Bronte– Jane Eyre
  109. Thomas Hardy– Jude The Obscure
  110. Roald Dahl– The BFG
  111. Philip Roth– American Pastoral
  112. Rachel Carson– Silent Spring
  113. Marcus Aurelius– Meditations
  114. Henry David Thoreau– Walden
  115. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn– The Gulag Archipelago