The Classics Club: Looking back

I joined the Classics Club in March 2012 with the aim of reading sixty classics in five years. Over time, my list changed and grew, I removed books I no longer felt like reading, added other books and ended up with a list of one hundred. A few weeks ago I finished the last of those hundred classics (a re-read of my favourite Dumas novel, The Count of Monte Cristo) – seven months past my deadline, which would have been March of this year, but I really enjoyed working through my list, which I think is all that matters! Taking part in the Classics Club has definitely been a rewarding experience: I have participated in monthly memes, had fun with Classics Spins, joined in with the Women’s Classic Literature Event and, most importantly, discovered lots of new books, authors, blogs and bloggers.

You can see my complete Classics Club list here, with links to my reviews, but here are some of my highlights from the last five years (and seven months):

* Finishing Anthony Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire and starting his other series, the Pallisers.

* Discovering that Louisa May Alcott wrote sensation novels.

* Tackling some very long books: Don Quixote, Kristin Lavransdatter, War and Peace and Clarissa!

* Enjoying Alexandre Dumas’ complete series of D’Artagnan novels.

* Revisiting Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Emma and Rebecca.

* Moving out of my comfort zone and reading some plays.

* Being pleasantly surprised by John Steinbeck, John Wyndham and Somerset Maugham, three authors I hadn’t expected to like.

* Deciding that A Tale of Two Cities is my favourite Dickens novel.

* Loving all four Rafael Sabatini books on my list!

A few of you have asked whether I will be putting another Classics Club list together. I think the answer is probably yes, although I haven’t decided what form my second list will take, how many books will be on it or which books and authors will be included. I’ll let you know if and when the list is ready!

39 thoughts on “The Classics Club: Looking back

  1. The Long Victorian says:

    Congratulations on finishing your Classics Club list. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what you put on your second list (if you do another). My reading is going well, but I’m behind on some of the reviews.

    • Helen says:

      It’s always nice when you enjoy a book you hadn’t expected to like! I hope you have more surprises (good ones, of course) as you work through the rest of your list.

  2. FictionFan says:

    Sounds like you had a great time which is what it’s all about! Yay for Wyndham and A Tale of Two Cities! I shall be waiting patiently to peruse your new list… 😀

  3. piningforthewest says:

    Congratulations. I think I’ll be compiling a new list too, but again it’ll probably change over the years as my original list did.

    • Helen says:

      I’ve lost track of how many times my list changed…I didn’t see the point in forcing myself to read books I no longer wanted to read. I’ll be interested to see your new list if you do make one. 🙂

  4. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    Congratulations, Helen! I’ve found the Club to be a very fulfilling and enriching experience, and I look forward to reaching that goal of 50 in a couple of years.

    I just read and loved East of Eden, partly spurred on by your review among others. And I share your enjoyment of Sabatini, though I must read some Dumas at some point.

  5. cirtnecce says:

    Congratulations! This is very very impressive! So many authors I love are on your list especially Stienbeck. I had no idea Louisa May Alcott wrote sensational novels; I must check them out sometime. I am so impressed you managed to complete Kristin Lavransdatter, that is one series, that seriously freaks me out! I look forward to your next list and once again many congratulations!

    • Helen says:

      Thank you. The Louisa May Alcott book I read was called A Long Fatal Love Chase and was very different from her Little Women books! I loved Kristin Lavransdatter, although it was not an easy read. I found a translation I was happy with, so that helped.

  6. whatmeread says:

    That’s great that you finished your list! So have I, but I haven’t yet posted my last review. I see that Classics Club is having another spin, so I’ll have to make a spin list from my new list, not yet posted. Now, I don’t agree with you on Dickens. I think AToTC is one of his weakest novels, but it’s interesting to wonder what kind of a historical novelist he would have made had he chosen to pursue it more.

    • Helen says:

      My new list isn’t ready yet so I’ll have to miss out on the spin this time. As for Dickens, I think I liked A Tale of Two Cities because it felt different from his other novels and I connected with it in a way that I didn’t with most of the others. I haven’t read all of his books yet, though, so my favourite could still change.

  7. Sandra says:

    Congratulations, Helen, it must be very satisfying to have reached the end. You’ve inspired me to revisit my list – and maybe even to catch up on reviews!!

  8. lakesidemusing says:

    Congratulations on completing your challenge! I know we’ve talked about our mutual love of Trollope, but where are you in your Palliser reading now? I’ll be starting Phineas Redux soon… trying to decide if it will be before or after the holidays. Steinbeck is one of my favorites, too. Will look forward to your decision on a second list.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you! Phineas Redux was my last Palliser novel, so I still have The Prime Minister and The Duke’s Children to read. They will both be on my second list and probably another Steinbeck book too.

  9. Karen K. says:

    Congratulations! 100 classics in five years is very impressive. I started with 75 and made it to 69 when I realized that I may never read the final six books. I’m so glad you enjoyed Steinbeck and Maugham, two of my favorites — I was also terrified of Steinbeck. And have you read Of Human Bondage? It’s long but it is so wonderful. I first read it in college years ago but reread it recently and it was just as wonderful. Nobody reads it any more and it’s a real shame.

    I look forward to your second list!

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Karen. No, I haven’t read Of Human Bondage yet (The Painted Veil is the only Maugham novel I’ve read so far). I would like to include at least one of his books on my new list, though, so I’ll consider that one. 🙂

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