Classics Club Year Four

It’s hard to believe I have only one more year left in my five-year plan! I joined the Classics Club soon after starting this blog, but since then I’ve freely added to my list beyond the original 50 books. I found that having more choices made reading from The List a more enjoyable experience for me. I don’t know that I’ll ever finish the whole thing, but it’s good to have some goals in mind.

So here’s what I read this past year … bringing me to a total of 39 books. I think I can manage 11 more in the next year, but I’m not going to sweat it if I miss that goal by a few months. I’ve had a great time, encountered so many wonderful books, and stretched my reading boundaries. The next year is just going to be icing on the cake.

I can’t pick favorites this year — these books were all so different but all excellent in their own way. From a tender, imaginative children’s book about the bittersweet process of growing up, I progressed to a bizarrely powerful dream-narrative for the modern age, a magnificent Victorian panorama of doom and gloom, an acerbic postwar comedy of manners, a myth-inspired American epic, a dreamlike chronicle of post-colonial Africa, and an early feminist manifesto, ending up with another beautifully written children’s book on the theme of time, memory, and the eternity of the present moment.

Books read in Year Four

The Fledgling
The Return of the Native
Excellent Women
East of Eden
Season of Migration to the North
The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

What would you pick to read next from my Classics Club list?

26 thoughts on “Classics Club Year Four

  1. As someone who usually goes on gut feeling about what I shall read next I feel diffident about recommending what you should choose. I need an excuse — bogus or otherwise — to read something that isn’t a mental comfort blanket, and that was certainly the case with Frankenstein: I needed the bicentenary of its first publication to spur me into reading the 1818 text, a copy of which had been sitting on my shelves for well over a decade.

    So, gut feeling is what I’d recommend as your choosing mode, perhaps tempered by something that makes that choice somehow significant (a commemorative date, a contrast to what you’ve just read, or a theme that links in with current events perhaps).

    And Brava for sticking with this personal challenge! 🙂


  2. Sticking to a multi – year reading list is impressive. It seems that you have read an impressive list of books.

    I have only read East of Eden and Frankenstein from your list. I vote for Frankenstein. In my opinion, that book deserves the fame thaf it has earned.


  3. Another vote for reading Frankenstein this year, and East of Eden, which I fear is becoming increasingly relevant to our times. The Fledgling could be a relief from those two–I know there’s conflict in it, but I remember it as a lovely children’s book about nature’s cycles.


  4. I read “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe when I was in college and I remember liking it a lot. However, I can’t remember what it’s actually about so it’s possible my memory of how good it was is a bit off. I guess I should read it again!


  5. Congratulations – you’re killing it!! I was always a “mood reader”, but – like you – now that I have a List (that is many and varied), it’s actually driving me to read a lot more than I expected. Can’t wait to see your thoughts on Frankenstein, it’s on my List too!


  6. Well, if this was my list …
    I would consider that I was due for a reread of One Hundred Years of Solitude because I remember absolutely nothing about it but it led to a time of my life when I read half a dozen books by GGM so I must have loved it, right?
    I would also think about picking up that new translation of The Odyssey by Emily Wilson because it sounds amazing.
    And I would probably decide that it’s finally time to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
    But that’s just me. 😉


    1. Glad to hear you actually liked 100 Years. I’ve often seen comments from people who hated it so I’m a bit intimidated. But South American lit is an area I really need to explore.


      1. I read the books when I was in my early 20s, before I had so many other lovely bookish people in my life so it probably helped not to really know other opinions! 😉


  7. I agree these kinds of challenges are easier if the options are a bit loose and malleable. And they really do help to expand one’s reading tastes and to find new favorite authors. Barbara Pym for me is the stand out. I have a few titles under my belt and look forward to reading her entire catalog some day.

    Your Year Four reads are such a varied bunch. I often tend to think of classics as this monolithic thing, but of course older books encompass the similar if not the same genres as modern books!


  8. Hooray for Excellent Women (in fact, for anything by Barbara Pym)! I’ve added Thomas Kempe to my TBR list — for this year, I hope.


  9. Oh, you’ve got so much good stuff on that list! I can’t tell you what to read because for me it depends a lot on mood. I will say, I really enjoyed the Shuttle, Things Fall Apart is a great novel, and hm, you haven’t read any of those Greeks or Romans yet, maybe Metamorphoses?


    1. My review of The Shuttle is coming next week! I have actually read a bunch of those classics, but it was a looong time ago in high school. I would like to read them again. (I would REALLY like to be able to read Greek and Latin, but I frittered away my youth and never learned them.)


  10. Oh man, that’s a good list for this year! I know you’ve been around hearing about my travails reading Frankenstein, but I honestly really did enjoy it, despite all my griping! It was wonderfully Gothic and strange and fun, which was more than I expected.


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