Reading the Classics Challenge in 2015

Old BooksOn top of signing up for the 50 Book Pledge and joining the Green Gables Readalong, I wanted to push myself further when reading this year. So, I am challenging myself to read 12 “classic novels” in 2015.


Well, I read mostly contemporary literary fiction and tend to put off reading the books that somehow didn’t appear on my university English Literature courses syllabi.

After a shout out for “classics” suggestions last month, many of you gave me great suggestions. Thank you! (Please note: I use the term “classic” loosely. I cheated and included a few books from written in the early 1900s. A couple of book were even written post-WWII.)

I’ll write one “classic” review per month in the form of a Top 5 Highlights list. Here are the “Reading the Classics Challenge” picks I will be reviewing in 2015:

January:         To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
February:       Dracula by Bram Stoker
March:           Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
April:              Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
May:               Frost in May by Antonia White
June:              The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
July:                Villette by Charlotte Brontë
August:          Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
September:   The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
October:       Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk
November:    Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
December:    Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I figure if I write it here, for all to see, I cannot back down. Right?

How will you challenge yourself to read more or read differently in 2015? Want to join me in the Reading the Classics Challenge in 2015? Make up your own list of not-yet-read “classics.” Read at your own pace. Let us know how you make out on social media with #ReadingtheClassicsin2015. Good luck!



13 thoughts on “Reading the Classics Challenge in 2015

    • Carole Besharah says:

      Oh good to hear! I LOVED Jane Eyre. So. Much. I am hoping Villette will be just as good. I don’t know much about Marjorie Morningstar, but I hear it’s a must-read. I can’t wait to dive in. Cheers.

  1. I read Villette and I loved it! It’s very soft and contemplative. I also read Dracula (loved it) and A Brave New World (liked it, but seriously I can’t take another dystopian novel… read too many in 2014!).
    This year, I’d like to explore CanLit a bit more seriously. In 2014 I focused on Canadian Sci-Fi and Fantasy. This year, I’d like to add Literary fictions. I think I’m going to follow CBC 100 books for this. I’d like to read between 10 and 20 of them.
    I think it’s a good idea to write down your challenge! I find it encourages us to go through with it!

    • Carole Besharah says:

      Reading more CanLit sounds awesome! That’s what I usually read and love.

      If you are going to tackle the CBC 100 Books, may I suggests my favourite titles on the list?

      Lives of Saints by Nino Ricci (the first and best book in a trilogy)
      -The Outlander by Gill Adamson (gorgeous description of the landscape)
      -The Romantic by Barbary Gowdy (such a harrowing story. I still think of the characters, years later)
      -Whale Music by Paul Quarrington (the movie adaptation was pretty good too)
      -The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (every single book she wrote is gold. I also loved Swann and Unless)

      I look forward to seeing which CanLit titles you will tackle and review. Good luck!

      P.S. I didn’t add any of the Henri Troyat titles you had suggested on my list (because, let’s face it… I don’t want to review in French. It’s my native tongue but oh… the grammar…) But I will tackle L’Araigne this year. For sure.

      Bonne année Angélique!

      • Oh thank you for this list!!! I’m going to check these five out!
        In this list, I have read The Book of Negroes (heartbreaking, but I learned a lot) and The Room. I’m now reading The Antagonist and waiting on my shelves, I have Monkey Beach, Life of Pi, Kiss of the Fur Queen and, Late Night on Air, and The Neuromancer. To be honest, it’s mostly the ones I found in second-hand book store so I don’t know if they are good. I assumed all are (more or less)? 🙂
        Just saying, if you want to try reviewing a book (by Troyat or someone else) in French and want me to proofread it, I’ll do it with pleasure. 😉

      • Carole Besharah says:

        Ah! The Room killed me! So. Good.

        Life if Pi is a love-it-or-hate-it reading experience. My hubby and I didn’t like it at all, but it seems we are a minority (I know a few people that were blown away by Pi). I liked Hay’s Late Nights on Air , but loved her novel A Student of Weather. I have yet to read The Book of Negroes (I wish I had, seeing as the mini series is starting next week) and I am dying to hear what you have to say about The Antagonist (I read Coady’s Hellgoing… ouf! Brillant passages but weird, unresolved plots).

        Oh… now you know I’ll take you up on your French proofreading offer in the coming months when I crack open my first Troyat book. Merci!

  2. With pleasure and many thanks for your opinion! I did read several times that Life of Pi can be boring for some readers. I’m a bit wary of this one. I’ve also just found Away by Jane Urquhart at the thrift store today :p
    Ok, I’ll stop making this thread longer and longer 🙂

    • Carole Besharah says:

      Okay… now, you might not believe me, but I actually typed that title on the list, along with The Handmaid’s Tale. Then, I was like… this is too long (I tend to get carried away)… and she’s sick of dystopian novels (so, bye bye Margaret Atwood). So I removed the last two titles from my list.

      Away is a beautiful, dreamlike story with an ending you’ll never forget. Enjoy!

      (Alright, I’ll stop harassing you now. Enjoy today’s find.)

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