Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Classics Club Planning

To reach my goal of reading 50 titles from my Classics Club list by October 1, 2023 I need to read 21 more books from my remaining unread list. As it happens, including the current month, there are 21 months left until the deadline. (This is 638 days from January 1, 2022) I thought this was a good time to give some thought to which of the titles remaining on my list I really want to read. 

Inspired by chapter-a-day read-alongs at One Catholic Life I finished Great Expectations this past year and am on track to finish The Three Musketeers by December 31. I have really enjoyed this way of reading long books as it has built a habit of a calm moment of reading into each day and having a plan keeps me from getting overwhelmed by all the remaining pages. This approach only works with books that have lots of fairly short chapters, but 19th century novels (probably because they were published serially) are typically structured that way. I plan to continue this habit with the following books (not necessarily in this order) in 2022:

  1. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins, 1868 (53 days)
  2. Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales, the Brothers Grimm (55 days)
  3. Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens, 1839 (66 days)
  4. The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio, 1353 (103 days)
  5. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert, 1856 (I don't have this book yet so I don't know how many days it will take, but if it is fewer than 88 chapters it will fit into the year)

    If I am still liking this approach and want to continue it into 2023 these titles would also be suitable for chapter-a-day reading:

  6. Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens, 1844 (55 days)
  7. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe, 1987 (33 days)
  8. New Grub Street, George Gissing, 1891 (38 days)

    Also on my list are these books that might be suited to this approach but which I don't have copies of so I am not sure. If these, plus Madame Bovary, have fewer than 235 chapters  (average of 58 per book) they will fit into the available time:

  9. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson, 1882 
  10. A House for Mr Biswas, V. S. Naipaul, 1961
  11. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry, 1985

If I finish all the chapter-a-day possibilities that leaves 10 more titles to read to complete my list. I always have multiple books going at once so these would be read at the same time as the chapter-a-day ones. I have copies of these titles on my shelves so it would be good if I read them:

  1. Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, 1957
  2. The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers, 1946
  3. Where Angels Fear to Tread, E. M. Forster, 1905
  4. The Grand Sophy, Georgette Heyer, 1950

  5. Walden, Henry David Thoreau, 1854
  6. Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen, 1937
  7. Islam: A Short History, Karen Armstrong, 2000
  8. The Story of Philosophy, Will Durant, 1926

  9. Swann's Way, Marcel Proust, 1913 (I have this on audio)

For the final book these two are the most appealing to me of what remains on my list:
  1. The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells, 1898
  2. The Waves, Virginia Woolf, 1931
Reading these 10 books in 21 months shouldn't be too tough and most of them are fairly short (not including Proust of course). Now I have a plan and only time will tell if I can manage to follow it. 


  1. I like the Chapter-a-Day way of reading, too, but I was not taken with the choices for 2022. Instead, I made my own list of books for the year that lend themselves to being read a chapter a day.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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