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The Classic Reading Challenge

Kickin' It with the Classics

If you’re just tuning in, you may not have noticed that every so often I toss in reviews of classic books.  My interest in classics dates back to ninth-grade English class with Mr. Haynes.  At the end of the school year Mr. Haynes gave us a reading list for summer break.  Most of the books on the list were classics. For some reason I kept the list and years later after high school, I looked at it and decided, what the heck, let’s give this thing a whirl.  Slowly I started reading the books and marking them off.  Each year I squeezed in a few classics between my other reading. Weird?  Maybe.  But I was curious, and it turns out they’re classics for a good reason.  So now, when some of those books are mentioned here or there, I now know what they’re talking about—without looking at Wikipedia.  As a bonus, it’s helped me in crossword puzzles too. 

It’s true, some of the classics are a little more difficult to read. The older, descriptive writing keeps me on my toes.  Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Robert Louis Stevenson, and others took a little more time to read, but the more I read their styles, the more I liked them, and the easier it got. 

I don’t know what makes a book officially a “classic,” but all the books on this list have enjoyed immense popularity—regardless of when they were written. Some are older classics; some are more modern classics.  Some should probably fall off the list. Some aren’t even books; they’re plays. Some are big old whoppers while others are short novellas. The list is ever-evolving and in no way complete. Over the years it’s grown as I’ve gathered titles from other classic lists and added them to mine. It gets a little dicey when popular authors have written numerous classics.  Sometimes I haven’t listed them all.  A true and complete classic list would probably wrap around the world a few times.  Below is the list I have today.  Ask me again tomorrow, and I’m sure it will be bigger. I’ve marked the ones that I’ve read in red and a placed a link to the ones I’ve reviewed.  See how many you’ve read.  You may surprise yourself

Have fun!
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Alcott, Louisa May - Little Women
Aldrich, Bess Streeter - A Lantern in Her Hand
Aldrich, Bess Streeter - A White Bird Flying
Aldrich, Bess Streeter - Spring Came on Forever
Anderson, Sherwood - Winesburg, Ohio
Angelou, Maya - I Know Why Caged Birds Sing
Asimov, Isaac - The Foundation Trilogy
Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale
Austen, Jane – Emma
Austen, Jane – Mansfield Park 
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Austen, Jane – Sense and Sensibilities
Bagnold, Enid - National Velvet
Baldwin, James - Notes of a Native Son
Balzac, Honore de - Pere Goriot
Barrett, William - Lilies of the Field
Barrie, James - The Admirable Crichton
Bellamy, Edward - Looking Backward
Benet, Stephen Vincent - John Brown's Body
Bonnet, Theodore - The Mudlark
Bradbury, Ray - Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury, Ray - The Martian Chronicles
Bradbury, Ray - Something Wicked This Way Comes
Brown, Dee - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Brown, Joe David - Paper Moon
Buck, Pearl - Imperial Woman
Buck, Pearl - The Good Earth
Bulgakov, Mikhail - The Master and Margarita
Burdick, Eugene and Harvey Wheeler - Fail-Safe
Burgess, Anthony – A Clockwork Orange
Burnett, Frances Hodgson - The Secret Garden

Burroughs, Edgar Rice - Tarzan of the Apes
Cain, James M. - The Postman Always Rings Twice Click here to read review.
Caldwell, Taylor - Captains and the Kings
Caldwell, Taylor - Dear and Glorious Physician
Camus, Albert - The Plague
Camus, Albert  - The Stranger
Carroll, Lewis - Alice's Adventure in Wonderland
Carroll, Lewis - Alice Through the Looking Glass
Carson, Rachel - The Sea Around Us
Cather, Willa - Death Comes to the Archbishop
Cather, Willa - My Antonia
Cather, Willa - O Pioneers
Cather, Willa - One of Ours
Cather, Willa - Shadows on the Rock
Cervantes, Miguel de – Don Quixote
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening  
Clark, Walter Van Tilburg - The Ox-Bow Incident
Clark, Walter Van Tilburg - The Track of the Cat
Cleary, Jon - The Sundowners
Collins, Wilkie - The Moonstone
Collins, Wilkie – The Woman in White
Conrad, Joseph - The Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Deerslayer
Cooper, James Fenimore, - The Last of the Mohicans
Costain, Thomas - The Silver Chalice
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Crichton, Michael - The Andromeda Strain
Cronin, A. J. - The Keys of the Kingdom
Dana, Richard, - Two Years Before the Mast
Day, Clarence - Life with Mother
Defoe, Daniel -  Moll Flanders
Defoe, Daniel -  Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - David Copperfield
Dickens, Charles - Great Expectations
Dickens, Charles - Oliver Twist
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dinesen, Isak  (Real name, Karen von Blixen-Finecke) – Out of Africa
Dos Passos, John - Manhattan Transfer
Dos Passos, John -  U.S.A. Trilogy
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor -  Crime and Punishment
Douglas, Lloyd. C., -  The Robe
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan - The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan - The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dreiser, Theodore - Sister Carrie
Du Maurier, Daphne - Jamaica Inn
Dumas, Alexander - Camille
Dumas, Alexander - The Count of Monte Cristo
Dumas, Alexander - The Three Musketeers
Ibsen, Henrik -  Peer Gynt
Edmonds, Walter - Drums Along the Mohawk
Eliot, George – Adam Bede
Eliot, George – Daniel Deronda
Eliot, George - Middlemarch
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Eliot, T. S. - Murder in the Cathedral
Ellison, Ralph – Invisible Man
Esquivel, Laura - Like Water for Chocolate
Faulkner, William - Absalom! Absalom!
Faulkner, William - Intruder in the Dust
Faulkner, William – The Sound and the Fury
Ferber, Edna - Cimarron
Ferber, Edna - Giant
Ferber, Edna - Show Boat
Ferber, Edna - So Big
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - Tender is the Night
Forbes, Esther - Johnny Tremain
Forbes, Kathryn - Mama's Bank Account
Forester, C.S. - Captain Horatio Hornblower
Forester, C.S. - The African Queen
Forester, C.S. - The Good Shepherd
Forster, E.M. - Howard's End
Forster, E.M. – A Passage to India
Forster, E.M. – A Room with A View
Fowles, John – The French Lieutenant’s Woman
Frank, Anne - The Diary of a Young Girl
Frank, Pat, Alas - Babylon
Franklin, Benjamin - Ben Franklin Autobiography
Freedman, Benedict & Nancy - Mrs. Mike
Garcia Márquez, Gabriel – One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gilbreth, Frank B. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey -  Belles on
Their Toes
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Goldman, William – The Princess Bride
Goudge, Elizabeth - Green Dolphin Street
Green, Hannah - I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
Greene, Graham - A Burnt-Out Case
Greene, Graham - The Power and the Glory
Griffin, John Howard - Black Like Me
Haggard, H. Rider - King Solomon's Mines
Haley, Alex - Roots
Hammett, Dashiell - The Thin Man
Hammett, Dashiell - The Maltese Falcon
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Hart, Moss & Kaufman, George - The Man Who Came to Dinner
Hart, Moss & Kaufman, George - You Can't Take It With You
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The House of Seven Gables
Heinlein, Robert - Stranger in a Strange Land
Hellman, Lillian - The Children's Hour
Hemingway, Ernest - For Whom the Bell Tolls
Hemingway, Ernest - The Green Hills of Africa
Hemingway, Ernest - The Sun Also Rises

Hersey, John - A Bell for Adano
Hersey, John - Hiroshima
Hersey, John - The Child Buyer
Herzog, Maurice - Annapurna
Heyerdahl, Thor - Aku-Aku
Heyerdahl, Thor - Kon-Tiki
Hilton, James - Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Hilton, James - Random Harvest
Hinton, S.E. – Rumble Fish
Hinton, S.E. - That Was Then, This is Now
Hinton, S.E. - The Outsiders
Hudson, W.H. - Green Mansions
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hugo, Victor - Les Miserables
Hunt, Irene - Across Five Aprils
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Huxley, Aldous - Crome Yellow
Ibsen, Henrik - Peer Gynt
Irving, Washington - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Jackson, Helen Hunt – Ramona
Jackson, Shirley - The Lottery
Jackson, Shirley - We Have Always Lived in the Castle
James, Henry - Daisy Miller
James, Henry - Turn of the Screw
Jerome, Jerome K. - Three Men in a Boat
Joyce, James - Ulysses
Kaufman & Hart - The Man Who Came to Dinner
Kaufman & Hart - Once in a Lifetime
Kaufman & Hart - You Can't Take It With You
Kesey, Ken - One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
Keyes, Daniel - Flowers for Algernon
Kipling, Rudyard - Captains Courageous
Kipling, Rudyard - Kim
Kipling, Rudyard - The Man Who Would Be King
Kleist, Heinrich von - The Earthquake in Chile
Knebel, Fletcher - Night of Camp David
Knebel, Fletcher - Seven Days in May
Knowles, John - A Separate Peace
La Farge, Oliver - Laughing Boy
Lederer, William & E. Burdick - The Ugly American
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Leroux, Gaston - Phantom of the Opera
Levin, Ira - The Stepford Wives
Lewis, C.S. – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
Lewis, Sinclair - Main Street
Lindbergh, Charles - The Spirit of St. Louis
Lipsyte, Robert - The Contender 
Llewellyn, Richard - How Green Was My Valley
London, Jack - Call of the Wild
MacInnes, Helen - Above Suspicion
Mailer, Norman - The Executioner's Song
Malamud, Bernard - The Assistant
Maugham, W. Somerset - The Moon and Sixpence
McCullers, Carson - The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
McCullers, Carson - The Ballad of the Sad Café
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Benito Cereno
Michener, James - Bridges at Toko-Ri
Michener, James - Centennial
Michener, James - Hawaii
Michener, James - Sayonara
Michener, James - Tales of the South Pacific
Miller, Arthur - All My Sons
Miller, Arthur - A View From the Bridge
Moody, Ralph - Home Ranch
Moody, Ralph - Little Britches
Moody, Ralph - Men of the Family
Neihardt, John - Black Elk Speaks
Nabokov, Vladimir - Lolita
Nordhoff, Charles & Hall, J. - Men Against the Sea
Nordhoff, Charles & Hall, J. - Mutiny on the Bounty
Nordhoff, Charles & Hall, J. - Pitcairn's Island
Norris, Frank - Octopus
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
O'Neill, Eugene - The Iceman Commeth
Orwell, George - 1984
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Parks, Gordon - The Learning Tree
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Pennington, James - Fugitive Blacksmith
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan – Tales of Edgar Allan Poe
Porter, Katherine Anne - Ship of Fools
Portis, Charles - True Grit
Proulx, E. Annie - The Shipping News
Rand, Ayn – Atlas Shrugged
Rattigan, Terence - The Winslow Boy
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Renault, Mary - The Bull From the Sea
Renault, Mary - The King Must Die
Richter, Conrad - Light in the Forest
Rinehart, Mary Roberts - The Circular Staircase
Roberts, Kenneth - Northwest Passage
Rostand, Edmund - Cyrano de Bergerac
Sabatini, Raphael - Scaramouche
Salinger, J.D. - Catcher in the Rye
Sandburg, Carl - Abe Lincoln: Prairie Years
Saroyan, William - Human Comedy
Saroyan, William - My Name is Aram
Schaefer, Jack - Shane
Scott, Sir Walter - Ivanhoe
Scott, Sir Walter - Quentin Durward
Sewell, Anna - Black Beauty
Shakespeare, William - As You Like It
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William – King Lear
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William – Merchant of Venice
Shakespeare, William – Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare, William – Much Ado About Nothing
Shakespeare, William - Othello
Shakespeare, William – Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare, William - The Taming of the Shrew
Shakespeare, William – Any Others Not Mentioned Here
Shaw, George Bernard - Caesar and Cleopatra
Shute, Nevil - On the Beach
Shute, Nevil - A Town Like Alice

Sienkiewicz, Henryk - Quo Vadis
Skinner, Cornelia & Kimbrough, Emily - Our Hearts Were Young and Gay
Smith, Dodie - I Capture the Castle
Smith, Betty - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Steinbeck, John - Cannery Row
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Steinbeck, John - The Pearl
Steinbeck, John - The Red Pony
Steinbeck, John - The Winter of Our Discontent
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other Short Stories
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Kidnapped
Stevenson, Robert Louis - The Master of Ballantrae
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stoker, Bram - Dracula
Stone, Irving - The Ecstasy and the Agony
Stone, Irving - Love is Eternal
Stone, Irving - The President's Lady
Strout, Elizabeth - Olive Kitteridge
Stowe, Harriet - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swarthout, Glendon - Bless the Beasts and Children
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Synge, J.M. - Riders to the Sea
Tarkington, Booth - The Magnificent Ambersons
Tarkington, Booth - Monsieur Beaucaire
Tarkington, Booth - Penrod
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry - Walden
Thurber, James - Thurber Carnival
Tolkien, J.R.R. - Lord of the Rings
Tolkien, J.R.R. - The Hobbit
Tolstoy, Leo - Anna Karenina
Tolstoy, Leo – War and Peace
Toole, John Kennedy - A Confederacy of Dunces
Twain, Mark –The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Twain, Mark - The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Twain, Mark – A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Twain, Mark - Life on the Mississippi
Twain, Mark – The Prince and the Pauper
Ullman, James Ramsey - Banner in the Sky
Updike, John - The Witches of Eastwick
Uris, Leon - Exodus
Uris, Leon - QB VII
Verne, Jules - An Antarctic Mystery
Verne, Jules - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Verne, Jules - Journey to the Center of the Earth
Vonnegut, Kurt - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice – The Color Purple
Watson, Winifred - Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Waugh, Evelyn - Brideshead Revisited
Waugh, Evelyn - The Loved One
Wells, H.G. - The Invisible Man
Wells, H.G. - The Island of Dr. Moreau
Wells, H.G. - The Time Machine
Wells, H.G. - The War of the Worlds
Wescott, Glenway - The Pilgrim Hawk
West, Jessamyn - Friendly Persuasion
Wharton, Edith – Age of Innocence
Wharton, Edith – The House of Mirth
Whitely, Opal - The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow
Whitman, Walt – Leaves of Grass
Wibberley, Leonard - The Mouse that Roared
Wilde, Oscar - The Canterville Ghost
Wilder, Thornton - Our Town
Wilkerson, The Rev. David - The Cross and the Switchblade
Williams, Tennessee - A Streetcar Named Desire
Wodehouse, P.G. - The Code of the Woosters
Wojciechowska, Maia - Don't Play Dead Before You Have To
Wolfe, Tom - Bonfire of the Vanities
Woolf, Virginia - A Room of One's Own
Wouk, Herman - The Caine Mutiny
Wren, Christopher - Beau Geste
Wright, Richard - Black Boy
Wyss, Johann - The Swiss Family Robinson


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