On August 1st, 2012, I signed up for the Classics Club, in which you challenge yourself to read at least fifty classic titles in the next five years. I decided to go for a bit more than fifty books, and my final list was seventy-two books long. As a year has passed since I started, I thought it might be a good time to write an update post and see how much progress I have made.
In the first year, I have read 13 out of 72 books, and reviewed them all. The books I have read are the following (links go to my reviews):
I'm happy with my progress so far. If I read one book a month for five years, that would be sixty books read so I'm aiming to read just over twelve books a year. Thirteen isn't bad for year one. Year two should be getting off to a good start as I'm already half-way through Emma, for the Austen in August event and plan to read Northanger Abbey too this month. Slow and steady wins the race!
What I'm most pleased to report is that I've enjoyed each of the books I have read, although some more than others. None of them have felt like an absolute slog to get through. I'm glad I made such a good start on the Dickens titles this year, as I have now completed two out of the five I selected. Dickens was one of those authors I really wasn't looking forward to reading, so I was pleasantly surprised by A Tale of Two Cities in particular, which has become a favourite. Great Expectations I didn't love as much, but I liked it enough to be almost looking forward to reading the other three. Of course I haven't started the one title I'm scared of on my list (Moby Dick) or the mammoth one (Les Miserables), but learning to like Dickens was enough of an achievement for the first year.
My favourite read so far has to be Tender is the Night, by F.Scott Fitzgerald. I read it in just over a day for the Classics Club readathon and it completely ripped my heart out, it was so beautiful and devastating at the same time. I'm saving Beautiful and the Damned, as I know I'm going to love it. Similarly, I'm saving The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, the Anne Bronte I have yet to read.
Out of the thirteen books I read this year, six were rereads. It sounds like a lot, but then a lot of my classics club list is made up of rereads. Classics tend to be the only type of book that I want to pick up again and again and they usually improve each time. I deliberately added some books that I didn't love first time round and typically on the second, they were much improved. The award for the most surprising reread would definitely go to Around the World in Eighty Days, which I hated in secondary school. Turns out I was missing out on all of the humour.
I'm glad that I joined the Classics Club. I had some reservations as I don't participate in reading challenges as a rule. I'm a fickle reader and I don't make lists of books to read, but I think taking part has given me the push I needed to read more classics, more regularly. Hopefully I'll enjoy the next four years just as much!