Inspired by Amanda at The Zen Leaf who plans to read a classic weekly, I decided to put together a list of classics I want to read next year - one a month - at least. I have also come up with a list of alternates in case I can't bear to finish one of my choices or I feel like reading even more classics.
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
What it is about: The powerful gothic novel of a house blighted by a terrible curse.
Why I chose it: My mother tried to get me to read this, one of her favorites, for years. She even sent it to me in a package to Ecuador when I was an exchange student. I still have the same copy, so in honor of my mother’s birth month, I am finally going to read it. Then we can discuss it in the afterlife.
Utopia by Sir Thomas More
What it is about: Utopias!
Why I chose it: For Dystopian February, I thought it would be fun to read this popular treatise on what makes a Utopia.
Les Miserables Victor Hugo
What it is about: The story of a man trying to redeem himself set against the backdrop of the French Revolution.
Why I chose it: I LOVE the musical version of Les Miz and was obsessed with it all through high school. I saw it live for my 18th birthday. I’ve started this before, but never finished. High time!
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
What it is about: You mean you don’t know?!
Why I chose it: It’s a bit incomprehensible to me that I’ve never read this one. I loved Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair.
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
What it is about: A married couple from New York travels to Algeria.
Why I chose it: I’ve long had an interest in the European/American experience in North Africa, and this one is set in the Algerian desert, which Daniel visited years ago.
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
What it is about: Looks at the lives of the poor in Monterey, CA during the Great Depression
Why I chose it: I’ve not read much of Steinbeck – The Pearl, Of Mice and Men and the first few chapters of East of Eden. A friend left this at my apartment years ago, and I’ve been eyeing it ever since.
Death in Venice Thomas Mann
What it is about: An older man develops an obsession with a beautiful teen boy.
Why I chose it: Mann is pretty much my literary nemesis. He’s the one author I could never really get into on my high school required reading list. It’s a short novella, and my father-in-law’s favorite book, so I want to give it a chance.
We Yevgeny Zamyatin
What it is about: D-503 lives in the One State, an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which allows the secret police/spies to inform on and supervise the public more easily.
Why I chose it: It’s a well-regarded dystopian classic – perfect for Dystopian August!
The Judge and His Hangman by Friedrich Duerrenmatt
What it is about: A policeman must solve the murder of his colleague.
Why I chose it: It’s a (Swiss) German classic that Daniel gave me as a gift. I’m going to read it in the original German.
The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
What it is about: A married couple’s family life is strained with the arrival of their fifth child.
Why I chose it: I’m interested in reading more by Lessing after the superb short story collection To Room Nineteen, and since it’s spooky, it’s perfect for October. Plus it comes highly recommended by a friend.
Silas Marner by George Eliot
What it is about: A tale of a reclusive weaver.
Why I chose it: I asked for recommendations on twitter, and I liked this suggestion. Middlemarch was such a great read, I’ve been meaning to try more George Eliot.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
What it is about: The multi-generational story of the Buendía Family in a fictional town in Colombia.
Why I chose it: I have enjoyed many of GGM’s works but have never made it past page 50 in this one. I need to remedy that.
The Ambassadors by Henry James
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Dead Souls Nikolai Gogol
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
What classics do you think I should add to my alternates list? Which classics would you choose if you were to do the challenge?