The Classics Club Challenge

The Classics Club was started by Jillian at A Room of One’s Own, in order to unite bloggers who like to read classic literature and to write about their experience. (Regrettably, Jillian quitted the Club some time ago and doesn't blog anymore.)  Each member of this precious club compiles a list of (at least 50) classic titles which they intend to read and blog about within a certain period of time (max. five years). You too can set your goal and join the club! For more detail on how to join the club, see the brand new webpage of The Classics Club. Happy reading!

My personal goal is to read 50 classics within the next five years. I'm reading novels only; no short stories, poems or dramas. My list consists mainly of books I've never read, but I've also included a few re-reads, which are marked with an asterisk. However, these re-reads will be new experiences in as much as, this time, I am going to read them not in Hungarian but in English. I've also included some Hungarian and some German classics, which, of course, I will read in those languages. (My Russian and my French are not as good; hence, I will read the French and Russian classics on my list in English.)

As I am a huge fan of classic literature—there's always a classic on my nightstand—the real challenge for me consists not in reading the classics on my list but in writing the reviews, especially because I'm not a native English speaker. However, I think this challenge is a wonderful opportunity for improving my English writing.

What is more, I plan to read the books on my list in the order given—that is to say, in chronological order. I hope this way I will learn more about specific historical eras and gain probably some interesting insights. I'm most looking forward to reading Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy and The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

As I am a passionate book collector, the prize I'll offer myself at milestone points is, of course, the purchase of new (or not so new, if out of print) books in hardcover format. :-)

And finally, here the details of my challenge:

Start Date: September 30, 2012
Finish Date: August 31, 2017
11 of 50 Books Read
3'930 of 21'192 Pages Read

Book List:
The Baroque Era (1600–1750)
01. Fielding, Henry. (1749). Tom Jones. 856pp*

The Georgian Era (1714–1811)
02. Burney, Fanny. (1778). Evelina. 378pp

The Regency Era (1812–30)
03. Austen, Jane. (1814). Mansfield Park. 488pp
04. Austen, Jane. (1815). Emma. 495pp*
05. Austen, Jane. (1817). Northanger Abbey. 242pp
06. Austen, Jane. (1818). Persuasion. 260pp*

The Victorian Era (1837–1901)
07. Dickens, Charles. (1838). Oliver Twist. 427pp
08. Dumas, Alexandre. (1844). The Three Musketeers. 680pp
09. Brontë, Anne. (1847). Agnes Grey. 208pp
10. Brontë, Charlotte. (1847). Jane Eyre. 596pp*
11. Brontë, Emily. (1847). Wuthering Heights. 544pp*
12. Brontë, Anne. (1848). The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. 544pp
13. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (1848). Mary Barton. 390pp
14. Thackeray, William Makepeace. (1848). Vanity Fair. 800pp
15. Brontë, Charlotte. (1849). Shirley. 654pp
16. Sand, George. (1849). Fadette. 295pp*
17. Dickens, Charles. (1850). David Copperfield. 891pp*
18. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. (1850). The Scarlet Letter. 312pp
19. Beecher Stowe, Harriet. (1852). Uncle Tom's Cabin. 536pp
20. Brontë, Charlotte. (1853). Villette. 256pp
21. Jókai, Mór. (1853). Egy magyar nábob. 431pp
22. Jókai, Mór. (1854). Kárpáthy Zoltán. 399pp
23. Gaskell, Elizabeth. (1855). North and South. 452pp
24. Brontë, Charlotte. (1857). The Professor. 298pp
25. Dickens, Charles. (1859). A Tale of Two Cities. 480pp
26. Eliot, George. (1860). The Mill on the Floss. 598pp
27. Hugo, Victor. (1862). Les Misérables. 1480pp
28. Verne, Jules. (1873). Around the World in Eighty Days. 278pp
29. Twain, Mark. (1876). The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. 291pp
30. Tolstoy, Leo. (1877). Anna Karenina. 1024pp
31. Twain, Mark. (1884). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 382pp
32. Wilde, Oscar. (1890). The Picture of Dorian Gray. 248pp

The Edwardian Era (1901–18)
33. Mason, A.E.W. (1902). The Four Feathers. 316pp
34. Orczy, Emmuska. (1905). The Scarlet Pimpernel. 320pp
35. Nesbit, E. (1906). The Railway Children. 223pp
36. Verne, Jules. (1908). A dunai hajós. 208pp
37. Burnett, Frances Hodgson. (1910). The Secret Garden. 302pp*
38. Forster, E.M. (1910). Howards End. 408pp
39. Barrie,  J.M. (1911). Peter Pan. 240pp
40. Porter, Eleanor H. (1913). Pollyanna. 227pp*
41. Galsworthy, John. (1906–21). The Forsyte Saga. 529pp

War Period (1919–45)
42. Wharton, Edith. (1920). The Age of Innocence. 352pp
43. Kästner, Erich. (1929). Emil und die Detektive. 170pp*
44. Kästner, Erich. (1931). Pünktchen und Anton. 160pp
45. Kästner, Erich. (1934). Emil und die drei Zwillinge. 173pp
46. Szerb, Antal. (1934). A Pendragon legenda. 420pp
47. Streatfeild, Noel. (1936). Ballet Shoes. 233pp
48. Maurier, Daphne du. (1940). Rebecca. 416pp
49. Orwell, George. (1945). Animal Farm. 113pp
50. Kästner, Erich. (1949). Das doppelte Lottchen. 169pp*

Note: I also created a special shelf in my goodreads account that contains the books on this list. So, you can browse the list and add the books to your own reading list, if you like. See Eszter's Challenge Shelf


  1. Welcome to the Classics Club! Of course we are delighted to have you on board! I'm impressed that you are reading in chronological order. To my knowledge you are the only one , shall I say disciplined (?) enough to do that! Best of luck to you and I'm looking forward to reading your reviews!

    1. Thank you very much for your compliment. Believe me, reading in chronological order will be a real challenge for me as well. Am I really disciplined enough? We will see... :-D

  2. Welcome to the project. I don't know much about the books in your list, but I cheer for the Three Musketeers. It made me stay up all night reading from the first page to the last. Happy reading.

  3. Hi there, Eszter! There are quite a few titles on your list that I intend to read as well. I've been adding and subtracting from my original list ever since I posted it. But recently I have realised I need to do a total revamp!

    I think it's lovely that you're multilingual and can read some European classics in their original. Could you please translate the Hungarian and German titles? Are they available in English? Those writers are unfamiliar to me.

    All the best with reviewing your list!:)


    All the best with your list!

    1. Hi, Risa! Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I'm also thinking about revamping my list; so, I fully understand you. As regards to the German and Hungarian classics in English, here's what I can tell you.

      First, do you know the movies The Parent Trap (1998) with Lindsay Lohan and The Parent Trap (1961) with Hayley Mills? The story of these movies is based on the novel Das doppelte Lottchen [Lottie and Lisa] by Erich Kästner. See here: Lottie and Lisa. Erich Kästner is the author of three other children's classics on my list: Emil and the Detectives, Emil and the Three Twins, and Annaluise and Anton. I'm afraid it will be difficult to find an English edition, but if I were you, I would go first for Lisa and Lottie.

      The same is valid for Mór Jókai's works. He was very famous in the 19th century and many of his works were translated into English, but to find a copy today isn't any easy undertaking. But, if you have a Kindle, there seems to be a Kindle edition for the Egy magyar nábob [A Hungarian nabob]. I wasn't able, however, to find any English edition for its sequel, aka Zoltán Kárpáthy. Btw, these novels are about 19th century Hungary, about love, intrigues and death. Thus, rather tragic romantic novels.

      By contrast, it will be easy to acquire an English copy of A Pendragon legenda [The Pendragon Legend] by the famous Hungarian author Antal Szerb, because it has been published recently, see here.

  4. What a great list! I love the way you've organized the titles. :-)

    1. Dear Mabel! Thank you so much for stopping by! Also, I'm always happy to receive compliments, but who isn't? :-D

  5. Great choices! I don't think I could stick to reading in chronological order, but it is a great idea :) I'm too fickle in what I feel like reading at a given moment. I can't believe I forgot The Scarlet Letter on my list! It's a good thing it's OK to make changes in our book choices over time :)

    1. Dear Christine! Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, in the meantime I've given up on the idea of reading in chronological order, because, as you say, my moods are changing too, and read whatever crosses my mind. I just forgot to update this information here. The Scarlet Letter will be a new book to me, but I heard very good things about it and liked the movie adaptation with Demi Moore.

  6. Enjoyed looking over your list. Welcome to the Classics Club. Love the progress counters, too. Very cool.

    1. Dear Vikk! Thank you very much for both welcoming me and stopping by on my blog! And yeah, I am slightly addicted to progress counters. :-D Anyway, please feel free to copy and paste the html code into your blog, if you want a similar counter. And, if you have difficulties in doing so, I would be glad to help!


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