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Wonderful challenge, very tempting and your choices are great. All of Zola's novels are part of Rougon-Macquart if I'm not entirely mistaken, but I think, unless you want to systematically read all of them you can pick whatever you like.
I'm still aiming for a classics December. I want to read my first Hardy and Gaskell, maybe Cather as well. Ambitious... Plans are so much fun.


Hooray for Thomas Hardy, and Far from the Madding Crowd is on the not-so-bleak side. (I'm well past due for a reread of that one myself.) And hooray also for Custom of the Country--it may well be my favorite Wharton novel.


I just signed up for this as well - and like you, my list is pulled from my shelves (my TBR shelves at that).

M (@notarevolution)

I love seeing everyone's Classics Challenge posts, even though I'm not (officially) joining in! I read Far from the Madding Crowd last year and loved it. I look forward to your thoughts on it next year. :)


Great choices. I only have the last two books of The Forsyte Saga to read, I've really loved it.


What an interesting list! Of your choices, I've only read Anne of Green Gables and it is amazing - I hope you love it!


Caroline--That's good to know about Zola--some of the books appeal very much so I will pick and choose amongst them. Which books by Cather (I really like her work), Gaskell and Hardy books are you going to read? I recently finished North and South by Gaskell but haven't gotten around to writing about it yet--loved it. I'd like to read Cranford sometime as well. Plans are fun and I think ambition is good in this case!

Teresa--I was hoping that would be the case with the Hardy--I've wanted to read it ever since I read Tess! I think my favorite Wharton is An Age of Innocence, but I still have many of her books to read--so that may well change! :)

Lisa--I have a stack of classics sitting in my bedroom that I sorted through when making my list. I have so many at home unread that I thought it would be fun to just choose from my own pile for once.

M(@notarevolution)--I've been going through the list myself curious about what other books are being chosen. There are so many tempting ones. I'm really looking forward to finally reading Hardy again--maybe I should start with that one.

Katrina--I had planned to pick up the second book shortly after I finished the first of the Galsworthy books, but then thought I'd read something different in between--that was early in the year and I never got back to them. You've made great progress since you are nearly done--maybe I'll read them all next year, too?!


Anbolyn--I've a bit of a hodgepodge there, don't I? I can't believe I have never read any of the Anne books and have a feeling that once I've read this first one, I will want to read them all!


Sounds like a fun challenge. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what you've read.


Kathleen--I'm really looking forward to reading these books (or more classics anyway!). I always have a hard time writing about classics, but hopefully the questions Katherine comes up with will help in writing about the books!

Jan S.

Excellent choices! Every year, one of my resolutions is to read more classics. My first book of the new year always falls under that category, but I generally only read one or two for the entire year. I will be following this challenge & perhaps it will motivate me to stick to it!


I'd like to read Cranford, The Mayor of Casterbridge and maybe My Antonia but I got some others... We will see.
I have made a December list and it looked nice and feasible now it's growing and not even if I dedicate all my free time, including 2 weeks of holiday will I make it....
It wasn't only classics, I have new books, Steampunk, Dystopian lined up... I love reading the list almost makes my mouth water...
Plus the new readalong list... All very exciting...


Good luck to you -- nice choices. I've never read Anne of Green Gables either. I can't do challenges as I never ever stick to them but look forward to hearing how you get on.

Liz F

I am very good at acquiring classics but utterly hopeless at reading them! Still can't resist them though so this would be a good challenge to read along with - maybe I could manage 7 in a year if I try really hard!
I do intend to follow DGR's Middlemarch readalong though, come hell or high water and I have fished my granddad's copy of A Christmas Carol out to read that as well. After that I will have to see what appeals but any of the writers you mention(possibly apart from Huxley!) could well be on the list. Haven't read Anne of Green Gables either - the only L.M.Montgomery that I have read is The Blue Castle which I absolutely adore!


What great plans for 2012! I never read as many classics as I'd want, it's quite hopeless. Re: zola, I loved the Ladies Paradise, and no, it doesn't matter the order. I have Far from the Madding crowds forever on my TBR, I may actually join you on this one.

Joan Kyler

I really should stop reading these blogs! I've just downloaded The Forsyte Saga and Anne of Green Gables to my Kindle for free (Amazon and Manybooks for Kindle). This is why I love my Kindle: I haven't just added more books to the stacks around the house. I've read both, but not for a long, long time.

You've chosen a nice range of books for your challenge. I think it's smart, though, to keep your choices fluid, as you plan to do. I'm always changing my mind about which books to read and I think many of us are like that.

Kathy Johnson

I just might join this challenge myself as I want to read more classics, too. I usually only shoot for a couple a year, but this sounds doable, especially if I find ones I really want to read. Yes, I think I've talked myself into it! 2011 was the first year I ever participated in reading challenges, and I will have finished both by year's end, though neither was particularly "challenging"--maybe it was a warm-up for this classics challenge! Just choosing classics to read would be fun, too!

I have only read Emma and Anne of Green Gables from your list. I love the whole Anne series and reread them often. Comfort reading!


What a nice list you made. Maybe I'll join you in reading Anne of Green Gables, have it on my shelf too and been wanting to read it ever since I enjoyed watching the filmadaptation.Now that I am wrapping up my 2011 reading plan and thinking about 2012 I can leave room to fit it in.


Sounds like a great challenge. I like the list you have going so far, some good reads on it.


This sounds like a great challenge but I will not be joining as I am doing DGR's Middlemarch, and have Anna Karenina on my ereader, so that should do me for a while. Your list is great! I loved Far From The Madding is my favourite Hardy title and The Forsythe Saga is excellent too. I envy you for having Anne of GG to read for the first time. It is one of my all-time favourite books, right up there with Little Women.

Rebecca H.

This sounds like so much fun! I'm avoiding challenges, but I hope to read some classics next year as well. It's definitely time I read Zola, and I have a copy of The Drinking Den on my shelves. I really enjoyed The Custom of the Country when I read it earlier this year -- it was a fun story. Wharton is always so satisfying.


Wonderful pool of books to choose from. You are not the only one who has not read Anne of Green Gables! The Huxley is good. I read it as a teen and keep thinking I'd like to reread it. And I came this close to putting Hardy on my 2012 reading plan and Wharton too but opted for some others instead. Doesn't mean they won't somehow slip into my reading though!


Great choices! I've pretty much decided to participate in this challenge as well. I didn't read many (any?) classics this year and I definitely want to work more of those back into my reading diet next year.


This sounds like a wonderful challenge and I'm tempted (although I have exactly the same difficulty sticking with plans). I really do mean to read Galsworthy very soon, and I keep thinking about Hardy, whom I have never read. As for the Zola, The Drinking Den is very, very dark. The Ladies Paradise is a bit funner, because it's set in a department store, although there are no such things as happy endings, exactly in his novels. But they are always very gripping and sort of cinematic to read. Would love to know what you think of either one!


Jan S.--I often start out really well, too, and then fizzle somewhere about springtime! My problem this year was to choose a really long book and then not read it very fast so never picked up another classic! I'm still reading the long book but have also read a few others along the way recently.

Caroline--I loved My Antonia. I put off reading it for years as my high school English teacher always talked it up so much we all got tired of listening to her--awful of us, but I loved it when I read it. I think I appreciated it more as an adult than I would have in high school. My December/holiday list is also growing and I need to think about what I really can manage and which books to save for early next year. I am hoping also in December to catch up on the books I have partially read, which I have neglected this month. On top of that I've just brought home several promising looking library books--so many choices and not enough spare reading time. I still want to read a steampunk novel but it may have to wait now until next year. And I am looking forward to seeing which books you'll choose for next year's readalong! I've really enjoyed the books this year, and still want to finish History before the end of the year--I've been picking it up now and then to read a bit. We'll see. I hate to start it and not finish it now.

Harriet--I am generally very bad with challenges, too, and rarely join in (though making lists is always fun), but as I want to read more classics, this one seems a safe one to join. I may not read all these books (though I do want to read Anne), but I still would like to try and read one a month next year.

Liz--You and me both! :) You should see my pile of classic--and it doesn't ever stop me from buying more. It's like buying health food--it's okay to indulge since it's good for me. I've thought of joining DGR for Middlemarch. I read it several years ago, and it is a book that would do well with a reread, but I think I had better not try it with so many other plans for myself. I'll cheer you on from the sidelines! Now I will have to see if The Blue Castle is one of the Anne books--I really want to read her finally.

Smithereens--That would be fun to read the Hardy in tandem! Let me know if you think you will read it. I always want to read more classics, but it doesn't seem to happen usually. Maybe next year will be different? I've wanted to read more Zola--glad I can pick and choose.

Joan Kyler--But you can feel guilt free since they were free and won't take up shelf space at home! :) It is dangerous reading blogs, though, I agree. That is how I get myself into so much trouble as I always want to read books others are so enthusiastic about! I tried to choose a variety of books but I am sure I will want to pick up something different along the way and that is okay if I do so--I want to just read books and not worry about sticking too much to a list.

Kathy--Oh, do, yes join! Classics are good for you! :) I look forward to the RIP challenge every year but that is almost the only one I will join and usually will actually read an assortment of books from the list I come up with. I hope this one works just as well. It is fun to think about what I might read next year for it and I am already thinking about which one I will choose first. I'm thinking I might choose Anne of Green Gables as comfort reading is probably what I will need in darkest January. And hopefully Emma will be for December. It's fun to be excited about reading classics--I'm going to watch for your list.

Catharina--How did your reading go for this year? I didn't do well with my list but I did stick to other readalongs, so I am not too terribly disappointed. I can always carry over to next year. Let me know when you might read Anne--it would be fun to read together--and I know I missed the Awakening--but I will be better this time around! :)

Amanda--I am pretty happy with my list, too. And I can always add to it--so no pressure later. I'm already looking forward to it.

Cathy--You have two long ones to look forward to! I'd like to reread both Anna K and Middlemarch someday--it would be fun to read along with DGR--and I will be watching progress. Sometimes I am disappointed that I missed certain books as a kid, but now I think I will have the pleasure to read them Now!--Maybe even better.

Rebecca--I can understand the desire to avoid challenges--I tend to do the same, but this one should be fun and hopefully I will stick with it. I'm not sure which Zola I will pick--they both sound good. But I have wanted to read The Custom of the Country ever since I bought my copy! I think Wharton is satisfying, too!

Stefanie--It is a good list--even better that I can make changes along the way, just in case! :) Huxley should provide a nice change of pace from the rest! There are so many good books to choose from--it's almost impossible to choose! I'm looking forward to your 2012 list, too!

Andi--Poor classics are so easy to leave by the wayside with all those new shiny books coming out all the time! I'll watch for your list. I want to read more of them as well next year.

Litlove--The nice thing about classics is you can add them to your reading plans any time and don't need a challenge (though I couldn't resist coming up with a list!). Maybe I'll save a Zola for spring when it is nice and sunny--I read Therese Raquin so have had a little taste and that was not exactly pleasant going--but so well done! I like books that are cinematic/visual and how can you beat a story set in a department store!


Great choices for a classics challenge! It is definitely time for a re-read of some of those.

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Karen K.

Oooh! Another Zola fan! I have BOTH of those novels on my TBR pile and I'm hoping to read one or the other for the challenge as well! If you want we could do buddy read or even a Readalong. I'll keep checking your blog!

Also Anne of Green Gables is wonderful, it will be a nice light read between some of these other heavier works. I also finished The Three Musketeers this year. It is long but not a difficult read. I don't remember if going off on too many tangents. I also quite liked The Custom of the Country. It's not my favorite Wharton but it definitely kept my interest. Undine is pretty deplorable but Wharton actually makes her sympathetic in parts. The Forsyte Saga is really good too -- I read the entire series as a combined novel. It took a whole month but it was worth it.


Danielle, I did rather good with my reading plan for 2011,it works for me so it seems. I will take a look in two weeks or so and will share the outcome with you then. Meanwhile I am already working on plan 2012, new ideas in the making, would you like a preview:)?


Bronwyn--Thanks for the link. And I am looking forward to reading all these--for me it will be the first time!

Karen--That would be fun. I do better when I have someone else also reading/urging me along. I would happily read either, but as they do sound like potentially dark reads, I think I'd prefer to read closer to springtime. You've done so well with reading classics! I hope I can do the same next year. The Count of Monte Cristo went off on lots of tangents--not necessarily a bad thing, but it made for a long read. I think The Three Musketeers sounds like great fun. I only wish my copy was paperback and not cloth--that will be fun to lug about. I'm really looking forward to reading from my list!

Catharina--Yes, I would love a preview! :) I love seeing other people's reading plans though I often end up wanting to read some of the books myself. I did well in some ways, but not with the master list I made at the beginning of the year. I will try and avoid one for next year, with the exception of this one. Whenever I make a list something else will come along later to divert me. Still, it's nice to have an idea of the books I want to try and focus on.


Yay! Glad you joined this. I think it's going to be a great event. :-)


Jillian--I agree--yay. It does sound like fun and I think I will stick with this list (or one similar) for my reading list for 2012 (rather than coming up with a dozen titles I want to read--which I will just as soon forget and read other books instead). I'm looking forward to hearing about loads of Classics!


Such a lovely list. It looks really tempting. I've only read Anne (great, really great) and once started the musketeers which didn't take at the time (strange because like you I enjoyed CoMC so much).


Jodie--I am sure I am going to enjoy Anne of Green Gables--I was tempted to pick that up sooner than later but it will work well for this challenge. Too bad about The Three Musketeers--I hope I am not disappointed by it-I loved the Count of Monte Cristo. Maybe that's why I've put off reading it so long--fear it wouldn't compare. I'll soon find out!

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