Classics I Want to Read Before the End of the Year

Classics I Want to Read -- The Riverside Library

Ah, classics. I love them, but I don’t read them much. I’m making an effort to read more classics, whether or not that will work out is still up for debate, but I’ve compiled a list of classic novels I’d like to finish before New Year’s Eve rolls around and 2019 comes a-knockin’. 

That list is as follows:

War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy

I’ve tried to read War and Peace so many times now, it’s not even funny. And I cannot fathom why I haven’t been able to get past the first few chapters. It’s not that I’ve found it dreadfully boring, I think other books on my TBR have tempted me more. I simply have to get around to it though, I won’t let myself rest until I do! After I make my way through the pile of library loans that I need to get done before I have to return them. Sorry Tolstoy, you’ve waited 151 years for me to read your book, you can wait a little bit longer.

Blurb:

War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.

A s Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.

 

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Dubliners

James Joyce

I’ve googled a lot about where to start with Joyce, and although I wanted to dive in the deep end with Ulysses, I think I’ll follow what everyone else has recommended and go with Dubliners first. I have this strange obsession with reading Joyce, one that I don’t fully understand. Somewhere in the depths of my confusing, paradoxical mind, Joyce is a must-read. Almost like reading Joyce legitimizes you as a serious reader (this is totally not true, what legitimizes you as a reader is reading, and nothing else (not that we need legitimization), just saying). I feel like I need to read Joyce, to attain my ideal goal of being a totally hip indie girl that wears cute tweed skirts and lives in a studio apartment above an old bookstore and can quote James Joyce from memory. I can’t believe I just admitted that. 

Moving on.

Blurb:

This work of art reflects life in Ireland at the turn of the last century, and by rejecting euphemism, reveals to the Irish their unromantic reality. Each of the 15 stories offers glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners, and collectively they paint a portrait of a nation.

 

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Agatha Christie

I’ve made a pledge to read my way through all of Agatha Christie’s novels. And I’m not ashamed (per say) to admit I’ve yet to finish the first one. I’ve read a decent portion of this book and only stopped because I had to return it to the library (story of my life). I was really enjoying it, although it’s slightly predictable (I think), and I’m eager to finish it. 

Blurb:

Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary–from the heiress’s fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case. The key to the success of this style of detective novel, writes Elizabeth George in her Introduction, lies in how the author deals with both the clues and the red herrings, and it has to be said that no one bettered Agatha Christie at this game.

 

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

J. R. R. Tolkein

I just finished reading The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and I surprised myself with how much I loved it (is a majority of that love due to Samwise Gamgee? I’ll not say no). Having loved that one so much I’m now exceptionally hyped to continue the series. I have to somehow restrain myself and not loan this book from the library until I’ve finished the other twenty-five library loans I have out at the moment (yes. I loan a lot. A lot).  

Blurb:

The Fellowship was scattered. Some were bracing hopelessly for war against the ancient evil of Sauron. Some were contending with the treachery of the wizard Saruman. Only Frodo and Sam were left to take the accursed Ring of Power to be destroyed in Mordor–the dark Kingdom where Sauron was supreme. Their guide was Gollum, deceitful and lust-filled, slave to the corruption of the Ring. Thus continues the magnificent, bestselling tale of adventure begun in The Fellowship of the Ring, which reaches its soul-stirring climax in The Return of the King

 

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La Belle et la Bête (The Beauty and the Beast)

Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot De Villeneuve

I don’t speak French very well, but for some reason, I always mentally refer to The Beauty and the Beast by its original French name. It’s almost embarrassing to admit I haven’t read this one yet, especially because I’m such a fan of all the movie adaptations – I know, I know, I’ve heard the Dinsey animated classic is nothing like the original fairytale, but let me love it. I have the most beautiful edition of The Beauty and the Beast sitting on my shelves, and I think it’s terrible that I’ve never read it, so I need to rectify this (then I can contemplate the copy of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest that’s sitting unread beside it). 

Blurb:

In this classic French fairy tale, a young girl named Belle agrees to be imprisoned by a monstrous Beast to save her father from certain death. But is the Beast what he appears to be, or is there more to him than meets the eye. After all, who could ever learn to love a Beast?

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What are some classics you’re hoping to read before the end of the year? Are your goals as far-fetched as mine? (Joyce and Tolstoy in less than four months, I can hear you laughing at me, you know). Let me know in the comments below!

5 Comments

  1. Dorine
    August 15, 2018

    I had the plan to also read War and Peace this year! But when I realised that the Dutch publishers cheated me and that I did not in fact read Les Miserables in full (which oh my god turns out to be bigger than War and Peace), then that became the goal of the year haha

    Reply
    1. Mikaela
      August 18, 2018

      Oh no! I can’t believe the Dutch publishers didn’t publish Les Mis in full!! That one is definitely on my TBR too, but I didn’t realise it was bigger than War and Peace! Hope you love it!

      Reply
      1. Dorine
        August 18, 2018

        It’s so giant!! And it’s a truly a shame from the publishers 🙁! I hope you’ll like it too! ☺️

        Reply
  2. Literary Leisha
    August 15, 2018

    You’re brave! I don’t think I could commit to War and Peace 😂. I’m reading Pride and Prejudice at the moment, classics take me so long to read 😩

    Reply
    1. Mikaela
      August 18, 2018

      Classics take me forever too! I’ll probably end up finishing War and Peace when I’m thirty (I can imagine conversations going: “You read War and Peace? Wow!” “Yes! I did! It only took me a decade to get through!”) 😂 I tried reading Pride and Prejudice a while back, but I couldn’t get through it – romance is really not my thing. But I’ll give it another go later on down the track and see how I feel. Hope you’re enjoying it!!

      Reply

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