The Classics Reclamation Project

As of late 2011, the Classics Reclamation Project is inactive. Please browse the archives if you’re interested, though! And who knows…maybe I’ll start it up again someday.

The Classics Reclamation Project

At the end of 2010, I launched an ongoing classics project for myself. After years of reading classics for school, I came to believe they were difficult and anything but enjoyable. The Classics Reclamation Project (C.R.P.) is about breaking those assumptions and reclaiming the classics for myself.I struggled to define “classic” as it pertains to the C.R.P. I shared my thoughts in detail in my CRP intro post. (Note: As of May 2011, I’m no longer posting on a weekly basis. Instead, I’m continuing to read classics and share my thoughts on them whenever I’m finished, as I do for other books. So, the project continues…just in slightly modified form!)

For the purposes of the Classics Reclamation Project, a classic is defined by the following characteristics:

  • Age: the majority of the books I read for the C.R.P. must be 50+ years old, so published before 1961. 1 in 8 books I read for the project may be slightly younger, published between 1961 and 1969.
  • Personal sense: not all old books are classics, so I’m relying on my own sense of what makes a classic as well as age. Books that are well known, widely read, has survived at least a generation, or has a sort of cultural resonance is fair game.
  • Literary gaps: books I’ve always meant to read, cultural touchstones, books from the Western canon, etc. that fit the age criteria are eligible for the C.R.P.

I always have several books going at once. From now until whenever I decide to end the official Classics Reclamation Project, one of those books will be a classic that fits the criteria above. It can be in print or audio form; I can choose any book I want as long as it fits. I can read each book as quickly or as slowly as I want. But at all times, I plan to be actively reading a classic.

I am keeping track of my potential C.R.P. reads in a Google spreadsheet. I’m open to suggestions if you’d like to make a recommendation. Thoughts, in addition to being listed on my Books page by author, will be listed below in the order in which I read them. You can also browse my weekly C.R.P. posts.


  1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Part 1 | Part 2)
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (audiobook)
  3. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (audiobook)


  1. Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (audiobook)
  2. The Epic of Gilgamesh (audiobook)
  3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  4. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke (Part 1 | Part 2)
  5. The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le Carré
  6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  7. Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney (audiobook)
  8. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (audiobook)
  9. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  10. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Part 1 | Part 2)
  11. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster (Part 1 | Part 2)
  12. The Hill of Devi by E.M. Forster (Part 1 | Part 2)
  13. Animal Farm by George Orwell (Part 1 | Part 2)
  14. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (audiobook)
  15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  16. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (audiobook) (Part 1 | Part 2)
  17. The Trembling of a Leaf by W. Somerset Maugham
  18. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  19. The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
  20. The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
  21. 1984 by George Orwell
  22. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Part 1 | Part 2)
  23. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Part 1 | Part 2)