Magdalena and I just spent a tonne on books from Amazon, with the idea that we’ll build up our collection of classics for the coming 2010 season of the Berwick Manor Book Club. We established the book club in April 2007 and I’d estimate we’ve read close to a book a month since then. When we were recently down in Mandurah for a long weekend we discussed some titles that we’d like to read, and came up with a list similar to this (in alphabetical order):
- “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
- “Emma” by Jane Austen
- “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
- “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
- “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
- “Persuasion” by Jane Austen
- “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
- “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen
- “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
You might notice there’s a few Jane Austen novels in there – Amazon were doing a 3-pack for $8 which was hard to go past. We’ve found so far that we most enjoy reading books that you’d regard as classics for our book club, like George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty Four”, Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Anthony Burgess’ “A Clockwork Orange.”
As a side project, I’m running another book club (of which I am the only member) where the focus is on classic adventure stories that boys should have read growing up. To be on this list, the book has to have been written before I was born. I wanted to read some of the books that my father read as a boy, and even some that his father might have enjoyed too.
Magdalena didn’t think she’d be interested in a lot of the titles, so I’m doing it solo. Feel free to play along at home if you’re interested – I’ll use lambie.org to keep you informed of the titles as I start them. There will be some cross over with “Lord of the Flies” and “Frankenstein” being on both the lists, however I have added (again, in alphabetical order)
- “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne
- “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass” by Lewis Carroll
- “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne
- “Casino Royale” by Ian Fleming
- “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson
- “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” by Jules Verne
- “Live and Let Die” by Ian Fleming
- “Moonraker” by Ian Fleming
- “Peter Pan: Peter and Wendy and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens” by J.M. Barrie
- “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe
- “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain
- “The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels and 56 Short Stories” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- “The Invisible Man” by H.G. Wells
- “The Swiss Family Robinson” by Johann D. Wyss
- “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells
- “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson
When I was a kid I had a pop up book about Tom Sawyer, and it was the most amazing book ever. I have such fond memories of it, but alas, it seems as though eBay, Amazon, and even Google don’t have a recollection of it. I guess it’s destined to remain a memory. Watching the recent Sherlock Holmes film was the final motivational push I needed to start creating a list of the all-time classic adventure stories that I really should find the time to read.
I’ve also seen the latest Bond film, Casino Royale, and know that Lewis Carroll was not on LSD when he wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (though he probably should have been). In “Back to the Future III”, Doc Brown recalled with a great fondness reading Jules Verne’s work when he was a child, and that ol’ time-traveller knew what was what. I probably watched a Disney version of Peter Pan as a child. All up, that’s my experience with these stories, and I’m very excited about the prospect of changing that.
Call me sentimental, but I think it’s a romantic notion that one day my son, or daughter, will want to read these books too. If that day comes, these novels will be already waiting on the shelf, eager to be devoured by yet another generation.
Which of these titles have you read, and which would you like to read in the future? What do you think I’ve forgotten? Will you be playing along at home?