Historical Novel Society Editors’ Choice Book

The House on Tenafly Road

After his service in the Civil War, Sergeant John Weldon, haunted and nearly shattered by his experiences on and off the battlefield (which left him with lingering acute pain and a morphine addiction), makes his way to the picturesque new village of Englewood in New Jersey at the invitation of the spirited and welcoming McCullough family. He falls in love with the daughter of the house, fiercely intelligent and compassionate Kate, but heโ€™s traumatized by the war and its aftereffects, and in the course of a long and very satisfyingly complex novel, Morris throws dozens of obstacles in the path of their relationship (including some extremely evocative flashbacks of Weldonโ€™s war memories).

The various members of the McCullough family are portrayed with careful detail and some moments of unexpected humor, but itโ€™s the tortured John Weldon who commands the book; his slow and halting search for personal redemption makes for mesmerizing reading. Recommended.

classic book club

I’ve gone against type and joined a club! The Classic Book Club!

I’m so excited to begin my FIVE YEAR JOURNEY reading through and blogging about 50 classic books! My goal is to read and post about a book each month.

The list below is in no particular order (though while compiling the list I’ve nearly finished War and Peace and can’t wait to write my first response post).

I’ve set my starting date as August 1, 2017 and my end date as September 1, 2022 (I think I actually have 51 books on the list and may want to sneak in a few extras).

The books with links are the ones I’ve finished and written about.

Classics Club Book List

 War and Peace Leo Tolstoy

Giants in the Earth by O. E. Rolvaag

Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky

Tom Jones Henry Fielding

Clarissa Samuel Richardson

The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas

Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontรซ

Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray

The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

A Passage to India EM Forster

A Light in August (or The Hamlet) William Faulkner

The Pursuit of Love Nancy Mitford

The Woman in White Wilkie Collins

Three Men in a Boat Jerome Jerome

Candide Voltaire

Cecilia Fanny Burney

The Life and Opinions Tristam Shandy, Laurence Sterne

The Vicar of Wakefield Oliver Goldsmith

The Nun Diderot

The Prairie James Fennimore cooper

Blithedale Romance Nathaniel Hawthorne

The House of the Seven Gables Nathaniel Hawthorne

Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy

Black Beauty Anna Sewall

The Perpetual Curate Margaret Oliphant

Lilith George Macdonald

Washington Square Henry James

Silas Marner George Eliot

The Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Ambrose Beirce

Love Stendhal

The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Moll Flanders Daniel Defoe

Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro

The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli

The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea  Yukio Mishima

 The Misanthrope Moliere

 Writings on Nature John Muir

Animal Farm George Orwell

Doctor Zhivago Boris Pasternak

The Story of an African Farm Olive Schreiner

Scarlet and Black Stendhal

The General CS Forester

The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri

Lord of the Flies William Golding

Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Edward Gibbon

Kim Rudyard Kipling

Flowers of Evil Charles Baudelaire

Night Elie Wiesel

Moonstone Wilkie Collins

Cranford Elizabeth Gaskell (51)

Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell (52)

Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty John W. De Forest (53)


My reading companion Elizabeth

Nurses Sketches Louisa May Alcott

Eight Cousins Louisa May Alcott

Rose in Bloom Louisa May Alcott

Little Women Louisa May Alcott

Ancient Greek Plays (I’ll take the time to spell them out later ๐Ÿ™‚ )

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen

Emma Jane Austen

Giovanni’s Room James Baldwin

Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

The Stranger Albert Camus

My Antonia Willa Cather

The Awakening Kate Chopin

Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane

Maggie of the Streets Stephen Crane

Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Middlemarch George Eliot

Mill on the Floss George Eliot

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Nick Adams Stories Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway

For Whom The Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

Turn of the Screw Henry James

The Portrait of a Lady Henry James

Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man James Joyce

Metamorphosis Franz Kafka

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

Moby Dick Herman Melville

The Anne of Green Gables Series L.M. Montgomery

Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller

Utopia Thomas More

The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison

Beloved Toni Morrison

Song of Solomon Toni Morrison

Sula Toni Morrison

Plays of Sean O’Casey

1984 George Orwell

Strumpet City James Plunkett

The Fountainhead Ayn Rand

All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque

Othello William Shakespeare

Macbeth William Shakespeare

Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

King Lear William Shakespeare

Hamlet William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Summer Night’s Dream William Shakespeare

Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

Cannery Row John Steinbeck

The Red Pony John Steinbeck

Johnny Got His Gun Dalton Trumbo

Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer Mark Twain

Life on the Mississippi Mark Twain

The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien

The House of Mirth Edith Wharton

The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde

The Little House Series Laura Ingalls Wilder

Our Town Thornton Wilder

A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams


21 responses to “MY CLASSICS CLUB BOOK LIST”

  1. A magnificent list. Oh joy! Many decades ago I found a list of the 100 books you should read, and it took me down deliciously unknown roads, and introduced me unforgettable characters. I see many of my old friends on your book list. Have you read E.F. Benson? He is best know for his series of 1920 novels featuring Lucia and Mapp, and his cutting edge books describing the morays of society in the early 20th century. Cheers Virginia


    • Yes, it’s been fun so far and already taking me places I wasn’t planning on going. i love getting new recommendations and tacking more books to the list of fifty. I will check out Benson though I’m usually more drawn to 19th century stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks, Virginia!


  2. What a beautiful blog & a lovely list. I love finding new members of The Classics Club. Did you just join? Enjoy these! ๐Ÿ˜€


  3. Tried to comment on the historical books page but “something is happening and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr Jones?”
    Different war, if war was what Crook was about, but The Pictorial Fieldbook of the Revolution in two volumes by Benson Lossing written in the 1860s is a gem, a real gem.. The man wandered the east and down south going to battle sites and scouring the land for old soldiers — sometimes extremely old soldiers — who gave first hand accounts of their actions. Once in a while he arrives too late, he is that close to losing all those first hand tales. He strays into pre-Revolutionary War detail and a bit of landscape travelogue too. The 1100 woodcut illustrations are a joy on their own; the stories themselves are breath-taking and the longevity, complexion and demenanour of those clean living centenarian farmers is a marvel to behold a fact that Lossing remarks upon more than once (no processed food and 10,000 steps a day I am guessing).
    I have a hard copy which is easier to read, but hurrah, it’s on Gutenburg.org at
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/49351/49351-h/49351-h.htm for vol 1.

    Go there and get lost for an hour or a day or a week and enjoy the way that history can cease to be a foreign country when it’s just some old guy (and occasional woman) telling you what he did when he was young


    • That sounds right up my alley. I’m researching my grandfather who fought with his 2 sons in the American Revolution. He lived to be over 100 years old. He fought Indians before fighting the Brits and married a bunch of times. His first marriage was to a much older woman (I’m going to guess for her money). A real character!

      hope you are doing well, my friend and thanks so much for the link!


      • You’re welcome! Tell me if I am not 100 per cent right about the book. I have to admit Ihaven’t read it for years, but when I decluttered my books they were two that volumes I kept. I know he goes into such local detail about how he gets to where he gets to (stage, canal, local guides who do not know their way etc), that I bet he covers your bit of real estate. The indian wars do get quite extensive coverage too so maybe your family gets a namecheck.. Enjoy!


  4. What a splendid project. So many good books out there. I do occasionally try to fit in one of the classics and just reread A Tale of Two Cities. So worthwhile — so much truth, and so beautifully written. Hope you really enjoy this book club. Also just finished a great book that is not well enough known to make such a list, but still considered something of a classic — Giants in the Earth — about the Norwegian immigrants who settled South Dakota. Astonishing what people went through to try to improve their lives. Alas, there are more good books than there is time to read them all–but a problem sufficiently universal that there is actually a word for it in Japanese — tsundoku — having more books than one can read in a lifetime.

    Happy reading.


    • Oh! I love that! And so true! I’m so into reading about US history that I really have to push myself to read a classic, but then I wonder why I waited. In general I prefer classic literature to modern, but that leaves so many good books out. I love doing too many things! It’s a real problem. LOL. The Norwegian immigrant books sounds intriguing. I’m going to look it up right now.


      • It’s funny how certain things are well known among different groups. I just learned about Giants in the Earth last year, but recently, I met several people who were at least partly Norwegian, and they all knew and had read the book. “Of course! Great book!” But yes — so many good books. Happy reading.


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