Going Classic at 30

Around my 29th birthday I began to think about what I might want to do to make my 30th year feel a little different, something a little special to mark a new decade.  (At the time I didn’t know our little girl would be coming along shortly after my birthday. I have a sneaking suspicion she’ll be providing plenty of change and excitement :D).
I wanted whatever I picked to be something I’d genuinely look forward to, something specific to my own interests and not just what other people might find fun or illuminating or worthwhile.  I wanted it to be simple enough, but I also thought it would be nice to figure out a way to spread the joy through the year.  So what did I come up with?
I decided to pick out 12 classics that I hadn’t yet read: one for each month of my 30th year.  I had so much fun reading through lists of classics, asking bookish friends their favorites, browsing bookstores, debating with myself over the many titles I encountered.  Some books came to me right away, while others were more serendipitous finds or ones that slowly won me over.  The key? Making sure that they were books that I was genuinely wanting to read, whatever my own personal reason might be: no sense of obligation, just my own anticipation.
The books have mainly been collected over the year from different local bookstores on our various trips and outings.  I get so much pleasure seeing them stacked up and thinking about what lies ahead.  Notice that there are only 11 books there, though? I need your help and I need it soon, since I’ll be 30 at the beginning of July!
Here’s my list:
July- John Steinbeck’s East of Eden (1952)
August- F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night (1934)
September- Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854)
October- Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938)
November- Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne (1858)
December- Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse (1927)
February- Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love (1945)
March- Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth (1905)
April- Elizabeth von Armin’s The Enchanted April (1922)
May- E.M. Forster’s Howards End (1910)
June- Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (1855)
You’ll notice that there’s no book for January. I need your help! Some titles I’ve been considering are The Count of Monte CristoMiddlelemarch, Strong Poison, and O Pioneers. I’m hoping you might all be able to help out by weighing in on those or making other suggestions.  I’d also love to hear which of these books you’ve read and what you thought of them, or if you have any projects or challenges like this for yourself.
I’ll be posting about the books through my 30th year and you’ll be able to follow via the hashtag #goingclassicat30. I’m also always happy to buddy read, so let me know if you want to join in at any point. Here’s to a great year of reading ahead!

If you would like to join in on the fun, please go to the submissions page!

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  • Laura says:

    I love all 4 of those books! I’d probably decide by length – Middlemarch and The Count of Monte Cristo are lengthy and the others are quite short. You can’t go wrong with any of them! All are must reads in my opinion 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Yes, length will definitely be taken into account! I have heard, though, that, despite its length, The Count of Monte Cristo ends up being relatively fast since it’s such a page turner. Did you find that to be true?

  • Christine says:

    I really love this idea. I did something similar last summer and finally tackled a stack I’d wanted to read for years. My favorite classic is still Rebecca. What a treat you are in for! As for January, I’d go with The Count of Monte Cristo. It is fast-paced and exciting.

    • Erin says:

      It must have felt so satisfying to get to that stack! I’ve heard such great things about Rebecca and am particularly excited about that one. I think I have ended up deciding on Count of Monte Cristo- I just need to purchase it now. Thanks so much, Christine!

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