I’m constantly thinking to myself “I really should read more classics”, and every time I enter the local Waterstones I spend a while, picking up, thumbing through and generally admiring the Penguin English Library books. The covers are so beautiful. Particularly the hardbacks1Oh, I wish that I could justify spending £20 on a novel. This admiration for the Penguin English Library imprint combined with the desire to read more classic texts and inspiration from Andrew Savage’s Persephone Project has lead me to challenge myself to read all the novels released by the imprint.

Although I enjoy reading for pleasure and relaxation, I think it’s always good to have goals or something to aim for. That’s why I’m setting myself the goal of reading.all the Penguin English Library challenge. The Penguin English language library is a collection of 100 classic English novels and my aim is to read every novel that the publication have to offer. This shouldbe easy, as Penguin themselves describe the publications as:

10[5] of the best novels in the English language. These are books to collect and share, admire and hold; books that celebrate the pure pleasure of reading.

The Approach

I want to make this enjoyable and easy to approach and therefore have not set any strict rules for myself. Others might want to set firmer rules.

Here is how I’m approaching the goal:

  1. No time limit – I want to be able to enjoy these titles whilst still having the ability to read new novels or classics that aren’t on the imprints itinerary so I’m not setting a deadline.
  2. The titles don’t have to be the Penguin English Library editions -The novels just have to appear on the list of publications and be the full unabridged text.
  3. No specific order – Read them depending on mood. Read them from oldest to newest or newest to oldest. Read them alphabetically. It really doesn’t mater as long as they are read.

That’s it. Not so hard is it? If you’re taking part in a similiar challange, then leave a comment. I’m interested in hearing other people reading goals.

My progress

Here is a list of titles released in the Penguin English Library. The crossed off titles are one’s that I have read; the linked one’s have been read and reviewed:

  1. ‘Emma’ – Jane Austen
  2. ‘Mansfield Park’ – Jane Austen
  3. ‘Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  4. ‘Persuasion’ – Jane Austen
  5. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – Jane Austen
  6. ‘Sense and Sensibility’ – Jane Austen
  7. ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’ – Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  8. ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ – Anne Brontë
  9. ‘Jane Eyre’- Charlotte Brontë
  10. ‘Shirley’ – Charlotte Brontë
  11. ‘Vilette’ – Charlotte Brontë
  12. ‘Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  13. ‘Evelina’ – Fanny Burney
  14. ‘The way of All Flesh’ – Samuel Butler
  15. ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass’ – Lewis Carroll
  16. ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’ – G.K. Cesterton
  17. ‘The Moonstone’ – Wilkie Collins
  18. ‘The Woman in White’ – Wilkie Collins
  19. ‘The hound of Baskerville’ – Arthur Conan Doyle
  20. ‘The five orange pips and other cases’ – Arthur Conan Doyle
  21. ‘A Study in Scarlett’ (Sherlock Holmes 1) – Arthur Conan Doyle
  22. ‘The sign of Four’ (Sherlock Holmes 2) – Arthur Conan Doyle
  23. ‘The valley of Fear’ (Sherlock Holmes 7) – Arthur Conan Doyle
  24. ‘The adventure of the six Napoleons and other cases’ – Arthur Conan Doyle
  25. ‘The adventure of the engineer’s thumb and other cases’ – Arthur Conan Doyle
  26. ‘Heart of Darkness’ – Joseph Conrad
  27. ‘Lord Jim’ – Joseph Conrad
  28. ‘Nostromo’ – Joseph Conrad
  29. ‘The secret agent’ – Joseph Conrad
  30. ‘Robinson Crusoe’ – Daniel Defoe
  31. ‘A Christmas Carol’ – Charles Dickens
  32. ‘Barnaby Rudge’ – Charles Dickens
  33. ‘Bleak House’ – Charles Dickens
  34. ‘David Copperfield’ – Charles Dickens
  35. ‘Dombey and Son’ – Charles Dickens
  36. ‘Great expactations’ – Charles Dickens
  37. ‘Hard Times’ – Charles Dickens
  38. ‘Little Dorit’ – Charles Dickens
  39. ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ – Charles Dickens
  40. ‘The Mysterie of Edwin Drood’ – Charles Dickens
  41. ‘Nicolas Nickleby’ – Charles Dickens
  42. ‘The old curiosity shop’ – Charles Dickens
  43. ‘Oliver Twist’ – Charles Dickens
  44. ‘Our mutual friends’ – Charles Dickens
  45. ‘The Pickwick paper’ – Charles Dickens
  46. ‘A tale of two cities’ – Charles Dickens
  47. ‘Daniel Deronda’ – George Eliot
  48. ‘Middlemarch’ – George Eliot
  49. ‘The Mill on the Floss’ – George Eliot
  50. ‘Silas Marner’ – George Eliot
  51. ‘Jospeh Andrews’ – Henry Fielding
  52. ‘Tom Jones’ – Henry Fielding
  53. ‘A room with a view’ – E.M. Foster
  54. ‘Howards End’ – E.M. Foster
  55. ‘Where Angels fear to Tread’ – E.M. Foster
  56. ‘Cranford’ – Elizabeth Gaskell
  57. ‘Mary Barton’ – Elizabeth Gaskell
  58. ‘North and South’ – Elizabeth Gaskell
  59. ‘Wives and daugthers’ – Elizabeth Gaskell
  60. ‘New Grub street’ – George R. Gissing
  61. ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ – Thomas Hardy
  62. ‘Jude the Obscure’ – Thomas Hardy
  63. ‘The mayor of Casterbrigde’ – Thomas Hardy
  64. ‘The return of the Native’ – Thomas Hardy
  65. ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ – Thomas Hardy
  66. ‘Two on a Tower’ – Thomas Hardy
  67. ‘Under the Greenwood tree’ – Thomas Hardy
  68. ‘The Scarlet Letter’ – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  69. ‘The private Memoirs and Confessions of a justified Sinner’ – James Hogg
  70. ‘Daisy Miller and the turn of the screw’ – Henry James
  71. ‘The portrait of a Lady’ – Henry James
  72. ‘Washington square’ – Henry James
  73. ‘The wings of the dove’- Henry James
  74. ‘Dubliners’ – James Joyce
  75. ‘Kim’ – Rudyard Kipling
  76. ‘Sons and lovers’ – D.H. Lawernce
  77. ‘The monk’ – Matthwe Gregory Lewis
  78. ‘Melmoth the Wanderer’ – Carles Maturin
  79. ‘The confidence-man and Billy Budd, Sailor’ – Herman Melville
  80. ‘Moby-Dick’ – Herman Melville
  81. ‘The murders in the Rue Morgue and other tales’ – Edgar Allan Poe
  82. ‘Pamela’ – Samuel Richardson
  83. ‘Ivanhoe’ – Walter Scott
  84. ‘Frankenstein’ – Mary Shelley
  85. ‘Humphry Clinker’ – Tobias Smollett
  86. ‘The live and opinions of Tristram Shandy’ – Laurence Sterne
  87. ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ – Robert Louis Stevenson
  88. ‘Treasure Island and the ebb-tide’ – Robert Louis Stevenson
  89. ‘Dracula’ – Bram Stoker
  90. ‘Gulliver’s Travel’ – Jonathan Swift
  91. ‘Vanity Fair’ – William Makepeace Thackeray
  92. ‘The Warden’ – Anthony Trollope
  93. ‘Barchester Towers’ – Anthony Trollope
  94. ‘Doctor Thorne’ – Anthony Trollope
  95. ‘Framley Parsonage’ – Antony Trollop
  96. ‘The small house at Allington’ – Anthony Trollope
  97. ‘The last chronicle of Barset’ – Anthony Trollope
  98. ‘The adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ – Mark Twain
  99. ‘The invisible man’ – H.G. Wells
  100. ‘The island of Doctor Moreau’ – H.G. Wells
  101. ‘The time machine’ – H.G. Wells
  102. ‘The war of the worlds’ – H.G. Wells
  103. ‘Ethan Frome’ – Edith Wharton
  104. ‘The house of Mirth’ – Edith Wharton
  105. ‘The picture of Dorian Gray’ – Oscar Wilde


Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Oh, I wish that I could justify spending £20 on a novel