So I thought I'd offer a list of the classic novels that I have read -- as well as a couple that I couldn't get through.
This brings up an interesting question: what constitutes a "classic novel"? (We'll tackle that more directly later. For now, let's just apply the "we'll know it when we see it" rule, fair enough?)
For starters, here are the classics that I've consumed, in no particular order:
The Count of Monte Christo
The Old Man and the Sea
Of Mice and Men
The Lord of the Flies
The Catcher in the Rye
The Mill on the Floss
The Red Badge of Courage
Gilgamesh (okay, I'm adding epic poetry)
Lord of the Rings
As I Lay Dying
Le Morte D'Arthur
A Farewell to Arms
The Call of the Wild
The Scarlet Letter
Leaves of Grass
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
I have ATTEMPTED to get through Catch-22 and Don Quixote, and found both to be not my cup of tea. And that was after about 100 pages. I prefer my literature to be more classical than modern.
For instance, I could only make it through 31 pages of Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius (not a classic, I know, but I think it makes my point). I don't like meta in my fiction. I want to be told a story.
Next, I'll give you all the list of novels I'm considering for this project. That's when I really expect your help. I've already had a suggestion that my Wharton novel be Ethan Frome. Others have said House of Mirth. I anticipate a good discussion. (So don't let me down!)