Back to the Classics Challenge

Although I’m still technically doing my Penguin English Library Challenge, it is somewhat of a long term project and not so much a ‘quick’ challenge. Via B.B. Toady’s website I discovered the Back to the Classics Challenge, hosted by Books and Chocolate. And I’m participating!

I’m not participating officially (I haven’t registered on the blog), but I nevertheless would like to see how many boxes I can check off at the end of the year. The idea is to read one book in, if possible, every category, but at least from six categories. There are twelve categories and I have already selected a few books that would fit the categories perfectly.

1. A 19th century classic. Any book published between 1800 and 1899.
I have a lot of unread 19th century classics on my shelves, two of which are Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (1848) and Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (1858). The other 19th century classic I would like to read soon (but do not yet own a physical copy of) is Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (1878).
2017-01-0012. A 20th century classic. Any book published between 1900 and 1967.
Again, I have two unread 20th century classics on my shelves, eagerly waiting to be read. The first is My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (1951) and the second is The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy (1958). The other classic that is on my TBR and is written in this period is Dubliners by James Joyce (1914).
2017-02-0023. A classic by a women author.
I thought The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter would be a perfect fit, but it is to ‘new’ to qualify. So I’ve chosen Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier (1938), The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911) and Orlando by Virginia Woolf (1928).
book-covers-0014. A classic in translation.
I would also like to read some Russian literature in 2017, but as that is also challenge number 12, I decided to go for French and Spanish literature here. I think The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844), One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez (1967) or Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1856) would be a good pick. Dumas’s work would be a reread for me.
2017-01-0045. A classic published before 1800.
Everything Shakespeare! I started reading Shakespeare in 2016 and I love it! I’ve read almost every play that is published in the new Pelican Shakespeare series and these are the ones that I’m most looking forward to reading: The Tempest (1610-1611), Othello (1603) and Much Ado About Nothing (1599).
2017-01-0056. A romance classic.
There is one book in particular that I would really, really like to get to in 2017 and it is Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (1874). I’ve seen the movie adaptation and I loved the story so I think I would also enjoy the book. I’ve read one book by Hardy so far (Under the Greenwood Tree from 1872), but there are a lot of unread Hardy’s on my book shelves. Another book that would fit this category perfectly is North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1855). Although it is first and foremost a social novel, romance is definitely a major theme. The last option would be Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1853).
2017-02-0067. A gothic or horror classic.
I would like to reread Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847) in the beautiful Vintage Classics edition. Also already on my shelves is Classic Crime Collection by Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), a collection of his work. The third option is We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (1962).
2017-02-0078. A classic with a number in the title.
This was a hard one. Not because there are no books with numbers in the title on my TBR, but because it isn’t really something I remember a book by. On my TBR are The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (1844), A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859) and The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (1956).
2017-02-0089. A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title.
Three very different animals in the titles of these three books! I’ve got The Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954), To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937).
2017-02-00910. A classic set in a place you’d like to visit.
This was less hard. I would really like to continue collecting the Agatha Christie facsimile editions published by HarperCollins. There are a few with a place in the title, but Murder on the Orient Express (1934) stands out the most. I would also like to read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883) in the beautiful Puffin hardback edition and Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (1933).
2017-02-01011. An award winning classic.
I’ve already included some award winning classics in the above mentioned categories, but I studied the Pullitzer Price list a little more and came up with these three titles: The Age of Innocence by Edith Warton (1920/1921), The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939/1940) and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936/1937).
2017-02-01112. A Russian classic.
To conclude, these three stunning new editions of Russian masterpieces! They are Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (1957), Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman (1959) and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1978).

To ensure that every classic in this challenge is indeed a classic in the sense that it is at least fifty years old, books have to be published before or in 1967. Everything published posthumously is excluded from this rule.

Are you participating?

Amber Linde

2 thoughts on “Back to the Classics Challenge

  1. I am so glad that you’re joining in, whether officially signed up or not. You have listed some remarkably promising reads, some of which I have had the pleasure to enjoy.
    I like the way that you listed a few books for each category. When I compiled my list, I did so knowing that I would make changes as time went on. I will have to check this post again when I am ready to shift some titles.
    To Kill a Mockingbird is a personal favorite and we are from the area where Harper Lee grew up with Truman Capote, and have been quite fortunate to know the town, the people, and to have seen the play in the actual courthouse where Harper Lee’s father worked, and what she used as inspiration. The connection to the townspeople and the characters, her surroundings and the book’s setting, etc., is quite remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! There are a lot of books on this lis that have been on my shelves for way too long, so this will be a great challenge to read some of them. To Kill a Mockingbird is very, very high on the list. My best friend gave me the beautiful hardback edition last year for my birthday but somehow I haven’t read it yet. It must be great to see how the novel ‘comes to life’ if you know the town and the people … It always gives it so much extra reading a book in the place it is set in!


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