My sister and fellow blogger of My Soul Doth Delight has invited our family to join in the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge posted on Books and Chocolate. We changed it a little for our family, but it is still an intriguing idea. The basic idea is to read one classic book a month over the course of the year and then post a review of it. That is right up my alley, even if I haven’t posted any reviews lately.
It’s been an incredibly full year for me. I faced some momentous health decisions that ended up including a surgery and hospital stay. Recovery was a long drawn out process. Almost as soon as I had recovered school ended and summer began. It’s almost impossible to get any quality reading time during the summer. At the end of the summer we made an emergency trip to Utah when my grandpa died. When school started we had a freshman in high school, and that took our level of involvement up about ten notches during football and marching band season. Add a month of flu and sinus infections to all of that and you have my year. So a back to the classics challenge sounds incredibly wonderful right about now!
If you want to participate in the actual challenge you will have to head over to Books and Chocolate for all the rules and guidelines. But basically here are the categories:
1. A 19th Century Classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899. Example authors – Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stephenson, Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Alexander Dumas, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Walter Scott, Lewis Carroll, Braham Stoker, Victor Hugo, Leo Tolstoy, Arthur Conan Doyle, Herman Millville, Nathanial Hawthorne, Jack London, O’Henry, Edgar Allen Poe, H, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jules Verne, Howard Pyle.
2. A 20th Century Classic – any book published between 1900 and 1966. All books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later. Example authors – Dorothy Sayers, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Pearl S. Buck, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gene Stratton Porter, Marguerite Henry, Herman Wouk, E.B. White.
3. A classic by a woman author. Author ideas: Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Shelley, George Eliot (pen name), Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Ann Bronte, Frances Hodge Burnett, Johnna Spyri, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pearl S. Buck, Dorothy Sayers, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gene Stratton Porter, Marguerite Henry, L.M Montgomery, Charlotte Yonge.
4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language. Leo Tolstoy, Alexander Dumas, Miguel de Cervantes, Durante degli Alighieri (Dante’s Divine Comedy), Carlos Collodi. I Promessi, Sposi by Alessandro Manzoni
5. A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Booker T. Washington, Fredrick Douglass, Indian Boyhood by Charles Eastman, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup.
6. An adventure classic – can be fiction or non-fiction. Kenneth Graham, William Defoe, Robert Louis Stephensons, Jules Verne, Hugh Lofting, Alexander Dumas, William DeFoe, Howard Pyle, Charles Kingsley
7. A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like Animal Farm and 1984. Farenheit 451 byRay Bradbury, Animal Farm or 1984byGeorge Orwell, Jules Verne, Dracula by Braham Stoker, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Utopia by Thomas Moore, H.G. Wells,
8. A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. Example authors Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Wilkie Collins, Josephine Tey, G.K. Chesterton, Mary Robert Rinehart.
9. A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, The Vicar of Wakefield, Mansfield Park, Wuthering Heights, Girl of the Limberlost, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Secret Garden, Utopia, The Old Curiosity Shop,
10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review. There are lots of lists, just google it.
11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college). If it’s a book you loved, does it stand the test of time? If it’s a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?
12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (cute stories), Beatrix Potter, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Willa Cather, Dubliners by James Joyce OR The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, etc.
That is quite a list (thank goodness for cut and paste so I can just use my sister’s work!) with lots of intriguing possibilities. Here’s my list of chosen books.
- 19th Century Classic – Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I have read a lot of his books, but I haven’t read this one. At least I don’t think I have. If I have I will change it to something else.
- 20th Century Classic – This is of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- Classic by a Woman – My Antonia by Willa Cather. It’s on my shelf and it’s time to change my good intentions to actions. Besides I’ve devoured all of Jane Austen’s works, as well as Louisa May Alcott’s, and the Bronte sisters. I’ve got a whole shelf of Pearl S. Buck, most of L.m. Montgumery’s books, and so I had to look for someone else to read.
- Classic in Translation – The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas. I’ve read a couple of his other books, and I know someone made a movie of this so it should be interesting. And, no, I have not seen the movie.
- Classic by Non-white – Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- Adventure Classic – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. I inherited this book when my grandpa passed away this year. I got lots of great books!
- Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Dystopian – Animal Farm by George Orwell. I actually had this one in my stack when my sister issued the challenge so I will just wait a few weeks to read it.
- Classic Detective Novel – The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey. This category was the hardest one for me to choose from. I have read all of the Lord Peter books by Dorothy Sayers. I’ve read all of the Sherlock Holmes. I’ve even read The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. So hopefully I like the Josephine Tey book. If not, I will see if I can find an Agatha Christie published prior to 1966 that I haven’t read. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I have read all of those too.
- Classic with a Place in the Title – The Vicar of Wakefield. I’ve heard of this book from numerous other books I have read, but I haven’t read it.
- Banned Classic – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I read the synopsis. It sounds pretty interesting. A world without books sounds pretty bleak.
- Re-read a Classic From High School or College – Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. I really enjoyed it in high school, even if he was a wordy kinda guy.
- Volume of Short Stories – Tales by O’Henry. It’s another one that is on my shelf that I haven’t conquered just yet.
I plan on posting reviews of my selections as I read them. I also do not promise to just read one of them each month. I might get it done a little faster than that… Now if I just didn’t have to wait another ten days to start.
How about you guys? Are any of you interested in joining the challenge to read some classics? What are some of the titles you might consider?