Thursday, January 9, 2020

Back to the Classics Challenge 2020


One challenge. That's all I can commit to this year... and it's Back to the Classics 2020, sponsored by Karen at Books and Chocolate. I've been a member of The Classics Club since it's inception, completed my first list of 50 classics in 5 years, signed up for round two, and my classics reading inexplicably stopped. The 2019 Back to the Classics Challenge was a bust, but I'm going to give it another try.

Here are this year's categories, along with  a few possible selections:

1. 19th Century Classic
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy

2. 20th Century Classic (originally published between 1900 and 1970).
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Them by Joyce Carol Oates
The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins

3. Classic by a Woman Author
filling in this category won't be a problem ;-)

4. Classic in Translation
The Magic Mountain or Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

5. Classic by a Person of Color
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

6. A Genre Classic
several authors in mind, but no specific titles:
Wilkie Collins
Daphne DuMaurier
Georgette Heyer

7. Classic with a Person's Name in the Title
Miss Marjoribanks by Mrs. Oliphant
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (reread)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (reread)

8. Classic with a Place in the Title
Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (reread)

9. Classic with Nature in the Title  
(so many possibilities here!)
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (a reread)

10. Classic About a Family
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

11. Abandoned Classic
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

12. Classic Adaptation
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay


We'll see how this goes the second time around. Will you be reading classics this year? Did you join any challenges?

28 comments:

  1. This is the perfect challenge for you.

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    1. Kathy - I was debating between this one and nonfiction, but figured I needed a little more motivation with classics this year.

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  2. Good luck! I'm thinking about joining this challenge. I did join the British Crime Classics Challenge.

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    1. Vicki - Thanks! British Crime Classics sounds like fun. There's actually a book store here that specializes in mysteries and they have a whole section on British classics.

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  3. This is an impressive list of books. I tend to join challenges but I really should. Obviously I read a lot of classics anyway.

    Happy reading and good luck with the challenge.

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    1. Brian - I stopped doing challenges years ago, but needed a boost with classics last year and decided to try this challenge. Hope this years goes better... I think it will. I'm excited about quite a few of my possibilities.

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  4. So many of my favorites on your list! I LOVED The Way We Live Now, it is long but it's so worth reading. I also loved Wives & Daughters, The Good Earth, Ethan Frome (a nice short read, but powerful) and Miss Marjoribanks (very Gaskell/Austenesque). The Woodlanders and Magic Mountain are on my challenge lists as well. Thanks for signing up for the challenge!

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    1. Karen - I'm about 1/3 through The Way We Live Now and am loving it. I initially started it years ago with an online classics group, but fell behind and set it aside. So glad to give it another chance!

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  5. You made some good picks. I haven't signed on to any challenges but I like to throw in a few classics each year. I enjoyed Ethan Frome so maybe House of Mirth this year .... and of course another James Baldwin! good luck on your challenge.

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    1. Susan - I've read Ethan Frome a couple of times over the years, but now have an audio edition I'd like to try. Not sure which James Baldwin I'll try, but leaning toward Go Tell It on the Mountain.

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  6. I'm planning on reading Little Women this year. Good luck with the challenge!

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    1. Angela - I haven't read Little Women since I was in middle school (?) and would love to revisit it! Still need to see the new movie, too.

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  7. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope is a wonderful novel, as is Wives and Daughters. You have some good reading ahead.

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    1. Terra - Those are the two I'm most excited about! Reading the Trollope now and it's wonderful.

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  8. I always end up with some classics, and this year I'm (loosely) planning to read all of Virginia Woolf's novels, in publication order. If you end up reading Villette, let me know, and I'll read it with you. Love that book and am overdue for a reread.

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    1. Amy - That would be great! After the disaster of The Mysteries of Udolpho, we're due for a good one ;-) I'm thinking late spring/summer... any time work better for you?

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    2. Nope, all's good, just keep me posted! You know how to find me on Twitter. :)

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  9. I’d been considering the Classic challenge si ce yiud been writing about it but I’m going to wait on that one. Being newly retired has me evaluating all the books around the house and my to-read list. I’m planning to sign up for Shelly’s nonfiction challenge & get more active in the Goodreads group Kindle English Mystery Bookclub. Start from there!

    I’m loving your list of possibilities though.

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    1. Tina - I've been lookin at the nonfiction challenge, too, but only want to do one this year. I figure I'll get the nonfiction in anyway, but need more of a push for classics. Look forward to following your challenge reading!

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  10. I'm SO tempted, but I've promised myself that I'm not going to sign up for challenges because I'm terrible at sticking with them. I'm just going to bookmark your amazing list for inspiration. :) I'm loving The Way We Live Now, too, and I've put The Age of Innocence (re-read) and Washington Square (meaning to read for years) on my mental list at least.

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    1. Audrey - I'm pretty bad with challenges, too. That's why I swore off them for years! Last year was an experiment that did not go well. If the same things happens again, I'll be done with formal challenges for a while.

      Isn't The Way We Live Now wonderful! So many classic Trollopian plot lines :) I enjoyed Washington Square. Saw the play in NYC with Dan Stevens (!) and Jessica Chastain... such a treat!

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  11. Good for you for joining the challenge! I'm so tempted to join but I am trying to limit my challenges.

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    1. Iliana - Same here. This is the one and only challenge I've done for the past couple of years. We'll see how it goes.

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  12. Nice choices! I read Jane Eyre last year and plan to read Villette this year.

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    1. Thanks, Amy. It's been decades since I read Jane Eyre, so it's definitely time to revisit. There's an audio version narrated by Thandie Newton that's gotten rave reviews... may go that route.

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  13. Such a feast of good titles.

    For the record, I liked Buddenbrooks so much more than Magic Mountain, but that was when I was 20...who knows which I would prefer now!

    I love Wives and Daughters so much--hope you enjoy it.

    I found Miss Marjoribanks quite fun.

    I have always wanted to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--maybe I'll read that for my adaptation...

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    1. JaneGS - Glad to hear that about Buddenbrooks. I was thinking of using The Magic Mountain for the abandoned classic (my bookmark is still somewhere around page 200) but will plug the Trollope in there. I'm looking forward to Wive and Daughters, and added Miss Marjoribanks after reading your review. I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's back in high school and hope to revisit it for the challenge.

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