Welcome to The Once Lost Wanderer. The name is derived from two poems: Amazing Grace by reformed slave trader John Newton, and All That is Gold Does Not Glitter by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Back to the Classics Challenge 2016

I didn’t think I was going to participate in any year long challenge this year. I did a Classics BINGO in 2015, and although it was a fun and challenging…ermmm... challenge, I knew I couldn’t do it again this year. I have some very lengthy reads coming up this year, and I know I’m not going to read 24.

However, thanks to Rob at Loose Logic, I learned about the Back to the Classics Challenge 2016, which is only twelve classics novels. That still might be a stretch, but you don’t need to complete the entire challenge to be entered in the year-end drawing. Yep…prizes and everything. Drawing for a prize, to be precise… hate to set the sponsor’s up for a messy lawsuit.  Anyway, I was able to incorporate most of the categories into my regularly scheduled quest; so I’ve decided to give it a go. 

I suppose some might say C&P is cheating for a detective novel, and that W&P is cheating for an adventure novel…but c’mon. Have you seen how BIG they are? If this is cheating…it’s pretty stupid cheating. So, I’m sticking with em, and blowing raspberries at anyone who doesn’t like it (‘cept Karen at Books and Chocolate, cuz she makes the rules.)

Anyway…my choices for the challenge categories, subject to change:

  1. A 19th Century Classic: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
  2. A 20th Century Classic: The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (1949)
  3. A classic by a woman author: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  4. A classic in translation: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  5. A classic by a non-white author: The Count ofMonte Cristo by Alexandre Duma
  6. An adventure classic: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  7. A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic:  Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  8. A classic detective novel: The Man Who was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.K Chesterton
  9. A classic which includes the name of a place in the title: Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara
  10. A classic which has been banned or censored: Probably Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Re-read 
  11. A classic you read in school (high school or college): Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  12. A volume of classic short stories: FlanneryO’Connor: The Complete Stories


  1. I did this challenge last year & signed up again this year. I picked the same author for No 12 but I stuck to books with less pages than some you picked! Have fun.

  2. Wow, you really went for some chunkers here. Great picks! I've been trying to work up the nerve to pick up Les Misérables and The Count of Monte Cristo for a while now. The latter especially, as everyone seems to love it.

    1. Yeah...just worked out that way. Last year I had a lot of shorter novels. This year it's all the 1000 pagers (and 1300, 1400, and 1500 pagers)

  3. You have some great reads coming up. I especially loved War and Peace (all of it!) and Les Miserables. And you can't go wrong with Pride and Prejudice. Happy reading!

  4. If I may write something, I'm not sure War and Peace is an adventure classic. Why not something by Robert Louis Stevenson or Jules Verne?
    Crime and Punishment is not a detective novel. Crime, maybe, but not detective, because as I remember, there's hardly any detective work there. Why not The Moonstone for instance?
    Just my 2 cents.

    1. Thanks for the excellent recommendations, and although I admit they are more clearly aligned with the reading schedule is rather inflexble (self-imposed constraint), but nonetheless...I have a more important (to me at least) challenge (click on The Quest tab at the top of the page if you are interested). So, I chose these novels, from my already determined schedule, as they could kill two birds with one tome (pardon the pun). These books are what I'm reading...period...end of discussion. If the Back to the Classics challenge sponsor wants to disqualify be it.

      However, I still submit they fill the bill, albeit by a very thin line. C&P...does have a detective. And W&P does have...well war. They are also books I have not read, and I don't want to spoil them by reading too much of the synopsis. Again, I know I may applying a VERY liberal definition, but I believe they are in keeping with the spirit of the challenge.

      In the words of Eeyore...thanks for noticin me.

  5. WOW!!!!! First I saw The Fountainhead, and I jumped for joy. First of all, Rand is an immense writer. Huge!
    Then I saw Les Miz, The Count of Monte Cristo, WAR AND PEACE...and Atlas Shrugged!!!!
    Whoa! These are some serious chunksters. Of course, I'm thinking I am only allowed one chunkster a year - but I have to remember you are not me. So that's good - for you, of course.
    Anyway, these are some great possibilities. Good luck!

    1. Yeah, I'm excited to finally be getting to Rand, and twice this year. Thanks Ruth.

  6. I had "joined" the challenge but have abandoned the idea in favor of my own self-inflicted challenge (via David Denby's Great Books), which you can read about in my brief posting at Beyond Eastrod. I wish you success in your challenge, and I look forward to reading about your encounters.

  7. Great List! Les Miserables is such a wonderful book if you can get beyond the long chapter on sewers. I am especially excited to hear your thoughts on Flannery O'Connor, which I've always wanted to read .

  8. I've already started F.O. excellent of course. Cheers.

  9. Hi Joseph, thanks for coming by my blog! Since 2011 when I also started my blog, I've read War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, Les Mis, and Pride and Prejudice - I probably liked C&P the best of these books, although I didn't dislike the others. You've got a lot of great reading coming up in 2016!

  10. Wow. You've got quite the list of gigantic books on here. I've read and loved several of them. Les Miserables is my favorite book of all-time, though there are slow parts in it. I guess there are slow parts in every huge book, though. :)

  11. I wondered over your blog from Cleopatra's. I love your collection...I love War and Peace though I can never quite think of it as an adventure story, though, there is a LOT of action in that book! Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite and fountain of all practical wisdom and The Count of Monto Cristo is my getaway. I also derive a lot of daily inspiration to survive in a Corporate environment from Atlas Shrugged. So I guess what I am trying to say after all that bookish gamboling is that you have a literary feast ahead of you! Happy Reading!

    1. Well any friend of Cleo's...all that. I doubt I'll get through all of these, but maybe. I've read the Count of Monte Cristo before and it is either my #1 or #2 all time favorite (I vacillate between it and LOTR). Anyway, thanks for the feedback.


Comments are always welcome. In fact, they make my day. You needn't sign in to leave a comment. Just enter your comment, then on the "Comment as:" drop down menu, select "anonymous".