Monday, January 2, 2017

Back to the Classics Challenge 2017

The good folks at Books and Chocolate are again hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge for 2017.  The nice thing about this challenge is you don’t have to finish all twelve to be eligible for the prize – Yep a PRIZE and everything. I didn’t finish all 12 in 2016 (wrap up HERE), but I hope to do better this year.

***FANFARE***  My list (subject to change)

1.  A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899. 

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, published 1881

2.  A 20th Century Classic – book published between 1900 and 1967 

Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara, published 1934.  

I feel the need to point out that 1900 is actually the final year of the 19th Century. 1901 is the first year of the 20th Century. Just sayin

3.  A classic by a woman author.

Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen

Now this one is kind of funny. I tried to make most of these line up with my regularly scheduled 100 Greatest Novels Quest reading schedule – but as circumstances have it – I haven’t any woman authors coming up this year. I thought about trying to sneak Evelyn Waugh in, but in case you don’t know, Evelyn is a dude. Britts – go figure. Anyway, I couldn’t cheat, but to have a bit more fun with this category, I chose Isak Dinesen - probably sounds like a dude, and I’m sure that was the intention of Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke aka Karen Blixen, when she took it as her nom de plume.

4.  A classic in translation.

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Je vas lire en Anglais du Francais du cours.

5.  A classic published before 1800.

Tristram Shandy by Laurence Stearne, published 1759-1767

6.  An romance classic.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

7.  A Gothic or horror classic. 

 8.  A classic with a number in the title.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

(Originally I  chose 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it was published  in 1968 - and hence too recent to qualify for a classic, in this challenge)

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title. 

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

10. A classic set in a place you'd like to visit.

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

This begins in Jolly Ole England, and moves to Brazil – which is the place I’d like to visit. England’s nice too, but I’ve already been there. Charming place, lovely people, all that.

11. An award-winning classic.

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

1948 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Literature – One of England’s oldest literary prizes

12. A Russian Classic. In observance of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky

 Hope to read your list as you play along. 


  1. I like your variety, though some of these I am not familiar.

    Crime and Punishment is a favorite of mine, and Picture of Dorian Gray is one I have to reread. I missed a lot during my first read. Good luck with Les Miz; it's a tome, right?

    1. Thanks Ruth....Yep another big one, but not so many big ones this year. Looking forward to em all.

  2. Awesome variety and some great works!! Happy Reading!

  3. Good luck with this challenge. I am attempting to fill all 12 spots, which means that I'll pick my books as I go along. Otherwise, I'll never finish. Two by Henry James... interesting.

    1. I only have one previous experience with Henry James; I didn't love it...but it turns out he is getting a second, and third chance. Thanks for the feedback.

  4. That is one impressive list! I am most interested in Tristam Shandy, which I have heard uses certain "post modern" techniques yet was published some decades before the post modern era.

    1. I started Tristram Shandy once, and somehow put it down. I wasn't loving it. We'll see.

  5. Great choices! I've only read Fahrenheit 451 and The Picture of Dorian Gray, but they were both great.

    I had planned to use Evelyn Waugh in that same category last year before I went to his Wikipedia page, hah.

  6. Excellent choices, although Henry James and I don't get on well, I know others love him. I absolutely love Vanity Fair--I'm due for a reread before too long. Such a great novel. It's been so long since I read Handful of Dust, I can barely remember it but do remember liking it. Two years ago I read The End of Your Life Book Club, and a discussion of Appointment in Samarra figured in the opening chapters, which made me want to read it.

    Happy reading in 2017!

    1. Thanks Jane...yeah I'm not a fan of Henry James either, but I have this quest ya know.

  7. This is an impressive list. My own list is subject to change. I will be reading Les Misérables this year, so I should probably fit that in on my list as well.
    I own a copy of A Handful of Dust, but wasn't thinking of it at all when I originally typed up what I would be reading.

    1. Thanks. I'll watch for your reviews, especially Les Mis.

  8. You have some great choices! I read Les Mis in 2015 and had mixed feelings about it - I generally liked it but parts of it sagged for me. I love Dorian Gray, I keep meaning to reread it - one of these days I will - same with Fahrenheit 451. I read A Handful of Dust in 2014 and really liked it, so I look forward to seeing your review!

    1. Thanks Anja. The only ones I'm not excited about are the Henry James novels, and one of them is no done.

  9. Love your list! Fahrenheit 451 is one of my very favorite books ever!! Enjoy!

    1. I used to read a lot of Bradbury's short stories...but somehow got away from him. Looking forward to going back. 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".