Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Back to the Classics Challenge 2015 -- My List

Here are the books I'm planning to read for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015.  As usual, I'm going to try and choose books from my own TBR shelves, whenever possible. I have a lot of books on the TBR shelves that will fit multiple categories, and I'm having a hard time narrowing my choices. I'd like to choose as many books as possible from my Classics Club list -- I only have 22 left!   These are my ideas so far:

1.  19th Century Classic:  New Grub Street by George Gissing, which is both owned-and-unread AND on my Classics Club list.  Or maybe something by Thomas Hardy, maybe The Return of the Native

2.  20th Century Classic:   A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell. 

3.  Classic by a Woman:  Something by Willa Cather -- Shadows on the Rock or Alexander's Bridge.

4.  Classic in Translation:  I've been putting off The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo for a very long time, so I should really give it another try.  I also have four books by Zola unread on my shelves:  The Debacle, The Dream, Money, and The Conquest of Plassans.  

5.  Very Long Classic:  No Name by Wilkie Collins.  Also, I still have most of the Trollope's Pallisers series, and they're all at least 500 pages.  

6.  Novella:  Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham, or Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton. 

7.  Proper Name in the Title:  I have a LOT of these on my TBR shelves!  Mary Barton and Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell have been on my shelves for a long time.   Or maybe Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.

8.  Classic Comedy or Satire:  Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, or maybe The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens -- I don't own it but the library has it on audiobook. 

9.  Forgotten Classic:  Twilight Sleep by Edith Wharton would qualify as a forgotten classic, since it's one of her least popular works (according to Goodreads standards).  Or I could pick something really obscure, such as Red Pottage by Mary Chomondely, or The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

10.  Non-fiction Classic:  Probably Pictures from Italy by Charles Dickens.  Also, my non-fiction book group at the library is reading Kon-Tiki this summer, so that would fit nicely as well.

11.  Children's Classic:  Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers.  

12.  Classic Play:  Something by Oscar Wilde.  I loved The Importance of Being Earnest so I'd like to read another of his plays.  Or maybe more than one, since they're really short. 

So that's my list.  Bloggers, what do you think? I'm having a hard time picking a final list.  Are any of your favorites included?  Any hidden gems?  Or should I put them directly into the donation box at the library?  Help me choose!


  1. Shadows on the Rock is WONDERFUL! Highly recommended. I have only read Mary Barton and Sylvia's Lovers once each and don't have distinct memories, but I love Elizabeth Gaskell. Your other choices sound good to me!

    1. Shadows on the Rock has also been highly recommended by one of my favorite book blogs, Thomas at My Porch. I've owned a vintage copy for several years and I think I'm afraid to read it because I don't want to damage it. I may cheat and read the library's copy instead.

      I've read Gaskell's North and South and Wives and Daughters, both of them are favorites.

  2. An interesting list! I haven't read most of the books on your list. (Though I'm considering Hunchback of Notre Dame myself). But I LOVED Wilkie Collins' No Name!

    1. I was thinking about reading No Name last year for my mystery/suspense classic, but I didn't think it really qualified -- also it's really long, so I think it's a good choice for the Very Long Classic.

      I'm a little scared of Hunchback. I've owned it since 2007, when I bought it at the actual Notre Dame cathedral. (There's a gift shop half way up the tower, which is more than 400 steps. I really stopped just to take a break, but the gift shop was quite nice. It still has the French price tag on it!)

  3. I have fond memories of The Return of the Native. The first chapter was a challenge bc Hardy wanted to be poetic, but after that I really got into it.

    1. I tried listening to it on audio a couple of months ago and couldn't get into it. I'm glad Hardy stops being poetic because I've heard it's very good.

  4. Twilight Sleep?! I must check that one out. Pictures from Italy sounds interesting. I must give some thought to my non-fiction read. For some reason, non-fiction is never easy for me to pick.

  5. I love Shadows on the Rock. I may not remember many of the details, but there are some gorgeous scenes forever etched into my memory. I like Alexander's Bridge, too, but it is a more conventional novel. Kon-Tiki is on my TBR--think it's neat that your library group is reading an older book.

  6. Ooh, I have The Bunner Sisters and Aurora Floyd on my Classics list for this year, too. I vote for those. :)

  7. I just found your blog and I'm very intrigued by your "Challenge". We are a homeschooling family who absolutely LOVES to read! We actually built our own home library because we love older books and much prefer them to the new trash on most library shelves.

    Last year, I made a resolution to read 4 classic novels, but got bogged down with Hawthorne and never made it. I read many books aloud to the kids each year, as I have a dyslexic child who loves to be read to, but it's hard to find time to read for myself. This year, I vow to be better :)

    I just started reading my first Willa Cather novel, O Pioneers!. So far, I'm loving it! I may hook up to your Challenge.


  8. I've got some Cather on my list as well. If you're on the fence for a Wilde play, An Ideal Husband is a great one!

  9. I've learned that I'm sadly lacking in my classical literature knowledge. I've read a few but....I'm glad that I found your challenge and am looking forward to reading "new" authors.


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