Monday, December 21, 2015

Back to the Classics Challenge 2016: My List


I've been working on my list ever since I finalized the new categories, and here's what I finally came up with -- most of these are on my TBR shelves or my Classics Club list.

1.  19th Century Classic: Armadale by Wilkie Collins. I read No Name this year and loved it, and it's one of the last 10 books on my Classics Club list.

2.  20th Century Classic: A Dance to the Music of Time (First Movement) by Anthony Powell. Also on the Classics Club list.

3.  Classic by a Woman Author: Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, or maybe something by Edith Wharton -- I still have a few of her books left unread.

4.  Classic in Translation: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, or maybe The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas. Again, from the Classics Club list.

5.  Classic by a Non-White Author: Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata. I've owned this for about ten years!

6.  Adventure Classic: The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas or The Four Feathers by A. E. W. Mason
7.  Classic detective novel: I've always wanted to read something by Josephine Tey, or maybe The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne -- I only just discovered that the creator of Pooh wrote mysteries as well! And I've never read anything by Dorothy Sayers. Busman's Honeymoon could count for the Reading England Challenge also.

8.  Classic Science Fiction: something by H. G. Wells -- either The Invisible Man or The Time Machine.

9.  Classic with a Place in the Title: I have several of these on left on my Classics Club list that would work: Lark Rise to Candleford; Main Street; or New Grub Street. I also own Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau; The Conquest of Plassans by Emile Zola; and The Belton Estate by Anthony Trollope.

10.  Banned or Censored Book: most everything Zola wrote was censored, so that's an easy pick! I still haven't read The Fortunes of the Rougons, first in the Rougon-Macquart series. It was extensively revised to meet Victorian publication standards, so it definitely qualifies.

11.  Re-read a Classic From School: The Mill on the Floss or Howards End. I read The Mill on the Floss back in high school and hated it, so I should really give it another chance as an adult -- I loved Middlemarch, so maybe George Eliot deserves another try. Or I could just reread Howards End, which I read back in college, and absolutely loved.

12.  Short Story Collection: I have a LOT of short story collections on the TBR shelves, including  Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham; A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor; and Plum Pie by P. G. Wodehouse. I also have the collected stories of Stefan Zweig and Evelyn Waugh.

Bloggers, which do you recommend? Which should I erase from this list? I'm really looking forward to next year's reading!

And if you still haven't signed up, here is a link to the sign-up post for the Challenge. 

38 comments:

  1. I would recommend Josephine Tey over The Red House Mystery. The latter is sort of fun but nowhere near as brilliant as Pooh. I've been wanting to read more classics from Asian countries so Snow Country could go on my list for that. Armadale was my 19th century classic for last year's challenge, and I do recommend it. Your other choices look good to me -- I've never read Zola, so can offer no opinion, but you seem well versed in his work. Great list!

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    1. Thanks! I've read about half of Zola so far but it's been awhile, I just worry that I've read all the best ones already. If you are looking for a good Japanese classic, I highly recommend The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki, the story of four sisters in the early years of WWII. It's really interesting.

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    2. Thank you, The Makioka Sisters sounds perfect.

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  2. If you're interested in Tey, I'd recommend "The Daughter of Time." I believe it's her best work and though it's not the first in the series, that isn't a problem at all.

    As a Sayers fan, though, I'd encourage you to put off "Busman's Honeymoon" until you've read the earlier books! Some of the books have an overarching plot and it helps to read those in order. "The Nine Taylors" is not the first in the series but it's not part of a multi-book arc either - I think it'd be a good one to start with.

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    1. I actually listened to a wonderful audio of "Daughter of Time" this year and loved it -- beautifully narrated by Derek Jacobi. Now I'm so intrigued by the story of Richard III, which I knew nothing about. Too many good books to read now!

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  3. Loved reading your list! I'm still having trouble with books with the name of a place for some reason!

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    1. Well, there's Howards End by E. M. Forster; Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen; Middlemarch by George Eliot; Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope; Bleak House by Charles Dickens; The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola; The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas; Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope. . . if that doesn't help, maybe try clicking on the links of other people who have also signed up, you might get some good ideas there. And you don't have to complete every category to enter the drawing!

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  4. If you are going to read detective novels by Dorothy Sayers I would start with the ones in which Harriet Vane appears- Strong Poison then Have His Carcass then Gaudy Night. Busman's Honeymoon is the quite romantic, even sexy, culmination of this series. The relationship between Lord Peter Whimsey and Harriet Van in these books says a great deal about Sayer's feminist views and her ideal in a man.

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    1. I might have to start at the very beginning with Dorothy Sayers -- I always feel like I'm missing something if I don't start with the first book in a series! I've heard they're wonderful, especially Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon.

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    2. Sayers is one of my favorites - and "Gaudy Night" I enjoyed most of all her Peter Wimsey mysteries.

      I recommend starting at the beginning with "Whose Body?" because even though the stories are better with Harriet in them, reading the ones before she appears makes her influence that much more apparent.

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    3. I would recommend starting with another Sayers too. Either Strong Poison (the first book with Harriet Vane), Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (WWI themes) or Nine Tailors. Gaudy Night is my favourite but not the best introduction to DLS.

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    4. I'm a stickler for reading books in order, but I've read through all the books twice, so it's hard for me to imagine starting in the middle of the story. The friendship between Bunter and Wimsey is as interesting in a different way as the relationship between Peter and Harriet. This last read-through, I especially enjoyed Murder Must Advertise.

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    5. I read Whose Body? and loved it. Then I read my second one, Strong Poison, and I'll be reading Nine Tailors (my goal is to get to those two, Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon, but those two are further in the Lord Peter and Harriet's affair.

      lyn got it right! lol, -I've been told the same by other Sayer's lovers.

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  5. OH! I highly recommend Testament of Youth!! SO WORTH A READ!

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    1. I'm really interested in Testament of Youth since I just finished One of Ours and want to read more about WWI.

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  6. I loved Howard's End, too. : )

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    1. I haven't read it since college but I've read A Room With a View many, many times. I might also read Maurice for my Banned Book.

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  7. P.G. Wodehouse novels and Dorothy Sayers' mysteries are favorite books of mine. I am doing a group read on Facebook of The American Senator by Anthony Trollope now; I saw one of his books on your list.

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    1. The American Senator is delightful -- I read it a few years ago and loved it. I always try to include at least one book by Trollope on my Classics Club list. This year it will probably be Place Name in the Title but I have some of his short story collections as well.

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    2. I read Right Ho, Jeeves, and Woodhouse always brightens up my mood and makes me laugh hard.

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  8. Great list! I haven’t blogged or linked my sign up post yet, but I did go through my books at home and have found 10 possibilities for at least 10 of the categories. I also plan on reading another Josephine Tey book for the Classic Detective Novel pick. Like RR Gilmore, I would recommend Daughter of Time, but since you have already read it, you might try Miss Pym Disposes.

    I hope you like The Dance to the Music of Time. I really loved it, but I think it might be a marmite book, you know? Or maybe it is a right place, right time type of read (but then what book isn’t?)

    I have read The Fortunes of the Rougons and can recommend it! No problem there, I think you will really enjoy it.

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    1. Is a "marmite" book one that is an acquired taste? I'm intrigued!

      And I have already requested a bunch of Josephine Tey books from the library including Miss Pym Disposes -- I think it will be my first read of 2016!

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    2. I think a "marmite book" means one either loves it or hates it...apparently it is impossible to be neutral about marmite? :) But acquired taste would also apply to the Dance since it is such an investment of time and 12 volumes which encompass one man's entire life.

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    3. That's so funny. A "marmite book", I had never heard of that. We have a type of marmite called Bovril -beef flavor-, similar to Vegemite, but Vegemite being the veggie kind. It's true, people either love it or hate it, no middle for that.

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  9. As an intro to Dorothy Sayers - Whose Body? & Clouds of Witness introduce Wimsey, his background & his relations. I didn't read either until after I'd read most of her others but in retrospect I think they would have been better titles to begin with. Gaudy Night is wonderful. The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne is quite a good read but not all that memorable. I was considering Testament of Youth but decided to stick with books I already owned but it's one I'd like to read eventually.

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    1. I don't have any unread mysteries on my TBR shelves so I'll have to get my detective story from the library. I think I'll start at the beginning with Dorothy Sayers. I do own Testament of Youth so I really want to read it, I've had a lot of good comments about it.

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    2. I don't know where in the States you are (are you in the States?) :), but my used book store has LOTS of Sayers for not much, but hey, if library has them, why not? Her books are 'fast reads', and dangerous to pick up. I love reading her books by the pool, on lazy afternoons -cause once I start one, I must finish it.

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  10. What a fun challenge! I love that it IS a challenge. I'd have to think hard about some of those categories. I can add my applause to Testament of Youth - wonderful, wonderful book.

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    1. I've had so many good comments about it, I definitely need to read it!

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  11. I'm considering rereading A Good Man is Hard to Find as my high school book or short story collection. I remember feeling beat up after each story -- she wasn't exactly an optimist -- but I know there was truth in what she wrote.

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    1. "Feeling beat up" is exactly how I feel after reading certain books! I hope you don't mind if I borrow that expression!

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  12. What a great list! I also didn't know A.A. Milne wrote mysteries.

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    1. I didn't either until I saw it in a bookstore last year! I ended up not buying it but my library has it as an e-book.

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    1. There's a link to the sign-ups in the box on the top right of the page, same as the button at the top of my post.

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  14. A Dance to the Music of Time is my favorite! It is my desert island choice, for sure. You have to get used to long sentences with lots of commas! But once you do, the stories are wonderful and the characters become your community, you so live inside books.

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  15. I'd say nice choices...but I really can't, because I have not read any of these except The Invisible Man...and that was by accident. I was supposed to read Invisible Man by Ellison. Nonetheless, I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

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