It's always tough but fun for me to make my own list for the Back to the Classics Challenge -- I've read a lot of classics in the past ten years or so years, so my choices are getting a little more obscure. Last year I tried to read all women authors and nearly succeeded (the pre-1800 challenge is not my favorite -- what the heck was I thinking?). I'd love to read all women authors again but I am desperate to try and read more books off my own shelves -- my list of of owned-and-unread books is creeping dangerously close to the 200 mark. And I only read 33 of my own books so far this year! It's disgraceful.
So this year, I swear that every single book for this challenge must be from my own shelves -- except the children's classic, since I don't own any that I haven't read. And without further delay, here's my tentative list:
1. A 19th century classic. Who Was Lost and Is Found by Margaret Oliphant. She was a fairly prolific Victorian writer, but this book has exactly ZERO ratings on Goodreads. I found it at John King Used & Rare Books in Detroit, and it's an 1895 edition! I think it's the oldest book I own.
2. A 20th century classic. Whisky Galore by Compton MacKenzie. I love wartime stories and I've heard this is quite funny. Also, there's a tiny chance I might go to Scotland next year -- it would be a perfect read for the trip!
3. A classic by a woman author. Edith Wharton! I have four of her books on my TBR shelves, but I think I want to read The Children; The Fruit of the Tree; or Hudson River Bracketed.
4. A classic in translation. A Love Story by Emile Zola. I haven't read any Zola in ages, and there's a new translation from Oxford World's Classics that the publisher was kind enough to send me for free.
5. A children's classic. Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery. I finally got around to reading Anne of Green Gables about 10 years ago and couldn't believe I'd taken so long to read it -- and then promptly put off reading the rest of the series. I've wanted to read this one for years! (This will be the exception to my read-my-own-books rule)
6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction. Definitely fiction! I bought several British Library Crime Classics last year on a trip to London -- how could I resist those covers?
7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. Mark Twain -- I own both Roughing It and Letters from Hawaii. Or possibly Orient Express by Graham Greene -- I'm guessing it has little in common with the Agatha Christie mystery, but I've mostly liked his work so far so I'll give it a try.
8. A classic with a single-word title. Westwood by Stella Gibbons or Peony by Pearl S. Buck. I also have a Virago Modern Classic that looks really good, Crossriggs by Mary and Jane Findlater.
9. A classic with a color in the title. Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple. Or maybe Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxeley.
10. A classic by an author that's new to you. Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane, a German language classic. I have a newly published Persephone edition, and I feel like I should actually read something German while I live here in Germany.
11. A classic that scares you. Les Miserables, by far the longest book on my TBR shelves. I have two different copies, the Penguin Hardcover classic and also a mass-market Signet paperback. (They have different translations but I haven't decided which one, so I'd love recommendations if anyone's read either of them.)
12. Re-read a favorite classic. I haven't read Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell in ages, and it's one of my all-time favorites! Or maybe I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
I have yet to finish this challenge reading the original books on my list, but you never know, this could be the year! I'm really looking forward to tackling this list. Can't wait to see what everyone else is reading!