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!
Great choices! My list won't be published until next week, but we have a few titles in common. I also chose Westwood for my classic with a single-word title, and Les Miserables is one of my options for the classic that scares me. I'm excited for this challenge!!ReplyDelete
Several other people have listed Les Miserables -- hopefully we won't all be miserable together!Delete
The history behind the Oliphant book is a story in itself; what a find! As for Westwood...there can never be enough Gibbons for my liking. A quick guess is that I've read seven and all have been very good reads. Best wishes for continued fun as you work your way through the challenge, Karen.ReplyDelete
It was a great find, and a great store! I think I bought 20 books, to the chagrin of my family. I also discovered there are beautiful new reprints of Stella Gibbons by Vintage, I think I bought three on a trip to London last summer.Delete
A Love Story! I will read that too next year for Zoladdiction in April. I wish you can join me, that will be fun! But for Back to the Classics I'd pick The Sins of Abbe Mouret.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your list, Karen!
I still have nine books to finish in the Rougon - Macquart series! I would love to read with you for Zoladdiction.Delete
Wow. I haven't heard of many of these! I'm slacking. ;) My pick for the one that scares me is Les Mis also. I'm scared, LOL, but I'll try! Amy@hearthridgereflectionsReplyDelete
I'm sure you're not slacking, it's just that this year I'm trying to read more books off my own shelves. Most of the books I own tend to be more obscure just because I can't get them for free from the library or from Gutenberg.Delete
Once I pare down my unread books a bit I would love to start collecting the British Library Crime Classics. And now I want to reread I Capture the Castle as well! Maybe I'll just fit that in next year for fun. :)ReplyDelete
I've read two of the BLCCs so far and I'm not sure how I feel about them. They were both by the same author, so I'll have to keep trying. And I am always in favor of I Capture the Castle. I may actually read duplicates in some categories because I want to read so many!Delete
I've never heard of most of these either! I'll probably get to Les Miserables someday, but for the "classic that scares you" category I'm planning on City of God (as part of a group read). I might not finish it though, so I have some other books in mind just in case.ReplyDelete
I think a group read is a great way to tackle something scary, plus I think I get more out of a book if I get other opinions, background, etc.Delete
Excellent list--Les Mis scares me too, but I would like to read it...someday. I've been wanting to reread Roughing It for years--I read it several times as a teen, but not since then. I'm an Anne fan myself--Anne of Avonlea is a lovely book! Enjoy your classic reading.ReplyDelete
I love, love, love, LOVE Les Miserables. I've read the Norman Denny translation, the Isabel Florence Hapgood translation, and the Christine Donougher translation. I enjoyed them all.ReplyDelete
On Les Mis: I have the mass-market; my daughter has the other. She read the entire book (took 2 years I think?) on her tiny phone (from a text file) and **loved** it so I gifted her the hardcover one for Christmas 2016. She was thrilled- only to learn it isn't the translation she read and she prefers the mass-market copy I have! She said the other isn't as elegant (or something like that); it's more blunt and bland. If that helps!ReplyDelete
Do we really need to choose our reads for the year in advance? I fear Im not really good at that. If so, I will head to the library to see what appeals. Thanks for doing this.ReplyDelete
Not at all! Also, you can change your list around, and even change the books to fit different categories. I've done this challenge about six times (I took over hosting from another blogger) and I've never once completed the exact list I posted in the beginning. It's very flexible.Delete