Thursday, December 20, 2018

Back to the Classics 2019: My List


I don't think I've ever completed my exact list for this challenge, but here goes! As usual, I'm trying to read as many books as possible from my own unread shelves. I'm also trying to read more female writers and books in translation. And six of these are from my second Classics Club List!



19th Century Classic: The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope. There's a newly restored version that was recently published and I've been waiting almost two years to read it! I'm in an online Trollope discussion group and they're reading the entire Pallisers series in order. I've been holding off so I can participate.



20th Century Classic: It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. I'm trying to get this on the list for my real-life reading group, I think this would be great for discussion.



Classic in Translation: The Bright Side of Life by Emile Zola. Or The Wife by Sigrid Undset, the second novel in her Kristin Lavransdattir trilogy. I read the first book for this challenge two years ago, and I've been meaning to read the rest of the series. 



Classic by a Woman Author:  I have a LOT of Virago Modern Classics and Persephone Classics, so I'll probably choose one of those. I could also count The Wife for this category.



Classic Comic Novel: The Caravaners by Elizabeth von Arnim. I always enjoy her books, and this one is supposed to be really funny. 



Classic Tragic Novel: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. You can't beat the Russians for a good tragedy! And I'm pretty sure La Debacle would qualify for this category also -- not many happy endings in Zola.



Very Long Classic: Imperial Palace by Arnold Bennett (bought for $1 at a library sale!), or Les Miserables. I finally got around to seeing the musical version of Les Mis; also, there's a new TV adaptation coming this winter. 



Classic Novella: Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather. My last unread Cather, except for the short stories.




Classic From the Americas: The Children by Edith Wharton, which I have owned forever and still haven't read. I could also count Sinclair Lewis for this category. Or maybe I should finally read One Hundred Years of Solitude.



Classic From Africa/Asia/Oceania: I actually own two classic books from New Zealand -- Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge, and The Godwits Fly, a Persephone classic, so I want to read one of those. 



Classic Set in a Place I've Lived: I should probably read Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann because it's a German classic -- but it's really long and I'm a little intimidated. If not, maybe Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser or So Big by Edna Ferber -- they're both set in Chicago and I lived there for ten years. 



Classic Play: I Am a Camera by John Van Druten. The English Theater company in Frankfurt is performing Cabaret this winter and I already have tickets to see it after Christmas (it's the musical version of  I am a Camera). I've never seen it and can't decide if I should read the play first or wait until afterward. 


Bloggers, have you read any of these? Good choices or bad? Which one should I read first -- probably a short one, since I've just realized that a lot of these books are really long! And have you signed up for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2019 yet? 

20 comments:

  1. Great list of books! I've read It Can't Happen Here which is an important book for these times and Crime and Punishment is a masterpiece which I read years ago and have never forgotten. Thanks so much for hosting the challenge once again!

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    1. I've been meaning to read It Can't Happen Here but I do wonder if it will be a little TOO timely, if you know what I mean. I've been reading a lot of lighter fiction lately since the news is so dire.

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  2. Buddenbrooks is amazing and not heavy at all. I read it a couple of years ago for a reading circle and decided that I had to read at least 50 pages a day to finish in time. Not a problem at all! Highly recommended!

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    1. I could definitely handle 50 pages a day! Thank you!

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  3. What a great list! I need to get back into the Palliser novels; Phineas Finn is next on my list.

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    1. I love the Pallisers -- I thought they wouldn't measure up to the Barsetshire Chronicles, but they are equally wonderful, just a different theme.

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  4. Great list! I am currently reading Buddenbrooks and I agree with Elida above, it isn't really intimidating. It really zips along. I'm also currently reading Les Miserables and IT IS LONG because of those infamous digressions about the battle of Waterloo, the Paris Sewer System, etc.

    I think you should read Edna Ferber because no one knows who she is even if most people have heard of the movie Giant or the musical Showboat.

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    1. I am interested in Edna Ferber -- I've seen Showboat but it was years ago (starring Donald O'Conner as Cap'n Andy!) I am actually thinking about trying to read two books for each category.

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  5. Love your list! I started Crime and Punishment this year and have still to finish it. It's not quite measuring up to The Brothers Karamazov .... yet ...... I love Goudge and I would highly recommend Les Miserables, one of my favourite! Again thanks for hosting and best of luck with your list!

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    1. Thanks! I want to read both C&P and Brothers K eventually, I've never read any Dostoevsky and I feel my knowledge of Russian authors is lacking. I have so many long books on my list!

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  6. You have some great books ahead of you, Karen! And I highly recommend Buddenbrooks - it sounds more intimidating than it is. In fact, you made me want to reread it next year! :)

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    1. Maybe I should host a Buddenbrooks read-along!

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  7. Of all Thomas Mann’s novels, I think Buddenbrooks is the best. The Magic Mountain was sheer torture—Doctor Faustus was good, but Buddenbrooks was better. It’s been almost 40 years since I read—I would join a read-along! I think reading Cabaret before seeing it would be great—I like doing things like that. I’ve not heard of The Caravaners but now I need to check it out—sounds fun.

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    1. Really? I only read The Magic Mountain over 20 years ago, and loved it. It's a classic I've been wanting to revisit for quite some time, but we'll see. I'm also intrigued by Buddenbrooks, but I'm committed to some other books before I try that one. Though, who knows?, ha ha ha.

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  8. I'll add my recommendation for Buddenbrooks, too. Long, but it's great. I read C+P when I was 21. I found it so psychologically intense I've been afraid to look at it ever since.

    I liked Kristin Lavransdattir but it may not be a book for winter...

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  9. It looks like you have an exciting year ahead! The few from your list that I've read were mostly from years ago but I can add to the general sentiment about Buddenbrooks. If you like those big, realistic 19th century novels (and anyone reading Trollope is probably addicted to them) it's hard to beat Buddenbrooks (I loved it myself!). I went through a Sinclair Lewis period many, many years ago and, at least at that time, liked It Couldn't Happen Here; not sure what I'd think of it now (I might like it even more. I'd probably be inclined to read it in conjunction with watching Man in the High Castle!). The Duke's Children was fun but then I love Trollope; I had read the whole Palliser series and wasn't about to skip the last one. I've been thinking of reading Alexander's Bridge myself so I'll eagerly look forward to your review (the only Cather I've read was Sapphira and the Slave Girl, which I did like but don't know if it's representative of her work). The Wharton you've picked is on my own TBR list (I love several of her other novels) so I'll be looking for that review as well!

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    1. I love Wharton and Cather, two of my favorite American writers! My favorites by Willa Cather are My Antonia and One of Ours, but I also really enjoyed Lucy Gayheart which is beautiful and tragic (and short). O Pioneers! is also wonderful. Sapphira and the Slave Girl is good but it's a little bit outside her normal work with that time and setting. I think her best work is set in the West -- I used to live in Nebraska so I'm partial to those novels.

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  10. It Can't Happen Here is definitely a good one for discussion. I didn't love it, but it certainly is unnerving! :)

    Hope you love the Zola :D

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  11. Despite being from New Zealand I've never heard of Green Dolphin Street, possibly because Goudge isn't a New Zealand author. It sounds great - plenty of good reviews Good Reads so I'll have to add it to my TBR. I'll also be reading The Wife this year. I had only ever seen Kristin Lavransdatter refereed to as a single volume and the length was off putting for challenge read. So I was delighted to find it was actually three separate volumes and that could fit them all in next year. Just hope I like them!

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