Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells


I was racking my brain to think of a novel for the Journeys and Travels category for the Victorian Reading Challenge when I thought of The Time Machine by H. G. Wells -- seriously, what could be a more fantastic journey than traveling through time? Though I'm not much of a science fiction reader, I really enjoyed my last foray into H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man. I'd been putting off this one because I saw the 1960 film adaptation as a child and it scared the bejeezus out of me. 

Published in 1895, the story is narrated by an anonymous man who meets a mysterious scientist at his gentleman's club. As a group of men are sitting around waxing philosophically, a scientist, known only as the Time Traveller, describes his theory of time travel. Of course they scoff at his ideas, but accept his invitation to see the machine. The narrator and a few other men accept an invitation for the following week, but when they arrive at the Time Traveller's home, their host is absent. They begin dinner without him and are shocked at his dusty, haggard appearance when he finally arrives. Gulping his food like a starving man, he recounts a fantastic tale of traveling thousands of years into the future, to a world now populated not by humans but by the peaceful, beautiful Eloi. Things seem idyllic until the Traveller realizes things are much darker and more dangerous than he realized at first, and he is soon fighting for his own existence. 



After a slow start, I raced through the book, which was much better than I expected, and rather different than the film version that I remember from years ago. It's short, only about 100 pages in most editions, and can easily be read in a single sitting. (I actually read most of it off my phone which I downloaded for free on iBooks). What surprised me most was how much Wells emphasized the environment and the future of mankind, so far ahead of his time. He also made some serious points about class warfare, which comes to an extreme in the book. 

It's quite a page-turner and I loved the ending, which I found very poignant, and I'm very glad that I finally got around to reading it. I don't know if I dare watch the 1960 film version again, or even the 2002 adaptation starring Guy Pearce. The effects in the first version are probably pretty cheesey to modern viewers, but I'm very squeamish about horror movies. I'm pretty sure the newer version is even scarier. I'm not a huge sci-fi person but I know it's iconic. 

And just for fun, here's a clip from a very funny episode of Big Bang Theory, in which Sheldon has a bad dream about time travel after purchasing a movie prop time machine. There's a bit of a spoiler in it, so don't watch it if you don't know the big twist from the novel. 


I'm counting this as my Genre Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge, and as my Journeys and Travels novel for the Victorian Reading Challenge.

Monday, January 27, 2020

So Big by Edna Ferber


"The more kinds of people you see, and the more things you do, and the more things that happen to you, the richer you are. Even if they're not pleasant things. That's living." (p. 10)

Edna Ferber is one of those authors that has sadly fallen off the radar. Winner of the 1925 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, and author of several other well-regarded books, she is unfortunately an author that hardly anyone reads anymore. Published in 1924, So Big is the story of Selina Peake, a young, idealistic woman who falls on hard times after the sudden death of her gambler father.

At nineteen, Selina is forced to take a job as a schoolteacher in a farming community outside of Chicago, a job she is able to find through a school friend's father, a successful butcher. She hopes to return to Chicago in a year and find a better job, and the locals find her odd. Selina tries to find beauty in her surroundings, and finds a kindred spirit in young Roelf, the teenage son of the farmers who provide her with room and board. She also begins tutoring a local Dutch farmer, whom she eventually marries. Selina throws all her energy into making a success as a farmer's wife, and soon a mother, but the farm is on poor land and her husband is stubborn and unwilling to make changes. It seems Selina is destined for a downward spiral; however, she takes matters into her own hands, defying conventions. With her determination, plus a bit of deus ex machina, her luck begins to change -- for herself, and her young son Dirk, also known as "So Big." In the second half of the book, Dirk becomes the protagonist as he works hard to elevate himself from a farmer's son to a success. Eventually he tries to break into Chicago society, though it's hard for him to ignore his roots. 




I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I didn't know what to expect, but I really liked the character of Selina, and how she was determined to be a success one way or another. Her story reminded me a bit of Laura Ingalls from The Little House on the Prairie series, particularly These Happy Golden Years (the eighth volume in which Laura teaches in a one-room schoolhouse). I was actually more interested in Selina than in her son Dirk. She's present in the second half of the book but is more of a peripheral character. Dirk was kind of annoying and superficial. 

I also loved reading a book set in Chicago, where I lived for about ten years. Of course this book is set nearly 100 years ago and it's vastly different now, but I did recognize some of the street names and mentions of famous buildings and hotels like The Palmer House. 

My only quibbles with the book were some racist language (insert eyeroll here; I know, it's a product of its time, but still, yuck.) Also, I found the ending of the book to be a little abrupt. Overall, though, I really enjoyed it and now I'm curious about more of Ferber's works. I know she wrote Giant which is set in Texas (another place I've lived!); and Cimarron, both of which were adapted into movies; and Show Boat, which was adapted into a famous Broadway musical, which I saw on tour when I was very young. 

I'm counting this as my Classic by a Woman Author for the Back to the Classics Challenge.

Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 Victorian Reading Challenge


Becky at Becky's Book Reviews is hosting another Victorian Reading Challenge and the way she's organized it is so fun and interesting I can't pass it up. There are two levels: the basic level is quarterly, just read one Victorian every three months -- easy peasy! The advanced level is still pretty easy, with eleven themed months and one bonus theme. And there's a lot of flexibility with the months, which is great since so many Victorians are real doorstoppers.

Here are the themes and some possible books that would fit the challenge:




JANUARY/FEBRUARY: Journeys and Travels: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (can also count this as my Genre Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge).





FEBRUARY/MARCH: Love and Marriage: Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins. Sounds super-dramatic and sensationalist, which is always fun.



MARCH/APRIL: Second Chances. Maybe Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (I can also count this for my Abandoned Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge). I got stuck about halfway through, maybe I should watch the miniseries and it will inspire me to actually finish the book. Or Les Miserables if I can finish it in time.




APRIL/MAY: Names as Titles: Victorian authors named a lot of books after people! Maybe Basil by Wilkie Collins or a bunch of others by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. There's also The Real Charlotte (also from my Back to the Classics list!)


MAY/JUNE: Long Title or Long Subtitle. How about Harry Heathcote of Gangoil: A Tale of Australian Bushlife ? That's a long title, even for Anthony Trollope. There's also The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson by One of the Firm and The Golden Lion of Grandpere. All of these are fairly obscure and there's not a single decent cover image online for any of them. At least they're all fairly short for Trollope.




JUNE/JULY: Adaptations. The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy. There's a movie adaptation with Rufus Sewell, need I say more?


JULY/AUGUST: Favorite Authors, New-to-Me Titles.  Probably Elizabeth Gaskell, there are a few novellas and minor works that I haven't read yet.


AUGUST/SEPTEMBER: Back to School: I didn't have many Victorians assigned in college and high school, which is why I've been reading so many as an adult. My choices are pretty limited so I'd have to go with Jane Eyre or Great Expectations. Or maybe The Awakening by Kate Chopin -- I didn't read it in school but I think it should be included in school curriculum.





SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER: Crime or True Crime. There are so many great nonfiction books that fulfill this category. I've been meaning to read The Five by Hallie Rubenhold.




OCTOBER/NOVEMBER: Home and Family. Period Piece by Gwen Raverat, a memoir of her Victorian childhood (she was a granddaughter of Dickens); also A London Family, an omnibus by Molly Hughes. I've read the first volume but never got around to finishing the last two. I meant to read both of these last year for the TBR Pile Challenge but didn't finish that one either.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER: Comfort Reads. Pretty much anything by Anthony Trollope fits this category, or maybe Mrs. Oliphant. I loved Miss Marjoribanks and would love to read more in her Carlingford series.


SUPER-BONUS: Bearded Authors. How to choose? I think Trollope has the most impressive beard of the Victorians. Maybe that's a good month to read his biography.



Anthony Trollope
Anyone else signing up for this challenge? What other Victorian novels and novelists do you recommend? And which novelist has the best beard?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Pied Piper by Nevil Shute


I started reading Nevil Shute last year because I intended to review one of his books for the 2019 Back to the Classics Challenge. I started with one of his most famous works, A Town Like Alice. Though I never got around to writing a post, I enjoyed it so much I read two more of his books before the end of the year. Though he's most famous now for his books set in Australia, Shute started writing in the 1920s, and more than half his novels were written before he moved there in 1950. 

Published in 1942, Pied Piper is set in 1940. It begins a framing device: an anonymous narrator meets an elderly man one night after dining in his London club. They are forced to stay during an air raid, and the older man relates his tale of a recent escape from the Nazi invasion of France, just after the fall of Dunkirk.

The protagonist, John Howard, is a widower, bereft after the loss of his only son, an RAF pilot. He's unable to help with the war effort due to health issues, and in early spring of 1940, has cabin fever and decides to go on a fishing holiday in France, in a small town near the Swiss border, near the Jura mountains. Howard had hoped to have no reminders of the war, which seems very far away, and is mildly annoyed to find British tourists staying at the same small hotel. Young Sheila and Robbie are on holiday but normally attend school in Geneva, where their father is working for the League of Nations. Gradually Howard befriends the family, and after the fall of Dunkirk, decides it's best to go home to England. The children's parents are alarmed at the speed of the invasion, and beg him to take the children with him back to England, to stay with relatives. 


It seems like a relatively easy task to take a train to Dijon and then to Paris, but Howard underestimates the difficulty of traveling with children, and the rapid escalation of the invasion. The younger child, Sheila, becomes feverish and the party is forced to spend the night in a hotel. Trains stop running, luggage goes missing, and Howard is forced to keep finding alternate routes to get back to England. Meanwhile, thousands of people are attempting to evacuate before the arrival of the Nazis. The small party begins to increase as more and more children join Howard and he attempts to get them all to safety. 

I really liked this book. I do love reading about the lives of ordinary people during the wars. This is also a survival story, which I always enjoy. I liked how Howard comes out of his shell when he makes it his life's purpose to protect the children. I also enjoyed following their route across France as they zigzag toward safety to try and elude the Nazis. There were also some good side characters that helped them. It's always nice to read about the kindness of strangers. 

This was also a really fast read, I think I finished the whole thing in one day. It also reminded me a bit of A Town Called Alice, which also includes wartime refugees on a march, trying to survive, though that one is set in Malaya. I definitely want to read more works by Shute, though some of them are a bit obscure. They're a bit tricky to find in libraries but there are many inexpensive used copies from online retailers.  

I'm counting this as my 20th Century Classic for the Back to the Classics challenge.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Challenge Link-Up Post: Adapted Classic


Please link your reviews for your Adapted Classic here. This is only for the Adapted Classic category. This is any classic book that's been adapted for a movie or TV series. If you like, you can watch an adaptation and include your thoughts in your review. 

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Bleak House)." 


Challenge Link-Up Post: Abandoned Classic


Please link your reviews for your Abandoned Classic here. This is only for the Abandoned Classic category. Pick a classic book that you started that never finished -- it could be something you didn't like or just didn't have time to finish. 

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (A Clockwork Orange)." 


Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic About a Family


Please link your reviews for your Classic About a Family here. This is only for the Classic About a Family category. This classic should be about a family and have multiple primary characters who are related, either in the same generation or multiple generations OR have a family member in the title.

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (The Brothers Karamazov)." 



Challenge Link-Up Post: Nature in the Title


Please link your reviews for your Classic with a Nature in the Title here.  This is only for the Classic with Nature in the Title category. This can be anything that occurs in nature, except animals, i.e., mountains, rivers, elements, plants, etc. 

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (On the Beach)."




Challenge Link-Up Post: Place in the Title


Please link your reviews for your Classic with a Place in the Title here.  This is only for the Classic with a Place in the Title category.  It can be a country, a city, a street, or a building, but it must include the proper name of a place. 


If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (The Belly of Paris). "





Challenge Link-Up Post: Name in the Title


Please link your reviews for your Classic with a Name in the Title here.  This is only for the Classic with a Name in the Title category. It can be a first name, last name, or both, but it should be the proper name of a person. 


If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Jane Eyre)."

Challenge Link-Up Post: Genre Classic


Please link your reviews for your Genre Classic here. This is only for the Genre Classic category. This should be a classic work that falls into a genre fiction category, such as fantasy, science fiction, mystery, romance, Western, and horror. Please include the genre somewhere in your review if it isn't obvious. 
   
If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Murder on the Orient Express)." 


Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic by a POC Author


Please link your reviews for your Classic By a POC (Person of Color) Author here.  This is only for the Classic By a POC Author category.  These should all be classics that were written by an author who is not white; i.e., African-American, Asian, Latino, etc. The classic can be written in your native language or in translation.  

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (Their Eyes Were Watching God)."


Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic in Translation


Please link your reviews for your Classic in Translation here.  This is only for the Classic in Translation category.  These should all be classics that were originally written in a language other than your primary language; that is, if you are a native English speaker, it should be a classic written in another language other than English.  If you are not a native English speaker, it could be in English (or any other language, other than your primary language). If you want to read the book in its original language, that's fine too!

If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (War and Peace)."

Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic by a Woman Author


Please link your reviews for your Classic by a Woman Author here.  This is only for the Classic by a Woman Author category.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section. If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (To the Lighthouse)."




Challenge Link-Up Post: 20th Century Classic


Please link your reviews for your 20th Century Classic here.  This is only for the 20th Century Classic category.  All books in this category must have been published between 1900 and 1969 to qualify as classics (except for posthumous publications.  If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (To Kill A Mockingbird)."



Challenge Link-Up Post: 19th Century Classic


Please link your reviews for your 19th Century Classic here.  This is only for the 19th Century Classic category.  All books in this category must have been published from 1800 to 1899.   If you do not have a blog, or somewhere public on the internet where you post book reviews, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.  If you like, you can include the name of your blog and/or the title of the book in your link, like this: "Karen K. @ Books and Chocolate (David Copperfield)."

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Back to the Classics 2019: The Winner!


And the winner of the Back to the Classics Challenge 2019 is.  .  .  . 


Ruthiella @ Booked For Life !!!!!!


Ruthiella won a $30 gift card from Amazon.com! Congratulations! And many thanks and congratulations to everyone who participated in this challenge -- more than 150 people signed up, and 43 people completed the challenge. 

And every one of us crossed some classic books off our to-read lists! I hope everyone enjoyed all the new books and authors they discovered. I hope all everyone has signed up for the 2020 Back to the Classics Challenge, can't wait to see what everyone else is reading! 

Later this week I'll add the link-up posts so you can add your reviews and see what everyone else is reading. Thanks again to everyone for participating!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Back to the Classics 2020: My List


Last year I had an epic fail with this challenge -- I read nearly all the books, but I just didn't get around to blogging about them -- and this is my own challenge. Well, it's a new year, and hopefully this new list will inspire me to keep blogging. Of course I should read books from my own shelves but I'm not limiting myself.

So without further ado, here is my list:

1. 19th Century Classic: The Real Charlotte by Edith Anna Somerville. I'd never heard of it but I found a copy at The Strand bookstore. I'm always on the lookout for Victorian authors, especially women.



2. 20th Century Classic: something by Nevil Shute. I read three of his novels last year and really liked them, especially A Town Like Alice (meant to count for last year's challenge!) On the Beach sounds depressing so maybe Pied Piper or Trustee From the Toolroom.



3. Classic by Woman Author: So Big by Edna Ferber. I only know that it's about Chicago and it won a Pulitzer Prize. It was on my list last year for this challenge also.



4. Classic in Translation: They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy. I'd never heard of this Hungarian author but I found a copy in the library stacks and it intrigued me. it looks a bit like Buddenbrooks. It's very long so I may switch it out for Zola who is my go-to author for this category. Or maybe Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz.


5. Classic by a POC Author: Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston. It's nonfiction, a recently rediscovered manuscript. In 1931 Hurston interviewed the only living survivor of the Clotilda, the very last ship which captured and transported slaves to America.



6. Classic Genre Fiction: A tough category. I'm not a huge fantasy/sci-fi reader but I do love a good mystery. I have some British Library Crime Classics still unread. I also love Georgette Heyer so a Regency romance might be fun. Maybe The Masqueraders. 


7. Classic with a Proper Name: One of Colette's Claudine novels. I bought an omnibus edition (and a hefty author biography) last year after seeing the eponymous biopic. Don't know if I'll make it through all of them but I could probably manage at least one. Or all three -- I could also count these toward other categories as well.



8. Classic with a Place in the Title: Imperial Palace by Arnold Bennett. I first discovered Bennett after reading The Old Wives' Tale, which is on the Modern Library Top 100 novels, though hardly anyone reads it anymore. I loved it and I really want to read something else by Bennett.



9. Classic with Nature in Title: The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. I really enjoyed Buddenbrooks and I've heard this one is just as good.


This book is so obscure there are hardly any images for the English editions, but all her novels seem to be in print in Italian.
10. Classic about a Family: Father by Elizabeth von Arnim. I've loved nearly everything by her and I found a vintage copy at The Strand Bookstore in New York last year. Or maybe it's time to re-read Little Women, which I haven't read since I was a child.



11. Abandoned Classic: Will this be the year I finally get around to reading Les Miserables? I've started it several times and always gotten distracted. Or will I finally commit to One Hundred Years of Solitude? 


12. Adapted Classic: Lark Rise to Candleford. I've watched a couple of the TV episodes and I know it's much beloved, it sounds like exactly the type of show I'd love. I bought the book years ago and have never gotten around to reading it. 


Hopefully these are a good mix of genres, though more than half are really long! And more than half are from my own shelves, more than half by women authors. I'm excited to start reading! 

Bloggers, what do you think? Any must-reads, or any I should reconsider? I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else wants to read for the challenge!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Back to the Classics Challenge 2020




It's back! After much deliberation, I've decided to continue to the Back to the Classics Challenge for the seventh year. I hope to encourage readers and bloggers to tackle all the classic books we've never gotten around to reading. And at the end, one lucky winner will receive a $30 (US) gift of books from Amazon.com or The Book Depository! The rules and the prize are the same as last year, but I think I've come up with some fun new categories. 

If you're new to the challenge, here's how it works:
  • Complete six categories, and you'll get one entry in the drawing; 
  • Complete nine categories, and you'll get two entries in the drawing; 
  • Complete all twelve categories, and you'll get three entries in the drawing
THE CATEGORIES: 

1. 19th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1800 and 1899.

2. 20th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1900 and 1970. All books in this category must have been published at least 50 years ago. The only exceptions are books that were published posthumously but were written at least 50 years ago. 

3. Classic by a Woman Author.

4. Classic in Translation. Any classic originally written in a novel other than your native language. You may read the book in your native language, or its original language (or a third language for all you polyglots). Modern translations are acceptable, as long as the book was originally published at least 50 years ago. Books in translation are acceptable in all other categories as well.

5. Classic by a Person of Color. Any classic work by a non-white author. 

6. A Genre Classic. Any classic novel that falls into a genre category -- fantasy, science fiction, Western, romance, crime, horror, etc. 

7. Classic with a Person's Name in the Title. First name, last name or both. Examples include Ethan Frome; Emma; Madam Bovary; Anna Karenina; Daniel Deronda; David Copperfield, etc. 

8. Classic with a Place in the Title. Any classic with the proper name of a place (real or fictional) - a country, region, city, town, village, street, building, etc. Examples include Notre Dame de Paris; Mansfield Park; East of Eden; The Canterbury Tales; Death on the Nile; etc.

9. Classic with Nature in the Title. A classic with any element of nature in the title (not including animals). Examples include The Magic Mountain; The Grapes of Wrath; The Jungle; A High Wind in Jamaica; Gone With the Wind; Under the Volcano; etc.

10. Classic About a Family. This classic should have multiple members of the same family as principal characters, either from the same generation or multiple different generations.  Updated: Family members in the title are also acceptable.Examples include Sense and Sensibility; Wives and Daughters; The Brothers Karamazov; Fathers and Sons; The Good Earth; Howards End; and The Makioka Sisters.

11. Abandoned Classic. Choose a classic that you started and just never got around to finishing, whether you didn't like it at or just didn't get around to it. Now is the time to give it another try.

12. Classic Adaptation. Any classic that's been adapted as a movie or TV series. If you like, you can watch the adaptation and include your thoughts in your book review. It's not required but it's always fun to compare.

THE RULES: 
  • All books must have been written at least 50 years ago to qualify; therefore, books must have been published no later than 1970 for this challenge. The only exceptions to this rule are books which published posthumously but written before 1970. Recent translations of classic novels are acceptable. 
  • All books must be read during read from January 1 through December 31, 2020. Books started before January 1 do not qualify. All reviews must be linked to this challenge by 11:59 p.m. on January 1, 2021. I will post links the first week of January for each category, which will be featured on a sidebar of this blog for convenience through the entire year. (The link for the final wrap-up will be posted towards the end of the year, to avoid confusion). 
  • The deadline to sign up for the challenge is March 31, 2020. After that, I'll close the link and you'll have to wait until next year's challenge. Please include a link to your actual sign-up post, not your blog URL/home page. Make sure you sign up in the   below, not the comments section. If I do not see your name in the sign-ups, you are not eligible. If you've made a mistake with your link, just add a new one and let me know in the comments. It's no trouble for me to delete an incorrect link. 
  • Books may NOT cross over within this challenge -- that is, you may not count the same book multiple times within this challenge. You MUST read a different book for each category in this challenge, or it doesn't count. 
  • Participants must post a wrap-up and link it to the challenge, and it must include links to all the books they've read for this challenge, specifying which books for each challengeIf I cannot confirm which books you've read for each challenge, I will not enter your name into the drawing. It is fine to rearrange books for the challenge, since many books can fit multiple categories -- just let me know in the final wrap-up! 
  • The wrap-up post MUST include contact information so that I can contact the winner privately before announcing the winner on this blog. If your blog doesn't have a link, or if you have a Goodreads account, let me know in the comments of wrap-up post. If I cannot contact you, I cannot award you the prize!
  • The winner will be announced on this blog the first week of January, 2021. All qualifying participants will receive one or more entries, depending upon the number of categories they complete as stated above. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries. I will contact the winner privately and award the prize before posting on the blog. 
  • The winner will receive a gift certificate in the amount of $30 (US) from Amazon.com (US) OR $30 in books from The Book Depository. Winners must live in a country that receives shipment from one of these online retailers. To check if your country receives deliveries from The Book Depository, click here
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

Can I read e-books and audiobooks for the challenge! 
Absolutely! E-books and audiobooks are acceptable! 

Can I count this book toward another challenge? 
Yes, definitely! As long as it's another blog, that's fine. You just can't count one book for two categories in this challenge. 

Can I read more than one book by the same author! 
Of course -- as many as you like by the same author, but again, only one category per book. (You could actually read nine different novels by Trollope for this challenge.)

Can I read more than one book for each category? 
Well, yes and no. Many books can fit more than one category, so for example if you wanted to read only books by women authors, or books in translation, that would work, as long as they fit the criteria for that category, i.e., 20th century or genre classic But if you want three entries in the final drawing, you have to have one book for each category, not just repeat categories. Of course, you are NOT required to completed all 12 to qualify -- you just get less entries. 

Are children's books okay? 
Children's classics are acceptable, but no more than three total for the challenge! And please, no picture books.

What about short stories and poetry? 
Single short stories and short poetry collections do not count, but you may use full-length narrative poems (like The Odyssey) and short story collections such as The Canterbury Tales, as long as you read the entire book.

Can I change the books from my original list on my sign-up post? What if a book counts for two different categories -- can I change it later? Yes! And you do NOT have to list all the books you intend to read in your sign-up post, but it's more fun if you do! You may certainly rearrange or change the books for this challenge, as long as you indicate it on your final wrap-up post. 

Do I need to read the books in order? 
Not at all! Books may be read in any order. 

What if I don't have a blog? 
If you do NOT have a blog and wish to enter, you need to link to individual reviews on a publicly accessible site like Goodreads. You can specify which categories in the comments section of the link to the Final Wrap-Up Post, or within each review. Do not simply link to your Goodreads account.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up in the Linky below! I'll be posting my tentative list of reads for the 2020 challenge in the next few days. I can't wait to see what everyone else will be reading!