Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Back to the Classics 2021: My List

My list of possible reads for this year's challenge. Once again, mostly taken from my own TBR shelves -- how many of them will I actually read this year? 

13 possible reads from my shelves -- some of them overlap, hopefully I'll read them all. (Ha!)


1. 19th Century Classic: The Doctor's Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon -- I do love Victorian sensation novels! 

2. 20th Century Classic: A Wreath for the Enemy by Pamela Frankau. Bought at The Strand Bookstore last year. 

3. Classic by a Woman Author: The Portable Dorothy Parker. Received as part of my prize from a Penguin book giveaway back in 2011. Also my Classics Club Spin pick so I have to read it by January 30. 

4. Classic in Translation: Renoir, My Father by Jean Renoir. I bought it at the Frick Museum gift shop in 2013. Or maybe I'll put in the effort to finally read Crime and Punishment!

5. Classic by a BIPOC Author: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Or something by Zora Neale Hurston.

6. Classic by a New-to-Me Author:  I've hardly read any Victorians this year so I'd like to read one for this category. I still have The Clever Woman of the Family by Charlotte Mary Yonge and Marcella by Mrs. Humphrey Ward -- are they obscure because they're terrible or are they forgotten gems?  I could also try again to read The Real Charlotte which I plan to read for the European Reading Challenge

7. New Classic by a Favorite Author: The Bright Side of Life by Emile Zola. I'll probably read Zola in April for Fanda's Zoladdiction challenge, or for Paris in July -- maybe both! I still have about five unread novels in the Rougon-Macquart series and the final novel Doctor Pascal has finally been reprinted in a new translation.

8. Animal Classic: Either Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge or A Pelican at Blandings by P. G. Wodehouse. I bought a bunch of P. G. Wodehouse years ago when Borders went out of business, and I still have two left unread. 

9. Children's Classic: Kilmeny of the Orchard by L. M. Montgomery. I bought a lovely early edition last summer during my trip to Second Story Books.

10. Classic Humor or Satire: Something by P. G. Wodehouse. His books always make me laugh, and lately I've been reading my way through the Blandings Castle series. I could read Galahad at Blandings for this category and Penguin at Blandings for the Animal classic.

11. Travel or Adventure Classic: The Caravaners by Elizabeth von Arnim. I think this is the fifth time I've put it on a reading challenge list! 

12. Classic Play: She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith. It was on the schedule for one of the DC theaters in 2020 but has been postponed until whenever -- hopefully it'll be rescheduled when the theaters finally reopen! Or I might try to read some Shakespeare, I haven't read any since college. 

So -- ten from my own shelves, which is a good ratio, and more than half are by women. I'm really looking forward to a new list in the New Year! 

What do you think, bloggers? Have you read any of the books or authors from this list? Which should I read first -- or avoid altogether? 

21 comments:

  1. I can give you a thumbs up (way up) for Invisible Man and/or Zora Neale Hurston, specifically Their Eyes Were Watching God <-- beautiful language, poetic, and dream-like storytelling.

    Good luck!

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    1. I've only read Their Eyes Were Watching God which I loved. I just got new book of her previously unpublished short stories so I might save that until January or February.

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  2. Looks like a well planned list. I've been reading a good bit of Wodehouse this past year. He seems a good match for my mood these days.

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    1. I'm really enjoying Blandings, I just finished Heavy Weather last night and it was a hoot! I've also joined a Wodehouse fan group on Facebook.

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  3. This is the second time I see next year's Zoladdiction mentioned in the lists. So, I should at least consider hosting it again, right? Just kidding... of course I'm hosting again! :P
    I'm exciting to read your review of The Caravaners. I haven't read anything by von Arnim.
    Great list, Karen, many of them I haven't read. Have fun next year!

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    1. Sorry for just assuming you would do it! I would still read Zola even if you couldn't, I know these are crazy times.

      And I love von Arnim, I think I have six of her books on the shelves unread! I'm trying to ration them out, I'll be sad when I've finished them all.

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  4. Oh you have some good ones on your list! The Doctor's Wife sounds interesting .... von Arnim is wonderful ..... Green Dolphin Street, Zola ...... you're going to have a great classics reading year. Enjoy!

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    1. I've been meaning to read Green Dolphin Street, I've only heard good things about it. I'm very excited about starting the next round of this challenge!

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  5. I love "the portable..."s and have read the Dorothy Parker one! Such a great format. Are you reading it all the way through or do you get to browse?

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    1. I suppose I should try to read the whole thing straight through -- it's more than 600 pages! I may skip some of the poetry though.

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  6. Charlotte M. Yonge is one of my favorite Victorians, and I think The Clever Women is one of the best of hers I've read. She is unusual in including characters with physical handicaps as full members of her world. But boy is she hard on her characters. They pay the consequences of their actions, and no one is safe. The body count can be high! I usually need something light and sparkling after I finish one of hers.

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    1. I don't know anything about her, there are so many Victorian writers that have practically disappeared! But at least it's getting easier to find them, at least on Gutenberg and other online sites -- and they're free!

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  7. These are very interesting books, particularly the one on Renoir (I love the father's paintings and the sons's films). The only one I read is The caravaners, I remember liking it way back then, but it was so many years ago... Have fun !

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    1. I love art so I keep meaning to read the Renoir! I've never seen any of the son's films so I'm sure I'll want to watch some afterward. Can you recommend a starting point? I'm guessing Rules of the Game or Grand Illusion.

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  8. I haven't made a list yet. My favorite Victorian author is Anthony Trollope so I will be reading his books

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    1. I love Trollope and I've read most of the major works so far. When I've finally read them all I'll just have to start over reading them from the beginning!

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  9. Thank you Karen for once again hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge. I have been doing the challenge for 4 years and I know had it not been for you and this challenge I would never have read so many great books. I would have told myself I would get around to reading them but never done so and I would have missed out on a great deal and thank you and have a great New Year!

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  10. Thanks for hosting, Karen! This is my first time participating, and I'm excited to join! Looking forward to everyone's recommendations.

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    1. High praise indeed from you! I'm looking forward to it!

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  12. Invisible Man...I wish I could make it required reading in U.S. High Schools. Some great choices besides this. Enjoy!

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