Thursday, January 6, 2022

Back to the Classics 2022: Challenge Sign-Up

It's back! For the ninth year, I'm hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge, a year-long challenge in which participants are encouraged to finally read the classics they've always meant to read -- or just recently discovered. At the end of the year, one lucky winner will receive a prize $30 (US) in books from the bookstore of their choice. The rules and prize are the same as last year. Only the categories have changed. 

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

Without further ado, here are the categories for 2022: 

1. A 19th century classic. Any book first published from 1800 to 1899

2. A 20th century classic. Any book first published from 1900 to 1972. All books must have been published at least 50 years ago; the only exceptions are books which were written by 1972 and posthumously published.

3. A classic by a woman author.

4. A classic in translation.  Any book first published in a language that is not your primary language. You may read it in translation or in its original language, if you prefer. 

5. A classic by BIPOC author. Any book published by a non-white author.

 Mystery/Detective/Crime classic. It can be fiction or non-fiction (true crime). Examples include Murder on the Orient Express, Crime and Punishment, In Cold Blood.

7. A classic short story collection. Any single volume that contains at least six short stories. The book can have a single author or can be an anthology of multiple authors. 

8. Pre-1800 classic. Anything written before 1800. Plays and epic poems, such as the Odyssey, are acceptable in this category. 

9. A nonfiction classic. Travel, memoirs, and biographies are great choices for this category.

10. Classic that's been on your TBR list the longest. Find the classic book that's been hanging around unread the longest, and finally cross it off your list!  

11. Classic set in a place you'd like to visit. Can be real or imaginary -- Paris, Tokyo, the moon, Middle Earth, etc. It can be someplace you've never been, or someplace you'd like to visit again.

12. Wild card classic. Any classic book you like, any category, as long as it's at least 50 years old! 

So -- I hope everyone likes the categories! Remember, you do NOT have to read 12 books to qualify for the drawing! The rest of the rules also remain the same.

  • All books must have been written at least 50 years ago to qualify; therefore, books must have been published no later than 1972 for this challenge. The only exceptions to this rule are books which published posthumously but written before 1972. Recent translations of classic novels are acceptable. 
  • All books must be read during read from January 1 through December 31, 2022. Books started before January 1 do not qualify. All reviews must be linked to this challenge by 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2023. 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 April 1, 2022. 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 Linky 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 (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


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

Can I count this book toward another challenge? 
Yes, definitely! As long as it's for another blogger's challenge, 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. 

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 humor/satire. 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 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.

Do plays count? 
For this year's challenge, plays will only count in the Pre-1800 Classic category. 

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 really 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. 

Can I use my vlog? 
No. At the end of the year I have to tabulate all the entries, and I simply do not have enough time to watch videos. At this time, it has to be something in writing that is publicly accessible.

Is there a hashtag for social media?
Yes! If you'd like to talk about the Back to the Classics Challenge on Twitter, Instagram, or other Social Media, the hashtag is #BacktotheClassics2022

So what are you waiting for? Sign up in the Linky below! I'll be posting my tentative list of reads for the 2022 challenge in the next few days. I can't wait to see what everyone else will be reading!


  1. Hi Karen! Thanks for hosting this fun challenge again! Does the Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh count as short story collection? There are four books, each with multiple short stories. There are illustrations, though the stories seem pretty long to be counted as just a picture book, so I am curious!

    1. I'm going to read the Winnie Pooh collections too!
      hopefully it doesn't count, regardless of the pictures..

  2. Dear Karen, your challenge got me into reading classics again in 2017 and I've thoroughly enjoyed it since then. I'm so excited for this new chance of dipping deeper into classic literature. Thank you for hosting the challenge.

  3. Thank you for hosting again! Love the prompts!

  4. I am so glad you are hosting this again! It's only my second year and I'm really looking forward to participating again. Thank you!

  5. Thanks for hosting this again!

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  7. I just put up my list. Thanks again, Karen

  8. Thank you so much Karen for doing this for another year. I will work on my list this weekend. I love the WILD CARD category!

  9. Hi Karen -- thanks so much for hosting this again. It always leads to my reading some really good books, even though I've yet to read all the categories. I'll work on my list this weekend and officiallys "sign up" next week. I, too, love the wild card category!

  10. Thank you for hosting once again! I'm excited to get going on my list!

  11. I'm excited to participate in this challenge for the 5th year in a row! This challenge is the reason I started a blog. Thank you for hosting again!

  12. Oh Yay! I thought you weren't going to run it this year. Thanks so much Karen. This is my favorite challenge.

  13. Thanks again for hosting, Karen! I'm looking forward to it!

  14. Thanks for running this again! I am determined to do better than last year! (Last year was 0. It's a low bar.)

  15. Yay, thank you for running this again, Karen! Always a highlight.

  16. I'm so happy to see you're hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge again this year! Thank you for the work you put into running it.

  17. Thanks for hosting this challenge again!!

  18. Thank you for hosting this challenge again this year! It's my favorite reading challenge. And you chose some great categories. :D

  19. Thanks again for hosting! I just added my sign up post

  20. I have joined some other challenges, and went down some YouTube rabbit hole about beat books to read, and I ended up excited to read some classics. Thanks for the challenge.

  21. Hello and thank you so much for hosting again! I love the prompts for this year. My link is to my Goodreads post, I can be found on Goodreads @

  22. Well, I wasn't going to sign up for any challenges this year, but I find that I just can't resist this one!

  23. I looked at a lot of other book challenges, but I like the Back to the Classics Challenge the best. I hope it will give me the motivation I need to tackle my TBR list. It's already motivated me to open a Goodreads account. Thanks, Karen!

  24. Happy to join again this year! I;m a bit late, but I'm already reading a classic!


  25. Bit of a late start to sign up for a reading challenge but giving it a go nonetheless.

    1. My Goodreads:

  26. So excited you're doing the challenge again! I've been reading even though I'm late signing up.

  27. Just under the wire! Thanks so much Karen for running this challenge again. :D

  28. Hello Karen! Thank you for hosting this challenge! Rather last minute, but I'm really excited to participate for the first time!

  29. Hi!
    This is very last minute, but I just found the challenge!
    Signed up as Asakes.

  30. I didn't read much last year so had to skip this challenge for the first time in years. Hope you'll be back for 2023!


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