Sunday, January 9, 2022

Back to the Classics 2022: My List

Time to make up my own list for this challenge! As ever, I'm trying to read books from my own shelves. Here's my tentative pile: 

1. 19th Century Classic: Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope. I'm in an online Trollope group and this is the next group read. 

2. 20th Century Classic: The Deepening Stream by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Newly reprinted by Persephone Books! I received a copy for Christmas and I've just started it.

3. Woman Author: Mr. Skeffington by Elizabeth von Arnim. I have owned this book for ten years, bought at a vintage bookstore in Fredericksburg, Texas. So it's moved with me three times.

4. Translation: Kasebier Takes Berlin by Gabriele Tergit. A newish acquisition, bought at The Strand Bookstore in NYC.

5. BIPOC: Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal. I think this has been on my BTCC list every year for the past five years!

6. Mystery/Detective/Crime Classic: Death of an Airman by Christopher St. John Sprigg. A British Library Crime Classic, I think I bought it at Foyle's on my first trip to London just for the cover. 

7. Classic Short Story Collection: The Matador of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett. Pretty sure I bought this at Half-Price Books back in Texas. It's a wee little paperback edition, and it's short, so it shouldn't take too long. 

8. Pre-1800 Classic: Henry VI. I joined an online Shakespeare reading group, and this winter they're reading all three parts. Or maybe Richard III which they're reading in the spring.

9. Nonfiction: The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig. I loved his short stories so much I want to read everything he's ever written, so I was happy to find this memoir in translation.

10. Longest on your TBR: Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens. I've read all his novels so far, and this is a collection of his earliest writings. 

11. Set in a Place You'd Like to Visit: The Feast by Margaret Kennedy (Cornwall). There's a beautiful reprint that was recently published -- another one of my Christmas gifts!

12. Wild Card: Jenny Wren by E. H. Young. A Virago Modern Classic that I've been meaning to read forever. Also found at the Half-Price Books, probably the Austin location.

Basically, mix of old and new acquisitions, about half written by women, and a couple in translation. And all from my own shelves except the Shakespeare! Readers, what do you think? Which should I read first -- and are there any I should dump immediately? I'm a little worried about the Dickens and the Shakespeare, I haven't read any the histories yet. And have you made up your own lists yet? I'm ready to start this challenge!


  1. I'm halfway through Trollope's Barsetshire Chronicles, so I'll read the next of those. BTW, I think I "discovered" Trollope through your Classics challenge! Then seeing his Doctor Thorne on Netflix sealed the deal. Love him. I'm trying to read Dickens' novels that I haven't yet, so I need to sort out which of those to choose. Other than that, I am not sure yet.

    I don't think I am familiar with any of these besides Trollope, Dickens, and Shakespeare.

    I'd love some ideas for the BIPOC classic. I don't know of many over 50 years old. I've read Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery, Northup's 12 Years a Slave, Frederick Douglass' and Sojourner Truth's autobiographies, and a story by a Native American named Wynema. I keep thinking I need to read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, but I am afraid it would be overwhelming.

    1. I read a lot of 20th century women writers, many of whom have fallen into obscurity, but are now being rediscovered (some great books being republished by Persephone Books, Furrowed Middlebrow, and the British Library Women Writers series).

      BIPOC classic are often tough reads for me too. Zora Neale Hurston is a great Black woman writer; there's Maya Angelou's early writings, also Toni Morrison's Bluest Eye, James Baldwin, Nella Larsen, and Ann Petry. If you're looking for Latin American writers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez started writing in the late 1940s, so some of his works qualify. There are lots and now I"m including this category every year. Here's a link to some of the books people read last year for this category:

      And I'm so pleased that you've discovered Trollope! He's one of my favorite writers of all time and I love that he was so prolific, he wrote 47 novels plus short fiction and nonfiction! I've read more than 30 of his novels and I hope I won't be too sad when I've finished them all (I will probably have forgotten some of the early reads and can just start reading them all over again).

  2. Lovely list, Karen! I have Pictures from Italy and Martin Chuzzlewit on my list for this year :-)

  3. I'm intrigued with your online groups. They must be fun and help you draw more from the texts. I LOVE Trollope. I have my last Barset novel to read and then I might read some of his stand-alone ones before I start The Pallisers.

    Thanks for hosting again and have a great challenge!!

    1. The Pallisers are SO GOOD. Lots of great stand-alone novels also!

  4. I thought The World of Yesterday was very good. But that and Shakespeare are the only ones on your list I've read, so I'm definitely looking forward to what you have to say about the others.

  5. I'm so glad you're hosting the challenge again - thank you!

  6. Thanks for hosting the challenge again. I always love seeing what you're reading because you find authors and titles new to me. I tried Sketches by Boz a few years ago but wasn't inspired--hopefully you will find it easier going than I did. I am a Shakespeare history fan though I've only gotten through all 3 parts of HVI once. I absolutely love the HIV, HV set and I have read and watched them many times. Just put The Feast on my list--Cornwall is on my absolute must-visit list.

    Happy reading!

  7. You've inspired me to look at more of Dorothy Canfield Fisher's books. I've read "Understood Betsy" with my kids and loved it, but never thought to read any of her work for myself. Thanks for sharing your list! You introduced me to Miss. Pettigrew a few years ago and it is now one of my favorite books.

  8. Hi Karen -- loved the list! I was really interested in your Bennett selection, as I finally read his Old Wives Tale last fall, largely as a result of the Challenge. I loved it and am surprised that it doesn't seem to get read more often. Like you, I love Trollope and Zweig, so I'll be very interested in reading your thoughts.
    I'm so glad you're hosting the challenge again this year! I'm in the process of going through the shelves and making my own list, so I should be signing up by next week.

  9. Great list (and thanks for hosting this challenge)! I'd definitely not heard of that particular Dickens book before.

  10. Don't recognize many, except authors Dickens, Trollope and Shakespeare, so I'm not the one for recommending 😆 Personally, I start for Dickens, considering you've read all his works, and because he's highly likely, so far, going to be a favourite author for me :-). Thank you for this challenge Karen! Very excited to participate for the first time!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.