I want to have a more focused reading year because 2015 seemed somewhat lackluster and all over the place, so I’m participating in a few challenges in 2016! The first one is the Back to the Classics challenge hosted by Books and Chocolate. There are twelve categories, and I think that’s a reasonable amount to do. I have a personal goal to read 24 classics with 12 of them new to me, so this will be a nice challenge in conjunction with it. Aside from the one reread, each of the books read for this challenge will be ones I’ve never read but have always been meaning to read!
Here are the categories:
1. A 19th Century Classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899.
I’m not sure if Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd fits this one as it was revised in the early years of 1900, but as it was first published in the 1870s, I’ll probably count this one toward this point.
2. A 20th Century Classic – any book published between 1900 and 1966. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.
Because I’m still surprised at myself for never reading his works before, I’ve picked John Steinbeck’s East of Eden for this bit.
3. A classic by a woman author.
There are a few I’d like to read for this bit, so it’s a toss up right now between Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. I’ll read you Wuthering Heights for once and for all this year. I’ve tried so many times to finish it, but I’ve never been able to.
4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.
Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is fitting the bill for this one.
5. A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.
I feel like a terrible reader because I’ve realized lately that I don’t read many works by diverse writers, so I’m going to fix that. For this challenge I’ve chosen James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.
6. An adventure classic – can be fiction or non-fiction. Children’s classics like Treasure Island are acceptable in this category.
I think for this one I’ll be reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.
7. A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984, and children’s classics like The Hobbit are acceptable in this category also.
I’ve picked Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World for this bit.
8. A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you’re looking for ideas.
There are two Sherlock Holmes novels I’ve not read… so it’ll be one of those.
9. A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.
James Joyce’s Dubliners will fit!
10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.
D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover!
11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college). If it’s a book you loved, does it stand the test of time? If it’s a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?
I read Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth for a Women Writers course I took for my undergrad degree, so I think after taking my masters and having a bit more life experience, I’m ready to come back to it for a second time and see if it’s still as striking to me now as it was then.
12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children’s stories are acceptable in this category also.
I have a book of Henry James’ New York Stories, but it’s a bit big, so I might have a look through my collection once it’s unpacked. But as this is a challenge, I’m going to stick to a larger title!
I’m really excited about this challenge, and it’s because I’m excited about reading all of the books. Well, most of them. As mentioned above, Wuthering Heights has always been a challenge for me, but I am determined to finish it this year.