Back to the Classics Challenge

Posted January 27, 2016 by Lory in challenges / 16 Comments


I enjoyed the Back to the Classics challenge so much last year, I’m back for more this year! I’ll be trying again for all twelve categories. I’ve attempted to find titles that fit into my own Reading New England challenge (indicated with NE in parentheses), as well knocking off some of my Classics Club list. This list will surely change during the year, so I’ll update it as necessary.

Are you joining? What’s on your list?

  • 19th century classicThe Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells (NE)
  • 20th century classicMr Blandings Builds His Dream House by Eric Hodgins (NE)
  • Classic by a woman authorUnderstood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (NE)
  • Classic in translation Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner
  • Classic by a non-white authorThe Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki
  • An adventure classicThree Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
  • Fantasy, science fiction, or dystopianLooking Backward by Edward Bellamy (NE)
  • Classic detective novel – The Transcendental Murder by Jane Langton (NE)
  • Name of a placeThe Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (NE)
  • Banned or censoredA Separate Peace by John Knowles (NE)
  • Reread from high schoolDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • Short Stories –  Dubliners by James Joyce



16 responses to “Back to the Classics Challenge

  1. This challenge is one of my favourites. I’m happy to see Three Men in a Boat on your list. It’s so funny, and the travelogue is very well-written. There’s a Three Men in a Boat Companion that has wonderful colour photos of all the places they visit if you’re interested in really getting into it.

    Best of luck with your list; you have some great books listed!

    • That book has been on my list forever! The companion book sounds like fun too, thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I am not taking part in Back to the Classics – it looks like a good challenge. This year I will be continuing with The Classics Club. Happy reading 🙂

  3. This is a fun reading challenge; I did it last year, but am doing different challenges this year. But I am planning on reading Understood Betsy next month (because it’s set in Vermont!). I hope you post about The Rise of Silas Lapham because I’ve been thinking about putting that one on my list to read, too. Good luck with this challenge this year; looks like you’ve got a lot of good books ahead of you. 🙂

  4. This looks to be a great list.

    I read Dubliners a couple of years ago. I found it well worth the read. It was also the most accessible thing that I have ever read from James Joyce.

  5. A great list! Mr. Blandings is on my reading list for this year. I’m also intrigued by Three Men in a Boat. I read Looking Backward in college, and I recall that I really enjoyed it.

    • Oh good, I don’t know much about it beyond the bare outlines. Nice to have a positive recommendation.

  6. Ruthiella

    Wow, there are quite a few books that I have never heard of on your list. So I really look forward to your reviews!

    I have read Emil and the Detectives, but I read it in German a very long time ago, in an effort to try and improve my language skills. Still, I am sure it will be fun. Did you know that Kaestner also wrote the book that the movie The Parent Trap is based on? I loved the film (the one with Haley Mills) when I was a kid. I have never seen the one with Lindsay Lohan, although I am sure it is good too..

    • Yes, it is called Lise and Lottie I believe. I would aspire to one day read Kaestner in German, but I am not there yet!

  7. This sounds like a very interesting challenge. Don Quixote is one of my favorite books, but I read it so long ago that I refuse any kind of responsibility for that opinion. Dubliners is well crafted, but it’s also a downer.

    And the rest of the books on your list are a mystery to me – never heard of most of them! I’ll be keeping an eye on your reviews 🙂

    • I’m glad to hear from a Don Quixote partisan — you must have had some reason for liking it, even if you can’t remember it!