Back to the Classics Challenge

Having finished my goal of reading 50 books from my Classics Club list, I have a hankering for another classics-based challenge. And so I return to Back to the Classics, which I’ve participated in in the past and enjoyed very much. The categories chosen by Karen of Books and Chocolate give an added layer of challenge and some structure to my reading quest.

Here are the categories for this year, and some books I think I might choose to read — subject to change. These are mostly leftovers from my Classics Club list, but I may come up with other options as I go along.

What would you choose for these categories?

1. 19th Century Classic. Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
2. 20th Century Classic. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 3. Classic by a Woman Author. AngelElizabeth Taylor
4. Classic in Translation. The Cherry Orchard – Anton Chekhov
5. Classic by a Person of Color. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
6. A Genre Classic. Foundation – Isaac Asimov
7. Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson
 8. Classic with a Place in the Title. DublinersJames Joyce
9. Classic with Nature in the Title. The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann
10. Classic About a Family. The Brothers KaramazovFyodor Dostoyevsky
11. Abandoned Classic. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
12. Classic Adaptation. Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh
Updated with what I actually read:
1. 19th Century Classic. 
2. 20th Century Classic. 
 3. Classic by a Woman Author. The World I Live InHelen Keller
4. Classic in Translation. Le Petit Prince Antoine de Saint Exupery
5. Classic by a Person of Color. 
6. A Genre Classic. 
7. Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson
 8. Classic with a Place in the Title.
9. Classic with Nature in the Title. The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway
10. Classic About a Family. Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh
11. Abandoned Classic. 
12. Classic Adaptation. Gentlemen Prefer BlondesAnita Loos

31 thoughts on “Back to the Classics Challenge

  1. This is an impressive list of books. You have actually chosen a lot of books that I have read as the only books here that I have not read are The Elizabeth Taylor book and the Evelyn Waugh book. I was thinking of how by Isaac Asimov Foundation books a reread myself this year.

    Happy reading.


    1. Wow, I am impressed that you have read nearly all of these. I’m sure I will not get to all of them in one year but I’ll see how many I can do. I have never read any Asimov (I’m not well read in SF at all) so I would like to make that a priority.


  2. I’m attracted by many of your choices here, here, only a few of which (the Asimov, Stevenson and Conrad titles) I’ve read. I’ve been skirting around the James by reading some of his shorter titles, it’s nearing the time when I need to take the plunge!
    Ditto the Gabriel García Marquez and the Mann, though I’ve read other titles by them.
    Whether I’d count Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh as the Classic by a Person of Color or an Abandoned Classic it’s definitely one I want to get back to. Good choices — and good luck!


      1. He had a straightforward phase and an experimental phase. I believe his later works become fairly unreadable, so those who are introduced to something he wrote while mad mad as could be 🙂 probably hate his writing and don’t go back. In his earlier stuff he wrote like a normal human in a fairly straightforward way. This is one of his readable works. I have found that people who try something tough by him don’t realize he didn’t always write that way.


  3. I LOVED The Brothers Karamazov so enjoy it! I think I read The Heart of Darkness once and abandoned it once and I still feel like I haven’t really READ it. Great list and a great challenge! All the best with your reading!


    1. I was supposed to read Heart of Darkness in high school and I just could not bear it. I think I would have more stomach for it now but I’m not expecting to enjoy it.

      I did read The Brothers but I have no memory of it, as with so much I read from that era. I wish I could do over a lot of my schooling.


  4. That is a wonderful list of books, and I hope you have a lovely time working your way through it. I can warmly recommend ‘Anget and ‘Portrait of a Lady’.


  5. Great list, Lory. I can give Conrad, Achebe, and Waugh double-thumbs-up (although I prefer Waugh’s comic novels to Brideshead). I’m thinking of taking The Brothers K with me on a long trip this spring, as it’s been decades since I read that one.

    Happy reading!


  6. I too will be curious to hear what you think of Foundation. I read it a few years ago. The premise is amazing but a lot of it came off as pretty dated. But still worth reading and actually a pretty quick read too.

    You are yet another blogger reading The Magic Mountain! I feel now like I really should also take the plunge. We’ll see. 😀


  7. Oooh, I’m (hopefully) going to be giving Marquez a go this year too – I’ve got both One Hundred Years Of Solitude and Love In The Time Of Cholera waiting for me on my shelves. Looking forward to hearing what you think of Jekyll & Hyde, too! It’s such a deeply complex novel, despite the fact that it’s so short and so readable!


  8. I had to laugh at the irony of the fact that you have these two posts right next to each other: “Should I Read More Current Titles?” and “Back to the Classics Challenge.” Are you answering your own question there? LOL!

    Of course, I think the Back to the Classics Challenge is wonderful, and I wish you the very best with it! 🙂


    1. Haha, that is indeed so ironic and I did not even think about it! I am pulled in several directions when it comes to reading — I just can’t do everything.

      Thanks for good wishes anyway – I always appreciate it!


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