Back to the Classics Challenge 2017

The last time I did a Back to the Classics Challenge was back in 2012, and I don’t think I did very well.  I like this challenge because it’s a good way to force encourage myself to read the Classics, which I enjoy, but sometimes forgo for easier, more contemporary reads.  I think it’s time to try it again.

The challenge is sponsored by Books and Chocolates, and this is how it works:

The challenge will be exactly the same as last year, 12 classic books, but with slightly different categories. You do not have to read all 12 books to participate in this challenge!

  • Complete six categories, and you get one entry in the drawing
  • Complete nine categories, and you get two entries in the drawing
  • Complete all twelve categories, and you get three entries in the drawing

And here are the categories for the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge:

1.  A 19th century classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899.

  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) – Thomas Hardy
  • Daniel Deronda (1876) – George Elliot
  • The Woman in White (1859) – Wilkie Collins

2.  A 20th century classic – any book published between 1900 and 1967. 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, such as posthumous publications.

  • East of Eden (1952) – John Steinbeck

3.  A classic by a woman author.

  • Little Women (1868) – Louisa May Alcott

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. (You can also read books in translation for any of the other categories).

  • The Charterhouse of Parma (1839) – Stendhal
  • Kokoro (1914) – Natsume Soseki

5.  A classic published before 1800. Plays and epic poems are acceptable in this category.

  • Tom Jones (1749) – Henry Fielding
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

6.  A romance classic. I’m pretty flexible here about the definition of romance. It can have a happy ending or a sad ending, as long as there is a strong romantic element to the plot.

  • Dr. Thorne (1858) – Anthony Trollope
  • Emma (1815) – Jane Austen

7.  A Gothic or horror classic. For a good definition of what makes a book Gothic, and an excellent list of possible reads, please see this list on Goodreads.

  • The House of the Seven Gables (1851) – Nathaniel Hawthorne

8.  A classic with a number in the title. Examples include A Tale of Two Cities, Three Men in a Boat, The Nine Tailors, Henry V, Fahrenheit 451, etc. An actual number is required — for example, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None would not qualify, but The Seven Dials Mystery would.

  • A Tale of Two Cities (1859) – Charles Dickens

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title.  It can be an actual animal or a metaphor, or just the name in the title. Examples include To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Metamorphosis, White Fang, etc. If the animal is not obvious, please clarify it in your post.

  • Moby Dick (1851) – Herman Melville
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) – Arthur Conan Doyle

10. A classic set in a place you’d like to visit. It can be real or imaginary: The Wizard of Oz, Down and Out in Paris and London, Death on the Nile, etc.

  • Zeno’s Conscience (1923) – Italo Svevo [Italy]
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) – Ernest Hemingway [Spain]

11. An award-winning classic. It could be the Newbery award, the Prix Goncourt, the Pulitzer Prize, the James Tait Award, etc. Any award, just mention in your blog post what award your choice received.

  • Silence (1966) – Shusaku Endo – Tanizaki Prize, 1966

12. A Russian classic. 2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, so read a classic by any Russian author.

  • Anna Karenina (1877) – Leo Tolstoy

To know more about the rules, please click here.

The books I’ve added are tentative, and I might add more, depending on whether or not I stumble on a better choice.

Good luck to everyone who’s also joining!

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13 thoughts on “Back to the Classics Challenge 2017

  1. That’s quite a selection! I’ve read most of them at one time or another. I still have my school prize copy of Anna Karenina. It’s a great story – not quite so demanding as War and Peace. Endo is an interesting author to read – very Japanese! Good luck with your list.

    • Thank you! I know I should have read those ages ago…I hope I can complete the Challenge.

      I actually tried reading Anna Karenina last year, but I stopped….

      Btw did you know Silence has been made into a movie recently?

  2. It’s such a nice challenge! And you have made a great selection: I’d love to read The Woman in White, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (I still don’t know how I managed to avoid it at school but apparently I did) and Little Women. Good luck and happy reading :).

  3. Great list! I need to focus on some classics as well. I enjoyed Anna Karenina but it took me forever to finally finish it.I’ve attempted Moby Dick once, but probably need to give it a second chance.

  4. Pingback: The Classics | Books. Food. Fun.

  5. Ooh, I picked Anna Karenina for my Russian category, and I’m reading East of Eden for the 20th c. category right now! AND I’ve got a Hemingway book listed for my “place you’d like to visit” category… seeing someone else with those picks makes me feel less nervous about them. I look forward to seeing what you think of these books.

    • Cool! I’m reading Anna Karenina now and I’m about 180 pages in, which isn’t saying a lot because the novel is almost a thousand pages long!

      How is East of Eden? I’m kind of worried about that one….

      Good luck and hope to see your reviews as well!

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