Karen (who blogs at Karen’s Books and Chocolate) is again hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge, a year-long challenge in which participants are encouraged to finally read the classics they’ve always meant to read — or just recently discovered. “At the end of the year, one lucky winner will receive a prize of thirty US dollars in books from the bookstore of their choice.”
Karen asks readers to read from twelve categories in 2021. She offers one entry to the prize to anyone who reads from six categories, two entries to a reader from nine categories, and three entries to a reader from all twelve categories. Now while I’m not too fussed about the prize (I’m already hemmed in by surplus books, despite my credo that ‘you can never have too many books‘) I do like the look of the options; and much as I keep repeating that I don’t ‘do’ reading challenges, I think I can manage the categories from titles I already have on my shelves.
And as I have yet to complete the list of fifty titles for Classics Club which I originally committed to finish by 31st December 2020 (I’ve extended the challenge to the end of 2021) most of my Back to the Classics list will be drawn from there.
Here are the categories for 2021, with my choices:
1. A 19th century classic. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
2. A 20th century classic. The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
3. A classic by a woman author. George Eliot’s Middlemarch
4. A classic in translation. The Satyricon by Petronius Arbiter
5. A classic by a Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour author. Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh
6. A classic by a new-to-you author. Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince
7. New-to-you classic by a favourite author. E Nesbit’s The Power of Darkness
8. A classic about an animal, or with an animal in the title. The Golden Ass by Apuleius
9. A children’s classic. J M Barrie’s Peter Pan
10. A humorous or satirical classic. Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle
11. A travel or adventure classic (fiction or non-fiction). Pictures from Italy by Charles Dickens
12. A classic play. John Milton’s Comus
The titles I’ve underlined are in fact rereads, not because I’m lazy or unadventurous (though I am both) but because I read most of them so long ago (more than half a century in the case of Tom Sawyer, for example) that most are barely a hazy memory.
Six are by writers from overseas; five at least will be my original copies; and four — the Eliot, Rushdie, Nesbit and Carlyle — I started but stalled on early in my reading.
Let’s see if I can stick to the plan.
Have you read any of these? Which ones would you recommend I make a priority?