Thursday, December 31, 2020

Back To The Classics 2020 Challenge Wrapup


Time for a wrapup post for the 2020 edition of Karen's Back To The Classics Challenge. This is the first year I managed to read a book for all twelve categories; I only managed to write blog posts for ten of them, though. Here are this year's categories and what I matched up against them: (Matched up in the end. Not in the beginning...)

19th Century Classic

--Henry James' The American

20th Century Classic

--Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

Classic by a Woman Author

--Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own

Classic in Translation

--Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt

Classic By A Person of Color

--James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room

A Genre Classic

--Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea

Classic With A Person's Name in the Tile

--Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita

Classic With A Place in the Title

--Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra

Classic With Nature in the Title

--Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country

Classic About A Family

--John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga

Abandoned Classic

--Thomas Carlyle's On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History

Classic With An Adaptation

--Charles Dickens' David Copperfield

I thought they were all really very good--no lemons in the bunch--well, they're classics, ya know? David Copperfield and Peer Gynt were rereads for me. I was a little surprised how much I enjoyed Tales of the Alhambra.

Reading a book for all twelve categories is the best I've ever done at this challenge, so, even though I didn't write about two of them--I'm still counting that very much as a success. I finished Carlyle only a couple of days ago; I'm likely to write about it soon and have half a post finished. I finished Giovanni's Room a couple of months ago now; I'll probably need to reread it before I do write about it. That only counts as ten books though for the draw. Should it be necessary I can be reached at reese (chiocciola) reesewarner (punto) com.

Thanks to Karen for hosting! Looking forward to the new version (for which I need to write a signup post...)

This is the third year I've done the challenge and I find I piled up all the books on the dining room table and took a picture with the Christmas tree in the background the first two times. Since one must keep up traditions...


  1. congratulations! that sounds like an impossible feat to me: i'm much too haphazard... i like Irving a lot: if you ever get a chance you might try his volumes on the exploration of the west, Astoria, Captain Bonneville and a couple of others... i was riveted to them for several significant periods of time...

    1. Oh, I'm pretty haphazard--the nice thing about this is you can change up afterwards.

      I read Astoria a while ago & liked it--I've never read Captain Bonneville--I don't know why I'm sometimes suspicious of Irving. He has a reputation for long-windedness and stodginess, but I don't think it's really true & I've liked everything I've read by him.

    2. im beginning to repeat myself i think... oh well my brain must almost be full, haha...

    3. Nothing wrong with being an Irving booster!

  2. Congrats on managing to read a classic for all 12 categories! I've done this challenge a couple of times and never quite managed to do that myself. I can't wait to see what classics you read this year. Happy 2021! :D

    1. I was feeling pretty chuffed that I managed even to read a book for all the categories this year!

      Happy new year to you!

  3. Congratulations on completing the dozen! I love the photo too. That makes the accomplishment more visceral. I'm looking forward to reading about what you choose for the 2021 categories. Half the fun is making that first list of possibilities, I find.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to your list as well-it's true: making up the list IS half the fun. Of course not sticking to it is another half the fun! I think I changed out three categories this year from my initial list. Which doesn't feel too bad...

      Happy New Year to you!

  4. Congratulations on finishing, lovely photo of your stack! And I agree, there's never a bad reason to read Dickens. I'm also looking forward to the new Copperfield adaptation. I look forward to seeing what you read in 2021!

    1. Really the question is which Dickens to reread next! I'm leaning towards rereading Tale of Two Cities, which I haven't read since high school.

      Thanks for hosting & definitely looking forward to the new edition, to what you read, and what all of us read. Thanks again!

  5. Excellent finish! I could only hope to be so organized and consistent! Have you read Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit? I don't know why, but I've always liked that one and I doubt it many people's favourite. I'm avoiding Henry James for the moment. Perhaps one day. In any case, congratulations and take the momentum into this year!