Saturday, January 2, 2021

Back To The Classics Challenge 2021 Signup

 Karen is once again hosting her Back To The Classics Challenge:

The complete description of her challenge is available here, but the important question is what are this year's categories and what books do I think I'll match up against them? Where possible I usually pick books from my main Classics Club list and I've done that again. I'm sure these will all get changed around again. But for now! Here's this years list of categories:

19th Century Classic

--Sir Walter Scott/Count Robert of Paris

I'm nearly out of 19th Century classics on my Classics Club list. Yikes!

20th Century Classic

--Samuel Butler/The Way of All Flesh

A Classic By A Woman Author

--Virginia Woolf/The Waves

A Classic in Translation

--Honoré de Balzac/Cousin Bette

A Classic by a Non-White Author

--James Baldwin/Go Tell It On The Mountain

A Classic by a New-to-you Author

--Henryk Sienkewicz/Quo Vadis

New-to-you Classic by a Favorite Author

--R. L. Stevenson/Black Arrow

A Classic About An Animal, or With An Animal In The Title

--Henry James/The Wings of The Dove

A Children's Classic

Not entirely sure here. The Wind In The Willows, The Once and Future King, or Howard Pyle's Men of Iron are possibilities, though they would all be rereads.

A Humorous Classic

How is it I have no funny books left on my Classics Club list!? I've left all the serious stuff to the end? Except for one...

A Travel or Adventure Classic

--R. L. Stevenson/Travels With A Donkey

A Classic Play

--George Bernard Shaw/Major Barbara

The one funny book left on my list. 

Which look good to you?

Thanks to Karen for hosting another year! 


  1. you need....... P.G. WODEHOUSE!!

  2. A most excellent list.

    Have you ever read the Mapp and Lucia series? If not, then I highly recommend that for the humor category if you ever need one.

    I really liked Go Tell It on the Mountain. I've read The Way of All Flesh but always mix it up plot-wise with Of Human Bondage.

    I read Cousine Bette in college and keep meaning to get back to Balzac. I really need a new 19th century author to obsess over now that I've read most of Dickens and am steadily making my way through Trollope.

    Good luck with Henry James. He and I don't really get along most of the time! When I was reading The Magic Mountain and getting frustrated because the sentences were so complex, I had to remind myself that Henry James does the same to me in English.

    1. I suspect the humor category will prove to be an easy one to cover, but Mapp & Lucinda would be good choice. I read a couple volumes once, but didn't finish them all.

      I've read a few other Balzacs, but I haven't reached the obsessing-over phase. I've liked the ones I've read & I still have a couple of the major ones to go--Lost Illusions as well as Cousin Bette.

      The Henry James is the one I'm most dreading--I warmed up last year with The American which was early and easy. But I've got to read Wings of the Dove. That list, you know...

  3. The Once and Future King isn't a children's classic, though The Sword in the Stone, the first part, is in its original version. The Way of All Flesh was written in the 19th century. If it's a 20th century title, Beowulf is a 19th century title.
    You could reduce it to only two books, with a bit of an effort - 19th and 20th Century new-to-you and favourite authors are the only two mutually excusive categories, and every other book could cover several categories - for example, Travels with a Donkey has an animal in the title, Pick a book by Georges Sand could cover woman author, book-in-translation, 19th century author and new-to-you in one go.

    1. Ha! Karen doesn't allow us to double up for this challenge and I should be happy to read all these books anyway...but it could be a strategy!

      I went with the pub date--suspect I know--with Way of All Flesh, though, yes, that makes Aristotle a 15th century author. Though now that I think about it...maybe a little Pierre Menard action there.

      Of course, true about Once and Future King, but I knew if I once started it I wouldn't stop at The Sword and The Stone.

  4. Woolf and James are two of my favorite authors, so I love both of those books. Although I found The Waves a bit challenging. Happy reading! :D

    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to those two as well, though I imagine those are the two toughest on my list.

  5. Ah, finally! I guess better late to the party than never. ;-)

    I can completely understand being out of 19th century classics. I don't think I'll ever be out of 20th century classics; I don't particularly like a good number of them or they're just okay. I thought you'd already read Go Tell It On The Mountain. Now I wonder who that was??? Yay, you're going to read Quo Vadis. And I have Travels with a Donkey too. I liked the first part of Once and Future King but it got weirder and part IV was bizarre. Wasn't White going bonkers or at least very eccentric at the time he wrote it? On one hand, I'd like to read it again and on another, I don't. Well, here's to a great year of reading!

    1. So sluggish...

      I've been thinking about Travels With A Donkey, but it was seeing it on your list put me over the top. I'd like to read Quo Vadis, but I won't read it a chapter-a-day.

      It's been so long since I've read White--part of the reason why I'm inclined to reread it--but the whole King Arthur mythos gets very dark at the end in his sources as well so I remember it as being OK in his version.

      And yes, here's to good reading for all of us!

    2. I'll be very interested to hear your thoughts once you read it. I remember him going off the deep end. I've read Le Morte d'Arthur and while it was definitely dark and sometimes somewhat odd, I didn't find it loopy. White was loopy, or at least in my remembrance. Let's see what you think.

    3. Now I am curious. I may have to read it soon.

    4. i read White some years ago and didn't notice the weirdities; maybe that says something about me and not him... i grit my teeth every year about getting into Malory; this year for sure!

    5. I don't remember it as all that weird either--hmmm, what does that say about us?

      I read Malory years ago. I remember it as pretty great. I keep thinking it's time to reread it.

  6. I'm planning on reading Shaw for the play category too! I just haven't quite decided which one yet... but I want it to be a funny one as well.

    1. I saw it as a student production years ago--I remember it as funny. I hope that's true!

  7. I really enjoyed The Wind in the Willows... It definitely would count as a funny book, but you already have it in a different category. I loved have a copy with beautiful illustrations that brought the silly stories to life. I used my Classics Club list to chose my Back to Classics list too! Here it is, if interested:

    1. I read my children's book already as it turned out, but I could still read The Wind in the Willows for humor!

      I looked at your list--looks like fun. I really liked Kristin Lavransdatter. It seems like you have comments turned off.

      Thanks for stopping by!