Friday, January 7, 2022

Back to the Classics Challenge 2022 Signup

Karen's Back to the Classics challenge is on again for this year. (Yay!) Since my radical paring down of challenges a while back, this is one of the two I continue to do. You likely know the drill, so let's proceed directly to the categories and my predictions therefore. Which I will (almost!) immediately start to ignore...

19th Century Classic

Sir Walter Scott/Count Robert of Paris

 -This was in the same slot last year and got pushed off. But this year for sure!

20th Century Classic

Willa Cather/A Lost Lady

 -Been on a bit of a Willa Cather binge lately. I'm going to try to read this one soon.

A Classic by a Woman Author

Virginia Woolf/The Waves

 -Another one from last year's list that fell away...

A Classic in Translation

Honoré Balzac/Cousin Bette

 -Another...uh, oh, am I sensing a pattern here?

Classic by a BIPOC author

James Baldwin/Notes of a Native Son

 -Whew! This time let's change things up.

Mystery/Crime/Detective Classic

 -So many choices here...Karen suggests Brothers Karamazov, which I've read, but could read again, or In Cold Blood, which I haven't ever read. But it's likelier to be Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, or Rex Stout. Or I could obsessively blog about Edwin Drood one more time!

A Classic Short Story Collection

Thomas Hardy/Wessex Tales

 -Ooh, a new category! Or is that 'a different kind of failure'? (T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets, 'East Coker')

Pre-1800 Classic

 -Likely to be an ancient Greek play. Tom at Wuthering Expectations is hosting a readalong.

Nonfiction Classic

Edmund Wilson/The Shores of Light

 -A ringer: I just finished this on Monday. Now I need to write it up. But this is the reason I won't immediately start to ignore my plans.

Classic That's Been on your TBR List the Longest

Edmund Wilson/Axel's Castle

 -Ahem. Records from the ancient mists of time may be unreliable and in any case are incomplete. But I started this in my early 20s before realizing I just possibly oughtn't read a book about Proust, Joyce, and Stein, before I had read any of Stein, Joyce, or Proust...

Classic Set in a Place You'd Like to Visit

 -Hmm. Hav isn't old enough, nor is Orsinia. Maybe it will end up being some place a bit more reachable.

Wild Card

 -Well, you can't expect me to plan that in advance!

Which ones would you pick? 

Thanks to Karen for hosting this again!


  1. "Tales of the South Seas" by Nordhoff and Hall? the above is an interesting list; i'm intrigued by "Axel's Castle". it would be fun to read Wilson's essays before i read any of the books; i've done that with older novels, like the Elizabethans and it helps me understand what in the world they're driving at; same might be true of the Proust/Stein/joyce archipelago, lol...

    1. The South Seas would be a good place to visit.

      Sometimes it is good to read books without knowing what it is you're reading about--you have to learn someway, right? And maybe I should have persevered thirty years ago. But now I have read Proust, and I think it's true that I'm getting more out of Axel's Castle than I did at the time.

  2. I can't decide if I will join this challenge in 2022. It will be difficult to find suitable books only on my TBR. But heck, I'll see if I can gather some books. Love the wild card..but your choice of Thomas Hardy is not my idea of a writer I need in a pandemic...he's too depressing. Poor Tess of the d'Urbervilles "...she moved under a blighted star." Feel like that start is still around! I loved "A Good Man is Hard to Find" collection of stories by Flannery O'Connor (published 1955) Good luck with the challenge!

    1. Thomas Hardy may be a mistake...I don't really know anything about this one. Far From the Madding Crowd ends with a marriage and is kind of a comedy, but Tess and Jude--yikes!

      It would be fun if you joined!

  3. I'm signing up for this challenge again this year, too. I like all the categories, though some will be easier for me to fill than others. Good luck! :D

    1. Thanks! You, too. I'm looking forward to your choices.

  4. Oh good grief! My comment disappeared. Let's try again .... I'm intrigued by The Waves and I really need to read a Scott novel soon, probably Ivanhoe though. I'm so glad to hear that you're joining Tom's challenge. Me too, although I haven't decided if I'll skip the plays that I've already read, or re-read them. It's shaping up to be a fun 2022!

    1. Glad your comment got through!

      The Waves keeps hovering offshore. This time for sure! Scott can be pretty good, I think, and under-read. I don't know about this one really, though Mudpuddle read it a year or so ago & it seemed interesting. But Ivanhoe or Waverly would the one to read.

      I'm going to try to read every play--I've read them all before except for the second fragmentary Menander--but I can't imagine I'll blog about them all. But it's great that you'll read them, too. This should be loads of fun.

  5. Good list - the only one I've read is Cousin Bette and that was a long time ago. The characters are cardboard cutouts of Nefarious Evil and Disingenuous Innocence but the panorama, the spectacle of the novel is wonderful. And the unhappy family and shocking goings-on are lots of fun. The only Hardy I've read is The Woodlanders which was very fine. I was real close to choosing Woolf's The Voyage Out but bailed at the last second due to fear of difficulty (tho that didn't scare me with Faulkner - hey, I contain multitudes).

  6. Wow! Some of these books I find very intimidating: Waves, Anything by Walter Scott and Balzac. Eagerly looking forward to your views on them.

  7. I've chosen Kidnapped by R. L Stevenson for my Wild Card. It's been ages since I read Treasure Isle and wanted to delve into his other works. I don't if the Netherlands is a place you'd like to visit, but if it is, I recommend Hans Brunner and the Silver Skates :-) It's one of my rereads this year as I've forgotten a lot but remember enjoying it!

    1. I remember Kidnapped as a fun one. I'll look for your thoughts.

      Netherlands would definitely be a fun place to visit!