Category Archives: Back to the Classics 2021

Back to the Classics

It’s midway through the year, & it’s time to check in on the ONE blog challenge that I committed to this year. So far, I’ve done a completely abysmal job of tracking my progress. I hope to get my act together this month, and get posts up for categories that I have fulfilled!

While I haven’t been sufficiently motivated to write any posts of the books that I’ve read to fulfill the challenge categories, I have completed 6 of the 12 categories. I will be working to get posts up this month, but for now, just a recap:

A 19th Century Classic: I had planned to read Elizabeth Gaskell or Anthony Trollope for this one, but I ended up read The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, published in 1844. This is a beloved adventure story that has so permeated pop culture at this point that I don’t think anyone doesn’t know at least the bare outlines of the story.

A 20th Century Classic: I’ve been on a tiny bit of a Stella Gibbons tear – she was one of the authors-in-residence chosen for January-March by my GR vintage fiction group. I managed to read two books by Ms. Gibbons: Westwood and The Swiss Summer.

A Classic by a Woman Author: This one is still open; I’m still vaguely planning on one of those final two Cather novels. But I read so many classics by women that, really, this one could end up as anything. 

A Classic in Translation: I’m tempted to use The Three Musketeers for this one, but I’m going to leave it where it is (at least for now). This one remains open.

A Classic by a BIPOC author: I ended up subbing A Fire Next Time for If Beale Street Could Talk, but stayed with James Baldwin as the author of choice for this category.

A Classic by a New-To-You Author: I have been meaning to read something by Margery Sharp for several years, so I picked The Nutmeg Tree for this category.

New-To-You Classic by a Favorite Author: This one is still open.

A Classic about an Animal or with an Animal in the Title: I haven’t read for this one, yet, although I had tentatively selected The Wind in the Willows for this category.

A Children’s Classic: Ursula LeGuin was selected as an author-in-residence as well, so I read The Wizard of Earthsea

A Humorous or Satirical Classic: This really isn’t my jam at all, so I’ll just come up with something. Probably Wodehouse.

A Travel or Adventure Classic: I read Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, and it fits into this category just beautifully.

A Classic Play: Plays also aren’t my jam, but I do have a paperback omnibus of several of Agatha Christie’s plays, so it will probably come from that, and will most likely be The Mousetrap. An alternative possibility is Dickon by Josephine Tey (writing as Gordon Daviot).

So, I’ve filled exactly half of the categories, which is perfectly acceptable, since the year is half over!

Back to the Classics: 2021

I participated in the Back to the Classics challenge for several years, until I lost my challenge mojo. Karen, who blogs at Books and Chocolate recently announced that she is hosting it again, for the 8th year. This aligns beautifully with my plans for next year, which I will be discussing in a different post altogether.

My initial plans for the challenge, although, as always, they are subject to change:

1. A 19th century classic: any book first published from 1800 to 1899: I will either be reading Elizabeth Gaskell or Anthony Trollope for this category. I haven’t settled on a book yet, though.

2. A 20th century classic: This will be something by author Stella Gibbons.

3. A classic by a woman author: I have many choices for this one, but I think I will hold on to one of my two final Willa Cather novels to fill it. Probably Shadows on the Rock.

4. A classic in translation: The Wreath, by Sigrid Undset, which is the first in her Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, and was originally published in Norwegian in 1920.

5. A classic by BIPOC author; that is, a non-white author: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin.

6. A classic by a new-to-you author: I’ve been meaning to read something by Margery Sharp for years.

7. New-to-you classic by a favorite author. Something by John Steinbeck for this one.

8. A classic about an animal, or with an animal in the title: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

9. A children’s classic: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin.

10. A humorous or satirical classic: Something by P.G. Wodehouse.

11. A travel or adventure classic (fiction or non-fiction): A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

12. A classic play: The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie.