Various

Re-Joining the Classics Club!

I previously joined The Classics Club back in September of 2012, with a list of 50 books to read by December, 2017. I easily hit that goal, back on August 30, 2015. At that point, I was blogging on a different blog, which was self-hosted. I recently shut down that one after republishing everything onto a free blog. You can find my challenge list here, as well as my finish line post, which identifies all of the books, and a short recap of the project.

When I was considering projects for this blog, I decided to rejoin the Classics Club, with another 50 classics to read in 5 years. The project officially commences on 1/1/2019 and will finish on 12/31/2024. You can find the list of classics under the tab at the top of the blog, which you can also find here. In keeping with this blog theme, they were all written by women.

Various

Back to the Classics 2019

Karen @ Karen’s Books and Chocolate has decided to host the Back to the Classics Challenge again next year! You can find her announcement post, with the newest round of categories, here.

While I will likely make changes to this list, I thought I’d put together a first round of ideas for the categories. I am planning to read all women authors for this challenge, to fit into the theme of this blog:

1. 19th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1800 and 1899. My initial impulse is to read something by Elizabeth Gaskell – possibly Cranford. The other possibility would be to reread Middlemarch by George Eliot.

2. 20th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1900 and 1969: There are so many choices here! I think I’ll read something mid-century British for this one: Dorothy Whipple, Barbara Comyns, E.M. Delafield, etc.

3. Classic by a Female Author. Since everything I am reading will be by a female author, this category is totally open for me! I’ll decide how to fill it down the road a bit!

4. Classic in Translation. Any classic originally written in a novel other than your native language: I have been meaning to read Sigrid Undset’s Kristen Lavransdatter trilogy for several years. I think I will read the first installment for this category – The Wreath, which was published in 1920.

5. Classic Comedy. Any comedy or humorous work. Humor is very subjective, so if you think Crime and Punishment is hilarious, go ahead and use it, but if it’s a work that’s traditionally not considered humorous, please tell us why in your post. I don’t read very much comedy. I’m thinking of one of the Peter Wimsey mysteries, by Dorothy Sayers, for this category, since I find them frequently quite funny. Or maybe Angela Thirkell. Her Chronicles of Barsetshire are usually witty and satirical.

6. Classic Tragedy. Tragedies traditionally have a sad ending, but just like the comedies, this is up for the reader to interpret. I am definitely reading something by Edith Wharton for this category – possibly a reread of The House of Mirth.

7. Very Long Classic. Any classic single work 500 pages or longer, not including introductions or end notes: I love really long, doorstopper style books. I’m considering the Middlemarch reread for this one. Pretty much anything by Eliot would work, except for Silas Marner.

8. Classic Novella. Any work of narrative fiction shorter than 250 pages: I don’t read shorter works, so I’m going to have to look around for something for this one.

9. Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean). Includes classic set in either continent or the Caribbean, or by an author originally from one of those countries: The easy thing to do would be to pick an American classic, but that seems sort of cheaty, so I’m going to look for something from the Caribbean or South America.

10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia). Any classic set in one of those contents or islands, or by an author from these countries: I am planning to read one of Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn mysteries for this category – Ms. Marsh was born in New Zealand. Alternatively, I may read Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career.

11. Classic From a Place You’ve Lived. Read locally! Any classic set in a city, county, state or country in which you’ve lived: I struggled with this one a little bit until I remembered Willa Cather. I was born in Nebraska, which is also the setting for her classic My Antonia. I’ve read it before, but not for many years, and I’ve long been considering a rereard.

12. Classic Play. Any play written or performed at least 50 years ago. Plays are eligible for this category only. This category is always a struggle for me because I don’t like reading plays. I’m going to try Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap and see if I have any more success with a mystery!

Various

Welcome to All The Vintage Ladies

Back in 2012 or so I started a classics club project, which was focused on reading 50 classics in 5 years. I finished that project on August 1, 2015, and did a recap where I noted that 42% of the books read were women authors.

Around the same time, I started seeing posts and discussions and tweets and what not about reading women authors. I’ve always read women authors, but both of these things combined to make me more aware of my reading habits. At around the same time, again, I started seeing publishers taking long out of print books and getting them back into print, at least as e-books.

This is a place to keep track of my now lengthy reading “project” to read vintage women authors. This includes classics – Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Elizabeth Gaskell – but it also includes authors of older popular fiction, suspense and romance – Mary Stewart, Helen Macinnes, Phyllis Whitney – as well as middlebrow, wartime (WWI and WWII) and interwar women writers – D.E. Stevenson, Angela Thirkell, Elizabeth Fair. And not to forget women who wrote YA and MG fiction, such as Madeleine L’Engle, Eleanor Estes and Edith Nesbit. Finally, women have written some of the best mystery fiction of their various times: Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Patricia Wentworth, Anna Katherine Green, and more recently, Ruth Rendell and P.D. James.

We think of the literary canon as including a disproportionate number of dead white guys. As a place to start, I’ve compiled a list of 101 classic (i.e., dead) women authors whom I intend to read over the next five years, which I’m calling the 101 Dead Women project. In addition, I’ve seen other bloggers doing “Century Project” where they read one book from each year of the twentieth century, which I will adapt by only reading women. In order to up the difficulty, I’m not going to overlap the two projects. Each book will only count for one project.

This is a work in progress. I have a lot of content on the blog I am abandoning that I will be migrating over here, so there may be posts that were published on a previous blog.

But, welcome to All The Vintage Ladies!