Back to the Classics 2020

So I said no challenges this year. Right. Just call me a lemming, following the crowd, but all the posts about Karen’s Back to the Classics Challenge, and I find I’m somewhat helpless to resist. Especially as there are some fun categories this year (I’m looking forward to “Family” and “Nature in the Title”). It also helps that I have one qualifying title read already and another half-done. So there’s that.

The categories this year, and some possibilities:

  1. 19th Century Classic.Whatever doesn’t fit into any other category and was published between 1800-1899.
  2. 20th Century Classic. Whatever doesn’t fit into any other category and was published between 1900-1970.
  3. Classic by a Woman Author. Too many choices to decide so early. Agatha Christie? Jane Austen? Elizabeth Gaskell? Willa Cather? Edith Wharton?
  4. Classic in Translation. Hmm….well, if I read something else for #11 (Abandoned Classic), Ficciones (Jorge Luis Borges) could slot here. Most likely something translated from Spanish (knowing me), although it’s been along time since I’ve read anything from French. And I’ve never read any Russians (really!), so maybe I should try something there. I do have some Tolstoy on my shelves.
  5. Classic by a Person of Color. I have several possibilities on my Classics Club list: Native Son, Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison), or Go Tell It on the Mountain (Or…Go Tell It on the Mountain could go for #9). I also keep seeing Nella Larson’s name, and it’s about time I finally read one of her novels.
  6. A Genre Classic. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie. Already finished; I’ll be working on the post next!
  7. Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. Karen says plays are okay and I’m thinking some Shakespeare this year, so maybe finally King Lear or Othello. Or Henry VI or Richard III or… Or maybe Jane Austen’s Emma, because rereads for the win?
  8. Classic with a Place in the Title. Is this the year I finally read Cranford? (Why I haven’t yet, I don’t know. I love Gaskell.) Or I might reread Mansfield Park, which I’ve been itching to get to for a while.
  9. Classic with Nature in the Title. I really don’t know what I want to read here. From my shelves, there’s The Rains Came by Louis Bromfield, which I could read as part of my Reading Ohio project as well.
  10. Classic About a Family. This will be a reread of One Hundred Years of Solitude. No debate.
  11. Abandoned Classic. I don’t actually have very many books I could choose from (and I do NOT plan to read both part of Don Quixote this year, even though Part 2 would count). Most likely Ficciones, although I could also finally read The Sound and the Fury (which only got away because of too many library books; I loved what I read).
  12. Classic Adaptation. Another fun category, I’m (currently) reading Far From the Madding Crowd for this. I also plan to watch the 2015 film once I’ve finished the novel, but that’s just for fun.

Of course, 2020 is very likely to be a year of lots of Agatha Christie (I’m on a roll…). She doesn’t count for every category, but I’m sure I could hit #s 2, 3, 7, 8, and 12 just with Dame Agatha alone. Last year, I even contemplated (but did not follow through on) the possibility of completing the challenge with only classic mysteries (I think it would be doable most years, although I’ve never abandoned a mystery, so #11 would be impossible for me this year). Which leads to other tantalizing list ideas…but more on that soon.

So many possibilities, but that’s half the fun of it! But will this be the year I actually read books for every category (and more importantly, write about them)? And do you have any votes for what I should (or shouldn’t read)? Community input always makes reading more fun!

19 thoughts on “Back to the Classics 2020”

  1. I also said no challenges this year, then I wrote a draft post about two challenges I planned to do! Then I had a change of heart and deleted the draft the next day. I was thinking of just posting a list of books I’d like to read this year but haven’t got around to that yet…

    1. It’s always so tempting at the start of the year to join in (everything) because it seems that there’s all this time to stretch out before you and surely you can do it…but at least this year, I think the books that I’m intending to read + this challenge do play nicely together. I suppose posting a list of books you’re planning to read could be a personal challenge–and perhaps a good incentive to actually read them!

  2. Awww. Wonderful. Many known books or books I am also interested in, among your choices.

    I didn’t know Far from the Maddening had a movie!

    I too am loosely doing the challenge. I’m reading and then see how I can fit the books. And much of what I read are classics, so I will be able to fulfill some categories.

    Looking forward to your reviews.

    1. Thanks, Silvia! Hopefully I do better at writing this year than last year…

      Apparently there are several film versions of Far from the Madding Crowd, but the one I’m interested in is the 2015 version.

    1. Oops! Sorry. I implied you were joining the One Hundred Years read along in March. Don’t remember if you said you would; but if not, join us!

      1. Ha, that’s perfectly okay! I can’t remember where I’ve said that I was intending to read along with you and Silvia in March, but yes I am! Really looking forward to it.

  3. Lol! I’m glad to see that you allowed yourself one challenge at least. I no longer worry about completing my challenges. I’ve decided that by joining in they get me reading more than I would without them so that’s my goal: to read more. I like many of your choices and am most intrigued by what you will choose for Women and Abandoned. I’ll be watching!

    1. Really, that is my only challenge this year: to read more. But I think this will work nicely with what I’m (probably) going to read. I realized this morning that I could have said Odyssey as an option for translation, too, since I’m tentatively planning to join you on a reread. There are so many possibilities, though, which is what makes the list-making fun!

  4. You could probably find a Dame Agatha for #9 too… “A Pocket Full of Rye”? “Taken at the Flood”? “Sad Cypress”? And plenty of them are about families too, “After the Funeral”, for example. (I know you’ve already filled that category, but just pointing out that it could be done!)

    Thinking about it, only #1, #4, and #5 are right out… and #11, of course. I can’t imagine too many people not finishing an Agatha Christie!

    1. I agree, it’s hard to imagine not finishing an Agatha Christie. But you’re right, there are so many possibilities just from her work alone. That could be a fun challenge!

  5. You already have lots of good ideas here so no suggestions from me! However, I do love your all mysteries idea if not for this challenge than for something like it. Hope you have fun!

    1. Thanks, Richard! But don’t tempt me to try to read all mysteries, I might never read anything else again! (Surely, I’d get tired of them sometime, though?)

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