I wasn’t going to do Back to the Classics (hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate) this year. Nope, no way. No challenges at all. (Which is why I signed up for the 2022 TBR challenge, too, of course.) I just don’t get them finished. Technically, I read books for all but one category last year, but I didn’t write about most of them, which is really my biggest challenge. However, 1) I realized that the 2022 titles for the local classic literature club I’ve joined line up with quite a few of the categories and 2) I need to force myself to practice writing more. Somehow I’ve manged to get hung up on putting words to page, something that used to come at least somewhat easily, so I reason that means I need to do it more. So Back to the Classics Challenge it is.
I’m sure at least some of these possibilities will change. Quite a few of the books I finished by the end of 2021 weren’t on my radar at all at the start of the year; at least one I’d not even heard of. I’m sure the same will happen this year, and I consider that for the better. (Most of those read on a whim were great choices!)
- A 19th century classic – The best fit from book club is Camille (Alexandre Dumas, fils), although I imagine I’ll read other qualifiers as well.
- A 20th century classic – I’m sure there will be a number of possibilities. Just off my TBR: Brave New World (Huxley), The Sound and the Fury (Faulkner), and The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway). Also possible, Lolita (Nabokov) or Maurice (E.M. Forster), both with book club.
- A classic by a woman author – I’m late to signing up, so I’ve actually finished a title for this category already, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
- A classic in translation – we’ll be reading Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque, a reread), and The Magic Mountain (Thomas Mann) with book club, so plenty of choices.
- A classic by a BIPOC author – The Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison) is book club’s July selection, and it’s been on my want-to-read list for a while, as a bonus incentive.
- Mystery/Detective/Crime classic – The Blue Train by Agatha Christie has already made it home from the library.
- A classic short story collection – Enter Jeeves (P.D. Wodehouse) should be fun, and is also on my TBR challenge list.
- Pre-1800 classic – many possibilities, since I’m planning on reading lots of Greek Plays, starting with The Persians (Aeschylus). We’ll also be reading Moll Flanders for book club, which I’m really looking forward to.
- A nonfiction classic – ordinarily, I might have trouble picking a title for this (I don’t read a lot of classic NF), but the book club will be reading The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman (in August, of course).
- Classic that’s been on your TBR list the longest – my memory told me it was Don Quixote (technically, I’ve read Book 1), but my book shelves obligingly pointed out it was a different Quixote, The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox.
- Classic set in a place you’d like to visit – I’m really not sure on this. Tentatively The Farm by Louis Bromfield (I think I work this into every list I can!), but that feels a cheat because Bromfield’s real-life farm is only about and hour or so away, and not so different form farms I see on a regular basis. On the other hand, I DO want to visit Malabar Farm after reading The Planter of Modern Life last year
- Wild card classic – well that could be anything. Most likely one of the book club titles listed as a 20th century possibility above, but maybe it will be something I don’t even yet know I might read.
The only question that remains is where to begin?