In the High Peaks

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Back to the Classics Challenge 2019

After dabbling and flitting about aimlessly from  one book to another in 2018, the idea of committing to a Classics Challenge sounds so good, so right, so exactly what my reading heart is seeking as we come close to marking the two-year anniversary of a particularly disturbing administration.

The Back to the Classics Challenge is hosted by Karen of Books and Chocolate. Please note the different participation levels. Because the minimum participation level is only 6 classics (and the maximum is 12), perhaps you might be interested in joining us in the coming year.

You may be interested in viewing JoAnn's choices listed on her blog Lakeside Musing. Please notice that JoAnn notes that some choices on her list may be subject to change during 2019, which is allowed. This is the case for me as well.

 As of right now, the following books are on my list. I have a few additions to make in the near future. I need to complete the list by Dec. 31st and announce it here. As of December 16th, this is what I know:

19th Century Classic:  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

20th Century Classic:  Considering a novel published before 1970 by John Le Carre

Classic written by a woman: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Classic in translation: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Very long Classic (500 pages +): The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Classic in comedy: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Classic in tragedy: (Can't decide as of today. Check back!) 

Classic set in a place you have lived: The Last of the Mohicans or The Deerslayer by James 
          Fenimore Cooper (New York State)

Classic from the Americas: Central America, Canada, the Caribbean, or South America: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Classic from Africa, Asia, Australia, South Pacific: (A novel by an Indian author, I think. Or maybe by a Nigerian author. Can't decide.)

Classic Novella: (So many to choose from--just can't decide yet)

Classic Play: (Same problem)  

Please check back: My complete list will be posted by midnight, December 31st.


  1. Great list, so far! Frankenstein is awesome and I'll be interested in what you think of The Idiot after you finish. Dostoyevsky is never clear in his writing and this one somewhat puzzled me. The Woman in White is a great read! Have fun with your list and the challenge!

    1. Thank you, Cleo!
      I really enjoyed visiting your blog this evening. Fun!
      I was enchanted by Crime and Punishment, and even more so by The Brothers Karamazov when I read them when I was a senior in high school. So I really haven't read much Dostoevsky since then. So this will be an interesting adventure.
      Thank you for the encouragement and good wishes! I'll be following your reading adventures in 2019 as well!

  2. So glad you're joining the challenge, Judith! The Woman in White will keep you on the edge of your seat... a very good story. Most of the New York State classics I thought of are set in NYC, but I never considered The Last of the Mohicans. Have you read An American Tragedy? That would be even more local for you... quite long, but I enjoyed it as a read/listen combo a few years ago.

    1. Hi JoAnn,
      Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review Editor, and host of the NYTBR Podcast, fell in love with The Woman in White, so it is with her enthusiasm that I put it on my list. Since then I've heard from several people like you who really liked it. Excited to have it on my list.

      Someday I may read An American Tragedy, but I know the history, and have read all about the event, so I'm not moving forward with it right now. So Cooper is a go for me at this time, I think. Thanks for your suggestions!

  3. I have missed so many of your December posts. I am so sorry. Work has been hectic and my husband is having surgery soon, nothing serious but so many appointments and preparations.

    I am going to do this challenge also, but haven't written up a post yet. Will be back to comment more.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      December is crazy enough without work acting up and the concern about your husband's surgery. Will he be having surgery before Christmas or after? I do wish him and you the best!
      I'm so excited that you're going to be joining us for the challenge! Awesome news. Looking forward--

  4. Masterpiece Theatre did a wonderful adaptation of Last of the Mohicans many years ago. I am not sure if it is available on DVD but I remember watching with my mother and getting the book out of the library afterwards. My mother spent all her summers in Indian Lake in the Adirondacks growing up.

    1. Hi Constance,
      Indian Lake is the town bordering us to the northwest. How interesting! Even though it's the next town, it takes us an hour to get there, but we have a number of friends who live there. I also love the Indian Lake Library and good hiking abounds.
      I'll look into the Masterpiece Last of the Mohicans. If I decide to read that one, rather than The Deerslayer, I'd definitely want to watch after reading the book.
      We have the Masterpiece version The Woman in White taped and waiting, waiting for me to read the book this coming year.
      Wishing you happy holidays!

  5. My mother loved Indian Lake more than anything and was miserable when my grandparents sold their house but there was no library in her day (or so she says) and she had to read the books in the house (The Egg and I and books by Clemency Dane) until she knew them by heart. It surprises her children that a future librarian put up with this!

    1. Thanks for the additional information about Indian Lake. I can well imagine that there wasn't a library many years ago.
      And so your mother was a librarian--so was my mother! How interesting.
      That brings to mind the many perks of being the child of a librarian.
      And Clemency Dane!?! I'll have to look her up. Have you ever visited Indian Lake?

  6. I’m mulling over my own choices for this challenge—I want to finish Classics Club this year but many on the list don’t fit into Karen’s categories, which by the way are brilliant this year. I loved Woman in White—read it twice in fact—but had mixed feelings about Frankenstein (I’ll be interested to read what you think about it). It’s been >30 years since I read 100 Years of Solitude, so I may reread that one myself.

    Enjoy the. Challenge, and Happy Holidays!

    1. Jane,
      I hope the conflicting challenges will work out so that you can participate in Karen's challenge. The more the merrier.
      Frankenstein is my one re-read on the list. I read it when I took a wonderful, eye-opening English novel course when I was a senior in college. And I loved Frankenstein at the age of 21, but the professor was extraordinary, so maybe that had something to do with it. I'll be interested to see what I think. I'll be starting it on January 1st.