Sunday, November 18, 2018

Back to the Classics - it's a wrap

This year was a very good year for classics with regards to my reading life.

I did the Back to the Classics Challenge hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate, and finished in record time. Usually I am racing the calendar to finish up before December 31, but this year I finished in November. Personal best.

Here was what I read in 2018. I completed all 12 categories, giving me 3 entries for the drawing.

  1. A 19th century classic – Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens - one of the best Dickens novels, thoroughly enjoyed this dip into dark London.
  2. A 20th century classic – A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway - part of my reading up on France before my summer vacation. Good but not great.
  3. A classic by a woman authorTo Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - a reread, but absolutely wonderful. I hope to get to NYC and see the Aaron Sorkin Broadway version next spring.
  4. A classic in translation.  The Paradise – Emil Zola - really enjoyed this look at Paris in the late Victorian days.
  5. A children's classic. LittleTown on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder - another reread of an absolute favorite.
  6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction.  Murder on the Orient ExpressAgatha Christie - can't believe this was my first time reading this top of the genre story. Enjoyed it and it gave me a lot to think about.
  7. A classic travel/journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway - another Paris-based book, liked it very much and thought it gave me a good feel for Paris.
  8. A classic with a single-word title.  Villette – by Charlotte Bronte - good but it's no Jane Eyre.
  9. A classic with a color in the title.  The Black Arrow – Robert Louis Stevenson - pure adventure, a mashup of Robin Hood and Hamlet, set during the War of the Roses.
  10. A classic by an author that's new to you.  Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton - heartbreaking, beautifully written, definitely a must read.
  11. A classic that scares you.  Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury - interesting, but I'm just not into sci-fi.
  12. Re-read a favorite classic. Persuasion - Jane Austen - You pierce my soul.

A few are from the Classics Club Challenge, and a couple are ones that I've had on the shelf for awhile now. I felt that I picked classics that I could really enjoy and Karen always has some new categories to make the selections fun.

Looking forward to doing this again in 2019, and I appreciate Karen hosting this challenge so much. I really like reading the others' reviews and getting inspired to read other classics.


  1. Congrats! That's an awesome list of classics that you read. :D

  2. Jane, you did an awesome job. I think I need to join a classics challenge as every year I say I want to read some and, I just never do. Maybe 2019 will be my year?

  3. This is a very impressive list of books. Our Mutual Friend is indeed a great book. I think it is an underrated Dickens book.

    I like the “Classic with Color in its title” concept.

  4. Congratulations! I am "re-reading" Our Mutual Friend currently by listening to it on audio and really loving the experience. It is very dark but also really funny!

  5. Well done! Such great choices, too :)

  6. You have read great novels for this challenge! I agree with Our Mutual Friend: it's definitely one of Dickens' best novels, and really enjoyable.

    Zola's Paradise: is it the Ladies Paradise? It's one of my favorites from Zola too--the most enjoyable too.

    1. Yes, for some reason my translation just calls it The Paradise instead of Ladies Paradise, but definitely the same book.

  7. Hi JaneGS, Congratulations on completing the 2018 Classics Club Challenge. I must read Our Mutual Friend. Vilette too although I have heard from a number of people that it's not as enjoyable as Jane Eyre. These challenges take committment but we find books we never would have read otherwise and we would have missed out.

  8. Great choices, and I loved reading your reviews. I just posted my final list too, and having fun looking up those of others. To Kill a Mockingbird, Little House series, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens are among my absolute favourites, although I haven't read Our Mutual Friend yet. Maybe next year.

  9. What a nice list, especially since I also read Our Mutual Friend and The Ladies' Paradise this year! I'm on my 11th read at the moment -- The Swiss Family Robinson. I'm hoping to not be scrambling at the end of December either. :)

  10. Congrats on all the classics you finished this year, wow. You've had an excellent year. I hope to add a few classics into my reading in 2019. Maybe an Emil Zola novel would be perfect.

  11. Well done. I wasn't a big fan of A Farewell to Arms either.