Back to the Classics

Back to the Classics is hosted by Karen at Karen’s Books and Chocolate. I’m so glad it is back! I had planned to avoid all reading challenges this year, as I’m trying to be more patient and intentional with my reading. To that end, I also set the bar very low for my “Goodreads Challenge,” with 12 books to be read this year. I normally read between 60 and 80 books annually, so hitting a dozen is a given, but that’s kind of the point. I don’t want to feel like I’m forced to get through book after book after book this year, or to begin a new one as soon as I end another.

I want to savor my reading this year. I want to spend time with it. I want to enter it deeply, swim around in it, write about it, and get just as far as I end up getting, but no further.  In other words: no challenges! Except this one. Because this challenge shouldn’t get in the way of my deep-reading goals. There’s no real rush to read, particularly if I’m planning to read the 12 books for this challenge anyway, and the categories plus titles that I’ve selected for each are diverse enough to keep me interested and to help me meet my perpetual goal of reading broadly.

I’ve put an abridged version of the rules and categories below. What do you think of my title selections!? Are you thinking of joining?

If you’re new to the challenge, here’s how it works:
  • Complete six categories, and you’ll get one entry in the drawing; 
  • Complete nine categories, and you’ll get two entries in the drawing; 
  • Complete all twelve categories, and you’ll get three entries in the drawing.

Basic rules: All books must be at least 50 years old (published 1970 or earlier). No crossovers to multiple categories. Wrap-up post with all links to reviews required to be posted at Karen’s blog before 12/31/2020. Must sign-up with your list before 03/31/2020. All reviews must be linked to corresponding category link on Karen’s blog.

1. 19th Century Classic. North and South (1854) by Elizabeth Gaskell
2. 20th Century Classic. Doveglion: Collected Poems (c. 1942-1958) by José García Villa
3. Classic by a Woman Author. The Good Earth (1931) by Pearl S. Buck
4. Classic in Translation. The Three Musketeers (1844) by Alexandre Dumas
5. Classic by a Person of Color. The Bluest Eye (1970) by Toni Morrison
6. A Genre Classic. The Valley of Fear (1915) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
7. Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. Swann’s Way (1913) by Marcel Proust
8. Classic with a Place in the Title. The Hanging on Union Square (1935) by H.T. Tsiang
9. Classic with Nature in the Title. Desert Solitaire (1968) by Edward Abbey
10. Classic About a Family. Sons and Lovers (1913) by D.H. Lawrence
11. Abandoned Classic. Middlemarch (1872) by George Eliot
12. Classic Adaptation. Little House on the Prairie (1935) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Progress: 0 of 11 Complete (Reviews Will be Linked at This Page.) 

21 Comments on “Back to the Classics

  1. I CHOSE MIDDLEMARCH FOR MY ABANDONED CLASSIC TOO!! High fives. I’m glad you’re joining. I’m reading Little House on the Prairie RIGHT NOW with my mother. I haven’t read it since 2010. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My official 2020 challenges post. – of Cannons & Books

  3. I was thinking about setting a very low number for my Goodreads challenge as well… (although I usually only make around 50 a year). I worry that a higher number encourages the bad habit of picking shorter books over longer ones just because they feel easier to finish…


      • I’m guilty of that for 2019, I had to work hard the last couple of weeks to make it to 100 books. I read several plays, novellas, and juvenile books. I think I managed to read 17 books in December!


  4. Err.. . Progress : 0 of 11, while you’re going to read 12.. 🙂
    Anyway, what a great list! You’ll enjoy The Three Musketeers alright (as is most of Dumas’ !).

    Wish you all the good luck for Swann’s Way! I failed that one, couldn’t grasp the meaning of Proust’s long paragraphs. It feels like being in the midst of incoherent dream.

    I have read The Good Earth long long ago. It’s the first of an epic trilogy, if I remember correctly?

    Middlemarch and The Bluest Eye are in my 3rd Classics Club list (I’m still on my 2nd, but already started compiling the 3rd list). I heard a lot of positive reviews of Middlemarch, so it must be rewarding to get at that giant!

    Well, good luck (again), and have fun! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve read Swann’s Way before, a long time ago, and it is a struggle. I have a personal goal this year (casual) to read all of In Search of Lost Time, and I need to start over because it’s been so long since I read that first.

      Also… oops! I copied that progress bar from a previous B2tC post and I guess things have changed since 2013. Lol. Thanks for the note!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I really like George Eliot, I just tried to read that at a really exhausting and busy time, so I think it was my own fault!

      Yes, I’m really excited for Desert Solitaire. It was that or John Muir, but since I now live in the desert, this one seemed more pressing at the moment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Laurie, don’t be scared of Middlemarch! You may not end up liking it, but I truly do! I’m just always reading way too many books at once. I wanted to slow down when I set it down. 🙂


  5. I told myself I was going to step back from challenges this year too. So I joined 8 which is two more than last year.

    BUT! I’m viewing them less like a list of books I have to read and more of a roadmap on an unhurried roadtrip. I have a destination in mind, but if I get distracted by the House on the Rock which wasn’t on the itinerary, I won’t feel bad about taking a detour. This year, the journey is more important than the destination. I just need something to get me reading, because with being pregnant, it’s really easy for me to come up with a reason not to.

    I look forward to your reviews!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My intention was no challenges this year also, but I did sign up for a low-stress classics “challenge,” and this one is really tempting me again. I like what you say about “savoring” reading – that sounds like a delightful way to approach reading.
    You have such a good list, too! I loved North and South and The Three Musketeers is so much fun. The Bluest Eye is devastating–really, I need to read more Morrison. While Hound of the Baskervilles will always be my favorite Holmes, I really enjoyed The Valley of Fear as well. Good luck and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I also loved Middlemarch, but I did find the first 100 pages rather dry. But after that I think I read it very quickly, I loved all the characters and couldn’t wait to find out what happened to them. I also love North and South, it’s a long book that doesn’t seem long! And I was surprised at how much I liked Sons and Lovers (I should probably choose The Rainbow for the Nature in the Title category of the challenge!)


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