Monday, December 19, 2016


Its official! Karen at Books at Chocolate is graciously hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge again.  Below is a list of the 2017 categories with some of my potential titles:

A 19th Century Classic – I will probably read a Dickens’ novel. I only have a handful left: The Old Curiosity Shop, Dombey and Son, Nicolas Nickelby, or Barnaby Rudge.

A 20th Century Classic –I will definitely choose something from the Modern Library’s 20th Century best of list. I still have 30 of those left to read.   Just based on books I already own, possible choices might be Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald or the Wings of the Dove by Henry James.

A classic by a woman author – I am totally spoiled for choice on this one but I think I might make it The Professor’s House by Willa Cather because I so loved My Antonia which I read in November of this year.

A classic in translation – Again, there is a lot to choose from in this category, but I think I would like to try Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant or if I end up reading Le Rouge et Le Noir by Stendhal, that would also fit.

A classic published before 1800 – This would provide me with an opportunity to read something from ancient Greece or Rome. Maybe Metamorphoses by Ovid? I really have no clue and might need to think on this one a while longer.  

A romance classic – I am going to see if my next  planned Trollope will fit here…either Phineas Finn or The Way We Live Now .  All the Trollope I have read thus far has had a strong romantic plot (or two or three), so I suspect either book will work for this category.   However, I may read Dragonwyke by Anya Seton since I recently purchased a used copy on the strength of a review over at Lark Writes and which appears to be a more traditional romance in the vein of DuMaurier.

A Gothic or horror classic – I am definitely going for gothic over horror and I have two contenders: The Monk by Mathew Lewis or The Castle of Otranto by Walpole. Actually, both were published in the 1700s so they could also work for #5 in a pinch.

A classic with a number in the title – I might re-read Slaughterhouse 5 since I only read it the one time. But I am also considering The Three Musketeers by Dumas Pere or One Hundred Years of Solitude (published in 1967 it JUST squeezed by at being 50 years old in 2017)by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title – I might read The Yearling. I can’t remember if I read it as a child or if I just saw the movie. I will be sure to have tissues handy. I am sure it will make me weep (again).

A classic set in a place you'd like to visit – At first I was going to choose a literary location…but I have already read all the Barsetshire books by Trollope and the Miss Marple books by Chrstie and those are the only two fictional places I can think off the top of my head.  So perhaps I will read Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay in this category (another squeaker first published in 1967) which is set in Australia .

An award-winning classic -  I would like to read The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever  which won the National Book Award in 1958. This is another book that is also on the Modern Library’s 20th Century best of list, so  if I complete it, it is a twofer.

A Russian Classic  There is an off chance that I might read War and Peace in 2017, but if not, I also would like to try The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky or Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol OR if I am pressed for time, A Day in the Life of  Ivan Denisovich by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, which is under 200 pages.

I look forward to staring the New Year with one of the above mentioned titles.  I will definitely also be checking out the sign-up page regularly to see other bloggers’ choices.   

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


My main use of this blog is for my participation in on-line challenges.  But I thought I would also share the books that I purchased during my October visit to that book-Mecca known as Powell’s Books located in Portland, Oregon because I love reading about these sorts of things on other people’s blogs.  It is like window shopping without leaving your living room.
  1. Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb – I have since finished this book. It is the 2ond book in the Farseer Trilogy which is part of a larger fantasy series set in a world called The Realm of the Elderlings. I would like to eventually read the entire series which is something like 16 books total.
  2. Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift–  I had heard good things about this novella so I wanted to give it a try. It sounds like the sort of precisely executed novella about small moments that I often admire.
  3. Fishnet by Kirstin Innes – I heard about this title on Booktube as quite a few reviewers recommended it.  I am currently reading it. It is interesting, the story is about a woman who begins to research the world of prostitution after her sister disappears, but it also has an obvious agenda which I am not 100% sure about. We’ll see. My conventional and religious upbringing might be getting in my way.
  4. The Red and the Black by Stendhal  - My friend Greta kindly bought this for me.  I love the Penguin black-spine paperback classics. Greta and I are going to read it together sometime, possibly in 2017 and if so, I will hopefully be able to work it into Karen’s Back to the Classic Challenge 2017.  
  5. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley  – I know this series is a bit twee and not to everyone’s taste,  but I like the Flavia de Luce mysteries and this is the most recently published title. I am not quite caught up but I like having them on my shelves even unread because they are such pretty colors.
  6. Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons – I bought this on Greta’s recommendation and I have already read it. It was very good and is only 128 pages long.  An Oprah pick, so it is naturally heart-wrenching, but it didn’t totally gut me, which was a relief.
  7. Good Morning Midnight by Lucy Brooks-Dalton – I heard great things about this book from one of my goodreads friends (and podcaster extraordinaire – check out Reading Envy if you are interested). This is a speculative fiction book about the end of the world where possible the only two survivors are a man stranded in Antarctica and a woman orbiting the earth from space.
Finally, I would also like to share this picture from the last page (be careful  - SPOILERS may be ahead) of one of the used copies of The Red and The Black that I was perusing. I ended up not purchasing this Modern Library hard copy only because there was some wonky water damage that affected the print elsewhere. But I thought this hand-written comment at the bottom was hilarious. Hopefully I will not feel the same way when I reach the end!