Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Back to the Classics Challenge 2020 - Wrap Up Post

For a while in early December, I thought if I push myself, I could get all twelve categories done and dusted in time, but I then I thought about it a bit and realized that there was no need to rush. I’m not being graded and frankly, no one cares. So I decided to abandon the category of reading an abandoned classic (arf arf) and while I did read an Adapted Classic (The Duke’s Children by Anthony Trollope) and a Classic in Translation (The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann that I only finished YESTERDAY), I will not post about them.

I won the drawing last year and meant to post the picture of what I bought with the prize gift certificate when I posted about The Duke’s Children, but alas. So I am including it in this post. It is a lovely reference book about Trollope’s works. I love these kinds of books. You don’t read them cover to cover but just flip through them from time to time and used them when needed. Of course, I could look up the same information on the internet, but physical books are still my preferred medium.  I wanted what I purchased to be something I would keep and cherish and this totally fit the ticket. 

Here's what I did read and post about:

1. 19th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1800 and 1899 - I read Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens

2. 20th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1900 and 1970 - I read Justine by Laurence Durrell, the first book in the Alexandria Quartet. 

3. Classic by a Woman Author - I read The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

4. Classic by a Person of Color - I read Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

5. A Genre Classic - I read Ubik by Philip K. Dick

6. Classic with a Name in the Title - I read Trilby by George du Maurier

7. Classic with a Place in the Title - I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

8. Classic with Nature in the Title  - I read The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens

9. Classic about a Family - I read Evelina by Frances Burney

As always, many thanks, Karen at Books and Chocolate, for hosting this challenge.  I am so looking forward to taking part (and hopefully being more successful!) in 2021. naessa [at] yahoo [dot] com.


  1. A good list, but I *do* want to see what you thought of Magic Mountain, even if it's in the new year! I seem to recall you were reading it in German, even.

    I need to write my wrapup post, too.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks for the comment reese. I will do a post on Der Zauberberg in January then with the hope that -quid pro quo- you post on Giovanni's room. I doubt I will be able to do it justice, however. The book is a monster in the best possible way. It was amazingly relevant to our current era which is a little depressing but a testament to Mann's genius too.

      Happy New Year to you too! :D

  2. Nine classics is awesome! I'm hoping to finally read Anthony Trollope next year. But I don't have any other reading goals set or reading challenges planned yet. Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you too Lark. I love Trollope so very much and look forward to hearing about what ever title you choose to read in 2021 and also any other book. Between you and jenclair at A Garden Carried in the Pocket, I am always up-to-date about much of the latest and greatest thriller, mystery, procedural, paranormal, etc. books out there, which I really appreciate.

  3. Hi Ruthiella, Agree we worry about completing and posting about all 12 books we chose for the Challenge that we forget that reading 6 or 9 great novels in a year is quite an accomplishment and congratulations on reading Magic Mountain! This year I committed to reading Middlemarch but its a big book and then I obsessed about what would I say once I read it. End result I didn't read it at all. Have a very Happy New Year and I can't wait to see the books you will choose for 2021.

    1. Thanks for the comment Kathy! If you do ever decide to read Middlemarch, there are quite a few prior read-along/discussions that exist in the blogosphere that you could access as you read. It might make it more manageable for you. Also, the podcast Literary Disco recently read it and has a handful of podcasts about it. It is a great book and once you get into it, you don't really feel its length, IMO. :D Happy New Year and I also look forward to seeing what you choose for the 2021 challenge!

  4. Ruthiella: so nice to read your post; it's a nice way to begin a New Year (a happy & healthy one to you!). I didn't do nearly as well as you on the Challenge (I think I ended up reading 6 or 7 of my books) but I had a great deal of pleasure doing so; the Challenge also got me to read some things I wouldn't otherwise have read. You have a very impressive list of completed classics there, kid, so many congrats!
    I'm very envious of that Trollope reference book you've acquired. Like you, I'm a big fan of Anthony T. As I've probably mentioned, I went on a major Trollope reading binge many years ago and read many of the novels. While he's not been on my reading list for some time, I'm still fond of his work and was actually thinking of re-reading The Way We Live Now. Sad to say, I've forgotten so much that it would be liking reading it anew.
    Again, like you, I'm thinking of participating in the 2021 Challenge. I could almost do mine right now, just by re-listing the books I didn't get to in the last two challenges! I can't wait to see what you select for your 2021 reading list, as your choices are always so interesting!

    1. Hi Janakay! As Kathy points out above, 6 classics read in a year is an accomplishment and I totally agree with you that challenges are useful in their giving me a structure or direction for my choice of books. I am working on my 2021 list and enjoying thinking about it.

      If you do audio, that is a great way to revisit Trollope. I only read The Way We Live Now a couple of years ago, but it does have a number of plots and characters which I doubt I will remember with clarity in future. I’ve not re-read Trollope yet, but I have re-read a few Dickens titles and really enjoyed the second reading. It is like I can relax a little on the re-read and pay attention to smaller details that I surely missed the first time around because I was so focused on the plot and what would happen next.