It’s that time of year when ‘challenges’ for next year keep appearing on book blogs. Each year I think I won’t join in and each year I do attempt a few. Here’s one that appeals to me, but not as a ‘challenge’ (see my previous post for my views about ‘challenges’). This one promises to be more interactive:
It’s A Classics Challenge, devised by Katherine Cox of November’s Autumn. It involves reading seven works of Classic Literature in 2012, but only three of the seven may be re-reads.
But, instead of writing a review as you finish each book (of course, you can do that too), visit November’s Autumn on the 4th of each month from January 2012 – December 2012, where you will find a prompt, it will be general enough that no matter which Classic you’re reading or how far into it, you will be able to answer. There will be a form for everyone to link to their post.
I like the idea.
My Reading List
I have quite a lot of unread classics on my bookshelves and even more loaded onto my Kindle, so I have plenty to choose from. At present I think I’ll start with these seven books (but the titles could most likely be substituted for others when I actually get down to reading!)
- Emma by Jane Austen – a re-read. I first read this many years ago. Recently I read Sebastian Faulks’s view of Emma as a snob in his book Faulks on Fiction and decided it was time to re-read the book.
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I read The Moonstone earlier this year and liked it very much, which spurred me on to get The Woman in White.
- Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome – a book that I’ve known about for ages, but have never read. It’s a humorous story of a boating expedition on the River Thames. I’m looking forward to some comedy.
- Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. The only Gaskell book I’ve read is Cranford – time to remedy that with this tale of the mid-19th century England pre the Industrial Revolution.
- Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’m re-living my youth with this book, which I first read at school, when I was about 13 or 14. I can’t remember much about it, except that I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time. It’s historical fiction set in 18th century Scotland, based on real people.
- Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. This is a mammoth book (nearly 900 pages) with many characters. I hope I don’t get bogged down in it – it looks as though I’ll need to concentrate.
- The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf. I began to read this (Woolf’s first novel) a few years ago. I love Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, but the opening of this didn’t grab my attention as much and I got distracted by other books. I’ll have to start it again.
Writing this has made me keen to read them all – but which one to pick first?
15 thoughts on “A Classics Challenge 2012”
Like you I have quite a few unread classics on my shelf which I want to read next year. Can’t make up my mind about this one though. I planned not to do too many challenges next year apart from my personal one so I’ll think on it. Oddly enough I’ve just bought myself a nice new copy of My Mutual Friend, planning to read it early next year. It certainly *is* a big’un! Three Men in a Boat is huge fun.
I’d planned not to do any challenges next year, except for the Agatha Christie reading challenge and my own Britain in Books! But this one shouldn’t be too much – that’s how I get drawn into joining in with challenges. I might do the What’s In a Name one as well, although what is so interesting in choosing to read books based on a particular word in the title is beyond me – but I do like to see if I have any titles that fit – sad, I know! 🙂
Thanks for letting me know about this challenge, it sounds like fun. Three Men in A Boat is absolutely delightful!
I like the sound of your Britain in Books challenge! I’ve been trying to collect Northumbrian novels recently.
I think I would start with Our Mutual Friend, in case I needed to read other things alongside it. It’s actually one of the handful of Dickens’ novels I have read, but I don’t think I’d attempt it again, although I enjoyed it. But I think I would probably rather re-read the ones I love, like Bleak House, than try a new one – it’s easy to drown in words with Dickens. I should think the rest ought to be plain sailing, what a lovely selection of titles!
Thanks, GeraniumCat. I’d love to know about the Northumbrian books! I read Bleak House after watching the TV series years ago – not the most recent one. I love it too.
It’s a very scrappy list that I add to from time to time, with odd links to where I found relevant information. I’ll email it to you.
Sounds like a great idea – before I sign up I need to check I can find 7 books that fit the ‘classic’ and ‘crime’ tag, as opposed to ‘classic crime’. I should be OK – but it will be more fun if I haven’t read any of the books.
I’m new to your blog and am enjoying your posts. I also like the idea of a classics challenge. I just read Wives and Daughters a few months ago and recommend it highly. Appealing heroines, mysterious romantic entanglements, and a strong father-daughter story, make this an engaging and (relatively) quick read. There is also a BBC dramatization of it that remains quite faithful to the book!
Wonderful set of books–Our Mutual Friend is on my tbr list but not in the foreseeable future. I loved Kidnapped–wonderful book and due for another reread by me soon, I hope. Three Men in a Boat is cute–definitely diverting. I’m always impressed by anyone who tackles V Woolf. Enjoy the challenge!
Margaret – I like this approach to a challenge. I’ll be really interested in what you say about the books on your list, too. I’m so glad to see you have The Woman in White on your list; many people think it’s better than The Moonstone. I’ll look forward to your view on it…
You can’t go wrong with Three Men in a Boat. Emma was definitely a snob, but that’s still my favorite Austen book.
It was the idea of a Classics Challenge that isn’t really a challenge that appealed to me too.
Great list – I like the sound of Three Men in a Boat which I hadn’t thought of and have never read but a bit of comedy would be nice.
Thank you for joining, Margaret!
I love Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters and hope you enjoy it too, looking forward to your thoughts on it. 🙂
Haven’t heard of Jerome’s novel but it does sounds fun. I saw an adaptation of Stevenson’s Kidnapped, I really must read the book! Looking forward to sharing thoughts on Collins’ novel. 🙂
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