Back to the Classics Challenge 2021

This is the 8th year that Karen at Books and Chocolate has hosted the Back to the Classics Challenge and this is the first time I’ll be joining in. See Karen’s sign-up post on Books and Chocolate for more details about the challenge.

There are twelve categories and these are the books I’ve initially chosen – but there are others I could choose, so this list may/probably will change.

  1. A 19th century classic: any book first published from 1800 to 1899 – Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens 1857.
  2. A 20th century classic: any book first published from 1900 to 1971. All books must have been published at least 50 years ago; the only exceptions are books which were written by 1971 and posthumously published – Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford – 1924 – 1928.
  3. A classic by a woman author – Orlando by Virginia Woolf – 1927.
  4. A classic in translation, meaning any book first published in a language that is not your primary language. You may read it in translation or in its original language, if you prefer. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  5. A classic by BIPOC author; that is, a non-white author. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
  6. A classic by a new-to-you author, i.e., an author whose work you have never read. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
  7. A new-to-you classic by a favourite author — a new book by an author whose works you have already read. Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope.
  8. A classic about an animal, or with an animal in the title. The animal can be real or metaphorical. (i.e., To Kill a Mockingbird). Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.
  9. A children’s classic – The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit.
  10. A humorous or satirical classic. Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K Jerome.
  11. A travel or adventure classic (fiction or non-fiction). It can be a travelogue or a classic in which the main character travels or has an adventure. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.
  12. A classic play. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – I’ve seen the play and the film, but haven’t read the book.

8 thoughts on “Back to the Classics Challenge 2021

  1. Oh, I remember reading My Friend Flicka when I was a child, Margaret! How lovely to see it on your list. And I enjoyed the Count of Monte Cristo; I hope you will, too. It is an adventure story, but I always saw it as more than that. I found Love in the Time of Cholera a fascinating story, although not a ‘typical’ novel at all, if there is such a thing. I’ll be interested in what you think of that one.


  2. This is quite a challenge! Good luck! Three Men on the Bummel is excellent, very interesting to read what JKJ thought of Germany and the Germans, 14 years before the outbreak of WW1. And I have The Count of Monte Cristo on my tbr shelf for 2021. Have you seen the size of it? (I’m sure you have…)


  3. This sounds like an amazing challenge! I did a classics challenge for 2020 but I think I will change it up and join in this one for 2021! I will also be reading the Railway Children in 2021 but not sure what other classics I will get to yet. 🙂


  4. Margaret, this looks like it will be great fun to take part in and I am almost tempted to join in too, if I wasn’t already taking part in The Classics Club of which I am woefully behind! 😅 I hope you will enjoy taking part and happy classics reading. 🙂


  5. My favorite challenge, and you’re reading some of my favorite books. I really loved Little Dorrit when I read it a few years ago, likewise Framley Parsonage and, of course, Romeo and Juliet.

    You are braver than me to tackle Orlando, but then Virginia Woolf and I just don’t get along.

    I like forward to reading your reviews in 2021.


  6. I loved the BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit with Matthew MacFayden, so I need to look into the novel, especially since I want to read more Dickens. Black Beauty was very interesting as it was narrated by the horse, so it gave me a unique perspective. The Count of Monte Cristo was quite the adventure. I really enjoyed it. I have very distinct memories of listening to it on audiobook format while pacing around the dark house to put my newborn to sleep after his many awakenings a year and a half ago.

    Here is my Back to Classics list, if interested:


  7. A very interesting list of books! Some I’ve read (Orlando; Framley Parsonage; Heart of Darkness), some I haven’t (Little Dorrit; Love in the Time of Cholera). I did try Parade’s End but couldn’t quite finish it, so I’ll be interested to see your reaction. Good Luck with the Challenge! (I’m thinking of trying it again this year, after not getting very far in 2020).


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