Thursday, 17 December 2015

Back to the Classics 2016

Books and Chocolate is running a Back to the Classics Challenge for 2016.

 I  wanted some direction for my reading for this year. I  am thinking of combining this with a Christian book challenge. Neither challenge will include the children's books that I will read for the book club or for my own children nor some books about education and caring that I would like to read.

Reasons for wanting to read more classics:

  • to remedy a woeful ignorance of classical literature which can prove a problem when trying to choose books for the younger children to read/study.
  • to read some of the books that my older children are studying or have enjoyed.
  • to keep my brain active.
  •  for a better cultural understanding. I have often missed understanding the origin of phrases/thoughts because of lack of a broad reading base. Of course, there are classics that I don't want to read and am unlikely to have time to read everything that I might want to read.

My aim is to use books that we already have or library books as much as possible. Anyway, back to the challenge. These are my first thoughts although I may change my choices. Please note that I haven't read these books so they aren't a recommendation! I hope to blog about the books once they have been read. 

The details 

1.  A 19th Century Classic - Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

2.  A 20th Century Classic - The Hobbit. I am ashamed to say that I haven't read the Hobbit. There have been a couple of false starts in the past year!

3.  A classic by a woman author-probably something by Elizabeth Goudge. I have recently read Scent of Water so one of the other titles.

4.  A classic in translation.  

My eldest daughter is studying Russian so a book by a Russian author is in order, perhaps, Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev.

5.  A classic by a non-white author.  House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul.

6.  An adventure classic - probably something by John Buchan but not 39 Steps which I have read.

7.  A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic-20000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne. My older sons have recommended this to me several times so it is time to read!

8.  A classic detective novel.

My husband has recommended Agatha Christie's Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title.  

Watership Down. I hoping this isn't counted as a children's book as these are not allowed.

10. A classic which has been banned or censored. 
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Aleksandr  Solzhenitsyn.

11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college).  Tale of Two Cities was a book that I read aged 13 and haven't read since. I wonder what I will think about it so long after Mrs Ward's English classes.

12. A volume of classic short stories. 

Sherlock Holmes short stories.

If you enjoyed this post you may like to follow Delivering Grace by Google Friend Connect, G+,FacebookPinterestInstagram or e-mail.


  1. Nice! Mr. Standfast is a great Buchan title - it's a Richard Hannay book & would be good to read after 39 Steps. It also has allusions to Pilgrim's Progress which I loved. 'House for Mr Biswas' sounds interesting. I'm not 100% on the choices I have for this category so will look into that one. Look forward to reading your thoughts on these books. Have a wonderful Christmas!

    1. Thanks Carol. I guess the title relates to Buchan being a son of the manse. His sister's, O Douglas, books are very different but gentle interwar romances in the middle/upper classes set in the Scottish borders. A fascinating commentary on a world that has disappeared.

  2. Great list! I don't consider Watership Down as a children's book, but I'm not sure if it was published early enough to qualify -- remember, 1966 is the cutoff date so I'd check on that. And Wives & Daughters is just wonderful! Thanks for signing up for the challenge!

    1. Karen, you are absolutely right, Watership Down is too new. I hadn't even thought to check that one although I did check the Solzhenitsyn as some of his other books are post 1966. I will look out for something else-maybe one of Anthony Trollope's with a place name in the title.

  3. Maybe you could read Watershed Down anyway? It's a great book. And I highly recommend The Dean's Watch by Goudge--my favorite of hers so far.

    1. Sherry, yes, I really ought to read Watership Down. Funny about the Dean's Watch, I was given a copy for Christmas and had finished it by the end of Boxing Day! I will have to find another for the challenge.