12.03.2020

Back to the Classics Challenge 2021

Via Books & Chocolate


Yay! A Reading Challenge! I was able to complete nine categories in 2020, and I think I've only ever completed six in the years before that. Hoping this is the year I make it through all twelve. 


FOR MORE RULES, GO HERE.


1. A 19th century classic: James: The Turn of the Screw


2. A 20th century classic: White: The Once and Future King


3. A classic by a woman author: Austen: Sanditon, the Watsons, and Lady Susan


4. A classic in translation: DeLaclos: Dangerous Liaisons


5. A classic by POC author: Morrison: The Bluest Eye


6. A classic by a new-to-you author: Somerset: Of Human Bondage


7. New-to-you classic by a favorite author: Hardy: A Pair of Blue Eyes


8. A classic about an animal, or with an animal in the title. Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


9. A children's classic: Twain: The Prince and the Pauper


10. A humorous or satirical classic: Twain: Roughing It


11. A travel or adventure classic: Twain: The Innocent's Abroad


12. A classic play: Shakespeare: Taming of the Shrew 

23 comments:

  1. I could probably dovetail this with my Classics Club Strikes Back challenge for next year. All I need is a play! Won't be using "POC", though. How I hate that label and its even more idiotic sibling 'bipoc'.

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    1. What is Classics Club Strikes Back challenge? Did you just make that up?

      Also, I'm with you on POC or BIPOC. I sort of tweaked that category, using POC instead of BIPOC. Titles for people based on outward appearances or other created reasons to separate us more and more into groups, further compound the issues of inequality. I don't even care for the Women Author category; nonetheless, I understand 'why' for the sake of the challenge.

      I am all in favor of reading great books by writers who have either lived different lives than me, or have a different story to tell, or may not have gotten enough exposure in the world of literature. But those other qualities will not stand the test of time if the story is not worthy.

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    2. It's the Classics Club challenge -- I'm doing it for the second time, so as a little joke I'm going to call it "The Classic Club Strikes Back", alluding to the second Star Wars movie.

      I started seeing poc become popular a few years ago and hated it on site. It lumps together people purely on the basis of their being non-white, basically, which is exactly what the racism they pretend they're fighting does. There are huge cultural differences between Africans on the same continent, let alone between Africans and their black descendants in the US -- and that's diversity in ONE skin color. What do Arabs, Persians, Indians, Chinese, etc. authors have in common that they can be lumped together like that? BIPOC is even worse because because of the clumsy redundancy.

      Female authors is at least tolerable because men and women have unique experiences, but I'm not sure how effectively literature can communicate that, at least as far as some experiences go. It's like trying to explain what red looks like, or what a piccolo sounds like.

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    3. Ahh, that's what I thought! Do you have your second CC list up, yet?

      Oh, so true!! It's like we are traveling in a circle and repeating history, only for the following generations to come around undo what the previous generation did. Humans are so restless, and we seem to constantly look for ways to "fix" what we think needs addressing.

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    4. It's scheduled to go live on January 1st. I may make an edit to it before, to throw in "The Crucible"...if I want to dovetail with this challenge! It has some oommon classics but also a couple that I'm certain won't appear on anyone else's lists!

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    5. I didn't even know what BIPOC meant. I don't like these labels either and agree .... I see them as divisive. I would rather see people as individuals and feel grouping only brings about dissension and bad feeling.

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    6. Absolutely, Cleo! Like Stephen was saying, the category is meant to isolate white authors from everyone else. And then within that lump of bipoc, you will still have dozens and dozens of other categories of people (who will want to be recognized for those differences)...but for now, we're going to lump everyone else as the non-white group. It would be so liberating if we could just know people for their individual character traits and ideas and interests. And more often than not, it is ideas and interests that unite and keep people together -- not their outward traits.

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  2. My, my, you're Twaining it up! I'm thrilled to see that you'll be reading Austen's minor works. I've decided to join without any expectations. Have fun with your list, Ruth!

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    1. I know, right? I didn't mean for there to be so many Twains on my list, but I bombed out last year on a couple of them, so I moved them to this year. My son said the Joan of Arc one was interesting. Hope so. A friend of mine said one of those other titles is hysterical, but I cannot remember which one it is.

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  3. Great choice. I have read The Turn of the Screw, my favourite by James. I added Sandition to my list as well. Saw the TV adaptation recently and really loved it. Dangerous Liaisons; I saw the movie but did not read the book, although I had it on my shelves for some years. I have The Moon and Sixpence on my list by Somerset Maugham. I have in my mind to read most of his books. Hardy is always good. Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings I read many years ago. Very good. Shakespeare: Taming of the Shrew; one of the few Shakespeare plays I have read. I always find it difficult to read him. Have seen the movie of course.
    I am sure you will have a good time with these classics.

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    1. I've only ever read Portrait of a Lady by James, and I hated it. I mean it invoked a lot of emotion, and I always remember that about James. So I hope I have a better experience with Turn of the Screw. I only saw the movie of Dangerous Liaisons, too, and it was pretty scandalous. Not sure how the book will go. I know Shakespeare is a challenge...(so my kids and I have been reading No Fear Shakespeare, and when comprehension becomes difficult, we refer to the modern helps on the other side of the page. LOL!).

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    2. I am a big fan of James, but one of his problems is he is leaving the reader wondering what happened in the end. Not to talk about The Turn of the Screw. There are various interpretations on what he meant with this story, which you should find on-line if you are interested. A very interesting book though. I did like Portrait of a Lady, but there as well he leaves the reader confused. If you are a bit curious on what happened to the Lady, I can recommend Mrs Osmond by John Banville. That is a continuation of James' novel, and I found it excellent. Easier to read than James' story, but in the same tone as James.
      No Fear Shakespeare might be an idea for me.
      Good luck with James, I am sure you will like it.

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    3. Thank you, Lisbeth. I DO want to reread Portrait, and afterward, I think it would be a great idea to continue on with the story you suggest bc what happens in the end of Portrait is very disheartening. So I do understand what you mean about his confusing endings, like, "How could you do that, Mr. James!!!?

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  4. I have Innocents Abroad on my shelf too, but didn't use it for this challenge. I wish you well with your books and will be interested in your take of The Turn of the Screw, which I have dnf twice....

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    1. Thanks!! I had an issue w/ James when I read The Portrait of a Lady. I am hoping to have a better time w/ this one, but if not, I have no problem dropping it.

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  5. Good to see your blog again, Ruth. I actually finished the 2020 challenge a couple of months ago which is a record for me. I think I’ll just be reading whatever strikes me next year. I’ll be doing quite a bit of pre-reading for my daughter’s 20th century reading in 2021. There is so much choice for that era so that will keep me busy, I think. Hope your husband’s job prospects get cleared up soon. X

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    1. Thanks. The position in Texas fell through. We think it's a really bad time right now for businesses. I'm sure many are just waiting it out to see what happens with the election and the virus. Right now it's even worse than when it all began. We're going to be here awhile.

      You'll definitely have a lot to cover w/ the 20th C. That's where we are studying this year -- specifically early 20th c.: WWI, Communism, Great Depression. Fun stuff. For literature, my kids chose Sherlock Holmes, Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Just So Stories and War of the Worlds. My younger ones are 12-13. My 15-year old is reading Night, The Crucible, The Great Gatsby, Animal Farm, and All Quiet on the Western Front. Yep, lots of good stuff to keep you busy reading.

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  6. Wow, you get quite a lot of Twain there! I haven't read much of him after Huck Finn many many years ago - and it's the abridged version. I might need a reread...
    And I see that we'd both picked a Hardy and a Shakespeare for this challenge, though of different titles.
    Great choices there, Ruth! Have fun.. :)

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    1. Thanks, Fanda...I always like to see what others think about Hardy. Return of the Native was my first Hardy, and I did not much like his style immediately. Now I love it. He focuses on nature and he is poetic and emotional.

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  7. Hehe...W. Somerset Maugham may remind you a bit of Thomas Hardy. He can write, but I - dare I say - WE don't subscribe to his world view. Nice list.

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    1. :) That makes me happy to know about his style.

      And...LOL!!! I'm not surprised.

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  8. I LOVED I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings on audiobook because Maya Angelou reads it and her voice is so calming with its Southern accent and grandmotherly sound. It was a beautiful book with some heartbreaking scenes. I enjoyed Taming of the Shrew, but it helped to watch the film (an old movie without great acting, but still helped me make sense of some of the language and plot)

    Here is my Back to Classics list for 2021, if interested!
    https://elle-alice.blogspot.com/2021/01/back-to-classics-2021-challenge.html

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    1. Hi, Elena,
      Thanks for the suggestion w/ Shakespeare. Truly his language is a challenge and film helps. We have often read his plays and then watched a film version or theater performance. But doing the reverse also works, too. We have watched the musical Kiss Me Kate a few times, which is inspired by the Taming of the Shrew. It's a hysterical twist of Shakespeare's play.

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