Back to the classics wrap-up

DSC_0185I joined the Back to the classics reading challenge for the first time this year. As I already read quite a lot of classics my aim was not necessarily to read more of them but to push myself to review more of my reading and to join the lovely community around the challenge. Thank you Karen for hosting it!

In this challenge the goal is to read classics corresponding to twelve different categories. In the end I managed ten out of the twelve.

These were the books I read for the challenge:

A 19th century classic

City folk and country folk by Sofia Khvoshchinskaya, a Russian classic of a manageable length and by a new to me author. This one was a real treat.

A 20th century classic

Wind, sand and stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was probably my favourite read this year, highly recommended!

A classic by a woman author

A Maid Among Maids by Ester Blenda Nordström is one of the earliest examples of undercover journalism.

A classic in translation

The Boarding-School Girl by Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya, another little known but very interesting Russian classic.

A children’s classic

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. I never read this series as a child but enjoyed it enough to read the whole series.

A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction

Cat Among The Pigeons. I almost always enjoy Christie’s thrillers and this one was no exception. It even helped me out of a minor reading slump so that was an extra bonus.

A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction

My choice for this topic is Flight to Arras by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry but East of the Great Glacier by Helge Ingstad would also have been a good choice. Both of them are non-fiction.

A classic with a single-word title

Walden by Henry David Thoreau. This was a rather mixed reading experience. I liked some parts of it both other were too long-winded and preachy.

A classic with a colour in the title

I could have counted Anne of Green Gables, which I re-read this autumn, for this category, but then I would have to review it and some books are most enjoyable when read without any obligations, so I choose to fail this category.

Classic by an author that’s new to you

La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri. I didn’t really enjoy this one, probably mostly because I didn’t really understand it.

A classic that scares you

I read Middlemarch as an e-book so to be honest I never really thought of the length and thus weren’t really scared by it. However, I’m counting it for this category anyway, as the length would have scared me if I had realized it beforehand.

Alternatively I guess Shadows on the Tundra, a memoir from a Siberian Gulag by Dalia Grinkevičiūtė (1927–87),  could be an option considering its harrowing topic. It was written in 1949-1950, but the manuscript was lost and not rediscovered until 1991. It was published posthumously in 1997.

Re-read a favourite classic

I did re-read and review a favourite classic, The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren, but as it was first published in 1973 it is not old enough for this challenge. I really recommend it though!

10 thoughts on “Back to the classics wrap-up

  1. I’m generally eschewing challenges these days (‘goals’ is less threatening, I find!) but they do at least form a good framework for one’s reading. I think you’ve done well with selecting the classic title demanded by each category, some straightforward, others more inventive. I think I’d just stick with the Classics Club list I came up with and use their ‘classics spin’ to possibly force me to read a title I might be otherwise avoiding! Anyway, congratulations on this, and best wishes for all your ventures, reading or otherwise, in the new year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, for this particular challenge I just read whatever I wanted and if it happened to fit with one of the categories I took the time to review it. So for me it was really more of a review challenge then a reading challenge.

      Best wishes for the new year to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been meaning to reread The Brothers Lionheart. Astrid Lindgren is an amazing writer, she should be much better known – Pippi Longstocking was just the beginning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, I’ve always found it weird that Pippi Longstocking is her only well-known work in the English-speaking world. Although it is perhaps less surprising than Karlsson-on-the-Roof being her most popular character in Russia.

      I hope you do get around to re-read Brothers Lionheart!

      Liked by 1 person

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