Thanks to Karen for hosting the Back to Classics Challenge 2017! This is my wrap-up post, listing the books I read for each category (I ended up reading way more than 12 classics this year, so I actually found a couple that fit each category):

19th Century Classics

  • Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens – A stereotypical Dickens very much in the style of Oliver Twist or David Copperfield
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – A ghost story made excellent by a potentially unreliable narrator

20th Century Classics

  • The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad – A depressing spy story similar to something written by LeCarré
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck – A tragic tale of greed and colonialism

Classics by a Woman Author

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – Gothic romance at its finest
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – An angry, post-colonial prequel to Jane Eyre

Classics in Translation

  • Histories by Herodotus – Greece vs. “the barbarians” (plus plenty of other factoids) from the father of history
  • The Peloponnesian War  by Thucydides – Athens vs. Sparta showing how history tends to repeat itself

Pre-1800’s Classics

  • The Gilgamesh Epic (Anonymous) – The granddaddy of all epic poetry (read in a disappointing translation)
  • Othello by William Shakespeare – Tragic bitterness and racism boil over into multiple deaths (as you would expect from the Bard)

Romance Classics

  • The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare – Not sure if this is actually romance or Stockholm Syndrome
  • Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliott Chaze – A fairly typical crime-noir novel that centers around romance (or lust, at least)

Gothic or Horror Classics

  • The Monk by Matthew C. Lewis – Quite possibly the most Gothic book to ever Gothic
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker – The original sexy vampire

Classics with a Number in the Title

  • The 39 Steps – Largely responsible for the “innocent man on the run with dash of political intrigue” trope
  • Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly – A chilling exposé from the late 19th century

Classics About an Animal (or with an animal on the cover)

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell – What if Stalin and Trotsky were pigs and Russia was a farm?
  • The Master and Margarita – The devil and his posse (including a talking cat) visit Soviet Russia (and Jesus and Pontius Pilate are involved somehow too)

Classics Set in a Place You’d Like to Visit

  • Perelandra by C. S. Lewis – What if Eve hadn’t immediately fallen for the serpent’s lie? (as played out in Venus’s version of Paradise)
  • The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse – Bighearted but a bit dim Bertie Wooster survives the perils of English high society with the help of his genius butler

Award-Winning Classics

  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok – The life and friendship of two Jewish boys in New York who come from very different backgrounds
  • Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein – A love letter to fascism disguised as military sci-fi

Russian Classics

  • Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol – A literary version of many of the themes found in the Conan the Barbarian stories
  • The Captain’s Daughter and Other Stories by Alexander Pushkin – a little bit of everything: romance, bandits, a twist ending, tragedy, and a hint of the supernatural

So there you have it! If I happen to win, you can contact me here.

5 thoughts on “Back to the Classics Challenge Wrap-up

  1. What a fantastic initiative!! Always great to get people reading more classics 🙂 I’ve still not read a few of these (and need to) but loads of these are amazing- hehe love your description of Animal Farm 🙂 And now I *have to* check out your thoughts on the Chosen, because I loved that book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just added my wrap-up link for the Back to the Classics challenge. It’s a link to my GoodReads shelf for the challenge, with 11 books, but maybe I will have 12 by the end of the year.

    I also read Herodotus & Thucydides – I decided to stick with the translations available from my library, so I went with Rawlinson for Herodotus. (Once I found out about The Landmark Herodotus – someone else in my group read was reading it – I decided to buy it and use it as a reference, but I was too far along by then to start over with that translation.) My library had The Landmark Thucydides so I read all of that one. I read your post and I can see what you mean about the translation. I think I would like to read a more recent translation someday.

    I really loved both by the time I was done with them, even though Thucydides is initially harder to get into – he more than makes up for it, IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

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