Back To The Classics Challenge 2021

back to the classics challenge 2021

Back to the Classics Challenge 2021 is hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate and I’m so appreciative that she’s hosting it again this year.  I wasn’t going to join ….. in fact, I wasn’t going to join any challenges this coming year.  But I couldn’t resist.  It will at least give me a list to focus on.  And so, I’ll give it a go ….

There are twelve categories and one must choose a book for each:

Without further ado, here are the categories for 2021:
1. A 19th century classic: Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
2. A 20th century classic: The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
3. A classic by a woman author:  The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
4. A classic in translation:  Tevye the Dairyman and Motl the Cantor’s Son by Sholem Aleichem
5. A classic by BIPOC author, a non-white author: okay, I’m glad for the description because I don’t know what that meant: Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas or Pather Dabi by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
6. A classic by a new-to-you author:  Pensées by Blaise Pascal

7. New-to-you classic by a favourite author:  Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

8. A classic about an animal, or with an animal in the title. The animal can be real or metaphorical:  The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
9. A children’s classic:  Theras and His Town by Caroline Dale Snedeker
10. A humorous or satirical classic:  Second Thoughts of An Idle Fellow 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: Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson
12. A classic play. Plays will only count in this category:  Richard III by William Shakespeare
Classic Book Flowers
Each participant will get entries for completion of the list or parts of the list in a draw for a $30 book prize.  The entries are scored as follows:
  • Complete six categories, and you’ll get one entry in the drawing; 
  • Complete nine categories, and you’ll get two entries in the drawing; 
  • Complete all twelve categories, and you’ll get three entries in the drawing

If I make six, I’ll be happy.  I’ve tried to choose most of them from my Classics Club List, for help there as well.  So please wish me luck, ’cause I’m going to need it!


Second photo courtesy of Congerdesign on Pixabay

61 thoughts on “Back To The Classics Challenge 2021

  1. I’ve discovered how important reading is during the ‘lockdowns’.
    I love to see the books you will tackle while your being at home…to stay safe.
    Sales for War &Peace, Don Quixote and Middlemarch have increased by 69% in 2020! …but many of us have already read those book. Now you have found some real
    gems…that are not often seen on reading lists! Pensées…is deep, very deep..but that’s what thoughts are! Looking forward to your Richard III…that is one play I need to read!
    Thanks for joining BTTC 20201…I wasn’t going to do it either…but there are so many books to read and finally we have plenty of time! 🙂

    • Hi Nancy, I’ve been so busy and distracted but I am getting some more time to read lately. I’m thrilled to hear that those classics are being read more frequently; I’ve read them all. Good to hear that Pensées is worthwhile. I loved Richard II and hope Richard III is just as good.

      I’m excited to check out your list!

  2. Ooooh, I’m tempted. Just like you, I didn’t want to join more challenges, but it’s so very tempting… I’ll make a list and see how it goes, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • I do seem to get pulled into challenges. I used to complete most of them but in the last few years I’ve had so little time to read. I do hope I’ll get more time this coming year though. I am glad I tempted you and can’t wait to see your list!

  3. I had The Leopard on my classics club list & read it for the first time a couple of years ago–I thought it was really great. But most of these I haven’t read (and some I haven’t even heard of…) so I hope you get to all of them!

    I need to read Travels With A Donkey, too.

    • Oh, I’m so relieved that you liked The Leopard. I’ve wanted to read it for ages but have been scared that it won’t be as good as I anticipate.

      If I can get through all of them, I’ll jump for joy!

        • Hopefully, I will let you know. I’ve heard good things about it.

          I wish we had the experience we do now to enjoy and remember the books we read in high school and college at the time. Not that our memories are any better now, lol!

    • Thanks so much, Bev. I do need to read more of Wilde’s plays but Shakespeare first. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a play from either of them.

    • I’m going to do this challenge and the Deal Me In for 2021. If I do any more, you have my permission to bonk me over the head with a pool noodle, lol! Thanks so much for your kind wishes and wishing you the same, right back, Laurie!

  4. Cleo, I hardly know any of these, except Andersen, Eliot, and Gaskell, and Dumas (but not that title). Of course Shakespeare, too.

    Good luck!!

    • Ah, more books to put on your list? 😉 I tried to draw from my Classics Club #2 list but I’ve discovered I made a weird list … I should have taken more time with it. In any case, that’s probably why you haven’t heard of some of them? In any case, good luck to you too!

      • Sure…but first, I am making a nice dent in my unread shelf project, you know. I told my husband no more books for Christmas. So when I am done, then I may add recommended reads, like the ones I do not know.

    • Oh sure. Yet if you don’t participate in any challenges, perhaps you will host one ….??? I loved your Christian Greats challenge and even managed to finish a couple of books from it. Just saying back …. 🤣

    • I have been meaning to read Pather Dabi since we read Home and the World oh, so long ago. You will be very welcome! I’ve started Tevye, BTW. I’m not roaring through it though. Slow and steady and all that …. 😁

  5. Back to the Classics will probably be the only challenge for me in 2021, but it’s always a fun one to try for (I think I’m actually going to get all 12 this year!) Elizabeth Gaskell is always a good choice–at least everything I’ve read of hers (including Mary Barton) is good. Maybe I should consider Wives and Daughters for that category? The Leopard is a good idea for animal title; I have that on my Classics Club list but haven’t even come close to reading it yet. I’m happy to see a children’s classic in the categories this year–but I don’t know how I’ll decide, ha! I’ve never heard of the title you list; I”ll have to look that up.

    Happy reading! 🙂

    • I do wish I make it through all my 12. My record year was 2012 where I read 82 books. Wow! That wasn’t normal though and I wasn’t blogging, as writing reviews do cut into reading time. I’ll let you know how much I enjoy The Leopard. I am looking forward to it. Caroline Dale Snedecker is an amazing children’s author. All the books I’ve read of hers so far have been absolutely excellent. I highly recommend her.

      Happy reading to you too, Amanda!

  6. Twenty Years After is one of my favorites, and a great choice for category no. 5.
    The Enchanted April is on my wishlist. Can’t wait to read von Arnim, I guess you’d read this one next April? 😀

    • Phew! I’m so glad to have your recommendation of Twenty Years After. Now I can look forward to it. Von Arnim is amazing. I’ve only read Elizabeth in Her German Garden but already I can see that her writing is going to be excellent. And yes, April is probably a good time for that one, huh? 😉

  7. Great list! I’m thinking of doing a Fairytales/Myths/Folklore etc etc challenge myself and have the remaning 20% of Hans Christen Andersens stories to go. Good luck!

    • Oh, I want to read both Grimm’s and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. It’s been nagging at me for two years. Perhaps after my Christmas stories I’ll be in the habit and be able to read a little bit at a time. Good luck with your challenge!

    • That makes two of us, lol! I hope I make it through at least six. Good to hear from you, Sharon! Hope you’re doing well!

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      • Oh yes, I did. Did you ever watch the musical? The book is even better.

        If you want to read my review after you’ve read the book, you can find it here.


        • I did see the musical but years ago and it’s very faint, except for the “If I Were A Rich Man” song. I wonder if everyone knows that song, lol?! I’m thrilled to hear that the book is better (isn’t that almost always the way?) Thanks! I will definitely read your review after I finish. Take care!

          • You are so right, it is almost always that the book is better. Why don’t more people read them, he?

            Anyway, after that, I recommend watching the film again because there are so many more good songs in there than just “If I were a rich man”. Same here, I now crave the movie again.

            Happy New Year.

  9. I’ve not read any of these, though I have some familiarity with most (reading Gaskell now). Nice choices…enjoy!

    • Oh, I just LOVE Gaskell, Joseph! I hope you’re enjoying it and that it’s a great start to 2021! Thanks for visiting!

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  11. What a great list! I love Gaskell. Wives and Daughters is on my list! I loved North & South and Cranford. I haven’t heard of that book by Dumas but I enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo (I listened to the massive book on audiobook during the long nights of nursing and pacing the house to help my newborn fall back asleep last year, so it has special memories). And I thought Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men on a Boat was hilarious, so I should pick up more from him.

    Here is my Back to Classics 2021 list, if interested:

    • Hi Elena! Interesting that you mention The Count of Monte Cristo because I’ve been getting the urge to read it again. Jerome K. Jerome is certainly hilarious in one way or another. And Gaskell is one of my favourites. I’ll be checking out your list. Thanks for visiting!

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