Back To The Classics Challenge 2019

Here it is again, the Back to the Classics Challenge where we are challenged to read a number of classic books during the year!  I’m very scared to attempt any challenges after the reading year I had in 2018, but I’m sloughing off my failures and having a very positive, sunny attitude towards my reading in 2019!  With that in mind, I’m going to join Karen at Books and Chocolate‘s Back to the Classics Challenge!  Here are the categories and possible book choices for them:

Categories & Books:

  1. 19th Century Classic: The Professor by Charlotte Brontë
  2. 20th Century Classic:  The 39 Steps by John Buchan
  3. Classic by a Female Author:  The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  4. Classic In Translation:
  5. Classic Comedy:
  6. Classic Tragedy: The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  7. A Very Long Classic:  The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
  8. Classic Novella:  Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
  9. Classic From The Americas: The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
  10. Classic From Africa, Asia or Oceania:
  11. Classic From A Place You’ve Lived:
  12. Classic Play:

The Magdalen Reading ~ Rogier van der Weyden (Public Domain) source Wikimedia Commons

While the books listed are not set in stone, I’m going to try to stick as closely to them as I can.  I think I’m most looking forward to the comedy category ….. I definitely need some comedic relief lately! 😉  I’m also excited about reading another Greek play and perhaps getting back into sync with my ancient Greek challenge, and I do need to read another Shakespeare to get me going on the Bard again.  So many classic books, so little time!

If you’d like to join this challenge too, just hop over to Books and Chocolate and sign up.  It’s truly one of the best challenges of the year!

Previous Back to the Classics challenges:


A Literary Christmas 2018

In the Bookcase is hosting A Literary Christmas challenge and since I’ve been so neglectful of many of my other challenges this year, I wanted to try to finish on a high note.  Therefore, I’m joining!

All I have to do is to make a list of Christmas books I’d like to read and then finish as many of them as I can on or before December 31, 2018.  I should have some time off this Christmas so I have high hopes of doing well with this challenge.  Plus, I can slot in some wonderful (shorter) children’s Christmas classics, which will make it a little easier on me.

Continue reading

Deal Me In Challenge List 2015

Happy New Year all!  My first post for the year is a list of Short Stories, Essays, Poems and Children’s Books for my 2015 Deal Me In Challenge.


Clubs – Short Stories
A –  Cabbages and Kings – O’Henry
2 – The Runaway – Chekhov
4 – Le Horla – de Maupassant
5 – The Tell-Tale Heart – Poe
8 – A Little Woman – Kafka
9 –  A Haunted House – Woolf
10 – The Birds – Chekhov
J –  The Yellow Wallpaper – Gilman
Q – The Eyes – Wharton
K –   Signs and Symbols – Nabakov
Spades – Essays
A – Milton – Williams
3 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Chesterton
6 – Hamlet : The Prince or the Poem – Lewis
7 –  Monsters and the Middle Ages – Chesterton
8 – The World of Tomorrow – E.B. White
9 – Discipline and Hope, Means as Ends – Berry
10 – Sense – Lewis
J – Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community – Berry
Q – Different Tastes in Literature – Lewis
K – Vulgarity – Chesterton
Diamonds – Poetry
2 –  Gesang Der Geister Über Den Wassern – Goethe
3 – The Morning of Life – Hugo
5 – A Lover’s Complaint – Shakespeare
6 – Resolution and Independence – Wordsworth
8 – Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night – Thomas
9 – Ode to a Grecian Urn – Keats
10 – Tears, Idle Tears – Tennyson
K – Phoenix and the Turtle – Shakespeare
Hearts – Children’s Classic
2 – Three Greek Children – Church
3 – The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart
5 – Journey from Peppermint Street – deJong
6 – The Tanglewood’s Secret – St. John
7 – The Wolves of Willoughy Chase – Aiken
9 – Sprig of Broom – Willard
10 – Teddy’s Button – LeFeuvre
J – The Book of Three – Alexander
Q – Tales from Chaucer – Farjeon
K – Beyond the Desert Gate – Ray (2)

Deal Me In Challenge 2015

Okay, only one more challenge ……. really ……….!  Jay at Bibliophilica is having his yearly Deal Me In challenge and it looks like such fun, I couldn’t resist.  I’ve been watching Dale @ Mirror With Clouds participate all last year, and Marianne gave me an idea with a twist for it that should work wonderfully!

The rules are:

What is the goal of the project?
To read 52 short stories in 2015 (that’s only one per week)
What do I need?
1) Access to at least fifty-two short stories (don’t own any short story collections or anthologies? See links to online resources below)
2) A deck of cards
3) An average of perhaps just thirty minutes of reading time each week
Where do I post* about my stories?
(*You don’t have to post about every single story, of course, but if you have something to say about the story you read any given week, your fellow participants would love to hear it.)
1) On your own blog or website if you have one (I will link to your post at the bottom of my weekly post. I currently plan to do my weekly post on Sundays)
2) if you don’t have a blog or website you may comment on my weekly post, sharing thoughts on your own story – or start one at WordPress or blogspot – it’s easy and free to create a basic blog.
How do I pick which stories to read?
(The 52 stories themselves are totally up to you.) Before you get start reading, come up with a roster of fifty-two stories (you can use any source) and assign each one to a playing card in a standard deck of cards. It can be fun to use different suits for different types of stories, but that is optional. Each “week,” (if you’re like me, you may occasionally fall a story or two behind) you draw a card at random from your deck and that is the story you will read. There are links to last year’s participants’ rosters hereif you want to see some examples.
What if I don’t have time to read a story every single week?
Try one of the challenge variations noted below, the Fortnight (or “payday” if you prefer) version is one story every two weeks or the “Full Moon Fever” version with just thirteen stories read or selected on seeing each full moon…
How do I sign up?
Leave a comment below with your URL and I will link you. My first wrap-up post of the year (I post weekly, usually Sunday night or Monday morning) will include links to any new Deal Me In posts and a list of the participants with links to their roster of stories.
What is the purpose?
To have FUN and to be exposed to new authors and stories and maybe get in the habit of reading a short story a week. Isn’t that enough? 🙂

Now I’ve decided to follow Marianne’s lead and adjust the challenge to work for my reading plans for the year.  Part of my plan for 2015 was to try to read more children’s classics, essays and poems for the year, so instead of reading all short stories, I’m going to split it into four categories:  Short Stories, Essays, Poems and Children’s Classics.  
I’m really looking forward to this challenge.  In the next day or so, I’ll post my list of titles corresponding to the playing card deck.  I’m not promising I’ll be able to read all 52 of them, but I’ll certainly do my best!

2014 Russian Literature Challenge Wrap Up

This was one of my favourite challenges this year.  It pushed me to focus on all things Russian and helped me finish that epic Russian novel, War and Peace. It also introduced me to my first Dostoyevsky and my first Turgenev. Dostoyevsky is going to take more getting to know, but Turgenev was a delight ……. very different from what I expected of a usual Russian novel.
I had aimed at finishing 1 – 3 books but I ended up reading 5, so I’m pleased with myself. Here are the books I read:
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
Thanks to O at Behold the Stars for hosting this challenge!  I am now firmly entrench in a love of Russian Literature!

TBR Pile Challenge Wrap-up 2014

Okay, this was quite possibly my worst challenge of the year.  But expected it to be my worst challenge, so that’s alright ………  I think …………

Of the twelve books, I managed to finish ten.

 1.  Defense Speeches by Cicero  August 20, 2014

  2.  Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory  December 6, 2014

  3.  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley   April 4, 2014

  4.  The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis   June 15, 2014

  5.  The Epic of Gilgamesh  August 14, 2014

  6.  Stories from the East from Herodotus by Alfred J. Church

  7.  The Sayings of the Desert Fathers  August 25, 2014

  8.  Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes

  9.  Socrates by Paul Johnson

10.  Daniel Deronda by George Eliot  February 24, 2014

11.  Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow by Jerome K. Jerome  December 29, 2014

12.  The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton  August 20, 2014

And my alternates:

1.  Allegory of Love by C.S. Lewis

2.  Oedipus Rex/Oepidus at Colonus/Antigone by Sophocles  December 28, 2014

If I really wanted to, I could try to power through Socrates and Stories from the East in the next few days, but I don’t.  I’m done.

My 2015 TBR Pile list is much more focused so I’m hoping for more success then.  Wish me luck!

2014 Challenge Wrap-Ups

While I’ve done some individual wrap-ups for certain challenges (and have some more to go), because I had so many challenges this year, I thought I’d encapsulate them in one big main post.

Chunkster Challenge:                   Goal:  5-6 books    Completed: 11 books
Arthurian Lit Challenge:              Goal:  3-4 books    Completed: 3 books
Back to the Classics:                     Goal:  10 books       Completed: 10 books 
History Challenge:                         Goal:  1-3 books     Completed:  5 books
Russian Lit Challenge:                  Goal:  1-3 books     Completed:  5 books
Books on France Challenge:    Goal:  3 books       Completed:  5 books
TBR Pile Challenge:                       Goal:  12 books      Completed:  10 books
Pre-Printing Press Challenge:    Goal:  4-6 books     Completed:  13 books
Shakespeare Challenge:              Goal:  1-4 books      Completed:  9 books
Around the World Challenge:    Goal:  6 books       Completed:  7 books
C.S. Lewis Challenge:                   Goal:  12 books      Completed:  14 books
British Books Challenge:             Goal: none            Completed:  40 books
Mount TBR Challenge:                 Goal:  24 books     Completed:  55 books
European Challenge:                    Goal:  5 books       Completed:  4 books
52 Books in 52 weeks:                  Goal:  52 books      Completed:  75 books

 So, all in all, and considering the number of challenges I participated in, it wasn’t a bad year.  My fails were the TBR Pile Challenge and the European Reading Challenge.  Yet in other challenges I far exceeded my goals, so I’m pleased.  I made it to Mt. Ararat in the Mount TBR challenge, read a good number of Shakespeare’s plays and did well on my Chunkster and Pre-Printing Press challenges.

I can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring.  Will I be able to finally complete the TBR Pile Challenge 2015?  Will I be able to handle the scope of my challenges:  from English literature to Pre-Printing Press literature to books in translation …..?  I’m going to try for a bit more focus for the coming year and see what I can accomplish!

2015 Books In Translation Challenge

Okay, she’s done it again.  Just like last year, Jean @ Howling Frog Books has tempted me into another challenge.  And I love books in translation, so how could I resist?

Jen @ The Introverted Reader is hosting the challenge and the rules are as follows:

Read translations of books from any language into the language that you’re comfortable reading.  You can read any genre and age range.  Crossovers with other challenges are fine.  Any format that you chose is acceptable.  The challenge will run from January 1 through December 31, 2015.  

Beginner:  1 – 3 books
Conversationalist:  4 – 6 books
Bilingual:  7 – 9 books
Linguist:  10 – 12 books

Since my challenges are more concentrated on English literature, I have no idea how I’ll do with this challenge.  Time will tell!  And please pop over to The Introverted Reader if you’re interested in joining us!

My List

  1. Meditations – René Descartes
  2. The Adventures of Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
  3. The Plague – Albert Camus
  4. Erewhon – Samuel Butler (original in Latin)
  5. Confessions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  6. Beowulf 
  7. Ecce Homo – Friedrich Nietzsche
  8. What Is To Be Done? – Nikolai Chernyshevsky
  9. Money – Émile Zola
  10. Mein Kamp – Adolf Hitler
  11. The Story of My Experiments with Truth – Mohandas Gandhi
  12. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
  13. Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  14. Selected Essays – Michel de Montaigne
  15. Rule of Saint Benedict 

Classic Children’s Literature Event 2015

Another year and another Classic Children’s Literature Event for the month of January, hosted by Amanda at Simpler Pastimes! I’m going to pledge to read two classic children’s books for this event, probably Carry On, Mr. Bowditch and My Father’s Dragon or The Trumpet of the Swan.  Amanda’s chosen read-along is Pinocchio, so I will try to fit that one in too.

Event Basics

  • During the month of January, read as many Children’s Classics as you wish and post about them on your blog and/or leave a comment on the event page on this blog. I will have a link page starting the first of the year to gather posts so that we may share as we go.
  • The optional RAL title: The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. I plan on discussion the weekend of January 23-25.
  • I’m not going to be the “children’s classics” police. Use your own judgement for what fits the category but if you want some guidelines, these are what I’m going by:
  • I think many of us have read more recent children’s books that we may already deem “classics” (for example, many people feel that way about the Harry Potter books), but for this event, I’d preferif we read books that were written prior to 1964. This will still allow a lot of options, and will hopefully avoid the “but what is a classic” dilemma! (And yes, 1964 is rather arbitrary. Rebel if you wish, but 50 years old seems a good age.)
  • Defining “children’s,” especially prior to 1900 or so can be a challenge as some books we think of as “children’s” today may not have been intended that way at the time. Personally, I’d say books appropriate for approximately an elementary-school aged child or preteen (to read or to have read to them) should be fine. I’d personally also count the various fairy tales, even though some of the earliest versions were not exactly family friendly.
  • Feel free to include books from any country, in translation or not. I have limited exposure to non-American children’s lit, so I’d love to learn about books from other countries myself.
  • Feel free to double up with other events or challenges if you wish.
  • And if you need ideas I posted
  • A suggestion list in 2013
  • Some more ideas in 2014
  • There is no deadline for joining or participating (other than, of course, the end of January).

Most important: Have fun!

Last year I was able to complete The Wizard of Oz, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Once and Future King and Prince Caspian.  Wow!  I’m not so ambitious this year so we’ll see how many I can complete.  And please join us if you feel in a children’s books mood!



The Canterbury/The Brubury Tales Project 2015

I’ve been meaning to read The Canterbury Tales for years but have been too intimidated to attempt them by myself.  I’ve looked for read-alongs and buddy reads but to no avail.  Then suddenly in one of my Goodreads’ groups, a new member joined who has written a book called The Brubury Tales, which is based on Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.  Voilà …… inspiration, and a person who can give me more insight into both reads!  Works for me.

Woodcut from William Caxton’s
second edition of The Canterbury Tales
source Wikipedia

The Brubury Tales, written by Frank Mundo, is a modern version of The Canterbury Tales, and for his work Mr. Mundo won the Poet Laureate Award Nomination from UCLA and CAL, Reader Views 2011 Reader’s Choice Award for Poetry Book of the Year, and the 2011 Bookhitch Award for the Most Innovative Poetry Book of the Year.  The LA Book Examiner said about his work, “a unique and powerful new book, The Brubury Tales draws upon Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and classic stories by Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens, to name a few.  Frank Mundo takes risks with his writing, which is sensitive, thoughtful, and gritty.” 

I have received nothing from Mr. Mundo in exchange for reading his book.  He has been a very valued member in the discussions in my Goodreads group and has never once even mentioned that he was an author, which increased my respect for him.  I can’t wait to start this paired read, probably around April or May of this coming year!