The 2021 Chapter-A-Day Read-Along

Old Books

The 2021 Chapter-A-Day Read-Along is being hosted by Nick at One Catholic Life. It’s another one of his excellent yearly read-alongs and this time it’s a literal train of books. I was really excited when I heard about it, as it contains two books that I’ve been meaning to read and other old favourites.  And a chapter per day …. what could be easier?

2021 Chapter A Day Read Along

Nick says: “The goal of these chapter-a-day read-alongs is to encourage people to read classic books they might not otherwise read because of their length or age. With that in mind, I chose five classic novels that I think fit that description well. They come from four different countries and several of the books are some of my absolute favorites.”

The five books are:

  1. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri  (Italy)
  2. Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz  (Poland)
  3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (France)
  4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens  (England)
  5. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas  (France)

My plans are to definitely join in for the two books I haven’t read: Quo Vadis and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  As for the others, I’m not sure yet. I’ve read The Divine Comedy three times but I wouldn’t mind reading it again and the other two would be second reads for me.  However, I am thinking of some substitutions.  I’ve been meaning to read Great Expectations so I may swap that for David Copperfield, and I have Twenty Years After, the second in the Musketeers series, on my Back to the Classics challenge list, so I may substitute that for The Three Musketeers.  At the moment I probably wouldn’t substitute anything for The Divine Comedy as I already have a number of books lined up for the beginning of the year.

Quo Vadis The Hunchback of Notre Dame









The schedule will be as follows:

  • The Divine Comedy: January 1 to April 10 (100 cantos, or chapters= 100 days)
  • Quo Vadis: April 11 to June 23 (73 chapters and an epilogue = 74 days)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: June 24 to August 21 (59 chapters)
  • David Copperfield: August 22 to October 24 (64 chapters = 64 days)
  • The Three Musketeers: October 25 to December 31 (67 chapters and an epilogue = 68 days)

In any case, whichever way I choose to do this read-along, I’m really looking forward to it.  I know I professed that I was going to participate in very few challenges this year, but I couldn’t pass this one up.  Check out Nick’s blog if you’d like to join too!


First photo courtesy of Jarmoluk on Pixabay

20 thoughts on “The 2021 Chapter-A-Day Read-Along

  1. A great list of books, Cleo, with much to choose from. I, too, love Dante although it’s been a number of years since I dipped into the Comedy (and I must admit, I always found Purgatory & Hell more interesting than Paradise!). As for Quo Vadis — it’s an old favorite of mine from way back (have you seen the movie version? I’m not sure it would hold up well, but who knows?) I’m not much of a Dickens fan, although I’m thinking of giving him another try; I re-read Great Expectations about a year ago & actually liked it, to my surprise but never got much the opening chapters of David Copperfield. I’ll watch your progress with great interest in the coming months!

    • I, too, liked Inferno and Purgatory better. I guess, as humans, we have more familiarity with those places …. makes one somewhat uncomfortable, wouldn’t you say? 😉 Good to know Quo Vadis is a excellent read; I’m so looking forward to it. And, ha! We have something in common there because I’m not the biggest Dickens fan either. I have never read a terrible book by him but also I’ve never read one I’ve absolutely loved so I’m sort of “meh” about him. I’m looking forward to Bleak House and Great Expectations though.

      Yes, hopefully this chapter-a-day will be just the thing I need!

      • That’s an interesting point about human nature, that’s it much easier for us to visual Hell than Paradise! As for Quo Vadis, I’ve been tempted to re-read it to discover whether I like it as much so many years later; I very much look forward to seeing how you do/don’t like it. Dickens — well, I’ve gone from loathing to a serious reconsideration and I did like both Bleak House and Great Expectations (but only on my second read!). Have you heard of John Mullins’ The Artful Dickens, a very recent study of CD? I’ve been told that reading it, in conjunction with the novels, will convert me into a fan! I’m considering it . . . .

        • I hadn’t heard about it but thanks for the tip! My library doesn’t have it (of course) and it’s pretty expensive. No longer are books cheap on Amazon and I’ve been trying to use Abebooks. Any cheaper suggestions for buying options?

          • No, alas. I’ve also noticed that the bargain days of Amazon (to the extent there were any) are long gone. I, too, use Abebooks at times although I’ve had a few bad experiences there. Libraries are great (I’ve worked in a couple, back in the day) and they certainly do what they can, but budgets are limited and they have a lot of diverse interests to serve . . . it can certainly be frustrating at times.

  2. I’ve been tempted to do it for the same two you are planning–both of those are books I want to read & haven’t. But I suspect if I get started on one or the other, I’ll want to read it faster than a chapter a day. At least I hope so!

    Having just reread David Copperfield last month, that one’s certainly out for now. It has been forever since I read Dante…

    • Well, hopefully you can be completely tempted to join! And if you read faster, so be it. I would like to re-read DC but there are other Dickens novels I really need to get to. And Dante just gets better with each read.

      I’m interested in what your reading year is going to look like!

  3. Thanks for sharing the 2021 read-along with your readers, Cleo! I’m glad you’ll be joining for at least two, and I hope you can fit the others in, too!

  4. I attempted the War and Peace read-along this year but bailed early on. In fact, I didn’t complete any of my reading projects I planned to do this year except for the Japanese Literature Challenge. When the pandemic started, it affected my reading life for a time.

    I’m hesitant to sign up for any read-alongs or challenges in 2021! Ha! But this does look like a pretty good line-up of books. 🙂

    • I didn’t complete my reading challenges either for various reasons. It’s rather disheartening but I’m determined to read more in 2021.

      Don’t you think a chapter a day might be manageable? Have I convinced you yet? 😉

  5. I believe I’m going to join this. A chapter a day won’t interfere with my other reading and I’ll finally have the impetus to start The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The rest will be rereads, but I’ll enjoy that as well, because they are worthy of a reread.

  6. This is so tempting as I have Purgatoria up next to read in the Divine Comedy and Hunchback of Notre Dame in my stacks. . Already plan to read Count of Monte Cristo. HMM!

  7. Tempting ^^ I have already read Hugo and Dumas (long ago) and I’ll be reading David Copperfield soon I hope 🙂

  8. Pingback: 2021 Reading Schedule January to June - Classical CarouselClassical Carousel

  9. I like the idea of this sort of challenge, but I just know it wouldn’t work for me – either I’d get impatient and read way ahead or I’d keep up for a week or two and then get distracted. Speaking from experience… 🙂 But I hope it works for you – I’ve only read Divine Comedy and Three Musketeers, but know by reputation that all those books are good!

    • I think if you read ahead, it’s okay (the point overall is to finish the book) but it’s the getting behind that would be deadly. But I’m hoping to form a habit and then it should be easy. “Should” being the operative word …. 🙄

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear from you and have you join in the discussion!