2020 Classics Challenge

I can’t resist the Back to the Classics Challenge

Back to the Classics 2020Karen of Books and Chocolate is, once again, hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge for 2020.

I can’t resist it. Last year, I read 7 of 12 categories and this year I intend to aim for the full 12. Fingers crossed, people!

I’m loving some of the more unique categories this year. Here they are with some thoughts on what I might be reading for each.


My destiny in 2020?

1. 19th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1800 and 1899.

Is this the year I finally read Moby Dick? Also considering some Dickens or Far From the Madding Crowd.

2. 20th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1900 and 1970. All books in this category must have been published at least 50 years ago. The only exceptions are books that were published posthumously but were written at least 50 years ago. 

Possibly 1984 or The Catcher in the Rye. Both missing from my literary repertoire.

3. Classic by a Woman Author.

I’m thinking George Eliot. Possibly Romola or The Mill on the Floss.



Shelf of classics and interlopers in our library


4. Classic in Translation. Any classic originally written in a novel other than your native language. You may read the book in your native language, or its original language (or a third language for all you polyglots). Modern translations are acceptable, as long as the book was originally published at least 50 years ago. Books in translation are acceptable in all other categories as well.

Two thoughts for this one: Les Mis or, a wild card, Flowers in the Mirror
by Ju-chen Li.

5. Classic by a Person of Color. Any classic work by a non-white author. 

I’m thinking Native Son or Passing.


How glorious is this cover?

6. A Genre Classic. Any classic novel that falls into a genre category — fantasy, science fiction, Western, romance, crime, horror, etc. 

This is such a fun category! I’m thinking of delving into some classic sci fi, like Babel-17. Also thought about Georgette Heyer in the romance category.

7. Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. First name, last name or both. Examples include Ethan Frome; Emma; Madam Bovary; Anna Karenina; Daniel Deronda; David Copperfield, etc. 

So so many options here. Considering: Dr. Zhivago, Robinson Crusoe, Mary Barton, Jacob’s Room, Orlando, Lady Audley’s Secret.

8. Classic with a Place in the Title. Any classic with the proper name of a place (real or fictional) – a country, region, city, town, village, street, building, etc. Examples include Notre Dame de Paris; Mansfield Park; East of Eden; The Canterbury Tales; Death on the Nile; etc.

A Passage to India, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, The Belton Estate, Moment in Peking.


Nature? I like nature!

9. Classic with Nature in the Title. A classic with any element of nature in the title (not including animals). Examples include The Magic Mountain; The Grapes of Wrath; The Jungle; A High Wind in Jamaica; Gone With the Wind; Under the Volcano; etc.

Another fun one! I’m thinking about The Jungle.

10. Classic About a Family. This classic should have multiple members of the same family as principal characters, either from the same generation or multiple different generations. Examples include Sense and Sensibility; Wives and Daughters; The Brothers Karamazov; Fathers and Sons; The Good Earth; Howards End; and The Makioka Sisters.

Howard’s End would be fun. Also The Harp in the South, One Hundred Years of Solitude, I Capture the Castle, The House of the Seven Gables.

11. Abandoned Classic. Choose a classic that you started and just never got around to finishing, whether you didn’t like it at or just didn’t get around to it. Now is the time to give it another try.

The Grand Hotel and Iceland’s Bell are currently sitting on my TBR shelf and looking at me with disdain…



See? Judging me!

12. Classic Adaptation. Any classic that’s been adapted as a movie or TV series. If you like, you can watch the adaptation and include your thoughts in your book review. It’s not required but it’s always fun to compare.

Oo, this might be a better fit for Far From the Madding Crowd, which has a pretty recent adaptation.

So, the best laid plans, amiright? We’ll see how this goes. I’m always optimistic in January!


6 thoughts on “I can’t resist the Back to the Classics Challenge

  1. J.E. Fountain says:

    You didn’t ask, but you seem to be having trouble making up your mind, so I’m going to vote for a few. #1 Dickens, #3 Eliot, #4 Les Mis #7 DC #9 GWtW #10 100 Years. Or not…all good options. Enjoy!


  2. great book study says:

    Well, so many great possibilities!
    I just finished a reread of Moby Dick, which is a personally complex novel, but Far From the Madding Crowd is my favorite! (BTW, the latest film version is well done, too.)
    1984 is another favorite, but dystopian is a genre of mine. Then again, Catcher in the Rye is a light read and somewhat entertaining.
    I’m reading Mill on the Floss for this challenge, but I have no idea what it is about.
    I also LOVE Doctor Zhivago, a very philosophical love story.
    And then there is 100 Years of Solitude (I’m co-hosting w/ Silvia). This is a very symbolic, fantastical novel. We’ll need all the help interpreting it together. 😀
    But then Howards End was a great story, too.
    Whatever you decide, you have some great choices.


    • Shannon says:

      Thank you! I will be waiting to see where the spirit moves me for each category. Appreciate your thoughts on each! I am definitely leaning toward Far from the Madding Crowd now. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s