Back to the Classics in 2017 and 2018

I did so much better with reading the classics this year than I did last year. I completed all 12 categories that Karen gave us. Yay! I’m really happy with the books I read, too. I read my first Gaskell and know it won’t be my last. The Cruel Sea was one of the most suspenseful books I read all year. Ann Petry’s The Street blew me away and deserves to be read much more widely than it is. La Vagabonde was thought-provoking, and Fanny Hill was blush-inducing. The Blue Castle was wonderful, and A Sicilian Romance was so silly it was fun. I continued my rediscovery of Agatha Christie with 4:50 to Paddington, and smiled all the way through Chicken Every Sunday. Black Wings Has My Angel awakened my interest in noir crime, and I’m rather proud of completing Anna Karenina. I did read One of Ours by Willa Cather, which won her the Pulitzer in 1923, but I never reviewed it. I just didn’t know how to put all my feelings into words. It is so beautiful and melancholic that Willa Cather has been battling with Edith Wharton for top spot on my list of favorite authors ever since reading the book.

Here are the books again, paired with the categories Karen gave us a year ago:

I’m excited that Karen is bringing the challenge back next year. I’m already looking forward to finding books to fill all the spots.

  • A 19th century classic: Too many to choose from…
  • A 20th century classic: I should give Edith Wharton a fighting chance against Willa Cather and read The Custom of the Country.
  • A classic by a woman author: There are still plenty of women writers on my Classics Club list. Mary Austen? Vera Brittain? Maria Edgeworth? Selma Lagerlöff?
  • A classic in translation: Also too many to choose from…
  • A children’s classic: I fear this category will make me visit the Children’s Collection on the NYRB website.
  • A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction: I just found my copy of In Cold Blood.
  • A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. I also found my copy of Travels With Charley.
  • A classic with a single-word title: Ramona, Helen Hunt Jackson
  • A classic with a color in the title: I’ll have fun finding a title for this one.
  • A classic by an author that’s new to you: So many…
  • A classic that scares you: Will I have to tackle Moby-Dick or Ulysses? We’ll see.
  • Re-read a favorite classic: Too many to decide right now.

Do you have any suggestions for me? 



  1. Hi Tj… Edith Wharton is one of my favorite authors too, and also Willa Cather but lately.
    I haven’t read The Custom of the Country, though. Would love to hear your thoughts!
    I hope Moby Dick wins; it’s one of my favorites. 😉

  2. Well done. I did better this year as well, completing all 12 (I think it was 9 last year). Recommendations: as far as I can tell, you haven’t read Saul Bellow or Gabriel Garcia Marquez – they’re quite interesting. Classics with a color: Anne of Green Gables (guessing you might have read that), The Red and the Black, or…is Golden a color? The Golden Ass – one of the oldest novels in existence. I’m working on my list for 2018 as well. 2017 list:

  3. What a great list you’ve created – you’ve got me wanting to read them all!
    Okay, I’m ashamed now to admit it, but I can’t believe I still haven’t read either Cather or Wharton. I own at least one of each – I don’t know how this happened. Maybe this will be the year!

  4. Well done with your classics this year, that’s a great selection. Lots to look forward to in 2018 too – The Custom of the Country is thought to be one of Wharton’s best. 🙂

  5. I’m impressed you like Cather & Wharton — two of my favorites! We have similar tastes. All I can think for colors at the moment is : Anne of Green Gables and The Red and the Black by Stendahl but I haven’t read it.

  6. NOT MOBY_DICK!!!!!!! Phew, sorry – just had to let that out… 😉

    Great that you enjoyed so many this year. The Street and Black Wings Has My Angel both made it onto my wishlist when you reviewed them, so I’ll get to them one day! And I should be reading In Cold Blood sometime this year too… 🙂

  7. Congratulations! And that children’s classics list from NYRB is DANGEROUS. I remember reading both The Glassblower’s Children and The Pushcart War when I was young, I loved them. I’ve also heard good things about The Magic Pudding, and you can’t go wrong with E. Nesbit. Thanks for signing up again!

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