Back to the Classics 2019 List Ideas

My selections here are mostly from my Classics Club 50 and are shown in RED.


1. 19th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1800 and 1899. – The House of the Seven Gables – Nat Hawthorne 1851
2. 20th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1900 and 1969. – The Ox-bow Incident by Walt VanTilberg Clark 1940
3. Classic by a Woman Author.  NANCY MITFORD’s LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE
4. Classic in Translation. CANDIDE – Voltaire
5. Classic Comic Novel. Any comedy, satire, or humorous work. ?
6. Classic Tragic Novel. Tragedies traditionally have a sad ending… Hardy: Jude the Obscure
7. Very Long Classic. Any classic single work 500 pages or longer, not including introductions or end notes. – The Three Muskateers should work for this.
8. Classic Novella. Any work of narrative fiction shorter than 250 pages. – One Fine Day – Mollie Panter-Downes 179pp 1947
9. Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean). Includes classic set in either continent or the Caribbean, or by an author originally from one of those countries. – ?
10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia). Any classic set in one of those contents or islands, or by an author from these countries. – Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook?
11. Classic From a Place You’ve Lived. Read locally! Any classic set in a city, county, state or country in which you’ve lived, or by a local author. – The Age of Innocence / Wharton / Newport RI
12. Classic Play. Any play written or performed at least 50 years ago. Plays are eligible for this category only.  X
  • All books must have been written at least 50 years ago to qualify; therefore, books must have been published no later than 1969 for this challenge.


Maybe this year I will read at least 6 and achieve this Challenge for the first time!


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13 thoughts on “Back to the Classics 2019 List Ideas

  1. If you can’t find a comic novel you could swap Love in a Cold Climate and choose another woman author. Also Candide and One Fine day are both wonderful!

  2. Oooh! Oooh! (raises hand) Candide is one of my favorite stories EVER. There’s also a musical.
    My favorite satire is The Rape of the Lock, a mock-epic poem. Some of my students have found it difficult to read, but it’s one of the funniest satires ever if you’re at all familiar with the conventions of epic. Pope is making fun of a situation in a social circle right above his where a society miss had a lock of her hair cut off by a roguish young man who fancied her and it caused a rift between their families. The young and supposedly virginal miss is, quite literally, characterized as exclaiming that it was her “favorite curl” and wishing that he had cut off some of her hair that’s less visible (think about that for a beat). The epic machinery is employed to great comic effect. At one point one of the little fairy-like “sylphs” that’s supposed to be guarding her hair is threatened with being tortured by being (gasp!) held over the steam from a cup of hot chocolate.
    If you want a comic novel, there’s Tom Jones or Tristram Shandy. I love Tristram Shandy but again, students find it hard going. They don’t always appreciate it that the novel is full of digressions (his life keeps happening so he can’t catch up with documenting it–in fact, he has trouble getting past the story of his birth) and that it ends with a story about a cock and a bull (the whole thing is like a “shaggy dog story”).
    Also for a play it’s hard to beat Chekhov’s Three Sisters. And I like Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, although it’s sad.

    1. I forgot to say that the 5-canto version of The Rape of the Lock is the funniest one. He wrote a 2-canto version at the request of the families, to conciliate them, and then he wrote a funnier, longer, and ruder 5-canto version later.

  3. Candid would also work as a comic classic. It is funny!

    One Fine Day is brilliant. Love the writing in it.

    I would recommend AGAINST The Golden Notebook. It is not a page turner. I mean, of course, give it a shot but it was work for me to read it.

    GOOD LUCK! 😀

    1. Yea but. Candide is the only one left on my CC50 to fit the translation category. And I put Doris Lessing on my list because it shows up on all those ‘have you read/must read/blahblahblah’ lists. We’ll see. I appreciate the warning…

  4. For a play, how about “The Importance of Being Ernest” by Oscar Wilde? You can never go wrong with Oscar. For a tragedy, there is always Tess of the D’Urbervilles too. It doesn’t get much more tragic than that one.

    1. Lovely! thanks for the compliment and endorsement of 3 Musketeers. I adored The Count of Monte Cristo so this is a must for me. Hopefully sooner than later.

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