Announcing The Classics Challenge 2015

By now you may have read my journey through the classics this year. If not, take a few moments to read about it here, here, here and here.

Now I call you, just like my wife called me, to join us in Ron’s Bookshelf’s Classics Challenge 2015. The original, Karen K, has come up with her challenge list again this year. I must say, with absolutely no bias, that the list my wife and I came up with (she chose 5, I chose 5) is way better. And we’d swear Karen stole some of our ideas, but  our categories were chosen before we saw her list for next year.

I’m not sure what I’m planning to read for each category or in what order, but I’ll write about that later. Remember, everything you choose must be at least 50 years old. I’m also carrying over my rule that every book I choose (OK, maybe most books I choose) will be something I own already.

Here are our categories:

A classic by a woman: The trouble is finding one that’s not to chick-y.

A classic by an author new to you: There are so many on my shelf by authors I’ve never read, I will have a lot to choose from. Or maybe I’ll go away from my shelf and read someone like Balzac because, well, Balzac.

A classic with just a name as its title: And just to be difficult, we’ve decided it has to be only a name, no modifier. So “Lucky Jim” or “Lord Jim” wouldn’t work, but “David Copperfield” would. (Of course, these are our rules, you can make up your own.)

A classic set in a future or possible world: Is this the year I get to “A Clockwork Orange?”

A novel by a Russian author: My dad, never much of a reader, must have been assigned Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” during his brief stint in college. I have his nicely bound version complete with his roommate’s graffiti on it: He wrote my dad’s name below the title. Even if I never read this, I still get a laugh out of that.

A Pulitzer Prize winner: Just to see whether what they chose that year stands the test of time.

A classic by a Nobel Prize winner: So many winners in the literature category I’ve never heard of, someone’s bound to become a new favorite.

A nonfiction classic: The first thing my wife and I thought when we saw the categories for the 2014 list was “Why no nonfiction?” So we included it this year.

A short story collection: I’m looking forward to this.

One we pick for each other: There was a time my wife and I would say: “You should read this,” but lots of years of marriage and lots of failed recommendations mean that sentence isn’t uttered often. That doesn’t mean we don’t read the same books: We both like Ian McEwan and Alexander McCall Smith and Daphne DuMaurier and lots of other people, but we don’t push books on each other. This year, we will. Our rules: We have to have read it, and we have to think the other will enjoy it.

Who’s with us? Leave a comment below (not on Facebook) if you’re interested.

Let the reading begin!


12 thoughts on “Announcing The Classics Challenge 2015

  1. Love this! What a great way to finally get some books read that have been sidelined for way too long. I’m tempted to reread Ethan Fromme (and Silas Mariner) as well, especially since I don’t remember them so well, but I think I’m going to go for McTeague, which I’ve been meaning to read for-ev-er.


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