Classical Literature:Reading Challenge

I am combining the two classic reading challenges in one post – cheating I know but there is a certain overlap.

It’s been interesting to see what others define as a classic and as always see I need to do a catch up into modern thought.  That a classic transcends time sounds very fine but how much time? I find it difficult to accept that something written since I have grown up has had enough time to elapse to be called a classic as opposed to good literature.  However as I have been reading for 6 decades and time travels faster these days I realise I am out of step.

In Sarah’s Back to the Classics there is a category which states a classic with an award – as far as I can see most literary awards go back to just before or after I was born so I have had to grit my teeth and go for it:) as to 20c classics I can accept those penned in the early part of the century as even for me enough time has passed to see if they will last.  Picky picky me!  Actually it has been fun and absorbing to choose my reads for the challenges and very interesting to see what are considered classics – there is a whole new world of reading opening up to me in my dotage.

My list is not final yet but it might take months for the couple that are missing to be found and I may well change my mind on the ones I have picked but I do have some kind of a list.  I am combining all my reading challenges with my way to high TBR pile and hopefully will not have to buy too many more so with that in mind I went hunting through my books (they number in their thousands – I inherited many) where I found enough unread books

So for Back to the Classics I have picked

Tale of Genji by Muraski Shikibu:  for the Romance

Written probably in the 11th century I have been wanting to read it for a long time – at first I was going to have it as my translation however I seem to have read all the classical ‘romances’ and couldn’t find anything in the modern that I thought did the ‘time’ bit to my liking and this book is a romance although probably not quite how we use the term now – and at over 1000 pages ticks the box in my 700- page challenge as well = Result!

Of Time and The River by Thomas Wolfe : for 20th Century

This was written in1935 – enough time transcending even for me! I know little about it – I bought it as a Penguin Modern Classic in the early 70s when I had pretensions! And it has sat on the shelves quietly biding its time.  This also 1000+ pages and so ticks another of my 700+ challenge read = another result (I’m on a roll here)

The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky: for 19th century

This will be another one for the 700+ challenge and it is in a beautiful Folio Edition so will be real delight to read.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton for the classic with an award

This is a children’s classic apparently it came out in 1951 or 2 – I never thought of it as a classic as I listened to it on the radio at primary school however on consideration I will believe the lists and remember that it was over 50 years ago.  It has lasted as can be seen by how many different adaptations of the story in book and TV productions there are and the fact that it is easy to buy in the shops. As its a tale about little people living under the floorboards I can use this for myTelling Tales reading challenge = I do like a bargain

The Picture of Dorien Gray for the horror classic

I was astonished quite recently to think I had not read this yet.  I have seen screen adaptations which I have enjoyed so am looking foward to reading the proper version – there never has been an adaptation as good as the original (in my humble opinion:) – = Ah well

The Iliad by Homer for the translation

One should have read this and so will rectify it now – I can also use this one for the Telling Tales challenge- I believe I will have to buy this as I hear there are even better translations recently published = great

The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein as the re-read

It was going to be the place I’m never likely to go but as I have read it more times than I can remember  I started reading it back in the 60’s and pretty well every 2-3 years since.  My all time fav. of the 20th Century.    It could double in the Telling Tales Challenge and the 700+

I still have to find a play – I loath reading plays I would like to find something challenging so will delve into ancient Greece first. Would a poem do instead something from the Norse legends ?Prob. not

And a place not likely to go to – not sure about that one.  Possibly King Authur’s Britian as I have a fancy to read Morte Authur.

So all those will do for the classic challenge but I would like to read The Scarlet Letter and the Odysey.  There are in fact several others I have in mind a couple of Lawrences and maybe explore these so called ‘modern classics’  I have only just heard of some of these so I will explore further and report back later in the meantime at least a couple of the above will be included in these challenges as well.


3 thoughts on “Classical Literature:Reading Challenge

  1. mrsbongle says:

    Interesting reading goals! You’ll probably hate me if I say the first thought I had on seeing them was “What? No poetry!” But it’s your life so never mind me; read what you want.


  2. Liz says:

    Great list! The Borrowers was one of my favorites as a kid. I also love The Picture of Dorian Gray. You’ve got a great list here.


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