Here’s my stack of Old Books for The Back to the Classics challenge. (Mrs. Aldertree’s selection can be found here). As an added challenge I only picked books from our personal collection (no library loans or book shopping!)
1. 19th century Classic:
The Bostonians By Henry James
Years ago I started reading this book and really enjoyed it, but left it unfinished. I’ve read a portrait of a Lady by Henry James and loved it, I look forward to picking this one up again.
2. 20th Century Classic:
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
This book came recommended by my brother-in-law. I liked the Quiet American and Travels with My Aunt but I’m not sure what to expect since those two novels were so different from one another.
3. A Classic by a Woman Author
The Battle of The Villa Fiorita by Rumer Godden
Rumer Godden is fast becoming my favorite Authoress. I’ve had this one on my shelf for a few years now, I suppose I’ve been saving it for just the right occasion.
4. A Classic in Translation
Fragments of poetry seemed a fitting addition to the list. Before picking this one I thought of reading a Russian novel or Flaubert but I like reading a book of poetry along side novels and books of non-fiction.
5. A Children’s Classic:
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Growing up I avoided Kipling because I thought the movie Rikki Tikki Tavi was awful. (I wonder if this is a common thing for children to do? Mrs. Aldertree avoided The Wind in The Willows for the same reason). But last year I read His Just So stories and some of his poems and thought they were wonderful. Also I recently found out that Henry James held Kipling in High esteem and thought him to be “the most complete man of genius.” I am intrigued.
6. A Classic Crime Story
Sherlock Holmes A Study In Scarlet
I thought of adding Josphine Tye but I’ve already read one of her books and I’ve never read Doyle. My husband is a fan and is always telling me how wonderful they are. He insists that I start with A study in Scarlet.
7. A Classic Travel or Journey Narrative fiction or non-fiction
I know nothing about this book besides what the cover conveys of course. Apparently Journey narratives are not my usual fair, I had to look in my husband’s collection of books to find this one. He is happy I am branching out.
8. A Classic with a Single Word Title
It was really hard to find a Classic with a single word Title. I was surprised, besides Jane Austen’s Emma I think this was the only single Word Title (that met the other requirements) we owned. I’ve read The Scapegoat by her and loved it. My husband recently read this so I can’t wait to be able to discuss it with him.
9. A Classic With A Color in its title
The Red House mystery by A.A. Milne
I found this the other week at a thrift store and had no idea A.A. Milne wrote a murder mystery. I just had to add it to the challenge. He wrote it for his father.
10. A Classic by an Author that’s new to you:
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
My husband likes the author but I’ve never read any of his books. He’s completely new to me.
11. A Classic that Scares you:
Les miserables by Victor Hugo
The sheer length scares me, but who doesn’t want to brag about finishing Les Miserables? (Bleak House also scares me, as well as Doyle’s supernatural Tales and Turn of the Srew – gulp.)
12. Reread a favorite Classic:
Brideshead Revisted by Evelyn Waugh
Maybe it’s the title but it seemed like the perfect book to reread (again). I just love this book! If you haven’t read it yet- go read it!
Mrs. Karl T. Cooper, Jr.