Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back to the Classics Challenge

Sarah over at Sarah Reads Too Much is hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge 2012. She's selected nine categories, and there will be prizes for successful completion. Prizes! Woohoo! Of course, I am adding a little twist. All the works I'll read will be by female authors.
  • Any 19th Century Classic: The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot. I really loved Middlemarch and enjoyed The Lifted Veil. I want more Eliot! (done)
  • Any 20th Century Classic: Silent Spring, Rachel Carson. This is a book I've wanted to read for a long time, and it's certainly a classic that's left its mark on the world.
  • Reread a classic of your choiceBeloved, by Toni Morrison. I read this in high school, but just didn't like it. I recently read another Toni Morrison book, A Mercy, and loved, loved, loved it. Now I want to go back and give Beloved another chance. *Update: replacing this with Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. (done) 
  • A Classic Play: The Rover, by Aphra Behn. Okay, this may be a stretch for a classic, since it's not famous like Shakespeare's work, but there aren't many widely read female playwrights. I recently learned about Behn. She was the first English woman to make a living from her writing, after King Charles II stopped paying her for her work as a spy. (done)
  • Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction: Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier. I've been inspired by  the Discovering Daphne readalongs hosted by Polly of Novel Insights and Simon at Savidge Reads, and I'm going to give  Dame du Maurier a try. 
  • Classic Romance: Wuthering HeightsEmily Brontë. I'm sure I read this in high school, but it has not stuck with me at all. I'm hoping a reread will give me more appreciation. 
  • Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your languageDeclaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen, Olympe de Gouges. De Gouges was an outspoken feminist and abolitionist during the French Revolution. She died by guillotine during the Reign of Terror. Her Declaration was a response to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which had been adopted by the French General Assembly. It was meant to point out the ways that the French Revolution had failed women. ***Update: I've swapped this one out for The Book of the City of Ladies, by Christine de Pizan. Written in Middle French. (done)
  • Classic Award Winner: The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton. This book was awarded the Pulitzer in 1921, which was the first time a book by a female author won the prize. Of course, it was only the third year it was given out, so that's not too shabby! (done)
  • Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime: The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck. I would go to China, but it's not anywhere near the top of my list. And I've been wanting to read this, so on the list it goes. (done)
So that's the plan. I can't promise I'll stick to the list exactly, but at least it gives me a starting point.

What's your favorite classic work by a female author?


Jillian said...

Gone With the Wind!! (Is my favorite classic by a female author.)

And then Sense and Sensibility

I love that you chose a play by Aphra Behn. I've wanted to read something by her since I read A Room of One's Own.

Awesome picks. I liked The Lifted Veil as well and Ccan't WAIT to read The Mill on the Floss. :-)

Violet said...

That looks like an interesting list. Good luck with the challenge! I failed the ones I tried this year, so I'm not even going to think about any for 2012.

MJ said...

@Jillian: I can't believe I still haven't read A Room of One's Own. That probably should have made the list!

@Violet: Thanks! I had fun making the selections.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm doing this challenge too. I love the categories. Rebecca is wonderful!

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

I love it. Love love love it. I am especially looking forward to your thoughts on your translation piece - sounds fascinating!

My favorite classic written by a female? Easy - To Kill a Mockingbird.

MJ said...

@Melissa: Yay! Glad to hear we'll both be working on this.

@Sarah: Thanks for hosting! And I have a feeling a lot of people would agree about To Kill a Mockingbird.

Charlotte said...

I had to come on over and see the rest of the picks you made for the challenge :) You have some really great ones on your list, especially Rebecca. I read that one last year and just fell in love with it!

Marcia said...

Alifa Rifaat's Distant View of a Minaret. George, Jane, Virginia, Charlotte, and Emily: of course. Muriel Spark. Colette. Sigrid Undset.

MJ said...

For whatever reason, I can't seem to edit this post. I'm swapping out "Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen" and replacing it with Christine de Pizan's "The Book of the City of Ladies."