Have you ever posed a reading challenge to yourself?
This year I did. When it comes to books, I found that whenever I was in a discussion about the classics, I soon realized I had very little to contribute. Sure, I’ve read a few but I felt like I barely scraped the surface. So in an effort to expand my reading repertoire I challenged myself to read 19 classics in 2019. No easy feat, but I am excited by it. I even created a hashtag for it: #getclassicallylit
Now, where do I even start?
It took some digging to curate a list of classics that was balanced and within my general interests. Some push the envelope a bit for me and I’m okay with that. I did some googling, some polling of my peers, and pulled a few out of my brain that I already knew I wanted to tackle. That all being said, here’s my list (in no particular order):
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- Emma by Jane Austen
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- The Odyssey by Homer
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
- Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kessey
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin
- Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
So far I’ve completed two: Moby Dick (which I hosted a buddy read for) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’m still in the process of reading one; I needed to put Anna Karenina aside for a bit. I’m slightly too busy at the moment to dedicate the proper attention to such a literary tomb.
Through this journey I’ve learned that the novels are not as stuffy as I thought they would be (mind you I’m barely into this challenge) and I do need to keep reminding myself of when they were written, what the world was like, the views held and the language used. A few parts in these books have had me cringing because of those things.
I think what has surprised me the most so far has been the humor that carries through. Moby Dick was actually quite funny at parts. Though he did drone on and on about certain things.
Feel free to join in my #getclassicallylit challenge! It’s open to anyone, you can change up any of the books to suit your desires and keep in mind that I like to feature posts from others for it on my Instagram story feed.