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Reading Challenge 2017



Happy New Year! I’m going through my usual New Year’s Day goal-setting which will include another stab at a BACK to the CLASSICS Challenge. This contest sets up twelve categories of classic literature for the participant to read throughout 2017. If you’re curious about this or would like to join, go to and click on the logo.

I have chosen a dozen books I’d love to finish before December 31, 2017 which could help me win a $30 Amazon gift card. Of course, the prize would be nice, but that’s not the point. As one who works best under a mild amount of pressure and reasonable deadlines, joining this competition helps me accomplish what I’ve always wanted to do anyway—read some of the world’s great books.

I am also a remote member of a book club in Queensland, Australia, which has introduced me to many wonderful contemporary novels, so 2017 is looking to be a good year for some intellectual stimulation.

Not to worry. My primary goal for the New Year is to complete Harps Upon the Willows, the sequel to my debut novel, Aroon. How long? Not long. I’ve finished 93,000 words of what I expect to be a 100,000-word book.

Anyway, as part of my commitment to this challenge, I am listing the books I plan to read next to each of this year’s categories. (If I state it publicly, I’m more likely to follow through.) I’ll post reviews as I finish each one.

count-of-monte-cristo-jpgA 19th Century ClassicThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (read The Three Musketeers in a previous challenge and loved it.)

A 20th Century ClassicNight by Elie Weisel (Heard him speak in Columbia, SC years ago and he was the rare combination of wise and humble)

A classic by a woman author – My Antonia by Willa Cather

A classic in translation – (one initially published in another language) Don Quixote by Miquel de Cervantes

A classic published before 1800Hamlet by Shakespeare (tried before but couldn’t get into it. I’m determined, though, since it’s rated the greatest play ever written)dorian-gray

A romance classicFar from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

A Gothic or horror classicThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

A classic with a number in the title – A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (another I’ve planned to read for years, but haven’t. I enjoy Dickens, though.)

A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title They anna-kareninaShoot Horses, Don’t They? by Horace McCoy

A classic set in a place you’d like to visit – (I’ve chosen London) Bleak House by Charles Dickens (As I said, I enjoy Dickens)

An award-winning classic – The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1919)

A Russian ClassicAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution)

What are your thoughts on these choices? Have you read any of them? Please let me know in a comment.

3 comments on “Reading Challenge 2017

  1. J.R. Handley says:

    And I’ve actually read four of them!! 🙂


    1. mbgibson345 says:

      Were all of them good?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. J.R. Handley says:

        Night, well it was informative but nothing is “GOOD” when you’re discussing the Holocaust.

        Don Quixote was enjoyable, but a hard read for modern students I think. The story was enjoyable though.

        Anything by Shakespeare is “GOOD” by my calculation so that was a win!

        As for The Picture of Dorian Gray, it was good in the way creepy Hitchcock was good. But yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

        And Dickens, well I haven’t really enjoyed any of them but I might enjoy the Readers Digest version since he was a bit heavy handed with his word count.


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