Weekly Reading Update 1/8-1/21

Because of a crazy couple of weeks (moving, no internet at the the new apartment yet, traveling for a friend’s wedding) I missed last week’s reading update here, so this is two weeks worth of books. (And now I’m a couple of days late even getting this posted, but hopefully next week I can get back on schedule.)

This will be a very basic post in terms of formatting, and without my normal links. Maybe later I will remember to go back and insert the links…

Finished Reading:
The Jane Austen Project: I’ve already written up my full review here on the blog; the short version is this book could have been so good, but was disappointing.

The Journey: I was a little nervous about reading my niece’s debut novel and posting opinions about it, but it was an enjoyable read. I keep describing it as ‘like if Louisa Alcott had written Lord of the Rings’ because I’m just not sure how else to sum it up.

Miss Buncle’s Book: A book that’s all about different kinds of people being people in a cozy (or not so cozy once stirred up!) English village isn’t my normal read, but this was well done enough to be very enjoyable anyway. Highly recommended for anyone who likes amusing character based stories.

Voice of Life: Finally finished this audio book fantasy YA series! I’d give the series four stars overall—the beginning of this book was a bit slow, but the end wrapped everything up very nicely, and with a good level of adventure.

The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club: It’s funny that I picked this one up right after Miss Buncle’s Book, as the settings and even feel are very different, but both are in that ‘all about different kinds of people’ zone. Lots of stressful things happening in this book, and a few annoying attitudes, but very engaging.

Agnes Grey: I finally read an Anne Bronte book! It’s a fairly simple story, without either the complexity or the weird bits I’m used to from the other Bronte sisters. It was a very relatable story for me—in the beginning that wasn’t so good, as it was all uncomfortable social situations, that I don’t feel I need to get from my reading life, but as the story unfolded I appreciated it much more.

Currently Reading:

Desiring God: Still just very slowly working on this one.

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: I finally got the library confusion fixed so I could finish the end of this audio book! Definitely appreciating the information so far.

The Disciplines of the Christian Life: I’m making slow progress on this audio book, but it does seem helpful.

The True Meaning of Smekday: My initial reaction was that I might as well just watch Home again and get the great visuals and voice acting, but the further I get, the more I find really funny lines and complex story bits that didn’t make it into the movie, so I’m starting to be really glad I picked up the book version.

The Man in the Dark: My first reaction to the fact that Doug Wilson wrote a contemporary romance was something like blinking several times and saying, “Huh.” It’s not my preferred genre, but I like what he’s doing with it, both in concepts and humor.

On Hiatus:

Skunk Works: Good book, just need to find the right time to get back to the audio.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: My husband and I are working through this audio book together, very slowly.

DNF:

Wilder (The Guardian, #1): Stilted writing AND nothing interesting happening in the first several pages.

Tain Bo Culange: The fact that this is ‘classic literature’ only goes so far in pushing me onward when I’m not enjoying the story or liking any of the characters.

Ella, the Slayer: I was really looking forward this one based on the premise (Cinderella retelling in a setting where the Spanish Flu created zombies) but the only part of the writing that was evoking any kind of emotion for me was describing how gross the zombies are. Not what I was looking for.

The Jane Austen Project

Silver Valkyrie: 

At the beginning, I really appreciated and enjoyed the story being about competent and prepared time travelers. While the adventure aspect is low-key in this Regency era drama, the sci-fi angle, the important mission, the risks of being discovered, all added to the dimension of the story.

Early on, I even appreciated how prepared the main (female) character was for living in pre-feminist times, and how when she did refuse to go along with expectations it was for very good ‘being a decent human’ kinds of reasons. As the story goes on though, it felt like she got more and more whiny about her situation, for reasons ranging from understandable (not feeling allowed to have opinions on serious subjects) to downright irritating (she implies that sewing shirts is ‘not useful’ and a waste of her time).

Overall though, the time travel mission part of the story stayed moderately interesting, and turned out to be the best part of the book.

Princess Raqpunzel:

There is a side story that could have been a very sweet romance, and was completely spoiled by the main character always thinking and describing everything in terms of physical attraction (sometimes in much greater detail than I appreciated). By the end of the book she has grown slightly and acknowledges having some more tender emotions, but it’s too late to save any enjoyment I might have had in that story line.

The most enjoyable part of the book from a character development and emotional perspective is the author’s imagining of what Jane Austen might have been like in person.

Hammer of Justice:

This book is irritating, mostly for the reasons touched on earlier in the review: the main character’s complete disregard for the value of traditional woman’s work, and the amount of time she spends thinking and narrating about sex. (I didn’t even mind the first few times it was referenced, as it was low detail, and made sense why it came up. When the subject kept coming up over and over though, it got old very fast.)

There are a few situations that could raise interesting ethical discussion (such as weighing saving a life in the past against the possible unknown changes it could make in the future), but these are mostly raised from a practical stand point of “What do we have to do? What is the minimum are we morally obligated to do? How much change of history can we safely get away with?”

Content Warning :

(This is accurate to the best of my recollection, but always has a chance of being incomplete.)

Violence: Very minor. There is a bit of danger and mention of death (usually by disease), but I think actual violence is limited to a couple of punches thrown.

Language: Best I can remember, there is very light sprinkling of very strong language in the book. It’s possible there are also more instances of mild to moderate language that I didn’t specifically notice.

Sex/Nudity: Yes. By some people’s standards the actual scenes are not frequent or extremely detailed, but there is certainly a level of overly personal detail on this topic multiple times in the book, and a few more occasions mentioning various levels of undress, in addition to the more general references throughout.

Other: There are a few mentions of vomit, chamber pots, blood, and similarly gross medical/physical topics. The main character mentions being ‘drunker than she should be’ on a couple of occasions.

This one is a spoiler for the ending of the book:

Changes in the time line lead to a character essentially being in a relationship with one person while married to someone else. 

Summary: Despite a great premise and good writing, this book manages to be more irritating than enjoyable.

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2020 Reading Challenge Plans (Part Two, Silver Valkyrie Reading Challenge)!

As noted in my last post, I enjoy making lists of books to read a lot more than I enjoy following lists, so all of my reading plans are subject to change.

Silver Valkyrie Reading Challenge

1. A book with a title starting with Q, J, X or Z

I have a number of  kindle books (mostly that I got free at one time or another) that work for this prompt, and I’ll likely pick one of them:

A few books I’ve already read and loved that fit this prompt are:

2. A book about someone with amnesia or other memory problems

This is the only one I currently have on my list, but I will likely run across other candidates as the year goes on.



I’m surprised to find how few books I’ve already read that fit this prompt (unless you want to go WAY back in my reading history and take a look at this Hardy Boys book Brother Against Brother –I can’t vouch for it’s quality now, but I did re-read it several times in my teens). Here are a few excellent books that would work if you’re willing to stretch the prompt slightly (the first two include stories about some level of memory loss, but don’t necessarily focus on them, the third is not about memory loss strictly speaking, but her stroke does involve a lot of what you might call ‘physical memory loss’ as her body has forgotten how to do almost everything and needs to be retaught):



3&4. A classic and a modern bestseller in your favorite genre
This is a prompt I’m really looking forward to, but have done almost no planning for. I may actually do it a couple of times over, since my favorite genre is strictly speaking fantasy, but I think sci-fi (a close second in favorites) would also be interesting for this prompt. So perhaps my reading will look something like one (or more) of these pairs:



5. A book related to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

The Japanese related book from  my TBR that I really want to read is really only tangentially related, but I think it might be close enough for me:

If you really want to tie in all the elements of this prompt, you could read something like Unbroken, which (besides being a five star book) has parts of the story that have to do with both Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany and with prison camps in Japan:



6. A book by a relative of a famous author or other public figure.

The main book from my TBR that I’d like to use for this prompt is by Simon Tolkien, the grandson of JRR Tolkien, though I’m not convinced I’ll enjoy it enough to actually read it all the way through it:

I’m also considering this book by the daughter of Dave Ramsay, who is at least famous in certain circles:

My recommendations for this category are a bit sparse, but if you consider Doug Wilson famous, I highly recommend this book by his daughter:

Or for that matter, any of the books by his son, such as:

Also, a fair number of authors (Anne McCaffrey, Stephen King and Ted Dekker come to mind) have written collaborations with family members, which could be a good starting point if you’re lost on this prompt.

7. A book with a carb in the title or on the cover (pasta, bread, fruit, candy, etc).

I have a number of books I already own that would fit this prompt:

And these are my personal recommendations for the prompt:


8. An obscure or less famous book by a famous author

I have several books I’d like to read for this category (including that ‘backlist’ of classic authors I mentioned in Part One of this post). My top picks are probably these:

I also have so many recommendations (mostly, again, of classic authors, as my favorites are never their most well known works), but I’ll try to keep it to a reasonable number:


9. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Prohibition in the US, a book related to alcohol or Prohibition. 

I have a couple options I’m considering reading for this prompt:

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend this book as related to Prohibition:

10. A book with a weapon on the cover
Again, I’m considering a number of options among kindle books I own, but really, this one is my top choice:

It’s pretty easy to find fantasy or mystery books with weapons. I especially like these fantasy books:

But there are some other options I’d also recommend:

Plus, if you really wanted to get creative, you have a lot of options with this prompt. Does a spaceship count as a weapon (or only if it HAS weapons in the story)? Or if the pen is mightier than the sword, does a pen on the cover count?

Have fun with your choices, and let me know any recommendations you have for any of these prompts!

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Weekly Reading Update: 1/1-1/7

I’ve really cut back on my participation in Goodreads groups as part of  my general cutting of social media in the last few months, and I’ve found the one thing I really missed was the weekly check-in in one of those groups. Writing down what I’ve started, finished, or given up on in the past week brings a certain clarity, especially when it makes me notice how long it’s taking me to get through a certain book (and question how much I’m actually enjoying it), or just makes me put into words some of my initial reactions.

It really took me far too long to realize that I have a book blog, and could just post a weekly update here. 🙂 And the first week of a new year seems like the perfect time to start!

Finished Reading:
None. This is pretty rare for me, but I’ve been busy and tired lately, and I also gave up on quite a few books recently, which means some reading time went into those instead of ones I wanted to finish.

Currently/Actively Reading:
Tain Bo Culange: I started this because someone described it as an Irish version of Beowulf. It’s not. I’m giving it a little longer to actually grab me, but so far I’m not super impressed with either the reason for the war starting or any of the characters.

The Jane Austen Project: This started off with a lot of promise, but it’s gone downhill (and escalated from minor to moderately bad content issues). I’m invested enough in the story to finish at this point, but I probably won’t be recommending it.

Desiring God: There’s a lot of good in this book, but I’m struggling a bit with paying attention and sticking with it through some points that seem unnecessarily long winded.

The Disciplines of the Christian Life:  I started this on audio after giving up on Desiring God for my Sunday afternoon reading that day. I didn’t get very far, but it seems good so far.

Voice of Life: My current audio book. I’m enjoying the series overall, and glad to finally get around to the concluding book, but I will say the cheesiness of the teen romance gets to me occasionally.

On Hiatus:
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: I was really enjoying this one on audio, but need to sort out some library complications before I can continue with it.

Skunk Works: Another audio book I’m looking forward to getting back to. This one I was planning to listen to with my husband, since we started it together, but since we’re having a hard time finding a good time for that right now, we might just finish it separately.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: My husband and I are VERY slowly working through this on audio as we can line up when the mood strikes with having it out from the library.

DNF:
A Long Fatal Love Chase: I had to at least try an early, melodramatic Louisa Alcott, but the combination of tragic and cheesy just really isn’t my cup of tea.

Keeping the Feast: One Couple’s Story of Love, Food and Healing in Italy: This one had a great premise, but I just didn’t connect at all with the author, and therefore had a hard time connecting with her story.

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2020 Reading Challenge Plans (Part One, Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge)!

I’m dividing this into two posts, one for each challenge, since it would get rather long otherwise. Here is part one the books I’m planning to read for my 2020 challenges, along with a few recommended books that I loved and fit certain prompts. Since I love making lists a lot more than I love *following* reading lists, most of these will probably change before I finish.

Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge:
A book published the decade you were born (80s for me):

Education of a Wandering Man is my first choice for this category. I’m also considering Poems by GK Chesterton and an audiobook version of The Disciplines of the Christian Life by Eric Liddel.

Since this is a personalized prompt, I won’t recommend anything, but feel free to ask if you’d like recommendations for a specific decade, and I’ll see what I can do!

A debut novel:

I already started The Jane Austen Project, and am enjoying it so far, but if I don’t get around to finishing this one first first, I’ll definitely be filling the category with my niece’s first book, The Journey.

A book recommended  by a source you trust:

My husband recommended this book to me quite a while back, so this really the only one I’m considering for this category. It’s time I finally read it, no distractions allowed!

If you’re looking for recommendations, and consider me a trusted source, you could count anything from my essential reading shelf on Goodreads.

A book by a local author:
Since we just moved to a new state, I’m counting anyone from this state as ‘local’, but also hoping to get some state history in the bargain, so I’m looking at books by this author: Beverley Olson Buller.

A book outside your genre comfort zone:
I don’t have a top choice for this one. Likely I’ll choose from a few kindle books I’ve picked up using Kindle First Reads, or otherwise free, that aren’t sci-fi/fantasy. I read pretty widely, but ‘speculative fiction’ is definitely my go-to, so I’m counting anything outside of that or classics for this category. (Several of my options are also short stories collections, which I read MUCH less often than novels or novellas.)

A book in translation:

I picked up Last Train to Istanbul and The Great Passage for free on Kindle last year when Amazon was offering free kindle books that had been translated into English as a special event. I’m not sure which one I’ll end up going with, as they both look reasonably interesting. (Though, to be honest, since they were free books rather than ones I researched and picked myself, there’s a decent chance I’ll dislike both of them and need to find something else entirely.)

For personal recommendations in this category, I really loved Beowulf (which is also a short read). The White Rose covers some really interesting, and, I think important, history. And if you’re up for a challenge, Les Miserables is mostly a brilliant story (though punctuated by long, dull asides).

A book nominated for an award in 2020:

I don’t have a plan for this one yet! I don’t typically follow any book awards, so I’ll either be watching for recommendations from others or see if anything I happen to read serendipitously gets nominated for an award.

A re-read:

Since I love re-reading old favorites this one shouldn’t be difficult for me, and I’ll just fill it with whatever I happen to mood re-read first. Quite possibly some Robin McKinley, but we’ll have to see.

A classic you didn’t read in school:

I have plenty of options here as I want to ‘catch up on the backlist’, so to speak, of several classics authors I enjoy, but Little Dorrit and Shirley are high in the running. Though I find it amusing and a bit ominous that Little Dorrit has DNF right on the cover! (For those who don’t run in bookish circles online, DNF is frequently used as an abbreviation for ‘did not finish’.)

Recommendations here are pretty easy, as often my favorite classics are the slightly more obscure ones, less likely to be assigned reading. For instance, Northanger Abbey, Eight Cousins, Jane of Lantern HillNorth and South, and The Black Arrow.

Three books by the same author:
I have plenty of options here, though my first choice is to finally read some Anne Bronte. As far as I can tell, she only wrote two novels, so I’d have to use a book of her poetry for the third book.

I could also catch up on a series I love:

Or try a new series by a favorite author:

There are even more options, but I’m better off without throwing it TOO wide open.

Stay tuned for a post about my reading plans for my own challenge, and let me know what YOU would or do plan to read for the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge!

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2020 Reading Challenges!

I haven’t mentioned it on this blog yet (partly because I really need to work on my posting frequency…) but the end of my 2019 got a little crazy. The part that really affects my reading life is that we’re now living in a smaller place, so most of my books are packed away, and we’re living in a smaller town, so I have fewer books available through the library system.

This is all temporary for the next year or two, and I have plans in place to keep my book consumption high, but it does mean my book access is going to be a lot more limited than what I’ve been used to. This, in turn, means adjusting my expectations, which means for first time in 3 (or so) years I will NOT be doing the Popsugar reading challenge in 2020.

I WILL be doing the Modern Mrs Darcy 2020 reading challenge because it’s shorter, and more flexible, and prompts like ‘a classic you didn’t read in school’ are much easier to fill from limited book resources than prompts like ‘a book published the month of your birthday’.

I’m also creating my own reading challenge this year!

I was participating for a while in goodreads group that creating their own reading challenge through a nominations and voting process, but of course, many of the prompt ideas I really loved were not as appealing to the majority of voters in the group. It was still it’s own kind of fun, and I may go back to the group someday, but for now, here is a personally curated set of reading prompts that I think are fun, quirky and challenging, while still being broad enough to fill using only books you’ll enjoy reading.

I’ll come back soon and give you some suggestions for each category, as well as posting what I plan to read for both my own challenge and the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge!

Silver Valkyrie’s 2020 Reading Challenge

1. A book with a title starting with J, Q, X or Z

2. A book about someone with amnesia or other memory problems

3. & 4. A classic and a modern bestseller in your favorite genre

5. A book related to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

6.A book by a relative of a famous author or other public figure.

7. A book with a carb in the title or on the cover (pasta, bread, fruit, candy, etc).

8. An obscure or less famous book by a famous author

9. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Prohibition in the US, a book related to alcohol or Prohibition. 

10. A book with a weapon on the cover

Red Rising (Trilogy)

(Note: This review generally covers the first three books in the Red Rising series. I have not yet read the follow-up trilogy.)

Silver Valkyrie:

This series is harsh, but epic. In many ways it feels like a fictional handbook for a revolution, pointing out some important aspects of leadership as well as some inevitable consequences of  violent uprising (however right and justified the principles of that uprising may be).

While not everyone, even on the ‘right’ side, in this series is someone you can root for, there are some notable characters who are at least always trying to do the right thing, which is impressive in this kind of setting. I really appreciated the juxtaposition of trying to do the right thing with a realistic portrayal of warrior tactics and attitudes (more on that later).

Princess Raqpunzel:

There were at least three times in this series that it upset me so much I didn’t want to keep reading (at least for a while). This is both a pro and a con, as it means I *really* cared about the characters, but it also made it a tough book to read.

While I didn’t find myself especially invested in most of the family relationships in the book, there is some really interesting interplay between other people throughout the book. Golden Son (book 2) especially has themes of trust and balancing the risks of the trusting others with the risks of not trusting others.

So, while this wasn’t a happy, gooey emotional series by any stretch, there were a few satisfying emotional/character arcs.

Hammer of Justice:

This book clearly raises moral questions, some of which are not simply and easily resolved. That makes the series an excellent option for a book club that likes to delve into deep discussion about the choices made in the book.

While I was uncomfortable with some of the levels of violence at first impression, remembering to view them through the lens of a war, fighting back against oppressors (almost in a guerrilla warfare) sort of way  made those moments at least more understandable. (I leave you to form your own opinions on whether that makes those instances of violence morally acceptable or not.) There are also some escalations at points that are clearly not approved by the main character(s), which again, makes this book tough to read, but also makes it both more realistic, and and an even better source of discussion about the sometimes inevitable consequences of choices and trying to stand up for what’s right.

I can’t necessarily support every choice made at every point in the series, but I  love the fact that it brings up the hard questions and makes us consider deeply.

Content Warning:

(This is accurate to the best of my recollection, but always has a chance of being incomplete.)

Violence:  A LOT of death, some torture and all kinds of battle/fight scenes. In most cases the descriptions aren’t graphic, but there are some times where the horror of what’s going on is emphasized to make it clear.

Language: There’s ‘British’ swearing sprinkled heavily through the book, and a few characters who use very strong and coarse language habitually.

Sex/Nudity:  Sex is mentioned as occurring a handful times, typically with only a little detail. There are a number of very crude remarks throughout the books though.

Other: Attempted rape is mentioned but not shown. The violence does include children both in danger and actually dying. Suicide is discussed, mostly in the context of ‘suicide missions’ or killing oneself to prevent abduction/torture/etc.

This one could be considered a  major spoiler, so only highlight the text below if you prefer to know ahead of time:

Eo is pregnant when she dies. 
Summary: While this series is tough to read in a lot of ways, it’s also excellent as both a work of fiction and a prompt to consider the answers to some difficult questions

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Reamde

Silver Valkyrie:

For fun and adventure I give this book five stars.

As a little girl I loved Nancy Drew for being smart, poised, kind, and calm in difficult situations. In some ways, this book gave me a grown up version of that reading experience–a heroine who is relatably far from superhuman, but intelligent, resourceful, determined, able to make good decisions under pressure, and even in dire situations is concerned about the effects of her choices on others.

I say she’s the heroine, but there are a lot of other characters who also get significant amounts of story time, and many of those are also intriguing with a range of traits including cleverness, ingenuity, calm analysis, selflessness, a variety of impressive fighting skills, and here and there a dash of heroism.

In a lot of ways this story is like three different action movies stuck together. Sure, it’s a little improbable and over the top. It’s also exciting and quite entertaining.

Princess Raqpunzel:

I give this book three stars on the emotion and relationship side of the equation. There were some shippable romances, but they very much took a back seat in the story to the action and adventure. I enjoyed what there was of these story lines, I just would have found them more satisfying if there was a bit more there.

Some of the most satisfying relationship portrayals were familial, and I did enjoy the interactions between brother and brother, uncle and niece and so on.

Hammer of Justice:

There’s a good combination here of a straightforward moral code with a nuanced portrayal of how various humans interact with that code. You have some bad guys who are just bad, some bad guys with good qualities, some apparent bad guys who rethink their life choices, and so on.

Without ever appearing to delve deeply into a the philosophical realm, the story does at least brush past some deep questions about life, morality, survival, legality and the interactions between those.

I found the writing quality to be only mediocre as I started reading, but as I got deeper into the story I noticed the writing less and less, which is actually my basic requirement for good writing: don’t distract me from the story. It still doesn’t win any awards for writing quality, in my opinion, but it got the job done to tell the story.

Impressive accuracy of detail in both gun and video game references.

Content Warning:

(This is accurate to the best of my recollection, but always has a chance of being incomplete.)

Violence: Lot of action movie type violence. Lots of injuries and blood. Rarely described in graphic detail.

Language: There are some short stretches that are dense with ‘f’ words, but also long stretches without any inappropriate language at all, depending on which characters are in focus at the time.

Sex/Nudity:  In two or three instances  both male and female body parts are referred with with accurate/blunt terminology. There are a couple of scenes involving sex. While it is described in a general way, there are no intimate details given. (In my personal opinion, it exactly fits what *should* be meant by adult content. It would likely be uncomfortable for younger and single readers, but for most married readers it wouldn’t be problematic.)

Other: There is a specific scene that some readers may find particularly disturbing. It could be considered a minor spoiler, so highlight the text below only if you prefer to know ahead of time:
There is an attempted rape scene. It progresses to the point where the woman’s jeans (with underwear) are mostly removed before she succeeds in fighting him off. 

Summary: Five stars for being a fun, enjoyable read, despite a few imperfections.

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Back to Classics Challenge 2019

Because doing the Popsugar reading challenge and Goodreads Around the Year in 52 Books challenge isn’t enough…

These are the books I’m planning to read for each prompt, but of  course, they’re all subject to change upon whim.

(Done!) 1. 19th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1800 and 1899.
Wives and Daughters (originally planned The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)
 (Done!) 2. 20th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1900 and 1969. All books in this category must have been published at least 50 years ago. The only exceptions are books that were published posthumously but were written at least 50 years ago.
Peter Pan
 
3. Classic by a Woman Author.
Agnes Grey
 
(Done!) 4. Classic in Translation. Any classic originally written in a novel other than your native language. You may read the book in your native language, or its original language (or a third language for all you polyglots!) Modern translations are acceptable, as long as the book was originally published at least 50 years ago. Books in translation are acceptable in all other categories as well.
Beowulf (originally planned The Canterbury Tales)
5. Classic Comic Novel. Any comedy, satire, or humorous work. Humor is very subjective, so if you think Crime and Punishment is hilarious, go ahead and use it, but if it’s a work that’s traditionally not considered humorous, please tell us why in your post. Some classic comic novels: Cold Comfort Farm; Three Men in a Boat; Lucky Jim; and the works of P. G. Wodehouse.
Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions
6. Classic Tragic Novel. Tragedies traditionally have a sad ending, but just like the comedies, this is up for the reader to interpret. Examples include The Grapes of Wrath, House of Mirth, and Madame Bovary.
Phantom of the Opera
(Done!) 7. Very Long Classic. Any classic single work 500 pages or longer, not including introductions or end notes. Omnibus editions of multiple works do not count. Since page counts can vary depending on the edition, average the page count of various editions to determine the length.
Les Miserables
(Done!)8. Classic Novella. Any work of narrative fiction shorter than 250 pages.
Carmilla (had originally planned The Red House Mystery)
9. Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean). Includes classic set in either North or South America or the Caribbean, or by an author originally from one of those countries. Examples include Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (United States); Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Jamaica); or One Hundred Years of Solitude(Columbia/South America).
A Long Fatal Love Chase
10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia). Any classic set in one of those continentss or islands, or by an author from these regions. Examples include Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt); The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (Japan); On the Beach by Nevile Shute (Australia); Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria).
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
11. Classic From a Place You’ve Lived. Read locally! Any classic set in a city, county, state or country in which you’ve lived, or by a local author. Choices for me include Giant by Edna Ferber (Texas); Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (Chicago); and Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (Germany).
Across Five Aprils
12. Classic Play. Any play written or performed at least 50 years ago. Plays are eligible for this category only.
The Mousetrap