Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Back to the Classics Challenge 2019 - Wrap Up
The Classics Challenge is done and dusted once again. I'm happy and quite surprised to have finished before the end of October, since it's been quite a busy year and some of these books are super long and challenging. As I've done in previous years, I'll give a quick wrap-up, and then award my personal bronze, silver and gold medals from the list. Thanks goes to Books and Chocolate for hosting the challenge. Here goes.
A Nineteenth Century Classic - Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
A Twentieth Century Classic - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
A Classic by a Woman - Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
A Classic in Translation - The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Classic Comedy - Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Classic Tragedy - Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Very Long Classic - War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Classic Novella - Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stephenson
Classic from the Americas (includes the Caribbean) - Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Classic from Africa, Asia or Oceania (includes Australia) - The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay
Classic from a place you've lived - Sun on the Stubble by Colin Thiele
Classic Play - The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Now for the drum roll
Bronze Medal - The Little Prince
I never expected to be choosing this honor for a quirky little fable, but Antoine de Saint-Exupery plays on our heartstrings with perfect notes. Through the modest personas of a gorgeous desert fox and a bemused, faired-haired alien boy, he cuts straight to the chase and suggests what's amiss with our world. The gentle attitude tweaks we're encouraged to take on board have brought me a lot of satisfaction. It's basically to value the people closest to us, but what a unique and imaginative way he has of getting it through to us. He deserves our thanks, if any author does.
Silver Medal - Mary Barton
Before it ever became a literary no-no, Elizabeth Gaskell brought a mish-mash of different genres into one story that must have made its original audience wonder what just hit them. There's social commentary, romance, adventure, mystery, high courtroom drama, and so many near miss moments, you can just about hear them whizzing past your head. I've got to give her credit because it was her debut novel, and she clearly already knew that a pen can be used a wake-up tool to great effect.
Gold Medal - Our Mutual Friend
Charles Dickens gets the top honor in this year's list because it was his last completed novel, he had all his best literary techniques going for him, and skillfully weaved the River Thames through the lives of such a varied social class. And in real life, he was a survivor during a scary and horrific train smash, but managed to sneak back on board to rescue the latest installment of 'Our Mutual Friend' he'd been working on. That's dedication for us.
I've participated in this challenge often enough to predict there'll always be a few new favourites on every list. This was no exception.