Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Classic Book Challenge!

My New Year’s Resolution for this year was to give each month a theme in an area I’d like to learn more about and set goals for myself to reach in that month. I began with January as “Fiction Month.” This month I’ve been reading far more YA fiction than I’ve done in a while, and am blogging and reviewing as much as possible. I’m also reading a few of the Vermont Green Mountain Book Award nominated novels for this year, including All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry, The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, and A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller. In addition, my goal was to finally finish some young adult novels I’d meant to read in 2015 but never got to, including A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst, and Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. I also decided on a whim to listen to Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, and am enjoying it much more than I expected. This month is merely for young adult fiction exploration, and is very loose-ended (as long as I read a lot!). Next month however, I’ve got planned out a bit more…

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My goal is to read at least 10 classic novels and plays in the month of February. Considering I usually only read about two or three books a month total, it’s quite a stretch, but should set me up nicely for my future goal to read at least 2 classics a month for every month to follow in 2016.

Why am I doing this? To further my own learning! My main personal goal in this life of mine is merely to increase my own intelligence in any way I can, and what better way than through classics? I realized recently (while watching the Democratic Debates, in fact — another example of a way I have broadened my interests to politics merely to be more aware of the world around me) that there are many, many classic novels of all time periods, genres, and authors that I have yet to read on my own or in a class. I know I still have a few more to read this year in AP English, but I’d like to be more well-read before going to college!

Thus, I compiled this list of classics I aim to read in the coming month. I might not review them all, but hopefully recording them here in Gwen & Kate’s Library will keep me focused and organized on this goal, and I’ll certainly post a final update at the end of the month. I’ll also keep the side panel updated with which books I’m currently reading and listening to.

Gwen’s 2016 Classic Book Challenge: 10 Books in 1 Month

2 Ancient Books:

   The Aeneid by Virgil (also translating from Latin in my Latin V Independent Study)

   Poetics by Aristotle (alternative: The Epic of Gilgamesh)

1 Shakespeare Play:

    Hamlet (changed from King Lear)

1 Modern Play:

   Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

2 American Novels:

   To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (audiobook) (alternative: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

   Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (audiobook)

2 British Novels:

   Animal Farm by George Orwell (audiobook)

   Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (audiobook) (alternate: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

1 International Novel:

   The Stranger by Albert Camus

1 Non-Fiction:

   On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (abridged audiobook) (alternate: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli)


(Bonus: 2 classic essays and 2 classic poems)


Classic Books to Read in Future Months:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Middlemarch by George Eliot

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

Ulysses by James Joyce

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

The Republic by Plato

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

And many more!!!

Wish me luck! Do you have any other favorite classic novels or plays to recommend?

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One comment on “Gwen’s Classic Book Challenge!

  1. Sue (Bedazzled By Books)
    January 21, 2016

    Awesome challenge! I made myself a personal challenge to read at least 1 classic book before the end of March, but I’m having a hard time deciding what to read. Good luck with your challenge! :)

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