2018 Challenges.

View of the village this morning.

We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland: it had snowed hard all last night and this morning so the roads have been closed and we're all of us stuck in the village enjoying an unexpected excuse to stay indoors! One thing I did do today, aside from watching Mary Poppins and eating too many Ferrero Rochers, was finally sort out my 2018 reading challenges! 

The first: Back to the Classics 2018 - it's tradition! Here's what I think I'll be reading:
A 19th century classicIdylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
A 20th century classicTortilla Flat by John Steinbeck.
A classic by a woman authorA Simple Story by Elizabeth Inchbald.
A classic in translation: Les Chants de Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont.
A children's classic: Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
A classic crime story, fiction or non-fictionThe Swindler by Francisco de Quevedo.
A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fictionAround the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne.
A classic with a single-word titleMeditations by Marcus Aurelius.
A classic with a colour in the titleScarlet and Black by Stendhal.
A classic by an author that's new to you: Vis and Rāmin by Fakhruddin As'ad Gurgani.
A classic that scares youThus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Re-read a favourite classicCold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.

Next, European Reading Challenge 2018. Again, these are just some ideas:
Austria: Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud.
FranceScarlet and Black by Stendhal.
GermanyThus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
NorwayGhosts by Henrik Ibsen.
PortugalThe Lusiads by Luís Vaz de Camões.

This next one is hard: Adam's Official TBR Pile Challenge requires commitment so after much deliberation and changing titles, here is the list I will read:
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
The Lusiads by Luís Vaz de Camões.
The Temptation of St. Anthony by Gustave Flaubert.
Vis and Rāmin by Fakhruddin As'ad Gurgani.
Les Chants de Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont.
On the Nature of Things by Lucretius.
Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Coming Up for Air by George Orwell.
Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck.
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne.
The Wise Virgins by Leonard Woolf.
Twelve Caesars by Suetonius.
Fruitfulness by Émile Zola.
Another challenge which was too fun to pass - the Victorian Reading Challenge. I'm going for Option A, which Becky explains:
Read alphabetically A-Z with authors OR titles OR a blend of authors/titles. I've decided that from now on X in reading challenges stands for multiple authors. I'm flipping my "x" to a "+".
Here's my list (which, like most of the others, is tentative):
AFairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen.
BThe House of Ulloa by Pardo Bázan.
CArmadale by Wilkie Collins.
DDombey and Son by Charles Dickens.
EThe Condition of the Working Class in England by Friedrich Engels.
FThe Temptation of St. Anthony by Gustave Flaubert.
GGothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell.
HThe Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo.
IGhosts by Henrik Ibsen.
JThree Men in a Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome.
KWestward Ho! by Charles Kingsley.
LLes Chants de Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont.
MBel Ami by Guy de Maupassant.
NThus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
OOblomov by Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov.
PAgainst Sainte-Beuve by Marcel Proust.
QTo the Queen by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
RThe Blessed Damozel by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
SScarlet and Black by Stendhal.
TThe Torrents of Spring by Ivan Turgenev.
UUtilitarianism by J. S. Mill.
VAround the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne.
WThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
XThe Happiest of the Three by Eugène Labiche and Edmond Gondient.
YThe Wanderings of Oisin by W. B. Yeats.
ZFruitfulness by Émile Zola.

Also, another great tradition: Jay's Deal Me In 2018. I've a mix of poetry, plays, essays, and short stories:
Short Stories
AceThe Negro of Peter The Great by Alexander Pushkin.
KingDubrovsky by Alexander Pushkin.
QueenThe Captain's Daughter by Alexander Pushkin.
JackWhite Nights by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
TenThe Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
NineA Gentle Creature by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
EightThe House with the Mezzanine by Anton Chekhov.
SevenMan in a Case by Anton Chekhov.
SixGooseberries by Anton Chekhov.
FiveAbout Love by Anton Chekhov.
FourFor a Night of Love by Émile Zola.
ThreeFasting by Émile Zola.
TwoNantas by Émile Zola.
AceThe Would-Be Gentleman by Moliére.
KingThat Scoundrel Scapin by Moliére.
Queen: The Miser by Moliére.
JackLove's the Best Doctor by Moliére.
TenDon Juan by Moliére.
NineGammer Gurton's Nedle by William Stevenson.
EightVolpone by Ben Jonson.
SevenCato by Joseph Addison.
SixVenus Preserv'd by Thomas Otway.
FiveThe Phoenician Women by Seneca the Younger.
FourMedea by Seneca the Younger.
ThreeAgamemnon by Seneca the Younger.
TwoHercules by Seneca the Younger.
AceOf Winter by Thomas Dekker.
KingWestminster Hall by Oliver Goldsmith.
QueenThe Stagecoach by Samuel Johnson.
JackWitches, and Other Night Fears by Charles Lamb.
TenMy First Play by Charles Lamb.
NineOf Persons One Would Wish to have Seen by William Hazlitt.
EightBook-Buying by Augustine Birrell.
SevenOn the Pleasure of Hating by William Hazlitt.
SixJuly Grass by Richard Jeffries.
FiveThe Whole Duty of a Woman by Edmund Gosse.
FourA Meditation upon a Broomstick by Jonathan Swift.
ThreeThe Scholar's Complaint of his Own Bashfulness by Samuel Johnson.
TwoA Vision by Samuel Coleridge. 
AceThe Wanderings of Oisin by W. B. Yeats.
KingThe Blessed Damozel by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
QueenTo the Queen by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
JackThe Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe.
TenThe Lady of May by Philip Sidney.
NineLamon's Tale by Philip Sidney.
Eight: Amores by Ovid..
Seven: The Art of Love by Ovid.
Six: Cures for Love by Ovid.
FiveFasti by Ovid.
FourThe Georgics by Virgil.
ThreeThe Ecologues by Virgil.
Two: Sorrows of an Exile by Ovid.
Deal Me In begins next week so in preparation I've drawn my card and my first title will be: The Would-Be Gentleman by Moliére.

My only other challenge is to read at least 15 titles from my Ancient Greek and Roman Challenge, with a general focus on the 1st Century B.C. and 1st Century A.D. Here's a few titles I may read:
  1. Leucippe and Clitophon by Achilles Tatius.
  2. Poems by Catulus.
  3. The Gallic War by Julius Caesar.
  4. Amores by Ovid.
  5. The Art of Love by Ovid.
  6. Cures for Love by Ovid.
  7. Fasti by Ovid.
  8. Sorrows of an Exile by Ovid.
  9. The Phoenician Women by Seneca the Younger.
  10. Twelve Caesars by Suetonius.
  11. Medea by Seneca the Younger.
  12. Agamemnon by Seneca the Younger.
  13. Hercules by Seneca the Younger.
  14. The Georgics by Virgil.
  15. The Eclogues by Virgil.

And there are my plans! If you're joining in with any of these challenges let me know 😃


  1. brother! that is one huge, eclectic list! it sounds like a lifetime program... not to bring coals to Newcastle, but i'd recommend anything by Claude Levi-Strauss... i just happened to remember him while reading the above...

    1. I think the Deal Me In makes it look like I've got so much more of a challenge than I have :) So many shorts on there :) Actually, it's a lot less than last year I think: I signed up to the same challenges with the exception of one, which for 2018 I replaced with Adam's TBR. Last year I did another kind of TBR challenge and I read 60 for that. So actually I think there's *significantly* less than last year. Even so I think it'll keep me busy! :D

      As for Claude Levi-Strauss - not heard that name in so long. I did some anthropology at uni so I vaguely remember reading him. When it came to anthropologists though I always liked Malinowski and Rivers. Used to read some Eliade too - thinking of revisiting him next year actually if I can fit him in :)

  2. You're insane ........ ooops, sorry, I meant to say, you're ambitious! ;-) I should have never looked at your lists. I was not going to do any challenges for 2018 and now I'm thinking about it. Still sticking with the Greek and the Romans, are you? Excellent. The Victorian challenge is so tempting but so many books. Okay, I will have to think about this. Enjoyed reading your post!

    1. There's other options for the Victorian challenge, I just couldn't resist the A - Z :) And yes, still on with the Greeks and Romans. I actually think I might finish my Ancients Challenge in 2019 (definitely not 2018, there's still 37 titles to go and only a few of them are short). Cannot believe 2018 starts on Monday... It's crazy how fast it goes.... :)

  3. Wow! Again!

    As I read through your lists, I was thinking, "Oh, yeah, I once read Around the World in Eighty Days. Yeah, that's it. : D

    Happy New Year. Love that winter image. Perfect!

    1. I'm really looking forward to Around the World, actually. Going to be one of my first reads for 2018 I think :)

      Happy New Year to you! :)

  4. Your challenges are inspirational! Thanks for some wonderful reading suggestions.
    I hope to join a few of these challenges!

  5. As always, I am so impressed by your challenge lists -- every year I sign up for multiple challenges and never succeed in completing all of them (I'm racking my brains right now to come up with my own A to Z of Victorian to-reads). Bel Ami is really good, and I also really enjoyed Zola's short stories (can't remember which ones exactly, but I know they were collected in An Attack on the Mill and Other Stories). I still haven't read any of his other novels outside the Rougon-Macquarts, but you really can't go wrong with Zola! I also really enjoyed Armadale and The Wise Virgins. Good luck with all your challenges!

    1. I think Zola's best works are in the Rougon Macquart novels. I did like his earlier ones, but post-R.M - I've read the Three Cities trilogy and really wasn't impressed. Fruitfulness is the first of his Four Gospels novels and I'm not sure if I'll get into them. Been putting them off for years now but I would like to at least try :)

      Just started Armadale last night - I'm enjoying it so far :)


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