Challenges: 2014 — Back to the Classics, Deal Me In Short Stories.


I have been procrastinating this for days because I didn’t want to procrastinate studying for my midyears. But here I am!

This year, I plan to participate in just 2 challenges this year, and so I can, hopefully, leave some space for several readathons and readalongs throughout it.


Since I had so much fun with the Back to the Classics Challenge in 2013 and it led me to some great books such as the Catcher in the Rye and Gone with the Wind, I have, of course, joined again this year. Here’s what it’s all about. This year it is hosted by Karen of Karens Books and Chocolate, and the categories are:

  1. A 20th Century Classic: Anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. A 19th Century Classic: Mansfield Park or Emma by Jane Austen
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author: Undecided –I have too many options.
  4. A Classic in Translation  If English is not your primary language, then books originally published in English are acceptable.  You could also read the book in its original language if you are willing and able to do so.: Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
  5. A Classic About War  2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.  Any book relating to a war is fine — WWI, WWII, the French Revolution, the War of the Worlds — your choice. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (fingers crossed) or the Diary of Anne Frank
  6. A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You This can be any author whose works you have not read before.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be an author you’ve never heard of.: Something by Ernest Hemingway or Charles Dickens
Optional Categories:
  1. An American Classic: Something by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. A Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde or (fingers crossed again) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. A Historical Fiction Classic: Undecided but MAYBE a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  4. A Classic That’s Been Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series: Undecided
  5. Extra Fun Category:  Write a Review of the Movie or TV Series adapted from Optional Category #4.  Undecided

I’m mostly excited for the 4th compulsory category. I have plans to do some comparative reading this year and my plan includes reading a Naguib Mahfouz book ‘Palace Walk’ in Arabic –which is my primary language– and then read it in English. And Naguib Mahfouz is as classic as you can get with Arabic, so I’m super thrilled that it gets to count for this challenge. The optional categories are ALL wonderful as well, and I hope to get to complete them all.


Then there is the brilliant, unique Deal Me In challenge by Jay of Bibliophilica, and you can find out about the challenge and join in here.

Now, I am supposed to tailor a list of 52 short stories (one per week) onto a deck of cards, shuffle it and randomly pick a story every week. I want to get a lot of exposure to different subjects through this challenge so I’ll be reading a story per author. I’ve tried to include stories by authors I have not read books by so maybe I’ll be encouraged to pick some of their works up. Here we go.


  • A: The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  • 2: A Dark Brown Dog by Stephen Crane
  • 3: Nobody’s Story by Charles Dickens
  • 4: Kew Gardens by Virginia Woolf
  • 5: The Fullness of Life by Edith Wharton
  • 6: Beyond the Bayou by Kate Chopin
  • 7:The Inconsiderate Waiter by J.M. Barrie
  • 8: An Hour by Louisa May Alcott
  • 9: In France by P.T. Barnum
  • 10: The Moonlit Road by Ambrose Bierce
  • J: The Art of Seeing Things by John Burroughs
  • Q: The Nameless Dead by Kate Cumming
  • K: Porcelain and Pink by F. Scott Fitzgerald


  • A: Queen Victoria’s Jubilee by Mark Twain
  • 2: A Carnival Jangle by Alice Dunbar
  • 3: Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad
  • 4: The Rainbow’s End by Kathleen Norris
  • 5: Extricating Young Gussie by P.G. Wodehouse
  • 6: The Looking Glass by Anton Chekhov
  • 7: Kitty’s Class Day by Louisa May Alcott
  • 8: The Star by H.G. Wells
  • 9: A Report to an Academy by Franz Kafka
  • 10: The Fortune Teller by Melville Davisson Post
  • J: One of these Days by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Q: Bliss by Katherine Mansfield
  • K: After the Dance by Leo Tolstoy


  • A: There Are No Guilty People by Leo Tolstoy
  • 2: Daughters of the Vicar by D.H. Lawrence
  • 3: The Glass Dog by L. Frank Baum
  • 4: A Fragment of Stained Glass by D.H. Lawrence
  • 5: The Diary of a Madman by Guy de Maupassant
  • 6: The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • 7: The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde
  • 8: A Woman Is Always a Woman by P.G. Wodehouse
  • 9: The Flood by Emile Zola
  • 10: Karma by Grace James
  • J: One Touch of Heaven by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Q: The Beautiful Dance of Yedo by Grace James
  • K: A News Paper Story by O. Henry


  • From A to 6 –> random story of the day off American Literature website.
  • 7: Rumpelstiltskin by the Brothers Grimm
  • 8: Rapunzel by the the Brothers Grimm
  • 9: Hearts and Hands by O. Henry
  • 10: Daisy Miller by Henry James
  • J: Short story out of my Edmund Crispin book
  • Q: Eveline by James Joyce
  • K: Araby by James Joyce

At the moment, I’m wondering how short at James Joyce’s short stories. 😀 You have no idea how thrilled I am for these two challenges as they both are absolutely perfect!


 For January, I plan to join the Jazz Age January event that Leah is hosting on Books Speak Volumes. My only issue with this event is I don’t currently have any Jazz Age books and I’m not sure I have enough time to get/or read one with my exams and all. And no bookstore near me, like NONE, seem to have anything for Fitzgerald or Hemingway, so… I’ll try my best though.

Let me know what challenges you’re taking on this year and if you’re participating in either of these challenges! I would love to see you lists and stuff!

Happy new reading year, everyone.

5 thoughts on “Challenges: 2014 — Back to the Classics, Deal Me In Short Stories.

    • I doubt they all will be but I do know there’ll be much to learn from them anyway. I wish I’d known about this challenge earlier so there would be some sort of reason behind my choices, but yeah… Lunging in is this year’s technique of choice.

      I see you’re taking part in the challenge too, so good luck with it! Thanks for coming by! 🙂

  1. What a wide array of selections you have! I see a lot of familiar writers but not many familiar titles. I think this is good. :-). In particular, Kew Gardens was a memorable read for me in a prior year’s version of DMI. I read it once and “didn’t get it” but read it a second time and it really unfurled for me. Focusing on one story a week has often allowed me to narrow my focus and get more out of them.

    I’m so glad you’re trying this challenge with us. I hope you enjoy doing it as much as I have.

    Oh, and I love your enhanced version of of the nofficial Deal Me In logo! With your permission, may I use it at the head of my weekly posts?


    • Well, you’re certainly making me even more excited about all of this! I actually admire stories that require more than one nonchalant read to be fully understood, so I hope it comes up for me soon.

      And yes, you sure can use the picture! I hope I had time to make a more elaborate one, but I’m glad you like it.

      Thanks for creating such a special challenge and for all the encouragement! 🙂

      • I also like that you included a couple of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I wish i had thought to do that. I bought a new English translation last year. Oh, and the Hans Christian Andersen tale too. I read one by him last year,and something from The Aabian Nights the year before. It’s good to have a broad range of story types, I think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s