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2018 Old & New Classic Challenge > Jim's Getting to Mustard 2018 Old and New Classics Challenge

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message 1: by Jim (last edited Mar 17, 2018 06:18AM) (new)

Jim Townsend | 159 comments Good afternoon from New Jersey. This is my old and new classic challenge for 2018. The presence of "mustard" in the title is a pun, because I prefer mustard to ketchup (catch up). My challenge consists of books I started to read in 2017 and didn't finish, as well as books that I had intended to read but didn't get around to reading. Without further ado, here is my list.

1. Fathers and Sons (1861) by Ivan Turgenev (1818-83). Finished 5 March 2018.
2. Les Misérables (1862) by Victor Hugo (1802-85). I started this 908-page behemoth on 25 October 2017, got to page 642 by today and called it quits. Edited to add: The "glitch in my post" was my wife pulling up outside to go out, so now at 6:28 PM USA EST, I need to take this time to finish my message. Finished 22 February 2018.
3. The Odyssey of Homer attributed to Homer (c. 800 BCE). I say "attributed to" because no one really knows who Homer really was, whether Homer was male or female (even though, as far as I know, the name "Homer" is masculine), or whether Homer actually existed. I have a Modern Library omnibus, published in 1950, which I purchased at a library book sale, titled "The Complete Works of Homer" that also includes The Iliad of Homer.
4. Anne of Green Gables (1908) by L.M. Montgomery (1874-1942). Ever since I visited Prince Edward Island in 2006 for my great-aunt Margaret's 90th birthday party, went to the Anne of Green Gables Museum and discovered that I'm a second cousin twice removed of the author, I've wanted to read this classic. Finished 12 March 2018.
5. All Quiet on the Western Front (1931) by Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970). The novel about German soldiers in World War I is arguably the best war novel ever written. Finished 1 March 2018.
6. The Good Earth (1931) by Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973). The women's-rights and civil-rights activist, the daughter of missionaries who spent most of the first half of her life in Zhenjiang, China (per Wikipedia:, won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize in Literature with this novel of ancient China.
7. Free-Range Lanning (1921) by Max Brand (1892-1944). Finished 26 February 2018.
8. The Lies of Locke Lamora (2004) by Scott Lynch (born 1978).
9. Peter the Great: His Life and World (1980) by Robert K. Massie (born 1929).
10. That Old Cape Magic (2009) by Richard Russo (born 1949).

Edited 1/1/2018 (the date works with either the USA MM/DD/YYYY format, or with the DD/MM/YYYY format used by the rest of the world) to include:
11. Paradise Lost (1668) by John Milton (1608-74).
12. George Foreman's Indoor Grilling Made Easy: More Than 100 Simple, Healthy Ways to Feed Family and Friends by George Foreman (born 1949). I think this either came with, or I bought it with, my George Foreman Grill.

A1. War and Peace (1869) by Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910). I know I'm nuts, but I'm male so can't help it. I read his Anna Karenina in 2017.
A2. The Three Musketeers (1844) by Alexandre Dumas (1802-70). Like Tolstoy, Dumas is not a new author to me, as I read his Count of Monte Cristo in 2016.


message 2: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2386 comments Mustard is indeed better than ketchup for most things!

It looks like you might have hit a glitch in your post, though.

message 3: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9263 comments Mod
Best title ever for a challenge. Good luck :)

message 4: by Terris (new)

Terris | 2360 comments Love your challenge title! Really nice list too! I've read 5 of your 10. You have a lot of good reading to look forward to :)

message 5: by Hailee (new)

Hailee | 365 comments Really interesting list. I actually finished The Lies of Locke Lamora two days ago and can highly recommend it!

message 6: by Veronique (new)

Veronique | 896 comments Cool title and interesting list :0) I like all your comments for each title.

I grew up with Pearl S Buck - weirdly she was quite ‘popular’ in French, while here (UK) she isn’t as ‘visible’. Anne is lovely, Les Mis very entertaining and Fathers & Sons surprised me. Lies of Locke Lamora is another I’d love to read, and All Quiet.
Good luck with your challenge!

message 7: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Melanti wrote: "Mustard is indeed better than ketchup for most things!

Agreed! :)

Was your reading of Les Misérables interrupted by life events or was it a difficult or less-than-compelling read? I liked the movie and have thought about reading the book. The Lies of Locke Lamora has been on my TBR shelf for a while now and I’ll be interested to know what you think of it too. :)

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim Townsend | 159 comments Erin wrote: "Melanti wrote: "Mustard is indeed better than ketchup for most things!

Agreed! :)

Was your reading of Les Misérables interrupted by life events or was it a difficult or less-than-com..."
Good morning,

I simply ran out of time last year due to life events. Hanukkah and Christmas, my wife and I were rolling around like chickenless heads buying for our family and close friends.

I restarted Les Misérables on Monday, January 1, 2018, and am determined to read it this year. I'm reading the 2012 hardcover Fall River Press/Barnes & Noble edition, which crams the 1,463-page mass market paperback edition of this long, rambling, somewhat depressing Victor Hugo masterpiece into 908 pages of tiny print.

I'm looking forward to The Lies of Locke Lamora, because I'm intrigued by the idea of gentleman bastards, which itself seems an oxymoron. But this year I intend to alternate fiction with nonfiction, to expand my reading horizons a bit.


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim Townsend | 159 comments Updated my list to reflect the books that I've read this year.


message 10: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 391 comments I can't remember if I finished Les Mis in high school or not. I know I ditched Don Quixote half way through (twice now).
Maybe I will mustard myself up for them one day! Great work so far!

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