Formidable Classics

classic-novels-on-shelves2  I love Classic literature and adore many genres within the classics. Once I started reading them I was hooked, and have forever been changed as a reader. I have read many classic books and so I’ve developed  much in skill and maturity. As I broaden my scope, reading more and more amazing books from the greats, I find myself looking at a few that I keep putting off. The books that I find either a bit daunting, or time consuming, or just find myself hesitating on aimlessly. I need to address these books that challenge me from my shelf.

Here are a few Challenging Classics calling to me in anticipation:

War and Peace
This is the book of books to read for any person interested in classic literature. It is a well known challenge, and one I think I am up for. It’s a book that although I may find challenging or time consuming, I do actually think that I will really enjoy. I think I just need to commit to reading it, and get to it. Oh and did I mention it is a whopping 1296 pages, no small feat. Hopefully a worthwhile one.

Rated 4.4 on

Book Bean: Russian Tea
Within Russia, tea usually includes lemon, and sugar or jam. Tea sachets are widely popular, but when a teapot is used it is very common to make a strong brew, then pour some into a cup and top it with hot or boiling water, adding milk and sugar afterwards.

A utopia is a community or society possessing highly desirable or near perfect qualities. The word was coined by Sir Thomas More in Greek for this 1516 book Utopia (in Latin), describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and imagined societies portrayed in fiction. I don’t know if this classic book is a challenging one or not, but I do know I’ve been meaning to read it for a very long time.
Rated 4.3 on

cafe-de-olla-in-a-mugBook Bean: Café de olla
Traditionally brewed in large quantities over a wood fire in a heavy earthenware Mexican cooking pot called an “Olla”. Place 4 cups water, 2/3 cup dk brn sugar, 1tsp molasses, and 2 cinnamon sticks (and aniseed optional) in a saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, and stir thoroughly to dissolve sugars. When the mixture reaches boiling, stir in 2/3 cup drk rst coffee (med. grind) remove from heat, cover, and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into stone cups, and enjoy with cinnamon sticks.


Moby Dick
It’s a whale of a book! Or so I hear 😀 This book does not really speak to me, as far as content I feel compelled to read. However, it is so well known as a literary masterpiece that I feel I must one day challenge myself and read it. It’s a novel by Herman Melville, in which Ishmael narrates the monomaniacal quest of Ahab, captain of the whaler Pequod, for revenge on the albino sperm whale Moby Dick

Rated 4.2 on
Book Bean:
Seafoam Tea
In a blender blend; 1/2 can coconut milk (cold) till frothy. Add in 2 cups of white tea (cold) and re-blend. Last add a pinch of finely ground lavender leaves (and/or mint, is a nice option)  and 1 cup of cool whip (or ice-cream.)


The Scarlet Letter
I have always wanted to read this book, but for one reason or another I just never do. I hope that one day I will, but it’s not looking promising. I always start reading it, but then I set it down and don’t pick it up again. It’s bothersome really. I don’t know if in the end I will like, love, or hate this book, but I do know that I will be glad I read it!

Rated 4.4 on

Book Bean:
Sinful Cinnamon Dulce
Temper white chocolate in a mug. Steam and Froth milk of choice (I like rice for this recipe) and pour over chocolate. Top with a small zip of whip and sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir and enjoy.


These are the formidable classics on my shelf, what are yours?

If you don’t read the classics, what challenging books have been haunting you?


158 thoughts on “Formidable Classics

  1. I have long wanted to tackle “War and Peace.” Thanks for adding “Utopia” to my wish list. I am rather fond of “The Brothers Karamazov” from Dostoevsky and “The Peloponnesian Way” from Thucydides. Although the latter is a historical account of a 30 year long war, the author’s habit of leveraging speeches (perhaps somewhat embellished) provides for plenty of remarkable philosophy and human strengths and foibles as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve wanted to read war and peace for a long time now but haven’t taken the plunge yet. Like you I love the classics and have read a few including Moby Dick which I reviewed too! It’s a bit of tough reading. I won’t give spoilers, just warn you that it’s a combination of story plus factual information. It’s that which makes it tough reading, but I’ve got to say I loved the ending! 🙂
    Good luck with your classics, hope you take the plunge and read one of these. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m currently readying War and Peace and I’m pleasantly surprised by just how easy reading it is. So much so that a week later and I’m almost a third of the way through.

    Vanity Fair is my next big challenge. I’ve started it a couple of times and got no where but 2016 is the year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have two of the same classic challenges as you, Moby Dick and War and Peace. Another classic challenge that I have is The Illiad and the Odyssey. I’m extremely intimidated by War and Peace, and The Illiad and the Odyssey. I had to read the Scarlet Letter in high school and it wasn’t too bad to read, there are definitely some lessons that can be learned from reading it. I read the Argonautica, which was only 155 pages and it took me a while to get through because of the way it was written. The Illiad and the Odyssey is 720 and if it’s written in the same style as the Argonautica, it will definitely be a challenge. One of my reading goals for this year is to read more classics, so I’m thinking of dedicating a full two months of just reading the classics, because I know how time consuming they can be.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The Scarlet Letter is one of the few books I actually remember reading in high school. Add Huckleberry Finn and Kafka’s Metamorphosis to that short list. But I, too, have W&P on my wish list (and The Brothers Karamazov as well).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Johnathan Livingston Seagull, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series and books on Progressive Rock, all with Raspberry Ice Tea. Sunday afternoons when it rains is best. I know they’re not “classics” in the literary sense but I walk a really different bookend road! But I have ideas for when I do want to read something else that is brilliant thanks to your lists and others! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ugh I could NOT get into Moby Dick. It took me forever just to read thee first 100 pages. I had to stop, and I don’t regret it.

    I read The Scarlet Letter in high school and remember liking it then. I may give it a reread someday. (Have you ever seen Easy A? A modern retelling starring Emma Stone.. A comedy!)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I struggle with Shakespeare. The shorter plays I made it through, but the longer ones are real hard. I struggle with the language, as I am not a native English speaker, but really want to read the original.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Three of the four classics you described–War and Peace, Moby Dick, and The Scarlet Letter–are in our family library and I’ve read them (but don’t plan to reread them). I don’t remember reading Utopia. Best wishes in taking up their challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love The Scarlet Letter. I read it in high school and hated it, but then I read it again on my own in college and absolutely loved it. I’d advise you to skip the intro, though. It doesn’t really add to the story and it’s the only part of the book that’s hard to get through.

    I’ve read Moby Dick a couple times and didn’t like it either time.

    The other two are on my list to read. I love reading the classics.

    Have fun reading!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Of the above, I’ve read The Scarlet Letter, and enjoyed it. W&P is on my tbr list, but I’m not really interested in Moby Dick or Utopia. I’ve got a blog post on classic women authors coming up, and I’d be curious to see which books you’ve read and enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The classic book I most highly recommend is The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence. It’s so beautifully written that it’s an emotional experience, not a book. In fact Winston Churchill called it one of the greatest books ever written in the English language.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I read War and Peace a few years ago and really enjoyed it but it took me ages. Moby Dick I started but never finished, I just couldn’t get past all the “Whales in Art” type chapters that are interspersed with the proper story. Maybe I’ll go back to it one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The Scarlet Letter is definitely on my list too! I think I will read it soon. I had started War and Peace several years ago, but then put it down and never returned 😦 One day maybe! On my formidable classics TBR list is Middlemarch, A Tale of Two Cities and The Divine Comedy.
    What I have read and enjoyed is Wuthering Heights and Silas Marner. What I have read and didn’t really enjoy is Madame Bovary.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I also want to read The Scarlet Letter. I tried reading the unabridged version of the Count of Monte Cristo but couldn’t get through it. I’d like to read Sherlock Holmes. Some of the other classics I’ve managed to read are Anne of Green Gables, Lord of the Rings and all the Jane Austin books (but I suggest not reading those all back to back because after awhile they start to blend together!) I enjoy switching genres and trying to read stuff out of my usual…Comfort zone.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Excellent choices Abbie. Some I have had the opportunity to read; others not yet – War and Peace being one I have not read. Great beverage choices too. As a child I loved reading Enid Blytyon and I am not saying they are classics in the true sense of the word but what great books. I still have the hard cover books from my childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Just yesterday started on War and Peace. The BBC have just done an excellent adaptation, which does help, although I generally prefer to visualise the characters for myself. This is despite having sworn not to read anything in translation, as I’ll never read everything I want to in English. I read Moby Dick as a teenager… though surely this must have been an abriged version, as with Roninson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travels. I would like to finish all of Austen and all of Dickens although I wouldn’t necessarily call them challenging.
    However, I decided a long time ago that I would stop reading something if I wasn’t enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: My Top Ten | hughcurtler

  19. Loved War and Peace, Tolstoy’s observations on human nature are stunningly well put. I would highly recommend adding Middlemarch to your list if you haven’t read it yet. I put Moby Dick down after a good solid try, it bored me to tears.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The other day I realized I’ve never read Sherlock Holmes, so that’s next on my list. The classics you’ve chosen are a good mix. The Scarlett Letter is worth it; Moby Dick is not – 185 pages into the novel and the ship hasn’t even left the harbour yet?! Puh-lease.

    As for War and Peace, I don’t think I’ll ever tackle it, but I admire those who do.


  21. I have nothing to say about the books…but that Seafoam tea….that…sounds awesome. Stupid question though…how does someone get “two cups” of white tea? Is that white tea that’s been steeped and chilled? Or is there some sort of powder you’re talking about here. (sorry…I’m not really a big tea/coffee drinker…so I’m quite retarded in this area.)

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Those are all books I still have to read 🙂 The Book Thief, Mila 18, The Shining and all three books by Khaled Hosseini would be my favourite books and recommendations! War and Peace and Moby Dick are both classics I’d like to read. I have War and Peace, but it’s just so long! But I do plan to read it some day.

    Liked by 1 person

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s