Want to challenge yourself to read more classic books in 2022? This classics reading challenge will broaden your knowledge of classic literature and old books with a range of genres, literary periods, and famous authors.
2022 Classics Reading Challenge for Classic Literature
I’m doing something new this year and hosting our first-ever classic book reading challenge at Tea and Ink Society! The idea is to explore the classics by reading one classic book each month. The rules are simple. 1.) No counting the same book for multiple categories, and 2.) All books must be written before 1970. Unless specifically specified in the prompt, books may be either fiction or nonfiction.
You can jump into the challenge any time, even if it’s no longer January when you’re reading this. And if you get behind, no worries! Just book yourself a weekend at a hotel so you can catch up on all your reading. (Ahhh, now wouldn’t that be lovely??)
Reading Challenge Checklist
If you’d like a printable reading challenge checklist, you should be subscribed to our Tea and Ink Society newsletter. I’ll include a link to the printable checklist at the bottom of each newsletter, and give you reminders and category ideas throughout the year. Subscribing will also get you access to our private Facebook group, where we’ll share what we’re reading each month and encourage each other in the challenge!
Now, let’s talk about reading challenge swag! For anyone who completes the challenge, I’ll send you a little something via snail mail at the end of the year.(: I’ll have a form for you to fill out at the end of the challenge which I’ll share via the email newsletter and in our Facebook group.
If you use Instagram, tag @teaandinksociety with your challenge picks so other members can see what you’re reading!
Now, on to the prompts!
Classic Book Reading Challenge Monthly Prompts
January: A classic book that’s getting made into a movie or TV show (or has been recently adapted)
Read a classic book before it hits your screen! You can choose an upcoming book-to-movie adaptation or a recent one from years past. Perhaps there’s a movie or miniseries you watched recently that made you want to read the book…now’s your motivation to do it! Here are some classic books becoming movie–or already made–to give you ideas:
February: A book by a Brontë
Meaning Jane, Emily, or Anne. Take your pick and pick up a novel by one of these talented sisters! Here’s my guide to the Brontë family, along with a list of their published novels.
March: An unfinished classic
This month you’re going to read (in its entirety) a book that was never completed. Think The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Wives and Daughters, Sanditon, etc. Here’s a blog post with background and more ideas for you!
April: An adventure novel
Spring is always a good time for an adventure. Perhaps you’ll choose King Solomon’s Mines, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, or The Lost World. Whatever you pick, you’ll find that adventure novels transport you to faraway lands and are always excellent studies of human virtue and vice.
May: A vintage girl’s novel
This genre has a lot to choose from including books by Louisa May Alcott, L. M. Montgomery, Eleanor H. Porter, and many more! To get you started, take a look at the first four books on this list of Little Women readalikes, and find more ideas in this list of books to read if you love Anne of Green Gables!
Fiction or nonfiction, there’s a lot to choose from in this category beyond the usual names you hear about like Ralph Ellison and Frederick Douglass (although those are great picks, too). If you want some fiction ideas for this category, here’s a list of classic novels by African-American authors.
July: An ancient text
Time to go way back–let’s say, anything pre-Medieval and/or before 500 A.D. Pick up the Odyssey, The Old Testament, the Epic of Gilgamesh, etc.
August: A classic with an antihero or antiheroine
An antihero is a central character in a story who’s ambiguous, problematic, or lacking in the typical qualities of a protagonist. Great Expectations has an iconic example of this in Pip. Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair is another. Here’s a blog post with 12 iconic antiheroes and antiheroines from literature.
September: A book by an Inkling
The Inklings were an informal literary club of Oxford academics who met from the 1930s through 40s. The most famous members are C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, but there are many other Inklings to choose from including Charles Williams, Lord David Cecil, and others. (Dorothy Sayers counts for this, too!) You can choose their nonfiction, adult novels, children’s books, whatever you like! Learn all about the Inklings and many of their writings in this post.
October: A French novel
Spend the autumn lost in a good French novel with authors like Flaubert, Hugo, Sand…even Proust, if you’re feeling ambitious!
November: A gothic or horror novel (or collection of short stories)
Have a look at my list of seven classic gothic novels to get you started, but there’s plenty more to choose from! Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, The Turn of the Screw are other great gothic classics, or for more of a horror theme turn to the likes of Shirley Jackson and H. P. Lovecraft.
December: A play
I can’t wait to see what you choose for your 2022 classic reading challenge!