- Any 19th Century Classic: Anna Karenina by Lev Tolstoy
- Any 20th Century Classic: Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
- Reread a classic of your choice: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
- A Classic Play: Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
- Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
- Classic Romance: Evgenii Onegin by Aleksandar Pushkin
- Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your languange - Garden, Ashes by Danilo Kis (recommended by Maria whose taste in books is impeccable)
- Classic Award Winner - TBD by Joseph Brodsky
- Read a Classic set in a Country that you will not visit during your lifetime - The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandar Solzhenitsyn
I am glad I decided to do the Eastern European version of the challenge as that narrowed down my options in a very productive way and added focus to my list. More than one of these titles is a reread. Not that there aren't enough unread titles for me to pick from but I've read many GREAT books when I was in high-school (courtesy of the sometimes strangely enlightened Bulgarian education system) and, honestly, I think I owe it to myself to re-read them periodically as I collect life experiences. I think that Anna will make a lot more sense to me at 30 than she did at 15.
The two categories that were the toughest for me were mystery/horror/crime fiction and romance since these are not genres I usually read in but they gave me an opportunity to be cheeky and creative so I am glad they were on the list. Also, for someone who travels a lot, the last category was almost impossible to fulfill but then Kyle suggested that I pick a country that no longer exists and therefore I would not be visiting in my lifetime so that opened up a whole lot of possibilities. I decided to pay special tribute to the Soviet Union by reading a novel that best describes the atrocities of the regime.
For the award winner, I wanted to pick a poet since the category wasn't explicitly included in the challenge. Joseph Brodsky won the 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature and his work I admire. So much so that I am having a hard time picking a particular collection of poetry. If you have a favorite, please let me know.
I am super excited about this challenge! It is shaping up to be a mildly depressive but otherwise rewarding experience. Have you read any of the books on my list? Which ones do you think I will like best?
P.S. I *am* a Russophile and I'm totally OK with that.