New Challenges

I am starting two new challenges:  to cover the segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin and to read fifty classic books over the next five years.

North Country Trail Near Gordon, Wisconsin
North Country Trail Near Gordon, Wisconsin

North Country National Scenic Trail

I’m not sure I’ll be able to complete this challenge given my age and the state of my health.  I intend to have fun trying.   I used the verb “cover” in the first paragraph above because some of the trail follows roads so I’ll be able to drive.  The rest I’ll have to hike – definitely a challenge since I can manage only a mile or two at a time.

The North Country Trail Association describes the trail as  “the longest in the National Trails System, stretching 4,600 miles over 7 states from the middle of North Dakota to the Vermont border of New York.  The stretch in Wisconsin is 207 miles and runs from the Minnesota – Wisconsin border near Superior, Wisconsin to where the Wisconsin – Michigan border meets Lake Superior.

Fifty Classic Books

The Classics Club sponsors this challenge that I fully expect to complete.

Here are the club’s ground rules:

  • Choose fifty classic books.  I’ve chosen fifty novels.
  • Post the list on your blog.  My list is here.
  • Choose a reading-completion goal date up to five years in the future.  My date is November 1, 2023.
  • Write a review of each book when finished reading it and post it on your blog.
  • Submit each book review to The Classics Club website.

I haven’t officially started yet.  I have to finish a couple of the books I’m currently reading.  I’ll start in a couple of weeks with Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz.

Series, Series, . . .

Careless In RedI finished another Elizabeth George novel today, one in her series of mystery novels.  I’m stuck in the series.  I ‘ve often been stuck in such series and have churned my way through many of them.  I like best the ones wherein the novels in the series are sequential and characters change and develop from book to book.  One of the best such series going today is the Easy Rawlins series of mysteries by Walter Moseley.  I’ve also liked some series that are not sequential and in which the protagonist(s) are the same in every book – they just do their thing and don’t change from book to book.  One such is the Lew Archer mysteries by Ross McDonald.  Coincidently, both the Archer and the Rawlins mysteries take place in southern California in the mid-twentieth century.

Other than mysteries, I’ve been engrossed in series with military themes, the most notable of which take place during the Napoleonic Wars and have British heroes:

  • The Aubrey–Maturin series, by Patrick O’Brian, about the British navy in the age of sail
  • The Hornblower series, also about the British navy in the age of sail, by C. S. Forester
  • The Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell.  Sharpe is a rifleman in Wellington’s armies in India, Spain, and eventually at Waterloo.

I could list lots of others, series by A. Conan Doyle, Martha Grimes, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham,  E.E. “Doc” Smith (science fiction that my brother and I were plowing through at the same time), John D. MacDonald with his Travis McGee series, Rex Stout with Nero Wolfe, and on, and on, and on.  I know I’ve read others, but you can’t expect me to remember them all although I did just remember some from my high-school days; the adventure yarns of Alistair MacLean and Ian Fleming’s James Bond books.  If I go back a bit further I would have to throw in series for young readers like the Tom Swift books and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan books.

I have to stop writing.  I keep remembering other series.  I’ll never finish this post unless I just come to a full, abrupt stop.

What series have you enjoyed?