Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Reading dangerous (and chunky) books

Wandering through the litblogosphere is bringing out my inner explorer...stumbling across an insightful and quirky blog is like discovering a new land. I'm reading about new authors, or new books by authors I've already read. It's invigorating, and exciting. My mental reading list is growing ever longer.

My other great discovery has been reading challenges. There are some utterly wonderful reading challenges out there (I'm thinking of things like the outmoded authors challenge I saw on Books of My Numberless Dreams). Most challenges would be too challenging for me, as I'm not a big one for lists, preferring to read where the mood takes me. But then I came across the year of reading dangerously challenge. It grabbed my attention. Such an idea, reading outside my personal comfort zone. And not too prescriptive either, providing a recommended list of titles, with the option to mix & match as I choose. Which suits me perfectly!

Here's the recommended list of titles:
- January: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens (English classic)
- February: The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (African American)
- March: Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood (Atwood for Atwood's sake)
- April: Transformations, by Anne Sexton (Poetry)
- May: Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote (Southern US)
- June: Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov (Russian)
- July: The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier (adolescent)
- August: Maus I and II, by Art Spiegelman (Graphic Novel, Pulitzer winner)
- September: The Secret Lives of People in Love, by Simon Van Booy (Independent)
- October: The Human Stain, by Philip Roth (Contemporary/Jewish)
- November: A Month of Classic Short Stories, Various - watch for a list
- December: The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck (Dusty)


But, since I've read some of these, and since Atwood is one of my favourite authors (so not exactly dangerous!), I've decided to tweak it slightly. Instead, here are my dangerous reads:
- January: Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray - This has been on my shelf, making me feel guilty, for about three years.
- February: Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
- March: The Diviners by Margaret Laurence - this Canadian Margaret is brand new to me.
- April: Transformations, by Anne Sexton (Poetry)
- May: Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
- June: Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov (Russian) - this will be re-reading, as I love Nabokov but don't read him now as much as I used to.
- July: The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier (adolescent) - I didn't like adolescent novels when I was an adolescent so this is quite "dangerous" for me.
- August: Maus I and II, by Art Spiegelman - I've never really gotten into graphic novels
- September: The Secret Lives of People in Love, by Simon Van Booy
- October: The Human Stain, by Philip Roth
- November: A Month of Classic Short Stories
- December: The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck (Dusty) - I've read a lot of Steinbeck, but not this one.

So with these twelve books to look forward to, I thought I'd sign up for another challenge - the Chunkster Challenge. Again, this isn't too prescriptive, as it's just four books, of over 450 pages, over the course of the year. Even better, cross over with other challenges is allowed so my Vanity Fair counts for this. But I really want to read War and Peace, and to re-read Ulysses, so this challenge appeals. My chunky books for 2008 are:

- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (809 pages)
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (a whopping 1358 pages)
- Donne: The Reformed Soul by John Stubbs (474 pages) - I'm very glad this qualified as this has been in my stack a while
- Ulysses by James Joyce (732 pages) - The 1922 edition

It should be an interesting and satisfying year I hope!

5 comments:

verbivore said...

My goodness - those are some hefty lists. And some wonderful book choices, enjoy your challenges!

orchidus said...

Wow! You have undoubtedly picked the most "dangerous" and chunky books -in my opinion. That's great that you are taking the chance and stepping out of your comfort zone. I myself need to get into the habit sometime soon... Good luck on completing your challenges. I am looking forward to your reviews. :]

Logophile said...

Hi Verbivore, I'm loving Vanity Fair so far so things are boding well for the rest of the year!

Hi Orchidus, seeing Les Mis on your own list has made me really want to read Hugo. It's just so hard pinning choices down (which is why I'm so not list-y usually!).

Ladyslott said...

You have chosen some amazing and hefty books for both challenges! I'm looking forward to what you have to say about each book. I chose some large books for the Chunkster Challenge, but they seem lightweight compared to yours! Good luck!

cass said...

Kudos to you logophile! I admire your bravery, choosing Tolstoy as well as Joyce for the one challenge. You go!