Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Year of Reading Dangerously

Laziness and idleness, be gone! I've just agreed to participate in a book-related blog challenge for 2008, a year of Dangerous Reading. Basically, you sign up and agree to read 12 books in 2008 that challenge you, that you're scared of, nervous about. Unfamiliar genres, intimidating authors, personal hates; they're all welcome. There are two ways of going about it. First, take your books from this list:

January: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens (since Estella is our namesake)
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)
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)


Secondly, make up your own list of 12 books. You're also free to mix 'n match, which is the path I'll be taking. I've already read most of Atwood's ouevre (including Cat's Eye), Maus (thanks Ann Marie!) and Lolita (which, to be honest, isn't really a Russian novel per se). Reading any of those three again would be a pleasure, so I'm going to have to strike them off my list. Instead, I'm going to make the following subsitutions:

March: Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
June: Down and Out In Paris & London, by George Orwell
August: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce

I can't count the number of times I've begun the Fitzgerald and given up after a few pages. I enjoy it's premise, but the book itself has never grabbed me. June is a bit of a cheat, as I've always wanted to read Down and Out, but I've never tried any Orwel except for the obvious two and anyway, June is my Leaving Cert and I don't want anything too long or difficult. Finally, I've had a copy of Portrait lying around my bedroom for months. Bout time I actually picked the thing up, no?

I'm between two minds with the rest of the list. January, in particular, scares me. I have never imagined myself to be a Dickens kind of girl and the thought of reading Great Expectations isn't a pleasant one. But that's what this sort of thing is all about!


5 comments:

Damien Kelly said...

I can BUY you one of those books along with your perfume!!!:D

Don't be scared, I know you can do it, Dickens or not, I'm with you 100%!!! By the Gods you will finish this list and emerge on the other side of the Phoenix Flames as a stronger and even more diverse reader than you were before. New and upcoming authors will be scared of YOU and your incredible power to read without fear and review without malice!!

BE STRONG!

XXXXXX

P.S. I know you're going to do it anyway, but simply leaving a comment with "I know you can do it" is pretty lame, lacking drama and realism.

Ann Marie said...

I love Maus. I know I didn't read anywhere as much as I wanted this summer thanks to work *cries* but that and The Book Theif, which I must give you when Aoife's done (I'll turn her into a good reader yet), are my definate favourites and will definately be read again and again, whenever I get through college reading.
I know what you mean about Dickens, he's never really stood out to me as something I had to read. I have to read The Great Gatsby as part of a History essay, it was that or Uncle Tom's Cabin the shortest book won, from the back it seems it could be interesting. As you know I did Joyce last year. I really like his streaming conciousness style and it's an interesting read. Definately shows his feelings about Ireland.

Ann Marie said...

I decided to sign up for the challenge :)

Andi said...

Glad to have you join us!! In truth, we picked Nabokov as our "Russian" largely because the other Russian novels we came up with were a) way too big for one month b) scared the pants off me to the point that I wouldn't even consider them.

And you can conquer Dickens! He's a little wordy, but Estella and Pip and the lot are SUCH great characters.

Looking forward to discussing with you!

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