Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Challenge possibilities

I have tried to stay away from reading challenges because, although I like the idea in principle, in practice I find myself not doing all the reading, pushing myself to do the reading, and then getting annoyed with myself when I don’t. And reading should be fun, right?

But … you know how it goes. Someone comes along with a new challenge and it seems intriguing, and next thing I know I’m signed up. I should not get so caught up in trying to finish these things and should just think about what they are good for: getting me to read things I might not otherwise.

So thank you, Imani, for putting together this list and the blog! The challenge should be fun.

The list is quite long, and there are tons of authors I’d happily read from it. I think, though, to increase my chances of actually completing this thing, I won’t decide for sure which ones until the last moment, with one exception: I’d really like to read Walter Scott. I’ll probably read Waverley, as it’s the one I have on my shelves. Other than that, I’d like to read maybe two or three other authors from the list. Here are some possibilities:

  • Christina Stead. I own a copy of her novel The Man Who Loved Children, and I don’t know anything about it whatsoever, except that it’s on Jane Smiley’s list from her book 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. Perhaps it’s time to find out.
  • Djuna Barnes. I’ve wanted to read Nightwood for quite a while, although I’m a bit nervous about not getting it; as I understand it, it’s an experimental novel and sometimes those work for me and other times they don’t.
  • Elizabeth Bowen. I think she’s someone I’ll like when I finally read her. I own a copy of The Last September, which would do nicely.
  • John Dryden. He’s someone I suggested, not so much because I’m excited about reading him, but because he someone I don’t think non-academic readers read very often. If people are going to read something from his time period, it’s more likely to be Aphra Behn or maybe one of the comic plays, or more likely it’ll be something from a bit later like Daniel Defoe. But maybe I should read more of his work (beyond what I’ve read for various classes).
  • Radclyffe Hall. I own a copy of her book Adam’s Breed, and Imani has written so intriguingly about The Well of Loneliness, I may just give it a try.
  • Sybille Bedford. Litlove mentioned A Favourite of the Gods as one of her favorite books from 2006, so surely that would be a good choice.
  • Other possibilities: Merce Rodoreda, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Malcom Lowry.


d. chedwick bryant said...

I can't believe that D.H. Lawrence and Wm. Somerset Maugham are on the outmoded list--once I read one short story I was hooked and had to read every novel and story they wrote. Esp. Maugham--he was lovely.

Elizabeth Bowen I am a little familiar with, and Radclyffe Hall, but most of the list is unknown to me so this will be a wonderful experience-- celebrating these authors. Galworthy and Sarton I did read along the way, but I can't recall, so I should give them a second look. Time to scour the shelves at the Libraries.

W. Somerset Maugham

d. chedwick bryant said...

aack! I read the Balkan trilogy (just after Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson did a BBC series based on--the books were selling like hotcakes back then )
I did not recall the author's name--Olivia Manning-- until you posted it here. A good read! Now I just have to go throught this list and make another list-- a challenge to decide what to read!

Dorothy W. said...

Well, I think whether an author is outmoded or not is open to a little interpretation ... neither writer is hot right now, I think. I'm hearing so much about Manning because of this challenge; I'll have to learn more.