Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Emily's List

All right, I have to admit that I did the old high-school thing of choosing books by page count. However, based on my failings when it comes to other challenges (thank you, all those of you who have made me feel I am not alone in this "failing challenges arena"), I’m not thinking of this as a lazy way to approach a challenge, but rather as a realistic way to approach a challenge. Then again, since I’m being completely candid here, I also have to admit that I didn’t approach this challenge realistically at all. You should see the long, marked-up list of titles I plan to take to the library with me next time I go, because, you see, I’m going to whiz through these five titles in no time (you know, while reading Faust, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Grapes of Wrath, and A Tale of Two Cities) and tackle at least 20 more before the challenge ends (yeah, right). Anyway, here are my choices:

Titles already in my hands:
Friends and Relations by Elizabeth Bowen -- the title that was discovered on my company’s library shelves, thus being a sign that I was meant to take on this challenge.
The Moon and Sixpence by W.S. Maugham -- haven’t read Maugham since I was a teenager, remember next to nothing except that I ate up everything I could get my hands on, and have wanted to re-read him for years. I don’t even actually know if I’ve read this one or not (I think I have), so it may be a re-read or it may be completely fresh.
The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton -- my sister recommended this about a hundred years ago, even read quotes to me from a copy on Bob’s and my shelves. High time I got around to reading it, no?

Titles to be retrieved from the library:
The Father Brown Omnibus by G.K. Chesterton -- recommended by a friend who takes great pride in the fact he never agrees with me on anything, but who, for some reason, has never led me astray when it comes to books (needless to say, he also recommended The Man Who Was Thursday).
The Lady in the Lake by Walter Scott – thought I should have a little poetry, and I’d like to be able to say I’ve read something by Scott, especially since Dorr's gotten me interested in the idea of reading him. I’ll probably read some May Sarton, too, to add a little more poetry (can’t see myself resisting Letters from Maine: New Poems for too long), but I’m only committing myself to Scott for now.

The second cut:
If I do manage to read all of the above fairly quickly, these five will be explored next:
Dawn Powell – read about her years ago, more recently read excerpts from her diaries in a collection of New York writings we have, and have wanted to read more.
Janet Frame – absolutely loved (and was devastated by) the movie An Angel at My Table, which I saw when it came out, but I’ve never gotten around to actually reading any of the books
More Ivy Compton-Burnett – she’s the kind of writer I can’t sit down and read too much in one go (too depressing), but I’d like to read more
Sybille Bedford – Never heard of her till now, but Jigsaw: An Unsentimental Education sounds like it’s right up my alley
Italo Svevo – in my never-ending quest to quit being so Anglo-author-centered


Imani said...

Don't worry too much about being able to succeed at this challenge -- if you finish *one* book you're automatically put on the achiever's list. :)

Emily Barton said...

Yes, that's the wonderful thing about this challenge. And I can even choose to read the shortest one first! (Probably not going to do that, though.)