2012 Reading Challenges

In my reading journey so far I’ve learned a few things about myself.  1) I like to make lists.  2) I rarely stick to them.

I love thinking about the possibilities of “what to read next” but it seems like as soon as a book becomes a title on one of my lists, my attentions are diverted elsewhere.  I immediately want to read something else.  For a while this frustrated me. Just about one month after I constructed my “Reading Through the Centuries” project, I abandoned a chronological reading of it.  I first thought that reading the books in order would enhance my learning and connections, but  soon found that approaching the project with too many restrictions became a chore, and drained the joy from the experience.  I’ve learned that if I’m pulled to read Zola after Flaubert or follow Wordsworth with Emerson, to just go with it.  There’s probably a good reason for it.  Forget the numbers.  Forget the lists.   I’ve learned to trust my inspiration.

With this in mind, I had resolved not to join in on any reading challenges for 2012.  But just as I made that resolution, I came across two that really called to me.  And you know I can’t resist a good list.

November’s Autumn is hosting a classics challenge and what appealed to me about this was the discussion component.  Rather than merely posting on a book, there will be a question for discussion each month.  The prompt will be general enough to apply to any chosen classic novel.  I thought this might be an interesting way to engage ideas that perhaps I wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

In the spirit of open-endedness, I won’t commit to reading these particular books but rather the following is merely a brainstorm of a few possibilities.  Since I started my classics adventure I’ve noticed that I tend to shy away from what you might call “chunksters,” which I define as a book that’s 750 + pages. When the number of pages starts to reach closer to 1,000 than 500, it’s officially a chunkster.  I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to set a goal to read one such book per quarter, so #s 1 – 4 are some chunkster possibilities.

# 5 is  a book that’s been on my reading list since I first started keeping one several years ago.

I’ve been saying that I need to read Dickens ever since I started this blog and I’ve yet to do it so #6 is Oliver Twist.  Is that a good place to start?

Finally, #7 is just a book that I’m eager to get to.  After being enamored with Madame Bovary, I must read this.

1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

6. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

7. Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert

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The next (and last!) challenge I’m signing up for is the Greek Classics Challenge hosted by Howling Frog Books.  I’m a reader of the classics, that’s obvious.  My Books Read list for 2011 so far reveals classics almost exclusively; if  it’s not a classic then it’s non-fiction.  But I’ve yet to explore the ancient classics.  So when I saw other bloggers signing up for this challenge, I took it as a sign.   I don’t want to overshoot so I’m only going to commit to reading one, two at the most.  And I’m going to begin with Homer, either The Odyssey and/or The Illiad.  This makes sense, right?

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Well, that about wraps it up.  Once again, a wish for a lovely Thanksgiving for all of my readers!