Friday, May 23, 2008

The List

After much nonstop blather careful consideration and some coin-tossing weighty decision-making, I have finalized (sort of) my Remedial Lit Summer Project list. Here 'tis.

1. Don Quixote
2. Silas Marner
3. Grapes of Wrath (or East of Eden)
4. Moby Dick
5. Jane Eyre
6. Remembrance of Things Past (just Swann's Way)
7. Blood Meridian
8. The Inferno
9. The Good Soldier
10. The House of the Seven Gables
11. Light in August (or The Sound and the Fury)
12. Leaves of Grass
13. Faust
14. TBA
15. TBA

I left myself the last two blank until I see other people's lists. Because I am a follower and will want to copy. Also in case in the middle of the summer I can't take it and need to announce that the latest copy of Us Weekly is a "classic."

Some addenda to the rules, because Jacqui's Room is like my first grade classroom and I want everyone to succeed.

1. I am reading 15 books. You can choose as many as you think you can reasonably do in 15 weeks. You can skip weeks, read the ones on my list that you've missed, however you want to set it up. "Winning" just means making your goal.

2. We all reserve the right to give up on a book, if we've made a valiant effort. Life is too short to read books we hate. I (and your conscience) will be the ultimate judge of whether your effort is valiant. With input, of course, from Kristi.

3. That said, I refer us all to Francine Prose's book Reading Like a Writer, in which she reminds us that classics are classics for a reason, and even if we don't personally connect with them, they have lessons for us as writers (fighting not to add "and as people" too cheesy, but can't stop myself -- help!). Actually, I think I'll keep that book nearby all summer since she reads a lot of the ones on my list.

We start Monday. Or whenever you get here. Post your list and get ready to dive in.

One plea: if you are joining us and plan to purchase your books, please try to use your independent bookstore. As tempting as a giant Amazon order would be, I had to put in a word for your local indie. Find one here. Or at least order from Powell's.

Happy reading!

11 comments:

J. Thorp said...

I forgot you were a lil-kid teacher -- you aren't at all diabolical.

My list is pending, but I see serious overlap. Cool. Two other wonderful coincidences:

- Week after next, the University's libraries are selling books. Poetry to econ texts. $2 on the day 1; $1 on day 2; $5 a bag on day three. Word.

- I recently ran across Haiku U in the bargain books section of the U bookstore. 17 syllable summaries of many of the great books on our collective lists. Super-cool -- check it!

AbbaFet said...

OK, here is my list. I tried to focus on DWM-hard not to- but I tried to spread the love around the continent and tossed in some Americans and a couple of woman for good measure.

1 Portrait of a Lady
2 Don Quixote
3 The Red and the Black or Swann's Way (for my Frenchy; haven't decided)
4 The Good Soldier
5 Jane Eyre
6 Leaves of Grass
7 The Mill on the Floss
8 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
9 Moby Dick
10 Anna Karenina
11 The Leatherstocking Tales (way ambitious, I know, so I may settle for Last of the Mohicans, but I know that they are heavily cited in The Monsters of Templeton which I have been wanting to read and- (confession coming: "Hi, I'm AbbaFet and I must get all literary allusions")
12 The Inferno
13 Faust
14 Ovid's Metamorph.
15 Women in Love

So, definitely some overlap.

Also, there is a very timely article in today's NYTimes about this very same subject and the book 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die. (If I were tech-savvy, I would insert the link to the article here, but I am not.) Anyway, check it out if you can. The book that is hanging over the author's head: Moby Dick. A popular choice.

WordWrangler said...

Okay. Here goes.

1. Perelandra
2. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (unabridged)
3. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
4. The Count of Monte Cristo
5. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
6. Sense and Sensibility
7. Leaves of Grass
8. The Mysterious Island (Jules Verne)
9. Treasure Island
10. Frankenstein
That's as many as I can commit to. And even that is questionable.

J. Thorp said...

OK -- here's what I'm planning to do (not necessarily in this order):

1) Moby Dick, 700pp
2) Picture of Dorian Gray, 300pp
3) The Great Gatsby, 200pp
4) Blood Meridian, 350pp
5) Don Quixote, 1000pp
6) The Sun Also Rises, 250pp
7) The Odyssey, 600pp
8) Ulysses, 750pp
9) As I Lay Dying, 300pp
10) East of Eden, 600pp
11) Slaughterhouse-Five, 300pp
12) The Brothers Karamazov, 800pp
13) Anna Karenina, 1000pp
14) Pride & Prejudice, 400pp
15) The Violent Bear It Away, 250pp

In order to sell Jodi on this, I tallied the pages -- like, 7,800 total. 520 pages a week. Roughly 75 pages a day. That's not a book a week, but that's 15 in 15 weeks.

Totally doable.

Jacqui said...

Yippee. Bought Don Quixote today. I will reveal that I am definitely starting it before Monday because it is LONG. Also, I have edited this page to list the books and dates I'll start them to the left, so if you have overlap, we can suffer/ enjoy together.

J. Thorp said...

Happiness is a used bookstore. Bought 5 of the 15 today at three different stores, two of which are within walking distance of my office -- didn't realize that. Best deal? Moby Dick, 99 cents.

Jacqui said...

That is sweet. That's what? 1/7 a cent per page.

Big fan of the used bookstore.

Kristi Valiant said...

May 26: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde)
June 2: The Jungle Book (Kipling)
June 9: Wuthering Heights (Bronte)
June 16: Moby Dick (Melville)
June 23: Winnie-the-Pooh (Milne)
June 30: Pride and Prejudice (Austen)

The rest of my schedule depends on the library and what I feel like reading when July comes. Thanks for starting this Jacqui!

Jacqui said...

Thanks for joining, Kristi! That's a good list.

AbbaFet said...

I would like to be joining you with Don Quixote, but I am going to let that one loom out there in the summer-distance. Also, I have to start with what I have on the shelf, since don't foresee myself getting to a bookstore- used, indie, or otherwise- for quite sometime.

So- I am starting with Anna Karenina.......

Jacqui said...

abbafet, enjoy! We will taste test DQ for you and let you know...