Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Remedial Lit Summer Project Rules and Rewards

It all began with Pride and Prejudice. Then came the Remedial Lit Summer Project call for suggestions. We're gathering all our favorite "Everybody, Especially Someone Who Calls Herself Bookish, Should Have Read These" books (see list to the left). Now it's time for you to join us. C'mon, try it. We promise not to laugh if you can't finish. And we are going to have so much fun. Who's in?

RULES
1. Everyone gets his/her own list. I'll post mine this Friday; leave yours in the comments.
2. Read* one book a week (not the Cliffs Notes). Every Monday, submit your proof that you've read and announce your next book. If our lists overlap, we can try to read together.
3. Proof that you have read consists of a synopsis/review of the book in one of these formats:
six words, ten words, haiku, limerick, diorama, or interpretive dance. Post your proof in the comments or send digital footage. Extra points for digital footage.
4. We start next week (Monday is Memorial Day. You'll be the hit of your BBQ carrying around Faust). We go for about 15 weeks.
5. I reserve the right to change these rules at any time. In particular, I reserve the right to give us an extra week to slog through truly enjoy a book. I mean, some of these are, like, LONG.

*Someone asked if listening to an audiobook counts as reading. Sure. If you can stay awake while someone reads War and Peace aloud, more power to you.



REWARDS
Anyone who finishes 15 classics along with me will receive a reward: the joy of a job well done. No, seriously, there will be several different options from which to choose, including free books, critique of your own writing by a published author (me), and some other stuff I didn't think of yet much much more! (Anyone have other ideas?)

PUNISHMENT
Failure on my part to finish a book in the prescribed time frame will result in a punishment of me chosen by you.

Also, I promise to blog about something besides this soon. Upcoming topics include jacket flap for my five year-old's picture book and the genetic code for the freakishly bookish. Check back here. I know you are waiting on the edge of your seats.

18 comments:

WordWrangler said...

Cool beans! I'm in!
But I'm still not reading Moby Dick.

Um...Wait - do cool writers use the phrase, "cool beans"?

Jacqui said...

Sweet!

Not sure about cool beans. But here at the Probably Pretty Uncool Writers Club, it works.

See now, I think I HAVE to read Moby Dick, since it was your confession that started it all.

Kristi Valiant said...

I'm in! Do we need to post our full list before we begin or can we decide on our list as we go ( in other words decide to cut out a book once we get halfway through it or two paragraphs through it and can't stand it)?

Diane T said...

I can pick five books, right off. I'm not sure I can finish one per week, but I'll give it a whirl.

1. "Moby Dick." I haven't read it either, but it's referred to (and quoted) in "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" so that gives it a bit of cachet.

2. "Last of the Mohicans." My lit degree program was heavy on Brits, very light on Americans. So I haven't read any Cooper.

3. "The House of Seven Gables." I also gave Hawthorne a complete miss, although I did try to read "The Scarlet Letter" on my own before finding it deadly boring.

4. Dante's "Inferno." It's one of those world classics, and besides, I really liked the sci-fi version by Niven and Pournelle, so how boring can it be?

5. "Anna Karenina" by Tolstoy. I've never read Tolstoy's fiction, I don't want to start with "War and Peace," and besides, I already know how this one ends.

Jacqui said...

Kristi, welcome! Good question. Hmm. I am going to post my list of fifteen on Friday. Maybe see if any of yours match and try to read those the same weeks? And then fill in the rest as you go? I may need to rearrange order myself depending on what's available at the library.

Jacqui said...

And about dropping a book, Kristi. I think if you make a valiant effort and get a significant portion of the book read, it should count.

I'm making this up as I go. What do other people think?

Jacqui said...

Diane, I'm so glad you're in. Our lists are going to overlap a lot, I think.

J. Thorp said...

For what it's worth, I think we should post our 15 books, but that, yes, you can swap 'em out if one is deadly slow ... HOWEVER, the diabolical mind behind this whole deal can, after the 15 initial weeks, badger you to complete said slow masterpiece for the rest of your life, or until you finish, whichever comes first.*

Or maybe say you can only swap *one* out of the list -- like a single-use safety-net sort of thing ...

Is it wrong that I'm thinking SHORT classics? Not abridged; just short?

*Caveat: only if said diabolical mind has already read the book in question, or agrees to read it with you ...

Vijaya said...

What a challenge, Jacqui. Need some thick glasses? I've got some. I'll read a classic or two with my kiddos. Oliver Twist is high on the agenda.

I've just tagged you to play Five Things. Go on over to my blog and see the rules. Please play.

AbbaFet said...

So, I am in. I have concocted a list in my head, but I am hoping for lots of overlaps for shared delight or communal complaining. Cheers!

Diane T said...

Useful thing about reading stuff by dead white guys: public domain e-copies!

If you go to http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/ you can search by author, title, language, and download text and/or audio files of many of these works. "Moby Dick," for instance, has three different text files and an audio version.

I'm not sure I care to read e-versions now that I don't have a PDA, but some people might find the link useful. E-versions are certainly wonderful if you're writing a paper and need to find a quote quickly.

Kristi Valiant said...

That's so funny that you said, "make a valiant effort," when you responded to me, Jacqui, because my last name is Valiant (you probably realized that when you responded) and my husband is constantly saying, "gotta make a Valiant effort!"

Jacqui said...

Kristi! I wish I could take credit for that pun; it's just the sort of silly thing I enjoy. But in fact it was totally unintentional. Strange.

Jacqui said...

Vijaya, you are my first official tag. I feel like such a real blogger now. Thanks for the initiation!

Jacqui said...

Jim Thorp, wait. Am I the diabolical mind? Are you hating me already? You haven't even begun Moby Dick yet?

But I like your rule. Anything that gives me a chance to stalk people asking, "Read Middlemarch yet?"

Jacqui said...

abbafet, holder of the coolest screen name, welcome. I am so glad you're here and in. Anyone who doesn't run screaming when she sees I have both Harold Bloom's Western Canon and Once Upon a Prom: Dream in my bag is a valuable reading challenge friend. I can't wait to see your list.

J. Thorp said...

First, I meant diabolical as a compliment. I'm not hating you at all (yet) -- I'm kinda geeked about this.

Second, how about this: You can bag on a book from your list, but then the group gets to choose the replacement?

Just a (really nasty) thought ...

Jacqui said...

Nasty! I actually think I will propose a "Bag Any Book You Really Hate" rule. And some other new rules I'll get around to posting tomorrow...