Classics January

Friday December 31, 2010 @ 05:14 PM (UTC)

So, I’m thinking of starting a new tradition. As some of you may know, if I froze my to-read list tomorrow and didn’t deviate from it until I was done, it would probably still take me 5 years to finish. This means that any individual book’s claims tend to get short shrift, and there’s a sort of triage at play: oh, I need to read that as research for a project; oh, I need to read that so I can return it to its rightful owner; oh, I need to read that because I know the author. This means that if I have a whole lifetime to read a book and no greater prompting than my own curiosity or its own merits, a book may keep sliding down the list indefinitely, especially if it’s long.

Well, I want to arrest the slide somewhat. I’ve been meaning to read War and Peace forever, and I have a perfectly lovely copy of it to read, and by jiminy, I’m starting it tomorrow. Do I promise to finish it by the end of January? No. I am not insane. But I think starting off the new year with an old classic will be a good experience, and hopefully, one worth repeating next January.

Who’s with me? Have you been meaning to dive into Moby-Dick? Our Mutual Friend? Persuasion? I, Robot? (I didn’t say whose definition of classic you had to use!)

Comments

But you have to tell me what to read. You name it, I haven’t read it, so it shouldn’t be hard. But I’ve read all of Austen. (Until they find the secret vault…)

No more parameters than that? Well, you could always join me in War and Peace. Plenty of room there for two :P

Dickens? David Copperfield is quite good, as I recall. And of course there’s Oliver Twist.

C. Bronte? One is informed by Joanna Russ’s book How to Suppress Women’s Writing that Villette is actually her masterwork, but was long passed over for its frank feminism. (I haven’t read it yet!)

Virginia Woolf? Have you read Mrs. Dalloway? It’s so beautiful it hurts.

Of course, you could read Moby-Dick. It’s delicious.

Can you winnow from there by your lonesome?

Of course, I feel overcommitted already to another book, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but it may be long and gorgeous enough to be considered a classic. I just have to take the time to read at least a little bit every day.

Not yet! I’m halfway through. Over half, if you account for all the extra material in a Norton Critical.

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