I have tried to stay away from reading challenges because, although I like the idea in principle, in practice I find myself not doing all the reading, pushing myself to do the reading, and then getting annoyed with myself when I don’t. And reading should be fun, right?
But … you know how it goes. Someone comes along with a new challenge and it seems intriguing, and next thing I know I’m signed up. I should not get so caught up in trying to finish these things and should just think about what they are good for: getting me to read things I might not otherwise.
(I still am thinking about Kate’s Reading Across Borders challenge, by the way, which is an excellent one for getting me to read new things. I feel like I should do some version of this challenge every year, perhaps with a different focus or theme. You see why it’s hard for me to stay away from these things?? I’ve completed three out of my planned five books, but I have until the end of the year so finish, so I just might make it.)
This time it’s Imani who’s come up with interesting new challenges, and the Outmoded Authors one has caught my eye (she has also proposed the Index Librorum Liberoram challenge). She’s created a list of unfashionable authors that participants can choose from, and the plan is to read as many books as people want from the list over the course of six months.
The list is quite long, and there are tons of authors I’d happily read from it. I think, though, to increase my chances of actually completing this thing, I won’t decide for sure which ones until the last moment, with one exception: I’d really like to read Walter Scott. I’ll probably read Waverley, as it’s the one I have on my shelves. Other than that, I’d like to read maybe two or three other authors from the list. Here are some possibilities:
- Christina Stead. I own a copy of her novel The Man Who Loved Children, and I don’t know anything about it whatsoever, except that it’s on Jane Smiley’s list from her book 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. Perhaps it’s time to find out.
- Djuna Barnes. I’ve wanted to read Nightwood for quite a while, although I’m a bit nervous about not getting it; as I understand it, it’s an experimental novel and sometimes those work for me and other times they don’t.
- Elizabeth Bowen. I think she’s someone I’ll like when I finally read her. I own a copy of The Last September, which would do nicely.
- John Dryden. He’s someone I suggested, not so much because I’m excited about reading him, but because he someone I don’t think non-academic readers read very often. If people are going to read something from his time period, it’s more likely to be Aphra Behn or maybe one of the comic plays, or more likely it’ll be something from a bit later like Daniel Defoe. But maybe I should read more of his work (beyond what I’ve read for various classes).
- Radclyffe Hall. I own a copy of her book Adam’s Breed, and Imani has written so intriguingly about The Well of Loneliness, I may just give it a try.
- Sybille Bedford. Litlove mentioned A Favourite of the Gods as one of her favorite books from 2006, so surely that would be a good choice.
- Other possibilities: Merce Rodoreda, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Malcom Lowry.