Sunday Salon: An Introductory Post
I only discovered the Sunday Salon on Tuesday, so this is my first official TSS post. I’m still not sure how these will differ from my ordinary posts, since this is a book blog, but I joined because the idea of a special time set aside especially for reading appealed to me. This way, I can at least make time for reading once a week, no matter how busy I am. And I have been excruciatingly busy. However, summer is fast approaching, and glorious weather calls for lots of reading.
On to books: today I finished Volume I of Les Miserables. I’ve been trying to convince myself that a break before Volume II would be a good idea, since it would allow me to absorb and reflect on everything I’ve read so far. However, the sad, sad truth is that a few days ago, I loaned by library’s copy of A Suitable Boy, and it’s a book I’ve been itching to read for a while now. I’m not sure if reading A Suitable Boy would constitute as a valid ‘break’, since it’s about the size of a tissue box. But it’s considerably lighter (i.e. in tone and style, not weight) than Victor Hugo’s gargantuan chunk of human nature, so I think I might just go ahead and read it first. Les Miserables is a wonderful book, and I really do love it, but at the same time it exhausts me.
Meanwhile, I have begun to compile reading lists for my 2009 read-a-longs. Reading challenges have become an addiction. I’ve been lurking about A Novel Challenge quite frequently these days, looking around for more, when I’m not even sure I can handle the ones I’ve already joined. I think I’ve got a complete list for the 18th – 19th Century Women Writers challenge, and I’m pretty much set for the Daniel Defoe. I also recently joined the Really Old Classics challenge, which goes from October 2008 – July 2009. I’m sure I’ll be able to read six more books between now and July. The current list is something like this:
- The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
- Utopia, Sir Thomas More
- The Divine Comedy, Dante
- Aeneid, Virgil
- Metamorphoses, Ovid
- The Odyssey, Homer
The A to Z Challenge, on the other hand, is causing me a lot of trouble. Who knew it would be so hard to find authors A – Z? I’m not completely happy with the list, because some are re-reads, and I’m trying hard to cut down on those in 2009. Also, many of the books are just ones I included because I couldn’t find another author for that particular letter.
Of course I’m still continuing with the 1001 Book Challenge as well as trying to read as many Virginia Woolf books as I can. I’ve also promised myself that I will read ONE book and ONE BOOK ONLY at a time. This way, I will each book that I read will have my undivided attention, and it will also force me to actually finish certain books (Middlemarch). Well, with one exception – Harry Potter. I think it’s okay for me to read Harry Potter alongside any ONE book, just because it’s something I need to do. Other books on my radar include J G Ballard’s Empire of the Sun and A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. I was hesitant about the Toltz one, because it’s from the Booker shortlist (and I’ve heard plenty of shifty things about this year’s shortlist), but I’ve heard great reviews, so I’m going to go ahead and read it.
Right, I must be insane. The biggest exams – possibly of my whole life – begin in five days, and I’m sitting here blogging about my reading lists. One last thing before I go, though. I found this article on the Guardian website about summer reading:
The books that you read on holiday can acquire the same kind of resonance, as if they soak up the experience, like the suntan lotion smeared on their margins and the sand trapped in their spines. Books alter with you. The memories we have of them are also memories of when and where we read them – and who were were at the time
I just loved that. And I thought, yes! This is why any old copy of Jane Eyre or another edition of Mrs Dalloway will never quite do. Our books alter with us. That’s all from me today. Oh My Deity, I have to start studying my arse off. Have a good Sunday!