Somehow or other – okay, not ‘somehow or other’; it’s because I barely spend time here, my reading of other litblogs being confined to a handful of favourites – I always miss out on these things. The good thing is that there’s a Sigrid Undset readalong, hosted by Richard and Emily, coming up very soon. Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter is on my A to Z list, and turns out I put it down as a part of my Nobel Prize Laureate project as well, so whoop-de-doo. I’m a bit of a latecomer here, and everything has been explained extensively elsewhere, so basically this is just an announcement that I’m joining in.
Someone give me a hand here, though. The Book Depository sells the Penguin Classics Deluxe edition that I want, but under ‘format’ it says OHP transparencies, and not ‘paperback’ as expected. Does this mean the book has ultra fine pages, or that they are those plastic projector sheets that biology teachers always use? Anyway, here is the reading plan:
October, Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath
November, Kristin Lavransdatter II: The Wife
December, Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross
Sounds good! Did some reading on the translations available, but apparently there are only two English translations to date: a very heavily archaic and inaccurate translation from the 1920s, by Charles Archer; and the new one by Tiina Nunnally. Clearly, I will be reading the latter. In the past I’ve been brave enough to attempt ‘classic’ translations, (Chapman’s Odyssey, Garnett’s Anna Karenina) but as the plot of this book appears fairly complex, I’ll think I’ll stick with Nunnally.
Speaking of readalongs, January 2009 was declared National 2666 Reading Month by the New Yorker (check out their blog, by the way. It has all sorts of interesting posts on how to pronounce the title – twenty-six sixty-six, or two-six-six-six? – and the appeal of the cover, etc etc). Didn’t even hear about it until a few days ago. Steph and Claire began their own 2666 Readalong. Missed out again. But! This book keeps popping up, and I’m not going to ignore it. January 2010 is going to be 2666 Reading Month for me.
It’s a bit ludicrous of me to be considering reading lists for the year ahead, when I clearly have much to read from this year’s. So I’m going to attempt to sort out my existing reading lists. I’ve narrowed it down to four lists:
9 Books for ’09: Already halfway through this list, currently reading War and Peace, so I have three left:
- The Age of Innocence
- Much Ado about Nothing
- The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
- Vanity Fair (okay, so that makes it 10)
There’s ten, because I couldn’t choose between ‘Alive’ and ‘Dead’ and decided to do both. Also, I really like the list I compiled for the A to Z project, so that’s staying, even though there’s a gazillion books and I’ll never get through them all. My progress thus far has been downright pathetic; I’ve only read five books out of the twenty-six. And I was ridiculous enough to put down Proust’s Remembrance for ‘P’ – that’s actually seven books, not one, if I recollect correctly? So I’ve swapped that for The Lemoine Affair, also by Proust, but a novella. I also want to fit Daniel Defoe into what’s left of 2009: I’ll be reading Moll Flanders and Robinson Crusoe. As for my list for Decades ’09, I’ll be happy if I get through one book from each decade. Here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to:
1960s: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
1950s: The Grass Harp by Truman Capote
1920s: Jacob’s Room, Virginia Woolf
1910s: Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
1900s: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
1880s: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
I have a tendency to overestimate myself. Most probably, I could have – and would have – gotten through these books if I hadn’t just stopped reading for a large part of the year. From April to August I only read four books; in June I didn’t read anything at all. Not even one book. Can’t blame it on the workload, because all my research essays are due this month. Sometimes I fall in and out of love with books – 2009 must have been one of those years.
The great thing about 2009 is that there’s been a whole lot more spontaneity in my reading habits – I no longer feel the need to meticulously take notes when I read. It’s not like I’m a literature student; I can afford to lose a few thoughts here and there. While this means that the ‘quality’ of my blog suffers quite a lot, I rather like reading for the sake of reading.
p.s. I know it’s a Sunday Salon post, but this is going up early because I’m such a diligent and conscientious student, and I’m going to spend the entire weekend editing writing my essays (scratch editing, I haven’t even begun my first drafts yet), and hereby swear not to visit my blog until Monday.
Sideline rant about overpriced books
p.p.s Okay, so it’s not Monday yet, but I’ve been slaving away on my essays & am currently taking [what I feel to be] a well-deserved break. Anyway, I just wanted to show you guys this strange reply I got from the Book Depository:
This title is a set of overhead transparencies, and not the book itself.
Kind regards,TomThomas Randles
Customer Service Manager
The Book Depository Ltd
Well, thanks for clearing that up, Tom Randles, but why exactly is your website selling stacks of overhead transparencies instead of paperbacks? Could it simply be for lecturers who teach Scandinavian literature, or for sinister people who like to read books projected on walls?
Meanwhile! I’ve decided I’m going to have to dig deeper into my pockets and purchase my copy at a disgustingly swollen price from some greedy bookseller in Sydney. Maybe I’ll try my luck at Borders. Ever since I read this article about Angus & Robertson, I’ve been steering clear of those profiteering scumbags. Apparently, A&R owns Borders in this part of the world, but the prices are still different. Compare:
- Angust & Robertson: Only $39.95
- Borders: $37.95
- The Book Depository: £15.50 (28.50 AUD) <– normal book price
But Dymocks tops even the cherry on the icing on the cake. They don’t even stock Kristin Lavransdatter.