What kind of books might be considered classics I guess opens up a whole can of worms. One I would like to open another day, actually. But I guess most useful criteria is whether a book has withstood the test of time.
(The thought of sitting snug and warm by the fireside reading big thick books from a bygone era makes me feel nostalgic for Britain!)
I then bloghopped and bloghopped to find the source of another very nice reading meme. The 2007 To Be Read Challenge asks you to:
Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2007 - that you've been wanting to read (have been on your "To Be Read" list) for 6 months or longer, but haven't gotten around to.Now this one suits me just fine. I have so many unread books I feel guilty about not getting round to and they all sit glaring at me on my shelves. I actually walked around with a pen and paper making my list last night and ended up with these titles of books I want to read, intend to read:
Then, starting January 1, 2007, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31, 2007.
Martin Amis - Money
Barry Unsworth - Pascali's Island (I love Unsworth and have read almost all his others.)
Ian Mc Ewan - Atonement (Was halfway through and then had to stop and read a ton of other have-to stuff ... and then forgot about it.)
J.G. Ballard - Empire of the Sun. (Need to give this author another chance, and loved the Spielberg film.)
James Kelman - How Late it was How Late
Donna Tartt - The Little Friend (Read the first chapter and loved it ... But again, the have-to reads crept in.)
So yes, I will do this challenge.
The great thing about such challenges is that they make you read the stuff you've been neglecting. And that happens far too often these days as new books get hyped and you feel you're being left behind by the floods of highly acclaimed new stuff on the award lists, best-seller lists, best-books-of-the-year lists and piled high and temptingly in the bookshops. You feel you're not part of the conversation if you're reading something even a little older.
But these challenges has got me thinking ... there could be other challenges that would be fun to do. What is the last book you read in translation? For a lot of you, I know it will be something by Murakami or maybe Orhan Pamuk ... for me it's that Etgar Keret book which I read back in January, for heaven's sake! (More book guilt!)
(Speaking of books in translation, by the way, Words Without Borders is asking for nominations for the best translated book of the year. Why not go add your suggestions?)
Maybe you could suggest some other reading challenges. And maybe, just maybe, we could set up our own challenge?
I'm a dummy. Why don't we have a banned book reading challenge?
I can't count, can I? I was supposed to list 12 books and I only listed 6. Duh!
Well, here are six more:
Garrison Keiler Lake Woebegon Days (Sitting there since forever.)
Sebastian Barry - A Long Long Way
Gail Jones - Sixty Lights
Manuel Puig - Kiss of the Spider Woman
William Boyd - Brazzaville Beach
Dan Koeppel - To See Every Bird of Earth ( A last year's birthday book and still not read.)