Books, culture, fishing, and other games

April 23, 2004


Blame Lynn at Reflections in d minor for this. It does amount to a sort of bragging, I suppose. On the other hand it got me to actually post, so that's something. She's embarrassed by her score against this list. I'm not sure it's a measure of anything so much as one's time spent reading. If you love reading, and read a lot, you are sooner or later going to check off some of these. Of course, those of us with liberal arts degrees, especially grad degrees in literature, should score higher than most people do. and those of us who have been around abit longer than others have that as an advantage too. Reading takes time.

I admit I have made an effort to to survey the canon. It's partly because I find some real gems, but probably has more to do with wanting to be widely read. I hate being ignorant.

I'm going to tamper with the system a little here. The idea is to check off (or bold or otherwise highlight) the work read, but that misses a lot in that some of us would argue the importance of some of these works without arguing the importance of having read something the writer wrote. For those cases where I have read one more more other works by an author I will put an asterisk in front of the title listed. This applies whether or not I read the one listen (since I am bragging...)

For example, I've read several of Saul Bellow's novels. I have never kicked into "read them all mode" as I often do when I have access and fall hard for the first work of a writer that I read. The converse to this is that some of the titles I do highlight will represent a small fraction of that writer that I have read. Dickens is a perfect example, as is Austen. I've read them all. I'm ashamed (oops, see, that's worse than embarrassed, isn't it?) to admit I haven't read all of Shakespeare's plays. I think. I haven't yet made a concerted effort to ensure that I have, at least. So in all of these cases the works by these authors will have an asterisk in front of them. They will be bolded if I read that specific work.

I do find myself reading less fiction and more non-fiction lately. And, of course, a lot more of my reading happens online on blogs. But I still have a stack of "to be read" in my nearly empty apartment here, with a stack of "to be shelved" (once I have bookshelves) beside it that I have finished. I'm working my way through Caesar's Women, one of Colleen McCullough's 1000-pager historical novels at the moment, and have a translation of Machado de Assis's Quincas Borba I found on sale waiting behind it. Of course, I should read the latter in Portuguese, and maybe I will, but the English was on sale and it was right there...

Reading Caesar's Women right now has been interesting. Over on Powerline The Big Trunk has been citing Cicero's orations against Cataline as contrast to the current controversy surrounding the 9/11 Commission and Gorelick's presence as a commissioner. Having just read those in novelized form bring those comments on that blog and the actual current events much more into focus. If you're interested, they are: second and third. (I think there's a first, and there is a lot more commentary on the topic, but these two were on the main page and explicitly reference Cicero.)

See? Literature does enrich life.

And finally, my bragroll.

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
*Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
*Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Brontė, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Brontė, Emily - Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
*Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
*Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
*Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
*de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
*Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
*Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
*Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
*Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
*Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
*Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
*Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
*Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
*Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey
*Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
*James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
*James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
*Marquez, Gabriel Garcķa - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
*Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
*Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
*Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
*Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
*Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
*Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
*Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
*Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
*Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
*Sophocles - Antigone
*Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
*Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
*Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
*Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
*Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
*Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
*Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
*Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
*Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
*Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard - Native Son

Darn! Still a lot of gaps. Excuse me, I need to get back to reading.

Posted by dan at April 23, 2004 10:16 AM | TrackBack