Wednesday, September 12, 2007
It's almost autumn, the new school year has started, and it feels like change is in the air.
My first forays into the world of book challenges have not ended all that well. I tanked on the Non-Fiction Five Challenge, finishing three out of five I challenged myself to read. And I did even worse on the Southern Reading Challenge, only reading one of the three books I planned to read.
Strangely, it felt like something was working against me in both cases. For example, I lost one of the books I chose (and bought!). Yes, lost. Apparently it has disappeared in my horrendously huge pile of unshelved books. I still can't find it. That's never happened to me before. And I ordered another book from Amazon, but they delayed and finally cancelled my order. Another book disappeared from my shelves...it's like the Twilight Zone around here.
But I did read some interesting books for both challenges (Rafe Esquith's Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire--review here, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle--review here, and Lee Smith's Fair and Tender Ladies--review here). So I'm ready to try again.
Now that it's almost a new season, I'm starting over. This time I'm only signing up for one challenge, the Outmoded Author's Challenge hosted by Imani. It's a challenge to read three books by three authors who have gone out of fashion, which is an intriguing premise to me. As the introduction to the challenge says: "A reading challenge for all interested in exploring authors who were kicked out of the 'in' crowd." It really made me think about what makes authors remain popular... And I have until February 29, 2008, which ought to be enough time (fingers crossed). Check out the challenge, and the amazing list of "outmoded" authors here.
I haven't finalized my list of books for this challenge yet. I'd read something by Elizabeth Bowen, but I kind of consider that to be cheating, since she's one of my favorite authors, outmoded or not.
So I've chosen to read Sir Walter Scott's The Heart of Midlothian (Penguin Classics), since it was already on my list.
I think I'll also read Of Human Bondage (Bantam Classics), by W. Somerset Maugham, since Maugham is someone I feel I should read, and several friends have read and recommended him lately.
Then I have to pick another author, and I'm torn between May Sarton, Janet Frame, and Sarah Orne Jewett. Oh, the choices we face...