Following my previous post, after having read ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by Andy Miller, I have decided to compile my own ‘list of betterment.’ However, I will not be attempting 50 books. I am sticking to a very realistic 10. One a month with two months’ holiday! I will be reading one book every month and then blogging about it. The reasons I am doing this are threefold. Firstly, I wish to improve my writing, and they say it is essential to read well and often. Secondly, I want to see whether some of these ‘classics’ live up to the hype. Finally, I also hope these books will challenge me in some way and stretch my reading muscles. An added bonus will be that I can stop saying ‘I really must get around to reading that someday.’
I will be commencing in January 2017 and look forward to hearing your opinions on the books.
So, this is ‘My Reading Gym:’
- Middlemarch by George Eliot. According to Virginia Woolf, this is ‘one of the few English books written for grown up people.’ If I enjoy it even half as much as I liked ‘The Mill and the Floss,’ I am in for a treat!
- Les Jeux Sont Faits by Jean Paul Sartre. I read this at school and remember loving it, but I have entirely forgotten most of what it’s about, so I would like to re-read it. I think I may try and read it in the French. From what I remember it wasn’t that difficult.
- Persuasion – Jane Austen. I haven’t read a lot of Austen, so I was spoiled for choice. Thought I would start here (as I haven’t seen a TV version of this one!)
- The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov. This was one of the books Andy Miller read and seemed to enjoy, so thought I’d give it a go. Have read very little Russian literature so it should be an education in itself.
- Stoner by John Williams. I reckoned I would need something I knew I was going to love after the previous read. I LOVE this novel. I have read it before and am desperate to read it again, so I will.
- Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham. My father was a great fan of Maugham, and this is a book I read years ago, and again have been meaning to re-read as, truth be told, I can’t remember a darn thing about it. Not a great sign, but anyway.
- Atomised by Michel Houellebecq. This one I have much trepidation about. The only reason I am reading it is due to the sheer passion with which Andy Miller raves about it. We shall see. I sense it may not be for me. This is the big gamble on this list. Another French writer.
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. My writing teacher has mentioned this book in nearly every one of our classes, so thought it was high time I read it. I am also intrigued with the concept of the mad woman in the attic from Jane Eyre. I loved Jane Eyre, so am looking forward to this one. The only other woman on the list – I know, but I do read a lot of literature by women the rest of the time, and have read a lot of literature by women, so I don’t feel too guilty. Keep reading below the picture!
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Another classic it is high time I read. Enough said.
- The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy. What a way to finish. Considered a masterpiece, published in Paris in 1955, and banned in Ireland and the USA, this novel is a must read and I had to have an Irish author on the list somewhere.
Phew, I am exhausted and yet excited at the thought of reading all of these books. Hopefully by the end of 2017 I will have broadened both my literary education and my writing! Please do let me know your thoughts, and if you have a ‘list of betterment,’ what’s on it?