On a Theme

On the fifth day of My Twelve Days of Challenges, I’m bookchatting about two theme-based challenges: Our Mutual Read and Women Unbound.

It took me only a few seconds to sign up for the Bibliophilic Challenge, but I had to think about Our Mutual Read for awhile.

I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to Victorian literature. I love it when I’m reading it. But the mere idea of reading it can choke my page-turning capacity to a halt.

So my caution dictated that I join at the lowest level, which still required that I read 4 books. These readers don’t dabble: they are fully committed! But I managed to read a little more than I’d expected (though I won’t be posting on War and Peace until later this month, so maybe that one doesn’t exactly count).

Anthony Trollope’s The Warden (1855)
Hannah Crafts’ The Bondwoman’s Narrative (est. 1853-1861)
Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary Part One Part Two Part Three (Trans. Alan Russell) (1857)
Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1865-67)
Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)

So how challenging was it? A 7 for me, largely due to having to overcome my own reading resistances when it came time to choosing a wordier style over a sleeker contemporary style. And my fave amongst the group? Hannah Crafts’ novel for its historical significance and Anthony Trollope’s for all the Trollope-ish-ness that I know awaits me (The Warden being such a relatively slim sample).

It took me no time at all to sign up for Women Unbound. But making a reading list took some time. (I chatted about this here, if you’re curious.) And then, having aspired to be a Suffragette, which required a dozen books, was no small task.

Was it challenging? Not exactly. But, still, a 6. You see, I couldn’t just be reasonable about it.

I couldn’t just read one of Elizabeth Smart’s books; I had to get into diaries, biographies, critical stuff.

So the sheer quantity of books made it challenging, but that’s my fault entirely. And, really, a terrific problem to have.

So, here’s my list:
Margaret Atwood Negotiating with the Dead (2002); Moving Targets (2005)
Joan Barfoot Abra (1978); Dancing in the Dark (1982)
Dionne Brand In Another Place, Not Here (1996); Ossuaries (2010)
Di Brandt Speaking of Power (2006); So this is the world and here I am in it (2007)
Nicole Brossard Fences in Breathing (2009)
Cynthia Flood The English Stories (2009)
Hiromi Goto Chorus of Mushrooms (1994); The Kappa Child (2001)
Kristjana Gunnars The Rose Garden (1996); The Substance of Forgetting (1992)
Nalo Hopkinson The New Moon’s Arms (2007)
Dorothy Livesay Journey with My Selves 1909-1963 (1991)
Elizabeth Smart Autobiographies (1987); Kim Echlin’s Elizabeth Smart (2004)
Journal Editor Alice van Wart, Vol. I Necessary Secrets (1986) and Vol. II On the Side of the Angels (1994)
Elisabeth Vonarburg Reluctant Voyagers (Translation Jane Brierley, 1995)

Were any of these on your reading list for 2010?