Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

1% Well-Read Challenge 2010

“There has been yet another update to the list in 2010, so this time the challenge has only one option:
Read 13 titles from the combined list (of 1294 titles) from April 1, 2010 through April 30, 2011.

Overlaps with other challenges are allowed, and you may change your list at any time.”

There’s a list of the included books on the Challenge Blog and here‘s where I talked about joining.

I’d thought about reading 13 other selections, but these are the selections I actually read. (They’re all complete but some links might not appear yet.)

The quotations are taken from the 1001 Books text about these works:

1. Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857)
“Madame Bovary is a revelation; almost 150 years old, it feels as fresh as if it were tomorrow’s novel.”

2. Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1865-69)
No other writer surpasses Tolstoy in the scale of his epic vision, which encompasses the mood of whole cities, the movement of armies, and the sense of foreboding afflicting an entire society.

3. Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days (1873)
Around the World in 80 Days won Jules Verne worldwide renown, and was a fantastic success for the times, selling 108,000 copies, with translations into English, Russian, Italian, and Spanish as soon as it was published.”

4. Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891)
“Originally shunned by critics upon its publication in 1891 because of ‘immorality’, the novel traces the difficult life of Tess Durbeyfield, whose victimization at the hands of men eventually leads to her horrific downfall.”

5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)
“…a true horror novel, as firmly rooted in the reality of the world where it takes place as it is in the forces of the supernatural that invade it. The blurring between these points is doubled in the story’s telling.”

6. Juan Ramón Jiménez’s Platero and I (1914) Trans. Eloïse Roach
“Few works of Spanish letters are so clearly associated with the aesthetic enjoyment and the ethical imperatives: morality and beauty.”

7. Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)

8. Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking (1945) Trans. Florence Lamborn Illus. Louis S. Glanzman (1950)
“Published in 1945, when sraitlace, “seen-and-not-heard” attitudes to children were beginning to be questioned by Swedish society, Pippi burst onto the children’s fiction scene, her outlook as unconventional as her clothes. Lindgren told her story from a child’s-eye-view but above all she instilled in Pippi a fiery and quirky spirit that kids latched onto in droves.”

9. William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies (1963)
“Although the gripping story is confined to a small group of boys on a small island, it explores issues central to the wider human experience.”

10. Michael Cunningham’s At Home at the End of the World (1990)

11. Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (2001)
“It sets out to be important to declare unapologetically and often ferociously that the novel itself, literature in all its tenuous glory, is important.”

12.  Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat (1970)

and the following two appear as separate entries in 1001 Books, but because they’re so short, I’m combining them to equal one entry:

13. Edgar Allan Poe’s Creepy Fiction

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839)
“…it is simply impossible to imagine the modern novel without considering Poe’s masterful writing, and this seminal tale in particular. The story is imbued with an atmosphere of foreboding and terror, underpinned by an equally strong exploration of the human psyche.”

and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1842)
“But this masterpiece, which draws on so many of the distinctive and recurring motifs spawned by writers of the horror genre, should be read as the finely wrought and compelling work of a gifted imagination.”

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