I like Reading Projects. They are a lot of fun for me, give my blog a bit of direction (I like to keep it pretty open), and help people navigate among the now nearly 1400 posts on The Reading Life. I began my first project only a few months after starting my blog in July 2009 and I started the biggest one ever just two weeks ago. Once I start a project it is pretty much permanent. It might go dormant for a while but it is still ongoing. In this post I want, more or less so I can look back in the future to see what I was doing at this point, to go over the various reading projects I am now working on.
The Katherine Mansfield Project was my very first project. I decided to read and post on all of the short stories of Katherine Mansfield. There were about 85 in the collections published in her life time or by her husband after her death. I thought I had completed this project when I posted on all these stories. This project has given me the ability to track which Katherine Mansfield short stories are being read and taught, all over the world by looking at my blog stats. Yesterday there were ten hits on one of her stories from viewers in Morocco. I also posted on a number of secondary works on Mansfield. I thought I was basically through with this project. I was as wrong as wrong can be. In the fabulous new edition of The Complete Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield just published in two volumes by the University of Edinburgh there are 130 works not included in any of the standard books, including some newly discovered stories. I will for sure read all of these items and I will post in depth on the anthology in 2013 but I am pondering if I will post on all the 130 items. Anyway the Katherine Mansfield Project is far from over.
The second project I started was on the first short stories written by Australian writers. The Australian short story got its start sometimes around 1870 or so and many of the short stories were about life in the outback or as I think locals called it "The Bush". Most of the writers were of Irish ancestry. I wrote maybe ten posts on these stories and have not posted on this topic in quite a while. I will be restarting it in 2013 motivated by an excellent anthology I recently acquired of Australian horror stories, many of which are about life in the outback. I will be using this as kind of a ground to explore how the short story form develops in a country.
I read one Elizabeth Bowen short story and I liked it so much I decided to read as much of her fiction as i could. I have read six or so of her novels and I think all of her short stories. In 2013 during Irish Short Story Week Year Three I will have a mini-project in which I read and post on all of her WWII short stories. Many consider that her very best work.
I am reading through all of the fiction of Virginia Woolf. I have three novels to go and about 20 short stories.
I have on going projects on the short stories of a few other authors and expect to start more in 2013. These projects might take me a year or I might finish one in a week.
- The Short Stories if Ernest Hemingway about 700 pages
- The Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant-maybe 2000 pages-I have what is claimed to be a completed e book of the translated works of de Maupassant. I do not doubt a scholar could find missing stories but it is complete enough for me. I am about half way through with this project.
- The Complete Stories of Eudora Welty maybe 650 pages
- The Collected Short Stories of Lydia Davis 700 pages
- The Short Stories of Desmond Hogan-I have access problems with this project as I only have about 30 of his many stories but I hope to correct this in 2013.
Once I finish some of these projects I will for sure add more. Long term I want to read the full, as much as I have access to in my e-book collections, stories of Henry James, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Turgenev, Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others.
This is a big long term project in two parts. The first challenging but possible, I think, part is to read and post on a short story by a writer from each of the 196 countries of the world. The second and impossible part of this project is to persuade contemporary authors from each 196 of the countries to permit me to publish one of their stories on The Reading Life.
The Irish Quarter is a very encompassing projects that includes novels, short stories, plays, poetry, history and whatever books I decide to read on Ireland. I am also following a number of Irish writers and will be posting on their work. Irish literature is a very big part of the focus of my blog and reading.
The most viewed posts on my blog are those I have done on older short stories from the Philippines. This project, done in conjunction with A Simple Clockwork will continue permanently. It might get neglected for a while but it will reemerge.
I really like reading short stories from the Indian subcontinent. The writers are wonderful and it is a tremendous learning opportunity for me. I will try to post on this at least twice a month, sometimes more than twice a week.
I have also began reading through the 65 short stories of Edgar Alan Poe. Everyone gives him credit for getting the modern short story started and he is a fabulous writer so I have started reading his work. The full collection comes to under 1000 pages.
As I said, there will be other projects, I hope, added in 2013 and some of these projects may seem to be forgotten but once started a project is a permanent part of my blog.