Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Themed Reading Challenge 2010

Flaubert and Friends

Caribousmom is hosting for the second year the Themed Reading Challenge.   This is a very interesting challenge as it gives us a lot of freedom to create a reading project.   Basically you are asked to read five books with a central theme.   The challenge runs from February 14, 2010 to August 14, 2010.   (The full particulars are on the challenge blog linked above along with some ideas from 2009 if you need them.)  It is ok for books for this challenge to overlap with others.  

As soon as I saw this I began to ponder different themes for the challenge.   I just finished reading my first Salman Rushdie novel, The Enchantress of Florence.   I really liked the lush prose of the work so I thought I could read five more of his novels.   Then I thought, this might be like a literary sugar rush.    Then I thought maybe I could read western writers that Kenzaburo Oe admires like Stendhal, Twain, and Yeats.    Next I thought I might read some Japanese crime novels as I have a few already lined up to be read in 2010.

I have decided that my theme will be works by Gustave Flaubert and his Friends.   (I am taking as my authoritative source for inclusion among the friends, A Biography: Flaubert by Frederick Brown.    I urge anyone interested in Flaubert to read this very wonderful  book.)   

Here are some of what I hope to read and why:

A Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert-this will be my second reading-12 to go!

Indiana by George Sand -very close friend of Flaubert-set on the Island of Reunion
(Ok here is a good challenge idea-books set on Reunion Island!)

Anything by Ivan Turgenev-Turgenev was for sure his closest friend among writers-the information given on Turgenev in Brown's book makes me wish someone would write a similar biography of him.  

Emile Zola-(Brown has also written a biography of Zola.   I have it but have not yet read it.)-Zola passes into the class of friend as admirer but not a full intimate.

Guy de Maupassant-also in the category of disciple

Henry James-not actually a friend but he was part of Flaubert's circle for a while and attended dinners at which Flaubert's intimates were present.   I imagined Flaubert and Turgenev taking Henry James out for a night on the town while he was in Paris but the picture does not quite work!   

This will be my 35th reading challenge for 2010.   I have already completed seven challenges.   I anticipate I will be signing up for more challenges as they are announced, as not all challenges run from Jan 1 to December 31.   

I look forward to seeing what themes others will come up with for The Themed Reading Challenge 2010.

Mel u


Suko said...

Mel, I am completely floored: 235 reading challenges for 2010, 7 already completed? It is only mid-January!!!!!!!

Mel u said...

Suko-35 yes-thanks as always

Anonymous said...

What a great theme. Some serious reading, but some great books. Good luck!

jlshall said...

Wow, and I thought I was signing up for a lot of challenges, but you've got me beat by miles and miles! And you've come up with a great idea for a theme, too. Should be some fine reading.

claire said...

Mel.. I cannot believe you had finished 7 challenges already, wow! Good luck on the 28!