Saturday, December 18, 2010

The New Mission Statement

Hi, everybody!

I'm Darlyn and this is my book blog. Before the clock struck 12 yesterday, I took one last look at my bookshelf, and came face-to-face with, well, reality. Staring back at me were five unread classics, books I’d had for years but never finished or forgot about completely.
  1. The Call of the Wild and Selected Stories by Jack London – This book originally belonged to my grandfather who passed away two years ago. Reading this will be a nice way to remember him.
  2. McTeague by Frank Norris – Stephen King mentioned this book in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and, upon seeing it at the used bookstore for PHP 10, I immediately snatched it up.
  3. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck – Bought, read, and finished this book when I fifteen. I didn’t really understand it, so I think a reread is necessary.
  4. The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce – Bought, started, and did not finish this book when I was seventeen. The stream-of-consciousness made my head hurt, but I think it’s time to give it another try.
  5. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane – Bought this book for PHP 25 at a used bookstore, and never got past the first chapter. Once again, I’m willing to give it another try.
  6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – I was halfway through this book when I stopped reading it, for some reason, Perhaps, my attention span which is similar to that of six-year-old’s is explanation enough. The edition I own is about fifty years old. The pages are yellow, and it smells great. Sorry, I got carried away.
  7. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne – We meet again, Verne. I’ve had this book since I was in elementary school, and I still haven’t read it. This year, Verne. This year.
I’m a literature major, a—I’m ashamed to say—grossly under-read one when it comes to classics. Before I decided to embark on this literary journey, my reading diet consisted mainly of paperback books with the words # 1 New York Times Bestseller embossed on the cover. And, yes, I’ve read The Da Vince Code and all four Twilight books.

The damage has been done.

But, hopefully, the damage isn’t irrevocable.

I’ve decided to conquer authors I previously found intimidating, to say the least, like Hemingway, Faulkner, Dickens, Wharton, etc. I’m proud to say I’ve read my first Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Don’t laugh. I already know I’m a pansy by starting with a novella.

My decision to steer this blog into the direction of the classic niche has been a long time coming. Blogs like A Room of One’s Own and Dead White Guys: An Irreverent Guide to Classic Literature inspired me to come up with a, shall we say, focused blog.

So, join me on my quest to inject a little more substance into my reading diet.


Eclectic Indulgence said...

Welcome to the community - glad to have you in the fold.

"Cannery Row" was one of the only Steinbeck books that I have not liked (disliked is too strong a word). Perhaps I didn't get it as well, and it requires a re-read. Will think about it. ;)

"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a great book, and I'm sure you won't have any trouble getting through it and I would think that Around the World in 80 Days (which I read this month) would be a very easy read as well. Philleous Fogg, you interesting man, you.

I started Dickens last year, and started with "A Christmas Carol" as well. The story is obviously great, but I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. "A Tale of Two Cities" was superb, and I strongly recommend it.

Faulkner is a tough sell, but if you want to try with something intersting, choose "As I Lay Dying". I've only read "The House of Mirth" by Wharton, and it was pretty good. Hemingway is one of my favourites, and most of his stuff is excellent. Best of the bunch is "For Whom The Bell Tolls", in my opinion.

Orhedea said...

I'm doing the same thing too! Part of my 1st ever New Years Resolutions:)

bibliophilica said...

Hi Darlyn,

Best of luck to you with your new blog. I'm not quite a year into (book) blogging and have found it to be very rewarding - and educational as well; I've learned a lot from my fellow book bloggers.

Those are some great classics "staring you in the face." I've read most of them, but not McTeague. I've always wanted to read some Frank Norris, though, since coincidentally I attended the same college as he did, and lived in the same fraternity house that he did. We even had an annual social event, "The Norris Pig Dinner(!)" Can you believe that? I can't believe I still haven't read anything by him. I think you've just inspired me to make 2011 the year that I finally do...

Allie said...

Welcome to the blogging community! I'm glad you stopped by my blog. We classics bloggers have to stick together. :)

McTeague is a gruesome little book, but I was absolutely fascinated by it when I read it last year. You'll get hooked, I'm sure.

I wish you luck!

Laurie said...

Hi Darlyn- I am a new follower. I understand where you are coming from, except I was not a literature major. A few years back I decided I would read those books you were to suppose to have read. I worked my way through quite a few and then landed on Fitzgerald. He has been my obsession for the past couple of years and I don't see it coming to an end.

I am curious to see your progress. I would like for you to stop in and check out my little blog on Fitzgerald.


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