Posted by: Mish | May 24, 2010


I like reading challenges because they give me a push to read what’s already on my shelves and those authors and works “I’ll eventually get to”. They also help round out my reading so it I read more than one or two genres in a year. Oh yeah, they’re also fun and stir up some good discussion.

GLBT Reading ChallengeLast year’s Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name got me to finally read the collection of Oscar Wilde that had been collecting dust. I’m glad Amanda is hosting the GLBT challenge again, but with it being halfway through the year I think I’m going to aim for four. If I end up reading more, great, if not, no biggie.  Either way, I’ll finish of the Wilde I have.  I’ve only read a few essays by Gertrude Stein while in college so it’d be nice to read more at my leisure. It’s been awhile since I’ve read any of Pat Califia’s academic works so that’s a possibility.

Time: 01/01/10-12/31/10
Guidelines: Read 4, 8, or 12+ books about GLBT topics or by GLBT authors.

1. Oscar Wilde: An Ideal Husband
2. Oscar Wilde: the Importance of Being Ernest
3. Gertrude Stein: Tender Buttons and/or Matisse, Picassa, and Gertrude Stein
4. Pat Califia?

I recently stumbled across the Books of the Century Challenge which caught my eye because it includes lists from Publishers Weekly of books that were bestsellers and critically acclaimed through the decades and I’m a sucker for book lists. It was interesting to see the shifts, from a lot of Churchill early on to Asimov and Tolkien in the fifties to King, Clancy, and Grisham in the nineties. Actually the nineties were the hardest to decide from because those three dominated. I liked the Chamber by Grisham and wouldn’t mind reading something else. I read James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecy when it first came out so it may be about time for another trip. Coincidentally, I’m in the middle of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four which was listed in the forties and so am off to a good start for my goal of at least five with one from each decade.

My selection pile: Books of the Century Challenge

Rudyard Kipling- Kim
L. Frank Baum- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Joseph Conrad- Lord Jim
Booker T. Washington- Up from Slavery
George Bernard Shaw- Man and Superman
Helen Keller- the Story of My Life

Gertrude Stein- Tender Buttons
James Joyce- Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Franz Kafka- Metamorphosis
H.G. Wells- God the Invisible King

James Joyce- Ulysses
F. Scott Fitzgerald- This Side of Paradise
Luigi Pirandello- Six Characters in Search of an Author
Franz Kafka– The Trial

Herman Melville- Moby Dick
J.R.R. Tolkien- the Hobbitt

George Orwell- Nineteen Eighty-Four
Ernest Hemingway- For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ayn Rand- The Fountainhead

Isaac Asimov- I, Robot
Isaac Asimov- Foundation
J.R.R. Tolkien- the Lord of the Rings
Vladimir Nabokov- Lolita
Ayn Rand- Atlas Shrugged
Jack Kerouac- On the Road

Harper Lee- To Kill A Mockingbird
Joseph Heller- Catch-22
Arthur C. Clarke- 2001: A Space Odyssey
Kurt Vonnegut- Slaughterhouse-Five
Philip K. Dick- Ubik
Ken Kesey- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Frank Herbert- Dune
Maya Angelou- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Richard Bach- Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
Thomas Harris- I’m O.K., You’re O.K.
Alex Haley- Roots
J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien- The Silmarillion

Jean M. Auel- The Valley of Horses
William Gibson- Neuromancer
Shel Silverstein- A Light in the Attic
Alan Moore- Watchmen
Kazuo Ishiguro- the Remains of the Day

John Grisham- The Client
James Redfield– the Celestine Prophecy
Ellen DeGeneres- My Point…and I Do Have One

I was so intrigued by Daniel Immerwahr’s The Books of the Century website, that I decided to launch a reading challenge based on it.

Immerwhar has compiled a list for each year of the 20th Century based on:

  1. The top ten bestsellers in fiction, as recorded by Publishers Weekly;
  2. The top ten bestsellers in nonfiction, also as recorded by Publishers Weekly;
  3. The main selections of the Book-of-the-Month Club, founded in 1926;
  4. “Critically acclaimed and historically significant books, as identified by consulting various critics’ and historians’ lists of important books.”

In light of the years covered and the range and breadth of the books, I thought this a particularly good opportunity to combine some excellent and classic reading from the history of popular American reading.  Given the number of books, this will be a perpetual challenge.  The books need not be read exclusively for this challenge.

At least for the first year, the levels will be:

  • Popular Literary Culture 101 — Five books from the entire list.
  • Popular Literary Culture 201 — Ten books from the entire list.
  • Popular Literary Culture 301 — One book from any of five different decades on the list.
  • Popular Literary Culture 401 — One book from each decade on the list.
  • Master’s in Popular Literary Culture — Twenty books from the entire list, with at least each decade represented once.
  • Doctorate in Popular Literary Culture — Two or more books from each decade on the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: