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2012 challenge


It’s time I started thinking about what my reading challenge will be for next year. Put simply, each month I read a book from a list of a dozen and then blog about it. In the past, I’ve done my favourite sf novels, classic literary writers I’ve not read before, the first books of epic fantasy series, sf novels I loved as teenager, and sf by women writers. The point is to introduce me to writers new to me  and/or read books I wouldn’t normally read.

I asked for suggestions on Twitter, and recevied a couple of sensible ones. I like the idea of reading books by Asian writers, but perhaps I might instead expand that to reading books by writers from countries whose literature I’ve never before tried. I’m not an avid reader of world fiction, though I’ve read a number of European and Arabic writers, so it would certainly be a challenge.

Another person suggestion modern crime/noir fiction, but I was less keen on that idea. Having been impressed by the movie Winter’s Bone, I’d like to try one of Daniel Woodrell’s novels, but I don’t usually get on that well with modern crime fiction. I like Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton and Philip Kerr, but I’ve gone off a lot of the crime writers I used to read, such as Reginald Hill, John Harvey or Patricia Cornwell. Having said that, there are many published crime writers I’ve not read that I might enjoy and, I have to admit, they would at least be pretty quick reads…

Alternatively, I’ve thought about sticking to a single author’s oeuvre, perhaps DH Lawrence. To date, I’ve only read Lady Chatterley’s Lover and some novellas. Or Charles Dickens. Joseph Conrad. Graham Greene. I could reread some literary favourites: The Alexandria Quartet, The Master Mariner, Earthly Powers, The Right Stuff… But they’re quite hefty books.

Alternatively, I could make it a watching challenge, and do films. Or even do book then film: read a book, watch the film adaptation, write about it…

Anyone else have any suggestions?

6 thoughts on “2012 challenge

  1. Winter’s Bone is a great novel.

  2. All of Balzac’s La Comédie humaine.

  3. Particularly Le Père Goriot.

  4. I’m sure I said this last year but what about reading some of the greats of horror? Not sure how much you’ve read in that genre already…

    • What books would you consider horror classics? I’ve read some horror books, but I’ve no idea which ones are held up as genre classics.

      • Well, just to rattle off a few examples (ranging from old to new classics):

        “The Haunting of Hill House” – Shirley Jackson
        “Cold Hand in Mine” – Robert Aickman
        “The Complete Ghost Stories” – M.R. James
        “Can Such Things Be” – Ambrose Bierce
        “Teatro Grottesco” – Thomas Ligotti
        “The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories” – H.P. Lovecraft
        “Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories” – Algernon Blackwood
        “House of Souls” – Arthur Machen
        “The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings” – Edgar Allen Poe
        “The Imago Sequence and Other Stories” – Laird Barron
        “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” – Robert Louis Stevenson

        Of course, you could go and look through the SFF Chrons thread for suggestions as to what would constitute a horror masterworks series:

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