Rhea's first challenge
Join LibraryThing to post.
I do this anyway (slowly, but I do) so might as well make a post about it to add to.
Previously Read: Easter Island, Earth Island, Inventing Easter Island, African Islam, Bamum: Visions of Africa, Muslims and New Media in West Africa
List Source: Art Beyond the West
Previously Read: A History of Western Ethics, Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy, The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy
List Source: World Philosophies
Previously Read: Epic of Gilgamesh, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer
List Source: Western Civilization: A Brief History
East Asian History
Previously Read: The Analects of Confucius, Understanding Vietnam, From the Soil
List Source: East Asia: Identities and Change in the Modern World
Previously Read: The Whistling Bird (Curaco 1/1), Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature (Dominican Republic 1/1), Crick, Crack, Monkey (Trinidad & Tobago 1/1)
List Source: I make the list. :P
Previously Read: A High Wind in Jamaica, Lolly Willowes, Jakob von Guten
List Source: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1umN_7kCxdG4U09ms-oamIywBxA6ye6WulfoD3iDk...
Virago Modern Classics
Previously Read: Frost in May, Mr. Fortune's Maggot, The True Heart
List Source: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1LC-usyBqxRAFxCSwkgVtKiBKc4mW2qUGbeSOnxva...
Classic SFF Fiction
Previously Read: The Romance of the Forest, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Italian, Northanger Abbey, Frankenstein
List Source: http://www.worldswithoutend.com/lists_booksbyyear.asp
Virago Modern Classics
Next Up: Jakob Von Gunten
Next Up: The Culture of Ancient Egypt
East Asian History
Next Up: The Commentarial Transformation of the Spring and Autumn
Next Up: Gelede: Art and Female Power Among the Yoruba
Classic SFF Fiction
Next Up: The Last Man
Mr. Fortune's Maggot by Sylvia Townsend Warner
I read the NYRB edition Mr. Fortune that combines Mr. Fortune's Maggot and its sequel the The Salutation.
An Englishman travels to a remote Pacific isle to convert the native people to Christianity. His relationship with his only 'convert' functions as an allegory for colonialism as a whole.
The sequel continues the story in a different setting - some of the motifs of the first one are repeated but the themes of the first one are approached from an entirely different direction.
Warner's writing is gorgeous.
So next up is The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature, which I'm like 200 pages into. The fallout of colonialism is also a major focus. In the introduction, the editors suggest that there's a bias against anthologizing pro-colonial literature and that they want to create an unbiased anthology - so you've got poems about good old England right next to ones about racism and slavery. Makes it really difficult to read.
Been on LT for a while, but I just realized the Category Challenge was whatever lists you'd like. I might spend more time making lists of books to read then actually reading.
>5 Settings: Same for me! I am so enjoying making all the lists and seeing what everyone else is reading - must remember to make time for reading!
This is my attempt to make a lifetime reading list of great literature from a variety of different perspectives. I can't find a list online to follow that matches what I want because my idea of a good exploratory reading list would be very heavy on anthologies. Reading something like The Tale of Genji without any background knowledge or guidance just threw me off the deep end and was not a good use of my time. So I'm trying to make my own list.
Decided to start with a bunch of Caribbean countries including Curacao, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Aruba, Saint Lucia, Suriname, the Bahamas, and Guyana plus Puerto Rico. There a bunch of nice anthologies on the Caribbean as a whole so they're getting mushed together.
(Curaco): The Whistling Bird: Women Writers of the Caribbean
(Guyana): Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature
(Barbados): Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories
(Aruba): Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse
Cuba: The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics
Haiti: A Haiti Anthology Libete
Puerto Rico: Boricuas: Influential Puerto Rican Writings - An Anthology
Bahamas: Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean
Saint Lucia: Omeros
Trinidad and Tobago: Crick, Crack, Monkey
Means I still need something for Jamaica, Suriname, and the Dominican Republic. The above is probably at least 3 years of reading already though. :|
Classic SFF Fiction
The Italian by Ann Radcliffe
I like the drama and I find the coincidences amusing because there's no apology for them.
Previously read The Mysteries of Udolpho and Romance of the Forest by the same author. A lot of the horror in all three draws on a young noblewoman being at the utter mercy of her guardians. Would have been much spookier if I was reading them back in the day and that could have actually happened to me. The Italian also takes a lot of horror from religious and nobility-based power.
Also want to note that the Uldolpho heroine and The Italian hero both have servants who are utterly devoted to them whose proxility is used as a source of humor. Radcliffian heroes are also noted by their generosity towards anyone "beneath" them, so this serves multiple purposes.
So there is a lot of social commentary to go through.
Radcliffe also includes multidimensional female villains with agency. There's a narrative in SFF that female SFF characters have gradually been improving over time and implies that we must forgive early SFF for its poor female characters. I don't think this holds up very well. Radcliffe wrote great female characters. So did Murasaki Shibiku. So did Euripides. So did the ancient Sumerians. An inability to write decent female characters seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon. But then again, people stop reading things that aren't interesting, poor female characters aren't interesting, and people still read everything I've listed.
Next up: Northanger Abbey
Reader in Caribbean Literature was supposed to be next. Did read another 100 pages.
The anthology is organized by time period and I'm into the 1950's so the pro-slavery selections have stopped. The introductions to each time period are helpful. A major focus is now the development of a national/regional literature and what that means for Caribbean authors living in other countries. For example, they include the short story "The Day They Burnt the Books" by Jean Rhys and "Waiting for Aunty to Cough" by Samuel Selvon, two Caribbean authors who relocated to England.
The acceptability of creole in Caribbean writing remains a major focus. Early commentary included people who thought it was uneducated and bad form. Now authors are more focusing on how writing in standard English gets you a broader audience than writing in a local dialect, and how including local idioms might be self-exocitizing. For example, Samuel Selvon modified creole to make it easier for non-speakers to understand. Responses to that approach were mixed.
So lots of interesting stuff. Definitely a fantastic anthology, just difficult to pick up again. It's not a novel - there's no overarching plot to hook me.
She's in the anthology I'm currently reading, just haven't got there far yet. Noticed she's notable enough that they included a literary criticism article about her poetry by Denise deCaires Narain too. Looking forward to it. :)
Was also in The Whistling Bird. Poetry though, so I don't remember it. I try but I have a hard time with poetry.
Muslims and New Media in West Africa by Dorothea E. Schulz
This isn't really an art book even though it was shelved next to African Islam (which is an art exhibition catalog), but counting it anyway because that's why I picked it up.
It examines how audio and visual Islamic sermons are used in Mali, focusing particularly on Muslim Women's Groups. Doesn't really get to that until the last two chapters though - so most of it is historical and economic background information and details about how Muslim Women's Groups function in Mali.
It was very interesting when the author was telling stories about her friends, and while the media/political theory stuff was also interesting it was extremely dense and jargon heavy. Media and political theory jargon seems to rely heavily on English words with more common meanings (like theory versus 'theory') so I think I misunderstood the author a lot.
Finished up The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature and onto Northanger Abbey
"Charming as were all Mrs. Radcliffe's works, and charming even as were the works of all her imitators, it was not in them perhaps that human nature, at least in the Midland counties of England, was to be looked for." (Northanger Abbey)
Very glad I read 3 of Radcliffe's books before reading Northanger Abbey, because Northanger Abbey would have primed me to see them as silly and ignorant. Instead, I think it's Northanger Abbey that's the silly ignorant one. Radcliffe addresses topics such as the existence of the entire lower class, violence, war, and religious corruption. Northanger Abbey... is sardonic?
Finally finished up The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy lol. That was a trip.
Finished Northanger Abbey. I read an annotated version (Susan J. Wolfson). Notes > text. Think having every little thing explained combined with an editor gushing over how brilliant certain things were cemented my negative perception of the work. Can't assume it's smarter than it appears if everything's explained.
I particularly enjoyed Mansfield Park, which seems to be a bunch of people's least favorite lol. Radcliffe's books have their problems but I enjoyed them.
Crick, Crack, Monkey by Merle Hodge (Trinidad & Tobago 1/1)
Rather upsetting. We're all trapped in the system and the novel has no answers as to how to get out.
Read an extra one for World Literature - Selected Poems by Lorna Goodison
I have a hard time with poetry. Keep thinking if I read more I'll get better at it, but doesn't happen.
Virago Books - The True Heart
Had to ILL this one - and apparently it was only available in one public library for ILL. Surprised the librarian because it's not an obscure book and she muttered that the publisher is particularly annoying to deal with.
It's okay. Seems to be inspired by the story of Cupid and Psyche more than a retelling. Lots of casually racist asides.
Open Letter Books - Zone by Mathias Énard
Half way through but gonna give up on this and remove the category. No longer trust the publisher to print stuff worth reading.
Another one of those books with an evil main character hiding behind a sympathetic first person narration. It tries to gain canon legitimacy through literary/historical references but they exist to show off the author's superficial erudition. Waste of time.
Book sale haul lol
Cook's Illustrated 2010 (Hardcover bound year of magazines)
The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermoût
Castle Rackrent and Ennui by Maria Edgeworth
Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay
Doctor Glass by Hjalmar Söderberg
The Family Mashber by Der Nister
Heartless by Gail Carriger
Farthing by Jo Walton
Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
Memed, My Hawk by Yashar Kemal
Under the Glacier by Halldór Laxness
Little Birds and Delta of Venus by Anais Nin
Water by Ashokamitran
The Guide, Old and New, The Mahabharata A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic and Waiting for The Mahatma by R. K. Narayan
Syracuse Landmarks by Evamaria Hardin
Kanthapura by Raja Rao
A Necklace of Words by Marjorie Agosín
The Wadsworth Anthology of Poetry by Jay Parini
The Door by Magda Szabo
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
Segu by Maryse Conde
Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
The One Who Did not Ask by Altaf Fatima
The Malady of Death and The Ravishing of Lol Stein by Marguerite Duras
Kamouraska by Anne Herbert
Winter's Tales by Isak Dinesen
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.