Rhea's first challenge

2019 Category Challenge

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Rhea's first challenge

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Edited: Nov 18, 2019, 11:44am

I do this anyway (slowly, but I do) so might as well make a post about it to add to.

Art History
Previously Read: Easter Island, Earth Island, Inventing Easter Island, African Islam, Bamum: Visions of Africa, Muslims and New Media in West Africa, Gelede: Art and Female Power Among the Yoruba
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

Chinese History
Previously Read: Early China: A Social and Cultural History, The Emergence of Civilizational Consciousness in Early China

Books I Own
Previously Read: The Riddle-Master of Hed, The Gold Cell, Captivity

Western Humanities
Previously Read: Epic of Gilgamesh, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, The Culture of Ancient Egypt
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

World Literature
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

NYRB Classics
Previously Read: A High Wind in Jamaica, Lolly Willowes, Jakob von Guten, The Pure and the Impure
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, The Last Man
List Source: http://www.worldswithoutend.com/lists_booksbyyear.asp

Edited: Sep 27, 2019, 1:08am


Jan 14, 2019, 11:05pm

Virago Classics

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.

Jan 15, 2019, 3:50am

Welcome. You've got some very interesting lists there...

Edited: Jan 15, 2019, 10:59am

>4 MissWatson:

Thanks! :D

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.

Jan 15, 2019, 12:33pm

It's so easy to get sidetracked into a fascinating project!

Jan 15, 2019, 1:06pm

Great categories and welcome to the "challenge"!

Jan 15, 2019, 4:38pm

>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!

Jan 15, 2019, 9:48pm

World Literature

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. :|

Jan 16, 2019, 10:43am

>9 Settings: If it helps, I recall liking By Love Possessed, a short story collection by Jamaican author Lorna Goodison.

Jan 16, 2019, 9:26pm

Welcome to the challenge!

Jan 22, 2019, 9:34am

Good luck with your challenge!

Mar 2, 2019, 12:45am

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

World Literature
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.

Mar 2, 2019, 1:05am

>10 christina_reads:

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.

Mar 9, 2019, 6:57pm

Art History
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.

Sep 5, 2019, 4:46pm

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?

Edited: Sep 10, 2019, 6:24pm

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.

Sep 11, 2019, 3:09am

I am currently reading Northanger Abbey and, while it's not one of Austen's best, I'm entertained. No pretentious annotations. I'm encouraged to read something by Anne Radcliffe.

You have some interesting, wide-ranging lists.

Sep 11, 2019, 5:29am

>18 pamelad:
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.

World Literature
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.

Sep 11, 2019, 2:18pm

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.

Sep 19, 2019, 2:47pm

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.

Edited: Sep 19, 2019, 4:19pm

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.

Sep 20, 2019, 12:13am

NYRB - Jakob von Guten by Robert Walser

One of the more bizarre books I've ever read. Not convinced there was more than 1 character. :\

Sep 23, 2019, 11:50am

>24 Settings: LOL Yes, that is quite a haul! Enjoy!

Sep 26, 2019, 7:22am

>24 Settings: Happy reading with that magnificent haul! Nothing like a book sale to make me happy.

Sep 26, 2019, 2:23pm

Made an excel list and did random number to pick one - got The Family Mashber

Going to add two more categories - Chinese History and Books I Own

Got like 40 pages left in The Culture of Ancient Egypt. For such a fascinating topic, that book is dry. I'm selecting academically published books with the understanding that after you push through a few the subject's academese makes sense - but there's not much jargon at all in The Culture of Ancient Egypt. It's just dry.

Sep 26, 2019, 5:06pm

Finally finished those 40 pages of The Culture of Ancient Egypt. 3 hours later. Lots of deciding I needed a snack and checking my phone.

Most of the content was Wilson's attempt to paste large, overlying narratives on top of sketchy historical details. I'm suspicious of the narratives. The book's close to 70 years old and how people approach this kind of thing has changed.

Edited: Sep 27, 2019, 1:12am

NYRB - The Pure and the Impure

Don't so much as disagree with Colette about everything she says as completely fail to understand where she is getting her ideas and what she means.

Sep 28, 2019, 12:18pm

Massive poetry haul from the library's extreme discount sale. ~$10. Sorta been collecting these over the course of the week as other patrons fail to buy them, for reasons unknown to me.

Iris of Creation by Marvin Bell
Firefall by Mona Van Duyn
Pure by Carol Frost
Border Songs by Ona Gritz and Daniel Simpson
Try by Cole Swensen
Colander by Michael McFee
Disclamor by G.C. Waldrep
Snip Snip! by Tina Brown Celona
New Dark Ages by Donald Revell
The Starry Messenger by George Keithley
Between Here and Monkey Mountain by Laren McClung
Captivity by Toi Derricotte
Here Be Monsters by Colin Cheney
The Selected Poems of Rosario Castellanos
The Freeing of the Dust by Denise Levertov
The Gold Cell by Sharon Olds
Gambler's Daughter by Rachel Guido Devries
Candles in Babylon by Denise Levertov
Boxcars by David Young
Locusts at the Edge of Summer by John Balaban
In the House of Slaves by Evelyn Lau
The City In Which I Love You by Li-Young Lee
Here, Bullet by Brian Turner
Death Tractates by Brenda Hillman
Songs for the Last Survivor by Joseph Henry Albeck
Trochemoche by Luis J. Rodriguez
Ultima Thule by Davis McCombs
The Minute Hand by Jane Shore
Halfway to Silence by May Sarton
Vermillion by Alan Britt
Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel by Evan S. Connell
The World at Large by James McMichael
The River of Heaven by Garrett Hongo
Between Two Rivers by Maurice Kenny
Note for a Missing Friend by Dina Ben-Lev
Imagine The Angels of Bread by Martin Espada
(Reading a Burning Book) by Patrick Lawler
idEAL CiTiES by Erika Meitner
Syracuse Poems and Stories 1985
Columbus Day by Jimmie Durham
Rim of the Lock by Houda K. Al Naamani
The Milky Way Poems 1967-1982 by Jon Anderson
Why Women Are a Ribbon Around a Bomb by Martin Willits, Jr.
Iraqi Headaches by Saif Alsaegh
Bath Water Wine by Wanda Coleman
Long Ago in Oregon by Claudia Lewis
Terraces of Light by Marya Zaturenska
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
Like Ghosts of Eagles by Robert Francis
My Nature is Hunger by Luis J. Rodriguez
Dear Weather Ghost by Melissa Ginsburg
The Last Person to Hear Your Voice by Richard Shelton
Fugitive Eye by Tina Barr
The Other Man Was Me: A Voyage to the New World by Rafael Campo
Small Human Detail in Care of National Trust by Martin Walls
Seamless by Linda Tomol Pennisi
Shuntaro Tanikawa: Selected Poems
Visible Signs by Lawrence Raab
Iris by Mark Jarman
Relations by Eamon Grennan
Fence Line by Curtis Bauer
The Mexican Murals by Cynthia Kraman
Blasted by Sarah Kane
Worlds Apart by Richard Jackson

Sep 28, 2019, 12:50pm

Don't recognize the authors besides Rossetti, Castellanos, and Rachel Guido deVries but these are all very nicely printed, many with reputable publishers, and judging books by their covers they should be fantastic lol.

Some of these are local authors. Also a bunch of native American poets.

It looks like Small Human Detail In Care of National Trust, Fugitive Eye, Iraqi Headaches (self published), Ideal Cities, Border Songs and Colander look like they are signed by the author. Iris of Creation is possibly signed by the author but the signature's illegible. I got 1 free bookmark.

(Blasted by Sarah Kane is actually a play)

Sep 28, 2019, 12:55pm

Dark Brow by Marvin Bell

The dark brow of the creek wrinkles over time
as if something had been born there.
Scavenging all night, the water that runs there
brings things from time past.
Some of these things are the wrappers, the coats,
of what it meant to say, "I tasted"
or "I felt." And this, whatever it is, is not that.

All of us have felt the fatigue of dark water,
the burden massed at yard's edge,
and in the line of the garden
beyond the onions, there are fresh tears.
I do not say we should live forever,
for who could bear it,
only that we should on day enter completely into life.

In the beginning, as at the end, there was nothing,
although "was" is a psychic's verb,
the one that proves the existence of a current
by rising after it has passed
and shaking its head furiously, spraying water.
"I was," we say. "Therefore, I am." We also believe
a piece of us has washed away and may be worth something.