Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Reading Plans

I’m not going to freight my reading plans with the weight of the word “resolution.” But I do have some plans and this might be the year that I bring them to fruition.

Big Books

I’m a great fan of the Richard Pevear/Larissa Volokhonsky translation of Chekhov’s short stories, so the recent publication of their translation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace seems like reason enough to embark on it at this juncture. I already cracked it open earlier today and I’m excited about spending a good bit of this winter inhabiting this book.

I had intended to read Don Quixote last year along with a group of fellow bloggers but I never got past the prologue. This spring I’m going to give it another go.


Only after I picked up a copy of Anthony Powell’s Books Do Furnish a Room at a book sale last year did I realize that it was part of his 12-volume “A Dance to the Music of Time” series. I recalled having come across several glowing mentions of this series by Terry Teachout and OGIC at About Last Night, and I decided that I ought to read the whole series in order rather than beginning in the middle. I’ve borrowed the first book (A Question of Upbringing) from the library and I’m ready to begin.

In 2005, after a six-month campaign sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust, Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s A Sunset Song, the first volume in his “Scots Quair” trilogy, was voted the best Scottish book of all time. It’s past time that I read it, and the rest of the trilogy as well.

Scottish Literature

I regularly read a lot of Scottish books, but now that I’m armed with Robert Crawford’s Scotland’s Books: the Penguin History of Scottish Literature, I’ve taken a notion to explore Scottish literature a bit more systematically. I’m not entirely sure yet what form this project will take, but I expect this year I’ll take some steps in this direction. Perhaps I’ll even resume my Scottish Gaelic lessons.

World Literature

Last year, I dramatically increased the number of works in translation that I read and in so doing encountered some marvellous writers. I plan to continue to expand my reading horizons; in particular, I plan to seek out more works by writers from outside of North America and Europe.

I'm looking forward to all of it.


Literary Feline said...

War and Peace is on my plate this year too. I meant to crack it open today but wasn't able to. Tomorrow is a new day. Happy Reading!

Imani said...

I'm still on Don Quixote, as is Sylvia (Classical Bookworm) so you have company. I read (what I think was) my first Scottish novel last month (James Hogg's Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner) and had such a ball with it. I will browse through your blog for more Scottish lit recs. (Incidentally, did you hear that the Library of Congress is planning to catalogue all Scottish literature under "English"? Harumph.)

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Truly amazing reads ahead, I can see! I'm loving War and Peace and, like you, have Don Quixote on my mind and next to my bed. One of my closest friends keeps talking about a BBC (I think) series of the Anthony Powell books, but I don't ever have time to watch things, so maybe that's one to read too. I'm so looking forward to a year of hearing about all this and more. Happy new Year dear kate! xoxox, BL

Danielle said...

What great reading plans! I'm looking for a follow up 'big book' after W&P and Don Quixote of last year. Good luck with both books. I'll be interested in which books you read by Scottish authors. I'm guessing here, but I think Muriel Spark is Scottis, so she might be just about the only author I've read. I'll have to think about searching out more1