Saturday, 3 December 2016

Russian Literature Reading Challenge 2017

*** At the end of this post I've included a very long list of Russian texts from the 12th Century onwards. 

Since my 2016 Ancient Greek Challenge was a success (both personally and for others - but more on that later) I've been thinking about what challenge I want to host in 2017. Ever since I first picked up One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich many years ago I've been charmed by Russian Literature and I've been reading A LOT of Russian Literature lately so it was a pretty easy decision. I'm currently making my way through Ivan Turgenev's works so this challenge will collide with that project nicely.

I have many, many Russian Lit novels, short stories and plays I want to read in 2017. I want to continue with my Turgenev Project by reading a few of his novels and most of his short stories. I also want to read War and Peace (I've had an eleven month break from Tolstoy and I think that's long enough), the Brothers Karamazov and maybe another Dostoevsky, Demons by Gogol, Chekov's short story collection, some medieval Russian texts and Pushkin's Fairy Tales. I'm sure I'll think of more as it gets closer to 2017. As I said I'm really into Russian Literature at the moment (always).

I'll just be reading Classic Russian Literature (mostly the 19th Century) but I welcome anyone that participates to read 20th century or contemporary Russian Literature and Non Fiction. I'll be listing the books I want to read on my 2017 Challenges Page.

Like with many challenges there will be four levels (going to make it interesting and name them after my favourite Russian writers):

  • Level One (Tolstoy): 1-3 books 
  • Level Two (Chekov): 4-6 books 
  • Level Three (Dostoevsky): 7-11 books
  • Level Four (Turgenev): 12+ books

You can count short stories, poetry, novels, novellas and plays in your book count. I don't really mind.

If you are going to join me just leave a comment under this post. I made a couple of buttons which you can use to show you're participating if you so desire:

Russian Literature List:
**this is a constant work in progress but if you have suggestions send them my way
*** this is a rough list that obviously doesn't cover every Russian text but I've done my best to include as many as I can
**** works from the 12th-18th centuries are mostly travelogues/religious texts and hard to locate in English but I've included them mostly for my own interest
****** each category and sub category are in chronological order to the best of my ability

Friday, 2 December 2016

Clarissa; a year long project

There is one novel that has been staring or glaring at me for years. It sits lonely at the bottom of my shelves gathering dust. Occasionally I look at it and avert my eyes instantly because I feel guilty. Why do I feel guilty? I know I will love this novel. I knew I would from the moment I picked it up in a bookstore all those years ago but for some reason I just couldn't pick it up. It's MASSIVE but the size isn't what intimidates me. It's the words; the density; the feeling that to read it and understand it and love it I would have to take it slow and let the words seep into my veins. 

What is this novel? It's Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. No book intimidates me more than this one but when I looked at the novel this morning I felt something new: I know I need to read it and if I don't do it now I never will. I have thought long and hard about how I want to read it and I've decided to do a year long read. It's an epistolary novel and the letters inside correspond to dates of the year. The first entry is January 10th and the last is December 18th. The challenge is going to be sticking to the dates. I know at one point or another I will want to leave it be for a while or read fast but I will do my best to stick to the timeline I've set out for myself. 

So this is the schedule I'm aiming for: 

  • Vol. 1: Letters 1-6

  • Vol. 1 - Letters 7-10 

  • Vol. 1 - Letters 11-44 
  • Vol. 2 - Letters 1-28

  • Vol. 2 - Letters 29-48
  • Vol. 3 - Letters 1-62
  • Vol. 4 - Letters 1-6

  • Vol. 4 - Letters 7-55
  • Vol. 5 - Letters 1-9

  • Vol. 5 - Letters 10-36
  • Vol. 6 - Letters 1-51

  • Vol. 6 - Letters 52-73
  • Vol. 7 - Letters 1-63
  • Vol. 7 - Letters 63-84
  • Vol. 8 - Letters 1-47

  • Vol. 8 - Letters 48-71
  • Vol. 9 - Letters 1-48

  • Vol 9 - Letters 49-59

  • Vol 9 - Letters 60-62

  • Vol. 9 - Letters 62-64
  • Conclusion
  • Postscript 

If you've never read Clarissa before or feel like reading it again at a slower pace you are welcome to join me. I'll be writing monthly posts (if all goes to plan which if you've been following me for a while you'll know this is less than probable) and tagging my updates on twitter with #clarissaRA.

I'm also doing a RUSSIAN LITERATURE CHALLENGE which I'm working on now and the post should be up tomorrow or later today.