Friday, November 30, 2012

TRB Pile Challenge

From the Roof Beam Reader for 2013, the 4th annual TRB Pile Challenge. I have chosen those books that have gone unread for the challenge and remained on my bookshelves more than a year. The choices are in no specific order just a personal need to take the time in the coming new year to read each one. Anyone with unread books is welcome to join the challenge.
  1. Ruth – Elizabeth Gaskell
  2. Lady Audley’s Secret – Mary E. Bradden
  3. The Absentee – Maria Edgeworth
  4. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  5. The Italian – Ann Radcliffe
  6. The Mysteries of Udolpho – Ann Radcliffe
  7. The Monk – Ann Radcliffe
  8. The Children’s Book – A.S. Byatt
  9. The Shadow of the Sun – A.S. Byatt
  10. The Biographer’s Tale – A.S. Byatt
  11. The Glass Harp – Truman Capote
  12. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote  - finished in December 2012
  13. Other Voices, Other Rooms – Truman Capote
  14. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Monthly Meme

Charles Dickens
What classic piece of literature most intimidates you, and why?
November Meme #4
From, The Art of Manliness
'Good early morning to you all. Currently, I'm confused. Upon attempting to read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, I found myself utterly unable to comprehend what was going on. And that was merely chapter one. I would consider myself fairly intelligent. I take AP and honors courses and play in an orchestra. I am very well read and over the course of my short life have read thousands of books including many classics by authors such as Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Tolkien, all of which I read without much difficulty, if any. So I am troubled as to why I can't fathom Dickens's use of language. Does anybody have any ideas?'
Replies to the discussion:- Read another Dickens Novel
- Attack it as a different language with a dictionary
- Cliff Notes and Audio Form
Some compared the difficulties of reading Dickens to reading Shakespeare. I was going to write that I would find Shakespeare both intimidating and difficult. I thought about this answer carefully and concluded I have nothing to compare this statement to as I have never read any Shakespeare but I have read Dickens and recently finished Bleak House and Hard Times. I find Dickens very hard to read - I lose my way rather quickly and find myself re-reading various chapters throughout. I enjoy reading these classical works and push rather hard to reach the end. I have also tried some of the ideas to above to help with the reading of each novel. I have found personally if I watch a movie first it helps the stories to travel through my mind at an easier pace and I have less re-reading to do. Little Dorrit was the next choice with an online Dickens group and I decided to take a break from reading Dickens. Perhaps Dickens in small doses is the better way to approach his works and to begin again with a renewed spirit for the Dickens' novel.
From, The Independent
'Attention span may have something to do with how hard it is to read Dickens.'
I was an eighth grader when I first read Great Expectations. At that time I attended what was called Junior High School and English class was two hours in duration - one hour was used for reading and the other hour was taken up with grammar, composition and writing. Great Expectations was stretched over many weeks if my memory serves me correctly and Miss Fitch included art work which wrapped itself around the entire walls of the room with parts of the story drawn onto a roll of paper. The read became a story within a story and something to look forward to each day.
From, The New Republic
December 14, 2010
The author of this article debates Oprah's approach to reading Dickens', the most difficult prose to come out of the 19th century, a complicated syntax. Great Expectations is considered a far superior work than A Tale of Two Cities. Both novels are dark  and disturbing with elaborate ventures into the seedy underbelly of London and the bloody streets of Paris.