Thursday, May 11, 2006

Book the next?

Does anybody want to read another book together?

Some people are still reading Middlemarch, and some still have something to say about it (well, I do). I'm not ready to declare closure on Middlemarch, but I figure it can't hurt to look forward to another group reading project. Think about it.

I casually mentioned the possibility a while ago elsewhere. I received suggestions both for specific authors (Dickens, Thackeray, Tolstoy) and specific works (Anna Karenina, Ulysses, War and Peace).

I'm vetoing Anna Karenina, because I've read it and I'm not up for a reread at this time. Maybe after we get another book down, though, I'll hand the blog over to the Karenina readers (I'd happily follow along without actively participating).

Anyway, I'm presenting a shortlist. Vote for the one that appeals to you most. At the end of the month, I'll tally the votes, update the list of contributors, and set up a schedule (tentatively for June/July/August).

Diana has also suggested the possibility of creating a forum (either in her webspace or elsewhere) to complement (or supplant) our blog goings-on. (Potential use: a scheduled "live" discussion.) Any thoughts on blogs versus forums, or format in general, would be appreciated.

The shortlist (click for a bit about):

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
Ulysses, James Joyce
The Red and the Black, Stendhal
Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev

Is that too long for a shortlist? I anticipate that Tolstoy and Dostoevsky will be clear favourites. I still balk a little at the thought of Ulysses, but I doubt I will ever be more ready than I am now, and I believe this sort of forum would well suit the reading of it. I haven't read any of these and don't own any of them except Ulysses (and I'm half-hoping there's a new, more accessible translation of it available).

Leave a comment to register your preference, along with any strong opinions or suggestions about these or future reading selections (I'm keeping a list) and discussion format or schedule.


Anonymous rachel said...

Hm hm hm. The Turgenev is the only one I haven't read. I don't own The Brothers Karamazov, but would love an excuse to buy it (not to mention reread it). I was actually intending to reread The Red and the Black not too long ago (although my impetus for doing so has disappeared). I would LOVE to do War and Peace just to have other people to share it with.

The only one I would say no to is Ulysses. I love it, but I am so not in a Ulysses place right now. If y'all do that one, I'll read along with the blog (and perhaps post all kinds of trivia -- it's the only one I ever read for a class. For two classes, actually), but I'm can't reread it right now. I just don't have the cranial capacity these days.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Gaelicgrl said...

I'm really for Ulysses. I've read The Red and The Black, The Brothers Karamazov.

I like the idea of War and Peace, too.

Anyway, whatever the choice, I'll read along. (I'll finish up reading Middlemarch soon.)

6:46 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Dostoyevsky would be good because a) I own it, b) I could read it again (only faster this time) and c) I like a good challenge (reading a book with 2 boys and husband breathing down my neck).

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Diana said...

I'm also up for any of them except Ulysses. One day I'll read that (past the opening shaving scene, which I've read about four times and then never gotten past). Just not now...

1:30 AM  
Blogger Lazy cow said...

I'm new here, so if my vote counts I'd go for The Brothers Karamazov. I've read War and Peace, and don't think I have the mental stamina for Ulysses.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

I only have about 50 pages left in Middlemarch. I have been trying hard to finish it this week. My brain is pretty mushy right now, so I am not sure which one I would vote for. As much as I would love to say I have read Ulysses, I just don't think I could try it now. I am leaning towards War and Peace or The Red and the Black, but I would read any of the others as well.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Ella said...

These are great choices, Isabella. Still chewing...

9:35 AM  
Blogger piksea said...

I've given far too much of my life and precious brain cells to Ulysses. I can't go back. I would definitely follow along to see how others fared, though.

I own Anna Karenina, but haven't read it yet. Although, I've heard about a new translation that is supposed to be really great, it's not the one I own.

All the others are on my list of TBR books, so a group consensus will just push one to the top of the stack!

11:05 AM  
Blogger cipriano said...

I am not a member of your reading group, but find your potential selections so intriguing. What an impressive list. Nice, lengthy doorstoppers.
I have only read the first two books on your list, and I love[d] them both so much, I found myself hoping that your consensus would be towards either of these two.
Then I see that most of you seem to be leaning twoards The Brothers.... and really, as you already know anyway, it is a masterpiece. I loved the book. That's all I will say.
My favorite books of all time are 1) Anna Karenina and 2) War & Peace.
Insightful reading to you all!

1:43 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I found this blog through Danielle's! :)

I would pick Stendhal because I've never read The Red and the Black, alothough I won't mind Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, which I will teach this summer and I'll read along with my students anyway.

Oh, and I like your blog.

11:34 AM  
Blogger gina c said...

I own them all except for the Brothers Karamazov, but would welcome an excuse to buy it! Have read War and Peace ages ago, can reread with a moments notice, in fact I recently picked up the new translation with rereading in mind. I am looking forward to another read with the Middlemarch group, without whom I would never have finished it. So count me in! Let me know what and when, and I will be there!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Three weeks in Spain has left me with still 100 pages to go in Middlemarch, but I would be looking forward to the next read. Ulysses would be a challenge, and this would be a great forum for accomplishing the task...I don't know how else I would ever get it read. However, that being said, I would sooner read one more book together before accepting the challenge. My vote would be for Dostoevsky now, Ulysses later.

12:20 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

I vote for War and Peace. No reason except that I like the title, and Ella recommended it, and I don't want to read Ulysses. My brain is stretched enough as it is.

3:30 PM  
Blogger piksea said...

I just picked up a flyer at my local library about a speaker coming in on 5/30 to discuss "why The Brothers Karamazov is the best book ever written." Is that enough to send us closer to a decision? I may have to stop into B&N and pick this up tonight.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Raehan said...

I'm up for any of these, particularly War and Peace or the Brothers.

I still have Anna K. on my nightstand though. Sigh. I'll have to go it alone.

6:24 PM  

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