Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Post of the Year

So at the end of every year, everyone starts asking "what's your New Year's resolution?" I usually don't have an answer, because I've failed so many New Year's resolutions in the past that I just don't bother anymore. I mean, sure, there are things I'd like to do, but to actually resolve to do them tends to lead to disaster.

However, the one thing I would really like to do, and have been trying to make myself do, is spend a little bit of time each day doing something I want to do, just for the sake of wanting to do it. I love scrapbooking, I love crafts, I love watching TV (beyond Spongebob Squarepants), and I love reading, but I very rarely get to do any of the above because I'm busy enough with taking care of 2 kids, a husband, and a home. So if I were to "resolve" anything for 2011, it would be to spend more time doing the things I love, even if it means pushing laundry off yet another day.

This lead me to another desire I have had for years. As an avid reader, I like to think I've read everything that's worth reading (naturally...); however, an area where I am sadly lacking is classic literature. Not to say I'm completely in the dark-- I have a working familiarity with many classic novels, and have done the required school readings of "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Great Gatsby," "Catcher in the Rye," etc. I even liked a few of them. But even the few that I've liked have failed to motivate me to keep reading, mostly because I think it's a snore-fest genre that can't possibly keep me interested. I've gone to the library in search of classic novels to finally sit down and delve into, just to say that I did, and have come home instead with mysteries, memoirs, and chick-lit. I have yet to really push myself harder and make myself accept the fact that there is a world of literature beyond Stephen King and Jen Lancaster. (Although I reserve the right to still think both of them are awesome.) (Just saying.)

Which is why, for the first time in years, I have made a New Year's resolution. I am embarking on a project, to read a classic novel/novella every week for a year; that is to say, 52 classics. It is a lofty goal, but I think I can accomplish it if I really push myself. It's not the actual reading that will be the hard part-- I have been reading since I was very young, finished "Charlotte's Web" for the first time when I was 4, and can get through an average 500-page book in 2-3 days if it keeps my interest. The hard part will be keeping my interest. I refuse to give into the temptation of watching the movies based on these books until AFTER I have already read it (with the exception of movies I've already seen, but I deliberately picked books that either I have forgotten the movie or, in the case of "Alice in Wonderland," believe there MUST be more to the story than Disney eluded to...)

I intend to blog about each book as I finish it, to keep myself on track so that I don't let my goal slip away. So here, in no particular order, is a list of the 52 books I intend to read in 2011:

  1. Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll
  2. Anne of Green Gables- L. M. Montgomery
  3. The Black Arrow- A Tale of Two Roses- Robert Louis Stevenson
  4. Emma- Jane Austen
  5. Les Miserables- Victor Hugo
  6. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
  7. A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
  8. Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte (*note: have already read this, but I was about 14 at the time, so I feel I can probably gain a LOT of understanding from rereading...)
  9. The Time Machine- H. G. Wells
  10. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- Robert Louis Stevenson
  11. Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen
  12. Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens
  13. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket- Edgar Allen Poe
  14. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow- Washington Irving
  15. The Island of Doctor Moreau- H. G. Wells
  16. The House of Seven Gables- Nathaniel Hawthorne
  17. Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte
  18. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
  19. The Call of the Wild- Jack London
  20. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
  21. The Beautiful and Damned- F. Scott Fitzgerald
  22. Dracula- Bram Stoker
  23. The Prince and the Pauper- Mark Twain
  24. A Room With a View- E. M. Forster
  25. Phantom of the Opera- Gaston Leroux
  26. Twice Told Tales- Nathaniel Hawthorne
  27. Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
  28. The Hunchback of Notre Dame- Victor Hugo
  29. The Moonstone- Wilkie Collins
  30. Tess of the d’Urbervilles- Thomas Hardy
  31. The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne (*see note from "Wuthering Heights")
  32. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Anne Bronte
  33. The Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling
  34. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  35. The Jewel of Seven Stars- Bram Stoker
  36. Gone with the Wind- Margaret Mitchell
  37. Rebecca- Daphne du Maurier (*and again...)
  38. Nine Stories- J. D. Salinger
  39. Little Dorrit- Charles Dickens
  40. On the Road- Jack Kerouac
  41. The Sun Also Rises- Ernest Hemingway
  42. Don Quixote- Miguel de Cervantes
  43. As I Lay Dying- William Faulkner
  44. The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde
  45. The Haunting of Hill House- Shirley Jackson
  46. Bleak House- Charles Dickens
  47. The Age of Innocence- Edith Wharton
  48. Sister Carrie- Theodore Dreiser
  49. Vanity Fair- William Makepeace Thackeray
  50. Watership Down- Richard Adams
  51. The Song of the Lark- Willa Cather
  52. The Princess and the Goblin- George MacDonald
Now that I've painstakingly gone over list upon list of recommended classics and narrowed it down to the above 52, I'm actually getting a little bit excited to get started. I hope I have the time and the attention span to complete this, and hope to come out of 2011 a little more well-rounded for the accomplishment.