I thought, "You know, I don't really have a lot of plans for far future reading at the moment and along with never having read Jane Eyre, many of those books on that list I haven't read in many years. And I do love The Classics. I'm all the time yammering on about them on my blog."
So, you're on, Penguin Classics. I am officially announcing my new series on this blog "Reading The Classics with Paul Mathers." I will be reading (mainly rereading) all ten of the books on Penguin's suggested list and discussing them here. I invite any of you who might be interested to participate along with me. I've never done a reading group before and this one seems suited to me.
Some I read once in high school (Oedipus and The Odyssey), some I've read several times for personal enjoyment (Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice) and some I've been over countless times (I spent two years working on a production of Hamlet.) I thought this would be fun especially as the only two I think I've read in the past 5 years are one reread of Moby Dick and my first time through Dante's Inferno (so they are automatically bumped to the end of the reading list for our purposes. Or, more accurately, for my own selfish reasons.)
So, here, again, is the reading list if you'd like to print the list up and carry it in your pocket for when you're browsing thrift stores or used book stores (you'll note all of the authors are dead, sorry to say, and, with apologies to our catalyst Penguin Classics, you will remember my post on the ethics of bookbuying. I personally do not feel you should feel any compulsion to buy these titles new.) Here is the order in which we shall read them:
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Odyssey by Homer
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
We will start with Of Mice and Men because it's short and I should be able to get through it before my copy of Prime by Poppy Z. Brite shows up (at which time we'll take a very short break because I'm anxious to read that.) I'm not sure what to say about the pace of the reading group... Well, I'm open to suggestions about that although I will say that when I finish a book I'm probably not going to waste much time before I start blabbing about it on this blog. So, let's get crackin', people! Chop chop! Allons zi!
And, of course, should you decide to decline, I will strive to continue to keep the blog interesting anyway.
Also, needless to say, if any of you read a version of a particular book with zombies added, you are immediately expelled from this reading group.
This should be fun. So, do go out and secure yourself a copy of Of Mice and Men and we will get started.
P.S. Laurie informs me that these online reading groups are done a bit more orderly than I'd originally, in my exuberance, suggested. So, this is how it will work:
If you would like to read along, it would be nice for you to leave a little note in the comments signing on. I will continue regardless of whether anyone joins me or not, but conversation is one of the great benefits of something like this.
If you do decide to get on board, we will begin reading next weekend. I imagine one should have no problem securing a copy of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck in 9-10 days time even if they order one online. If I'm dead wrong about that, do let me know. The rules are here to keep us on track, but I would hate to see anyone left behind who wanted to take part because we started too quickly.
As we read, I may have a few mini-posts of thoughts, but we will have large posts at the end of each week. With Of Mice and Men, I think we can probably do it in two chunks (actually I think we can do it in one, but again, I would hate to leave anyone behind.) So, Book Groupies, you have a little over a week to secure a copy of John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men. You will get a reminder soon. One week after that we will focus on the first half of the book, then the second a week later.
If you have any further suggestions on how to make this run smoothly, please do let me know.