Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Winter Classics Reading Challenge

It is high time I joined in a reading challenge, and this one is the perfect choice! Five classics in January and February and, most crucially, they can be international classics! I am very excited about this one already. Here's my list (version one!):

The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz (Mexico). On my shelf as I bought it a few weeks ago, but I doubt I'll get round to it before Christmas, so it can be part of my challenge.

Cheri by Colette (France). Because I got it while in Paris and want to read it!

The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong by Hyegyong Hong Ssi (Korea). Written by a crown princess of Korea in the 18th century, this memoir recounts the death of her father (placed inside a rice bin to starve because his son refused to kill himself) and the events in the court thereafter.

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin (Russia). Massive poetic epic. It's been on my shelf for years, and I've only ever watched the film (grossly different in some respects from the book, I've heard, and since I'm something of a purist it should make for interesting reading).

The Obscene Bird of the Night by Jose Donoso (Chile). The title of this is taken from a letter to Henry and William James from their father, and is apparently a very valuable contribution to the Magical Realism genre. The title actually refers to the dark side of the imagination.

I'll probably change some of these as I go, depending on availability and what mood I am in during the first two months of next year - I have a list of other books I want to read from various countries and I'm sure some of those are classics too. All the same, I have some quality literature lined up for post-Christmas literary indulgence. I can't wait to see what everyone else is reading!


Anonymous said...

Traveller, this is any interesting twist that has developed - reading classics from different countries. I love it. I like when an idea grows into something more than intened. Someday I'm going to be brave enough to branch out and try some of your Around the World books. They all sound so enticing. The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong really captures my attention. Look forward to your reviews.

The Traveller said...

That's what is so great about your challenge! So much room for interpretation. And it was stimulating just to do a little research and dig around and find out what are considered classics of literature in other countries, instead of picking up whatever I come across from country x and reading that. So thanks for the inspiration booklogged!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Traveller!

The minute I heard you were doing the challenge I rushed over here because I knew you'd have an interesting list and I was right! I love all the books you've picked to read but I'm particularly interested in "The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong" (isn't Margaret Drabble's "The Red Queen" also based on the diaries of this particular princess?). I'd also love to read your thoughts on "The Obscene Bird of the Night".

Yes, I'm probably going to change some of the books on my list as I go along, too - I'd like to include something from South America, I really haven't read too much from that side of the world.

Good luck with the challenge and happy reading!

BookGirl said...

Your list is fantastic - so varied! I've been meaning to read Labyrinth for the longest time and it's just never happened. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it.

The Traveller said...

Thanks for the tip, Lotus - I'll have to look out The Red Queen when I'm reading Lady Hyegyong's memoirs! I'm similarly interested in your own list, by the way - this classics challenge is going to be fun!

Bookgirl, I can't wait to see your list; maybe you could read Labyrinth too!