November 14, 2011

Thoughts on My 2012 Reading List...

It seems that the book-blogosphere is all abuzz right now with everyone writing about their upcoming reading challenges for 2012.  This is truly a wonderful thing, as I am seeing a lot of folks making commitments to read some really great stuff.  I think that challenges can be a very intelligent way of providing a reader with the incentive and motivation to tackle a book, or books, that one might normally shy away from, for whatever reason.  I also think that these challenges are a great example of the role book-blogging plays in the on-line world of social media.  For example, I love paying attention to the books that many of my fellow bloggers are reading and reviewing.  Frankly, it has been through my experiences with my own blog, and all of the blogs that I follow, that I have not only greatly expanded my own reading horizons, but made some wonderful new friends.  So, toward the end of 'expanding my reading horizons', I have been giving a lot of thought to what is going to be included on my "2012 To-Be-Read" list.  Please bear in mind that this list is in a state of flux, and that there will likely be some additions or subtractions, but here's what I've come up with so far--

Ancient Greek and Roman Literature
The Iliad, Homer, translated by Anthony Verity, 2011.
The Iliad, Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore, revised and reissued, 2011.
Parmenides and Empedocles: The Fragments in Verse Translation, translated by Stanley Lombardo, 1982.
Metamorphoses, Ovid, translated by Stanley Lombardo, 2010.
Tales from Ovid, translated by Ted Hughes, 1999.
The Oresteia, Aeschylus, translated by Peter Meineck, 1998.
If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Anne Carson, 2003.
Sappho: Poems and Fragments, translated by Stanley Lombardo, 2002.
Four Plays by Aeschylus that I have yet to read (i.e., The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, The Suppliants, Prometheus Bound).
Some, or all, of the comic plays of Aristophanes.
Six Plays by Euripides that I have yet to read (i.e., Andromache, Bacchae, Hippolytus, Ion, Iphigeneia in Tauris, and Medea).

Medieval Literature
Le Morte d'Arthur, Sir Thomas Mallory (the Winchester Manuscript).
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer (Middle English edition, Penguin Classics).
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Anonymous, translated by W. S. Merwin, 2004.
The Death of King Arthur: A New Verse Translation, translated by Simon Armitage, 2011 (the Alliterative Morte d'Arthur).
The Inferno, Dante Alighieri, translated by Stanley Lombardo, 2009.
Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by J.G. Nichols, 2009.
The Mabinogion, Anonymous, translated by Sioned Davies, 2008.
The Kalevala, Anonymous, translated by Keith Bosley, 2009.

William Shakespeare
King Lear
Troilus and Cressida
Henry IV, Part I
Henry IV, Part II
Henry V
Richard III
As You Like It
Merchant of Venice
Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Winter's Tale
The Sonnets and Poems

American Literature
The Life of Emily Dickinson, Richard B. Sewall, 1976.
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman.
Moby-Dick, or, The Whale, Herman Melville.
The Reef, Edith Wharton.
The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer.

British & European Literature
Idylls of the King, Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Jamaica Inn, Daphne du Maurier.
The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 2002.
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo, translated by Julie Rose, 2008.
The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova, translated by Judith Hemschemeyer, 2000.

So, there it is, my initial thoughts on my proposed reading list for 2012.  I have already signed up for two reading challenges that I think will help me stay focused and on-track with my readings goals.  The first is the Back to the Classics Challenge--2012 hosted by Sarah at Sarah Reads Too Much.  You can go here to read more about this challenge and my selections.  The second challenge I'm taking up during 2012 is hosted by Jean at Howling Frog Books and is the Greek Classics Challenge--2012, and you can read more about this challenge here.  Finally, given all of the Shakespeare that I am planning to read, I am going to formally join Risa at Breadcrumb Reads and her Reading Shakespeare--A Play a Month In 2012 challenge.

Along with my own continuing projects of featuring the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the sonnets of William Shakespeare, I am really excited about the reading I have ahead of me in 2012.  How about you?



  1. Book blogging has really augmented my to-read pile too! I love all the suggestions people offer, and their lists.

    Ah, Whitman. Will this be your first time reading Leaves of Grass? I've only read the first half chronologically, but have read through many of the poems, several times. I hope to have time to finally read through it all, next year. I adore the book.

    Great picks for the Shakespeare Challenge!! You know I'm excited about that one! Looks like we're sharing several titles.

    I'm LOVING Moby-Dick so far. I have a feeling you will too. It's a reflection of King Lear, in some ways (says my copy's Introduction!) :-)

  2. Yes, this will be my first concerted and close-reading of Leaves of Grass. I have picked it up and thumbed through it and read bits-and-pieces, but have never given it the attention it deserves (I really can't say why either?). I'm looking forward to finally diving into it though.

    I'm excited to be sharing Shakespeare (sonnets and plays!) with you too. I think we'll all be having fun reading and writing about the Bard in 2012.

    Finally, thanks for the positive reinforcement for my impending read of Moby-Dick. I actually think that 'my mind is right' for this attempt to read it. I have a much more solid background, and I think I'm ready to invest the mental energy to get the most out of it too.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my 'List-o-50'! Cheers! Chris

  3. Your list looks awe-inspiring, Chris!:D I'm glad that the Greek and Medieval Challenges will be pushing me outside of my comfort zone next year. I always feel a bit nervous about verse.

    It's true how the book blogging community can influence one's reading. I've found myself reading so many books I would not otherwise have bothered to try had it not been for other book-bloggers. Off the top of my head I'm thinking of Dracula, The Age of Innocence, Gone with the Wind(!), The Great Gatsby (and these are just a few from a big number); I'm actually going to give Wuthering Heights another try next year, and have scheduled War and Peace into my reading. Moby Dick is actually beginning to look interesting. But I'll likely leave it for another year.:D I love how much I've been reading and the kind of material I've been reading since I discovered the book blogging world - it's amazing. What is best about this, though, is the fact that there are always others to discuss what I read with (finally!).

  4. I'm planning on reading Le Morte d'Arthur and Coriolanus and I'd love to read and discuss them with you.

  5. NICE. This reminds me that I really want to read Sappho next year for the Greek Classic challenge. How could I forget! I plan on reading Moby Dick, Brothers K, and lots of Shakespeare as well. WOo hoo!

  6. @Ingrid--

    Terrific, Ingrid! I am really looking forward to sharing reading experiences and thoughts with you as we read these books in the coming year. I think it is really going to help reading these books with other folks too. We should try and coordinate reading schedules, especially with Moby-Dick and The Brothers Karamazov. Cheers! Chris

  7. I've been working on my 2012 reading list, but it lacks direction. I intend to (re)read whatever the San Diego Shakespeare Society is "doing" for its monthly open reading, but the 2012 calendar isn't out yet. A long list of Victorian novels and poetry beckons. I've started Olive Schreiner's Story of an African Farm for my "new woman" reading, about whom I became curious because of her connection with Amy Levy. What else? Dickens, oh! I hope to attend my 3rd Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz in early August; this year's book is Bleak House! I've moved Our Mutual Friend near the top of my reading list, in great part due to your raves, but first I need to read A Christmas Carol because it's this year's book for the Riverside Dickens Festival in January (you and S should consider going). Also, I'll read whatever GRAD (the Riverside chapter of the Dickens Fellowship) is discussing. I know they're reading Bleak House for the May and July meetings (a number of members attend the Universe, so this makes sense); no word yet on the September/November book. I may have mentioned that GLAD (the L.A. chapter) holds its meetings in alternating months (Feb, Apr, June, etc.) because some SoCal Dickensians attend both. Little Dortit comes after Our Mutual Friend on my just-because Dickens reading for 2012.

  8. You should throw in Twelfth Night in your Shakespeare readings. Also, a little dickens to brighten your day would probably be advisable; Tale of Two Cities or Little Dorrit. Just in my humble opinion. Good luck on your daunting literary quest.

  9. @'Anonymous'--

    Hmm, interesting comment. "Daunting literary quest"...I'm not sure that I view my proposed reading list as daunting, but we shall see. As for reading Dickens, I have, in fact, read all of Dickens' works in the order in which they were published, and enjoyed each of them immensely. You mentioned "Little Dorrit"--it happens to be one of my very favorite Dickens novels. Thanks for your comment and your visit. Cheers! Chris