Monday, August 8, 2011

The 2010 - 2011 Reading Project -- Part One (Overview)

     One of the things school can do, other than provide a means for an education, is ruin the enjoyment of reading.  When one has to read 160 pages of Kierkegaard followed by 100 pages of Nietzsche before starting in on any Chemistry or Psychology work for the night, the idea of reading because one chooses to seems beyond laughable.  Reading becomes the means of accessing necessary information, and it would be quite the odd duck who would choose to take a break from reading to, well, read something else.
     So, given my confidence that I would be in no academic setting of any kind from August 2010 to the beginning of August 2011, I decided to keep track of just what I was reading.  Would being removed from school provide the kind of environment where reading for fun could once again be experienced?  Even more than that, could I find the motivation to read some worthwhile literature, or would I just pick up the latest licensed fiction that Richard A. Knaak and Michael A. Stackpole have churned out?  (Incidentally, is there a rule that to write licensed fiction, one must have "A" as a middle initial?)
     What I found was that monitoring my reading was a little bit of a double-edged sword.  I would increasingly add books to the list of what I wanted to read, but that was a list that went largely unheeded.  This served to make the list appear as either an aspirational goal to which I was not really making progress towards, especially in regards to novels.  On the other hand, it also kept the aspirations towards more meaningful and/or well-regarded titles and authors, but that was still not something I could keep making real progress toward.
     Still, I do think I managed to read about what I thought I would in regards to quantity.  Had I not indulged in so much Netflix watching, I'd like to think I would have added a few more novels and more non-fiction to the final tally.  I started the year on what I termed a play reading kick and ended it by adding eleven to the total by quickly going through some Shepard and Ibsen.  In between, I read much from what was on the list and probably an equal amount from stuff that was just around the house.
     The final accounting is below.  In subsequent posts, I hope to offer some insight to my reactions and opinions on most of the selections.  (Yes, some of these are re-reads – mostly from an era well before any level of emotional maturity had been achieved – but there are so many that I just never got around to reading.)

  1. Antigone by Sophocles
  2. Oedipus the King by Sophocles
  3. Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
  4. The Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus
  5. Medea by Euripides
  6. Bacchae by Euripides
  7. Electra by Sophocles
  8. Lysistrata by Aristophanes
  9. Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
  10. Noah's Flood
  11. The Second Shepard's Play 
  12. Everyman 
  13. Hickscorner 
  14. Wasps by Aristophanes
  15. Women at the Thesmophoria by Aristophanes
  16. Frogs by Aristophanes
  17. Agamemnon by Aeschylus
  18. The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus
  19. Eumenides by Aeschylus
  20. True West by Sam Shepard
  21. Buried Child by Sam Shepard
  22. Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard
  23. The Tooth of Crime by Sam Shepard
  24. La Turista by Sam Shepard
  25. Tongues by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin
  26. Savage/Love by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin
  27. A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen
  28. The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen
  29. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  30. The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

Short Stories
  1. "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain
  2. "Journalism in Tennessee" by Mark Twain
  3. "About Barbers" by Mark Twain
  4. "A Literary Nightmare" by Mark Twain
  5. "The Stolen White Elephant" by Mark Twain
  6. "The Private History of a Campaign that Failed" by Mark Twain
  7. "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses" by Mark Twain
  8. "How to Tell a Story" by Mark Twain
  9. "The £1,000,000 Bank-Note" by Mark Twain
  10. "The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg" by Mark Twain
  11. "The Mysterious Stranger" by Mark Twain
  12. "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" by Edgar Allan Poe
  13. "The Gold-Bug" by Edgar Allan Poe
  14. "The Balloon-Hoax" by Edgar Allan Poe
  15. "Von Kempelen and His Discovery" by Edgar Allan Poe
  16. "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe
  17. "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe
  18. "Shadow–A Parable" by Edgar Allan Poe
  19. "The Mark of the Beast" by Rudyard Kipling
  20. "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" by M.R. James
  21. "The Derelict" by William Hope Hodgson
  22. "Sredni Vashtar" by Saki (H.H. Munro)
  23. "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs
  24. "The Willows" by Algernon Blackwood
  25. "A Tale of Three Who Were Blind" by Izumi Kyōta
  26. "The Damned Thing" by Ambrose Bierce
  27. "The White People" by Arthur Machen
  28. "Dracula's Guest" by Bram Stoker
  29. "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" by Edgar Allan Poe
  30. "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
  31. "The Beast with Five Fingers" by W.F. Harvey
  32. "The Colour Out of Space" by H.P. Lovecraft
  33. "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  34. "Bartleby" by Herman Melville
  35. "The Luck of Roaring Camp" by Bret Harte
  36. "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" by Stephen Crane
  37. "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett
  38. "The Goopherd Grapevine" by Charles Waddell Chestnut
  39. "A New England Nun" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  40. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  41. "The Real Thing" by Henry James
  42. "A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin
  43. "To Build a Fire" by Jack London
  44. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce
  45. "The Lost Phoebe" by Theodore Dreiser
  46. "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather
  47. "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  48. "The Egg" by Sherwood Anderson
  49. "The Killers" by Ernest Hemingway
  50. “Expiation” by Edith Wharton
  51. “The Dilettante” by Edith Wharton
  52. “The Muse’s Tragedy” by Edith Wharton
  53. “The Pelican” by Edith Wharton
  54. “Souls Belated” by Edith Wharton
  55. "Skins" by Richard A. Knaak


  1. Penguin Island by Anatole France
  2. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  3. Everyman by Philip Roth
  4. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  5. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott
  6. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  7. Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney (yes, I'm treating the poem as a novella)
  8. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
  9. Plague of Shadows by Howard Andrew Jones
  10. A Word to the Wise by David Heinzmann
  11. The Signal by Ron Carlson
  12. Through Violet Eyes by Stephen Woodword
  13. With Red Hands by Stephen Woodword
  14. In Golden Blood by Stephen Woodword
  15. From Black Rooms by Stephen Woodword

  1. When Time Shall be No More by Paul Boyer
  2. "Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau
  3. The Trial and Death of Socrates: Four Dialogues by Plato
  4. Remembering Defeat: Civil War and Civic Memory in Ancient Athens by Andrew Wolpert
  5. On Education by Immanuel Kant
  6. The Fight by Norman Mailer

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