Thursday, January 24, 2008

The challenge of challenges

I'm wondering how to write about Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time for the Russian Reading Challenge. It's harder than I had expected. Here, my audience is, who am I kidding, myself, although a few friendly folk stop by now and then. Who is the audience at the Russian challenge? What do they want to know?

The challenges are funny things. They're mostly, I guess, motivators. A lot of the Russian readers are going after War and Peace, and the challenge can help prod them along. For others, the most useful function may be providing lists. I'm thinking of the African challenge, or the recent Japanese challenge. Don't know what to read, or where to look? Look here.

I am reluctant to join too many challenges. Even quite logical ones - here's a 19th Century Women Writers challenge. Perfect for Wuthering Expectations, at least for the Wuthering part. As is the challenge to read long books. The Classical Bookworm wants us to read about natural history. She's right, we should, and in fact I just finished a literally wonderful book about the deep sea, The Deep, edited by Claire Nouvian. That fellow over on the left is an actual, existing animal, a dumbo octopus.

I'll be checking in to all of these challenges over the next year, to see what people read, and to see how they write for each other. To see what sort of conversations develop. I don't see how any sort of discussion can get going if everyone is reading different books, but who knows. It will all be new to me.


  1. *ahem* I just wanted to let you know that I am a regular via my RSS reader and therefore am higher up the totem pole, waving rather smugly at the occasional friendly stopper.