Here it is, the long-promised, anti-climatic announcement of the Scottish Reading Challenge. A Treasure Island button is on the left, a Peter Pan button below, if buttons (or pirates) are your thing.
I'm not exactly convinced that there is such a thing as Scottish literature, as distinct from English literature, at least not since the Middle Ages. A number of the most famous Scottish authors barely seem Scottish at all - Arthur Conan Doyle, for instance - while others are steeped in their dialect and their landscape. John Galt remarked to his publisher that the Scottish writer had a distinct advantage over the English writer - he possessed all of the English words, plus the wonderful Scots words like "clishmaclaver." In the hands of a master like Galt, the case is very strong, but in fact few of the great Scottish writers use dialect as much more than color.
Well, let's read some books and see what's there.
The Rules: Part I. During 2010, read one (1) literary work published in or before 1914 written by a Scottish author. The reader interested in Muriel Spark or Gerry Cambridge should read them, by all means, but they don't count for the challenge. You'll see in Part II why some limit is necessary. For the next three days, I am going to post reading lists, which are not meant to be comprehensive. You tell me.
Part II. The host (me), will:
i) Read the book you are reading, unless
ii) I have already read it, although I'll reread it if I like.
Part III. Write something.
I don't want to guarantee exactly when I will read your book, and I do have to be able to acquire it. But there will be conversation, he threatened.
That reminds me, Reading Challenges have prizes. So the first prize is a CD of Scottish bagpipe music. The second prize is two CDs of bagpipe music. Ha ha ha ha! No, there are no prizes. My point is, that if one would like to read Treasure Island but decline my generous offer of reading over your shoulder, that is fine, and perhaps wise.
Logistics: Lets play this by ear. No Mr. Linky, no need to sign up now. When you start a book, or plan to start it, let me know, in the comments here or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll get to it soon. Readers without blogs can guest post here. The process should be active, engaged. We'll figure it out.
Is this the most selfish reading challenge in the history of the internet? What it really is, besides another opportunity to encourage the reading of the great John Galt, is a repeat of last year's rampage through Yiddish literature. This time, though, I'm inviting readers along, and letting them guide me more directly. Maybe it's not that selfish.
As a side note, see here for the brand new Welsh Reading Challenge. Now we just need an Irish challenge, and a Jersey and Guernsey challenge, a Cornish challenge, an East Anglian challenge, etc., etc.
The Suggested Reading Lists: The beginning to Burns (through the 18th century).
The Golden Age of Scottish fiction - Scott, Galt, Hogg (and Ferrier and Carlyle).
Pirates and Fairies, Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Toad - Stevenson, Doyle, and so on.