Sunday, February 15, 2009

2009 Challenge: What's In a Name?

Okay, so last year, I got all pseudo-uber-intellectual and decided I'd take on the Booker prize challenge. That got me through exactly three of the eight books I was going to read for that challenge before my brain turned to mush at the hands of Margaret Atwood.

Then, early in 2009 (well, earlier in 2009), I attempted to take on Tolstoy's War and Peace, to no avail. I maintain that I had a lousy translation of the book, but the fact of the matter could be that gone are the days when I could absorb the great literary canon with little to no effort, picking up symbolism and thematic development the same way a mathematician figures out nothing more complex than long division. Sigh. I guess when it comes down to it, moving from AP English to freshmen English, to middle school English, to Good Night Moon and the occasional crossword puzzle, I's gotten dumber, dagnubit.

So, rather than fishing for the loftiest reading challenge I can get my flailing braincells on, I though I'd focus on one that was a more random and entertaining, with no real intellectual merit, just a fun way to figure out my reading list for the next couple of months. This challenge simply asks me to pick books that have certain words or ideas in the titles. Here it is:

What's In a Name?

*Dates: January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009

*The Challenge: Choose one book from each of the following categories.

1. A book with a "profession" in its title. Examples might include: The Book Thief, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Historian

2. A book with a "time of day" in its title. Examples might include: Twilight, Four Past Midnight, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

3. A book with a "relative" in its title. Examples might include: Eight Cousins, My Father's Dragon, The Daughter of Time

4. A book with a "body part" in its title. Examples might include: The Bluest Eye, Bag of Bones, The Heart of Darkness

5. A book with a "building" in its title. Examples might include: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Little House on the Prairie, The Looming Tower

6. A book with a "medical condition" in its title. Examples might include: Insomnia, Coma, The Plague

*You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category.

So there's my challenge. I am going to start with The Book Thief, as it has been recommended to me at least a half dozen times. If anyone's got any other titles that fit any of these criteria, please feel free to suggest them; I really have no other books in mind at this point!

I spent the last few nights trying to get into a couple different books I got out of the library, but to no avail. This generally happens after hitting on a book that really moves me, like Moloka'i. So, since I already have the Book Thief, I will start that tonight...happy reading!!!


Jess Riley said...

I LOOOVED The Book Thief! I wish I could read it again for the first time... :)

Tress said...

This is a pretty cool idea. I might try it. If I ever finish War and Peace. Seriously, what translation did you try? Because I picked it back up (Peavear and Volokhonsky translation, presumably the newest) and I have to say: really enjoying it. Although unless I start staying up until 1 a.m. myself I may never get to read another book...