Saturday, February 16, 2008

"History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." - Napolean Bonaparte

More than a month ago, I proclaimed, "For 2008, I will read at least 60 books from the 1001 books 'you should read before you die' list."

Then I proceeded to read the books. Out of eleven, I adored one, liked two, suffered through seven, and dismissed one. If something doesn't seem to be working for me, I never stick with it, whether it's a job, a relationship, or a commitment to a reading list.

Therefore, after much thought and many eerie coincidences, this will be the year of historical literature. The Historical Novel Society's definition of this is novels written at least 50 years after the events described or novels written by people approaching the subject only via research. Some books may even appear to be historical fantasy or alternative history, similar to Dan Simmons' The Terror.

Some of the books will overlap with the list of 1001 books you should read before you die. Most will not. It's considered its own genre (obviously, since it has its own society). Perhaps in the future I will decide to read strictly absurdist fiction or penny dreadfuls. Who knows?

In addition, I have sideline "lifelong learning" books - tomes of knowledge best nibbled, like The Art of War and Meditations.

So, officially, for 2008 I will read historical fiction in all its shapes and guises, as well as several "lifelong learning" books and a few chosen modern reviews - adding up to a minimum of 100 books for the year.

One of these days I swear I'll jump off the crazy train and commit to reading 365 books...


Anonymous said...

But aren't you mostly reading historicals anyways? When are you going to have the year of erotica?


Bibliolatrist said...

You've won my "You Make My Day" award. Congrats!

(But don't feel obligated to pass it on :)

Jason said...

Two comments:

If you're talking about Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, I'm anxiously awaiting that. It's one of my favorite books (and it will take you less than a day).

Repeat after me: "Napoleon." Hah!

Oh, yeah. And The Soul of an Indian is another I'm anxious to see your opinion on.

Nathan said...

Ooooooh! This should be good.

Historical novels are an area I'm interested in. I've been considering turning my screenplay thesis into a historical novel, but I just haven't read many and I'm looking for models to use. Your thoughts on these books are welcome.

Kristin Dodge said...

Jason - yes, but I'll probably space it out to really think about Marcus Aurelius's ideas. I'm not as whip-smart (philosophically) as you. :-) I've been reading "Soul of an Indian" for my own writing research and should be done soon. Also, you might find my next get-smart read interesting: "Blink." More in about a week or two.

Nathan - I'm glad to help out, but I've discovered that many believe "historical novel" means Fabio covers and ladies of old England. Of course I'll read about the Tudors, but I'm done with the Phillippa Gregory books, I think.

W&MGrad said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who gave up on the 1001 Books list. Yeesh, how much Salman Rushdie can a girl take?