Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Anti-Popularity Contest

Imani has posted two new challenges: the Outmoded Authors Challenge and the Index Liborium Prohibitum (sp?). Being (slightly) sane, I decided to only do one of them (for now), so I picked Outmoded Authors, since it had a looong list of authors I'd never heard of. The idea is simple; Imani's provided a list of thirty authors who were quite popular in their day, and whom we generally neglect now. Between September and February, read however many books you choose by these authors. Pretty simple, huh? She's also set up a blog for it, and buttons are available. Having decided to join, I next needed to make a reading list!

So, after looking at all the authors and realising that way too many sounded interesting, I decided on a new criteria: there must be a copy available in the US on bookmooch. This quickly narrowed the field (after all, these books are unpopular ;)) and I ended up with...

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
A collection of short stories set in late nineteenth century Maine.
The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen
Set in Ireland, on an British gentry plantation, I could count this towards my Reading Across Borders challenge if I wasn't against double-counting (I do challenges to read books, not to just complete challenges, so double-counting seems pointless). I've never read anything set in this particular time period of Ireland (1929), so this should be interesting!
The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
A short story collection of Father Brown mysteries. They're cozy-style mysteries, and I expect to like them tremendously.
The Small Room by May Sarton
This is set in a small New England college, so it'll be interesting to read different take on the atmosphere that permeated The Secret History. This time, the pov is a new professor, and the crime is plagiarism (barely less than murder at liberal arts colleges).
A Book or Two by Walter Scott

I feel quite proud of the list, since it manages to achieve several of my general reading goals: read more women, read more short stories, read more classics. Yay! Plus, they all sound great. Note the continued indecision re: which Walter Scott to choose. So many sound so good to me; I can't believe I've never read any Scott before! Of course, someone (can't remember who just now) is planning a one-author challenge for early next year, so Scott could play nicely into this.

Cross posted (with some changes) at Outmoded Authors.


stefanie said...

I was so tempted to choose a May Sarton book but since I've read several of hers before I thought I'd try other ones instead. I have not read The Small Room though so will be looking forward to what you think of it.

Wendy said...

Great list, Eva - I'm not doing this challenge (I picked the other one!), BUT, I have Country of Pointed Firs on my stack to read this month. I've always wanted to read her stories, and someone nominated this book for the Something About Me Challenge. It will be fun to compare our "notes" on this one :)

jenclair said...

I'm not doing this one either, but love your list. It is always so nice when a challenge meshes well with your reading plans!

Eva said...

Stefanie, it seems that everyone has heard of May Sarton but me! I'm going to have to do some research on her to do a good review.

Wendy, the other challenge looked interesting as well. But I have committment issues, so a year-long challenge worries me. I might join in later. :) I'm glad you're reading Pointed Firs as well.

Jenclair, it is nice! Too bad you're not doing the challenge, but I understand.

meli said...

yay for Chesterton!

Dark Orpheus said...

Ah, I ove Chesterton. He's the rarest and oddest combination: a humorous spiritual writer with a piercing insight into the human psychology - and who writes well. There are moments in his books where the writing is just sheer poetry.

I love the Father Brown mysteries. Good choice, and good luck with Chesterton.

Heather (errantdreams) said...

Haha! I note you say "for now." How long before you give in and do both? ;)

Imani said...

I like your list Eva, especially with the Bowen and Sarton! I may do a Sarton I think, one of her "Journals" is at one of the local used book stores and it sounded really interesting.

(I looove your blog's new look.)

Nymeth said...

That is a great sounding list. I agree with Dark Orpheus - Chesterton writes beautifully.

poodlerat said...

I really adore G.K. Chesterton's writing, especially his Father Brown stories. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

I don't usually listen to audiobooks, but The Wisdom of Father Brown is available from LibriVox, read by Martin Clifton, who has an English accent that's perfect for the material.

Eva said...

Meli, that seems to be a common refrain!

Dark Orpheus, I'm so excited to begin reading Chesterton now-what a great plug. :)

Heather, we'll see! ;)

Imani, I'm glad you like it-it's some of my favourite colours! Sarton's journals seem interesting-I might end up reading them later.

Nymeth, how have I not heard about Chesterton before? It seems like everyone loves him.

Poodlerat, thanks for the heads up. I'll go check it out!