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Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul. --Joyce Carol Oates

Friday, April 27, 2012

Some Dark Holler Project

(cue the appropriate background music here)

I picked up the new Ron Rash, The Cove, from the public library this morning. Last week I ordered Wiley Cash's debut,  A Land More Kind Than Home, which I hope will arrive by the weekend. Earlier this year I bought three Wilkes County-centric books. I am officially kicking off a new reading project, although I am hard-pressed to find the appropriate heading for the thing.

Library of Congress prefers Mountain People and Appalachian Region - Southern  to Hillbilly (music can get away with the hillbilly designation, evidently; not literature). Western North Carolina is also an appropriate subject heading, although not one that's been used on any fiction in the university's library catalog, and one that would exclude books set beyond the state line. The public library here uses Mountain Life - North Carolina - Fiction for Sharyn McCrumb's The Ballad of Tom Dooley, but it's a dead end: clicking on that subject heading won't lead a reader to any additional titles. North Carolina - Fiction takes you to 373 titles at the public library; to 103 at the university, but it isn't a designation that's been used more than haphazardly: Cold Mountain's only in the catalog as United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865 - Fiction and John Ehle's fiction, shelved in the North Carolina Room at the public library, receives no subject headings at all.

Suggestions? Will it make sense if I just call this my Some Dark Holler Project?

Initial proposed reading list:

Surreal South: An Anthology of Short Fiction and Poetry. Laura Benedict and Pinckney Benedict, eds.
The Astronomer and Other Stories. Doris Betts (okay, so this is kind of a cheat. Only the northwest corner of  Iredell County's the least bit mountainous. Sue me; it's my list) (June 2012)
The Wettest County in the World. Matt Bondurant (Virginia)
A Land More Kind Than Home. Wiley Cash (April 2012)
Ancestors and Others. Fred Chappell
The Landbreakers. John Ehle
Thirteen Moons. Charles Frazier
The Ballad of Tom Dooley. Sharyn McCrumb (Wilkes County)
Rain on the Just. Kathleen Morehouse (Wilkes County)
We Are Taking Only What We Need. Stephanie Powell Watts (Wilkes-by God-County) (May 2014)
The Cove.Ron Rash (April 2012)
Serena. Ron Rash
The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart. M. Glenn Taylor (West Virginia) (April 2012)

(Originally posted at pages turned)

Also read for project:
Flora. Gail Godwin (April 2013)
Young God. Katherine  Faw Morris (May 2014)
Winter's Bone. Daniel Woodrell (May 2014)

Classics Club Challenge



As much as I love contemporary literature, I love the old stuff--especially now that I'm, uh, a bit older myself. So I always get a thrill when other book bloggers decide to focus on classics instead of whatever the publicists and publishers determine to send our way. Maybe I won't be sidetracked from starting that Gissing I've been eyeing for a couple of years now that Jillian's started the Classics Club.

My objective will be to read 50 books from the list below by April 2, 2015. In addition to obvious classics like Dostoevsky, Trollope, Eliot, and Gissing, I'm calling anything published by NYRB, Virago, Persephone, Penguin or Modern Library modern classics. Science fiction classics count as well, no matter the publisher.

I'll be adding books to this initial list; we had a flood earlier this year and until the new floor is in place (finally ordered last week after weeks of agonizing over what to put down in place of the ruined carpet), an entire bookcase full of tbr possibilities is out of commission.

Completed: 30 (January 2014)

Really Old Stuff
New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha
The Book of the City of Ladies. Christine de Pizan
Coriolanus. William Shakespeare
Journal of the Plague Year. Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe. Daniel Defoe
Candide. Voltaire

Nineteenth Century
The Adolescent. Dyodor Dostoevsky
The Eternal Husband. Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Idiot. Fyodor Dostoevsky
Adam Bede. George Eliot
Felix Holt. George Eliot
Bouvard and Pecuchet. Gustave Flaubert
North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell
Born in Exile. George Gissing (June 2012)
Eve's Ransom. George Gissing (July 2012)
The Nether World. George Gissing
Our Friend the Charlatan. George Gissing (July 2012)
Thyrza. George Gissing
Workers in the Dawn. George Gissing
Far from the Madding Crowd. Thomas Hardy
The Mayor of Canterbridge. Thomas Hardy
The Charterhouse of Parma. Stendhal
Miss Mackenzie. Anthony Trollope (May 2012)
Orley Farm. Anthony Trollope
Phineas Finn. Anthony Trollope
The Eustace Diamonds. Anthony Trollope (January 2013)
Phineas Redux. Anthony Trollope
The Prime Minister. Anthony Trollope
The Duke's Children. Anthony Trollope
The Small House at Allington. Anthony Trollope


New York Review Book Classics
Wish Her Safe at Home. Stephen Benatar (December 2012)
Miami and the Siege of Chicago. Norman Mailer
The Balkan Trilogy. Olivia Manning (April 2012; counts as three)
Letty Fox. Christian Stead
etc.

Persephone Books
The Winds of Heaven. Monica Dickens (August 2012)
The Wise Virgins. Leonard Woolf
etc.

Virago Modern Classics
The Gooseboy. A.L. Barker
Plagued by Nightingales. Kay Boyle
Sisters by a River. Barbara Comyns
A Touch of Mistletoe. Barbara Comyns
The Vet's Daughter. Barbara Comyns
Crewe Train. Rose Macauley
The Beauties and the Furies. Christina Stead
Salzburg Tales. Christina Stead
At Mrs. Lippincote's. Elizabeth Taylor
The Judge. Rebecca West (February 2013)
etc.

Twentieth Century
The House of the Spirits. Elizabeth Allende (December 2013)
The Aleph and Other Stories. Jorge Luis Borges
To the North. Elizabeth Bowen (August 2012)
A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor. Truman Capote. (December 2013)
Death Comes For the Archbishop. Willa Cather
My Mortal Enemy. Willa Cather  (March 2012)
The Man Who Was Thursday. G.K. Chesterton
The Enormous Room. E.E. Cummings
The Heart of the Matter. Graham Greene
Death in Venice. Thomas Mann
Doctor Faustus. Thomas Mann
Song of Solomon. Toni Morrison
The Discovery of Heaven. Henry Mulisch
The Book and the Brotherhood. Iris Murdoch (May 2013)
The Unicorn. Iris Murdoch (December 2013)
Pale Horse, Pale Rider. Katherine Anne Porter (January 2014)
A Dance to the Music of Time. Anthony Powell
     A Question of Upbringing (June 2012)
     A Buyer's Market (June 2012)
Call It Sleep. Henry Roth
The Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger (July 2012)
A Suitable Boy. Vikram Seth (December 2013)
The Abbess of Crewe. Muriel Spark (April 2012)
Robinson. Muriel Spark
History of Mr. Polly. H.G. Wells
Kipps. H.G. Wells
Black Lamb and Grey Falcoln. Rebecca West
A Train of Powder. Rebecca West
Bunner Sisters. Edith Wharton (April 2013)
Night and Day. Virginia Woolf
etc.

Science Fiction
Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction
The Man Who Folded Himself. Gerrold
The City and the City. China Mieville
Perdido Street Station. China Mieville
Red Mars. Kim Stanley Robinson
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. James Tiptree
The War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells

(Originally posted at pages turned)