Le Morte d’Arthur Read-Along Update #4

Books XVI – XXI

This section was a lovely mystical part of the book, the first time where the prose means something more profound, something beyond ourselves.

In these sections the stories take a rather abrupt turn.  Gawain decides to declare a search for the Holy Grail (Sangreal) at the drop of a hat, and while all the knights are rather enthused, Arthur is upset ……. somehow he knows that this will be the end of his Round Table as many knights go forth to die in the quest.

The Damsel of the Sanct Grael
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
source Wikiart

There are a number of interesting adventures, but these battles and odd happenings are no longer light-hearted and gay, but instead are coloured with a kind of melancholy air.  Visions permeate everyone’s thoughts, everyone’s sleep, and hermits abound with dire warnings, wise advice, or noble sayings.  Lancelot learns that all his endeavours and all his fame has been won for Queen Guinever instead of for God, and our worthy knight is sorrowful, realizing the littleness of his human achievements without a greater vision.

We get stories about Sir Percival, Sir Gawain, Sir Bors, and, of course, Sir Lancelot.  Poor Gawain.  His sense of honour had never been strong, and least of all his perseverance.  He soon becomes fatigued with searching for the Sangreal —- even though it was his idea in the first place —– and is somewhat petulant because he’s met with hardly any adventures.  When he meets an old hermit and inquires as to the cause of his bad luck, the hermit proceeds to enlighten him:  he’s a no-good, despicable murderer who is a dishonourable knight and full of sin, therefore he will never find the Sangreal.  I kind of like these old hermits ……. they don’t mince words.

Guinevere rescued by Lancelot
Edward Burne-Jones
source Wikiart

There are a great many temptations, along with a greater emphasis on purity and chastity, and many a knight regrets their previous behaviour.  In fact, it becomes known that the only three people who will succeed in the Grail quest is two virgin knights and one who is chaste, Sir Galahad.

Moving along, Guinever is falsely accused of murdering a knight with a poisoned apple, and Lancelot once again acts as her champion. You can sense the unravelling of the court, as the queen no longer seems to be revered as of old, but is held in deep suspicion by some.

The Death of King Arthur
by N.C. Wyeth
source Wikiart

Finally the relationship between Guinever and Lancelot is exposed by Mordred, Arthur’s son, for completely nefarious purposes.   Lancelot returns to France but Arthur follows to do battle, leaving the kingdom in the hands of Mordred.  What myopic reasoning for a great king!  Mordred immediately plots to take over, Arthur returns and both he and Mordred kill each other in battle.  Lancelot attempts to reach the kingdom in time to assist Arthur but is, of course, too late.

And so the kingdom of Camelot, once known as great throughout the world, crumbles into tragedy.  Nothing lasts forever in this world, even the court of a king as renown as King Arthur.

Classic Children’s Literature Event 2015

Another year and another Classic Children’s Literature Event for the month of January, hosted by Amanda at Simpler Pastimes! I’m going to pledge to read two classic children’s books for this event, probably Carry On, Mr. Bowditch and My Father’s Dragon or The Trumpet of the Swan.  Amanda’s chosen read-along is Pinocchio, so I will try to fit that one in too.

Event Basics

  • During the month of January, read as many Children’s Classics as you wish and post about them on your blog and/or leave a comment on the event page on this blog. I will have a link page starting the first of the year to gather posts so that we may share as we go.
  • The optional RAL title: The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. I plan on discussion the weekend of January 23-25.
  • I’m not going to be the “children’s classics” police. Use your own judgement for what fits the category but if you want some guidelines, these are what I’m going by:
  • I think many of us have read more recent children’s books that we may already deem “classics” (for example, many people feel that way about the Harry Potter books), but for this event, I’d preferif we read books that were written prior to 1964. This will still allow a lot of options, and will hopefully avoid the “but what is a classic” dilemma! (And yes, 1964 is rather arbitrary. Rebel if you wish, but 50 years old seems a good age.)
  • Defining “children’s,” especially prior to 1900 or so can be a challenge as some books we think of as “children’s” today may not have been intended that way at the time. Personally, I’d say books appropriate for approximately an elementary-school aged child or preteen (to read or to have read to them) should be fine. I’d personally also count the various fairy tales, even though some of the earliest versions were not exactly family friendly.
  • Feel free to include books from any country, in translation or not. I have limited exposure to non-American children’s lit, so I’d love to learn about books from other countries myself.
  • Feel free to double up with other events or challenges if you wish.
  • And if you need ideas I posted
  • A suggestion list in 2013
  • Some more ideas in 2014
  • There is no deadline for joining or participating (other than, of course, the end of January).

Most important: Have fun!

Last year I was able to complete The Wizard of Oz, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Once and Future King and Prince Caspian.  Wow!  I’m not so ambitious this year so we’ll see how many I can complete.  And please join us if you feel in a children’s books mood!



Richard II by William Shakespeare

” For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings ….”

Why do they call this play a “history”?  It was an absolutely tragedy …. gut-wrenchingly tragic, and I still feel depressed about the outcome.  Dare I say this is my favourite Shakespearean play so far?  Isn’t that weird?  An historical play about a king of whom I knew little about ……..  Yet Shakespeare’s verse is astonishingly beautiful.  The words flow around you like a bubbling river, conveying the anguish, terror, loss, loyalty, courage, deception, abandonment and hopelessness.  Not only is the play alive, but the story is alive and the words have a life of their own.

Richard II, King of England
portrait at Westminster Abbey (mid-1390s)
source Wikipedia

The play begins with a dispute between Henry Bullingbrook (Bolingbroke), cousin to King Richard, and Thomas Mowbray, Bullingbrook accusing Mowbray of misappropriating money and claiming that he was part of the murder of the Duke of Gloucester (which was probably orchestrated by Richard), yet before either can accomplish a duel, King Richard decides to banish both, Bullingbrook for 6 years and Mowbray for the term of his life.  John of Gaunt, is broken hearted at the exile of his son, Bullingbrook, and soon becomes sick with grief.  Upon Gaunt’s death, Richard decides to expropriate his estates and money, thereby defrauding Bullingbrook of his inheritance.  As Richard leaves to deal with the wars in Ireland, Bullingbrook gathers supporters and lands in England for the purpose, it appears, of regaining what is rightfully his.  Because Richard has taxed his subjects without remiss, and has fined the nobility for errors of their ancestors, most of the nobles rise up against him.

John of Gaunt
father of Henry IV
source Wikipedia

When Richard returns to England he is left with a small contingent of supporters including his cousin Aumerle, the Duke of York’s son, and lords Salisbury and Berkeley and other retainers.  Upon meeting with Bullingbrook, Richard relinquishes the throne to him, and Bullingbrook wastes no time in appointing himself King Henry IV.  Immediately, Richard is placed in prison.  When an uprising by Aumerle is discovered by his father and vehemently exposed, Aumerle is graciously pardoned by Henry IV, yet with dire threats towards the other conspirators.  In prison, Richard attacks his warden in frustration and is killed by Exton; when Henry hears about the murder, he is distressed and the play ends with his sad lament.

When I finished this play, I was so anguished by Richard’s sad end and how he’d been treated, yet reading some pre-history would have perhaps measured my emotions, as the good king was not entirely as innocent as he is made out.  Richard inherited the title of king when he was 10 years old and spent many years of his reign under the control of counsellors and advisors.  It wasn’t until later on, that he appeared to throw off their power and come into his own.  However, the fact that he taxed the populous to such extreme extents to finance his wars and royal coffers, contributed to the fact that he was not well loved or respected.  He was a king who ruled by impulse and without a justness that would have connected him to the people.  In fact, in the play, when he is walked through the streets, people dump garbage on his head, not a very fitting display for a monarch who truly believed that he was anointed by God.

Richard being taken into custody
by the Earl of Northumberland
source Wikipedia

Another consideration is that Shakespeare is writing drama.  He is known for taking the framework of history and then chopping and changing and perhaps, speculating for dramatic and political effect.   It is interesting that at the end of the play, Richard is seen as a pitiful figure who has voluntarily given up his kingship, and Bullingbrook condemns his murder, leaving the new king innocent of the crime and helpless to stop its culmination.  A very safe and uncontroversial tact on both sides for our playwright!

My favourite speech of Richard’s pulses with foresight, nostalgia and lament:

“For God’s sake let us sit upon the ground 
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,
Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed.
All murdered.  For within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be feared and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnible.  And humoured thus,
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle walls, and farewell king!”

As Richard begins to realize the possible outcome of the circumstances and tries to reconcile them with his belief that a king is sanctioned by God, we see his syntax begin to break down, with his pronouns of “we”, being reduced to “I”.  It is truly pitiful.

Richard II
Anonymous impress from the 16th century
source Wikipedia

On a political note, this play was used to stir up populous support for Robert, earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth I’s one-time favourite, during his rebellion against her.  On the eve of the uprising, his supporters paid for the play, Richard II, to be performed at the Globe Theatre, but Essex’s attempt to raise a coup against her failed. Retaliation was swift, however.  On February 25, 1601, Essex faced his execution and was beheaded on the Tower Green.  His was the last beheading at the Tower of London.

This was another wonderful experience with one of Shakespeare’s historical plays.  I had expected to like them least in the canon, but they are certainly quickly becoming by far my favourites!

Watched:  The Hollow Crown:  Richard II

The Canterbury/The Brubury Tales Project 2015

I’ve been meaning to read The Canterbury Tales for years but have been too intimidated to attempt them by myself.  I’ve looked for read-alongs and buddy reads but to no avail.  Then suddenly in one of my Goodreads’ groups, a new member joined who has written a book called The Brubury Tales, which is based on Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.  Voilà …… inspiration, and a person who can give me more insight into both reads!  Works for me.

Woodcut from William Caxton’s
second edition of The Canterbury Tales
source Wikipedia

The Brubury Tales, written by Frank Mundo, is a modern version of The Canterbury Tales, and for his work Mr. Mundo won the Poet Laureate Award Nomination from UCLA and CAL, Reader Views 2011 Reader’s Choice Award for Poetry Book of the Year, and the 2011 Bookhitch Award for the Most Innovative Poetry Book of the Year.  The LA Book Examiner said about his work, “a unique and powerful new book, The Brubury Tales draws upon Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and classic stories by Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens, to name a few.  Frank Mundo takes risks with his writing, which is sensitive, thoughtful, and gritty.” 

I have received nothing from Mr. Mundo in exchange for reading his book.  He has been a very valued member in the discussions in my Goodreads group and has never once even mentioned that he was an author, which increased my respect for him.  I can’t wait to start this paired read, probably around April or May of this coming year!


Back to the Classics Challenge 2015

For the second year in a row, Karen from Books and Chocolate is hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge.  This is probably my easiest challenge; as I read so many classics, my categories fill up quickly.

Here are the categories and rules:

1.  A 19th Century Classic — any book published between 1800 and 1899.
2.  A 20th Century Classic — any book published between 1900 and 1965.  Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic.  The only exception is books that were published posthumously but written at least 50 years ago.)
3.  A Classic by a Woman Author.
4.  A Classic in Translation. As in last year’s category, this can be any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language.  Feel free to read it in its original form if you are comfortable reading in another language.  
5.  A Very Long Classic Novel — a single work of 500 pages or longer.  This does not include omnibus editions combined into one book, or short story collections.  
6.  A Classic Novella — any work shorter than 250 pages.  For a list of suggestions, check out this list of World’s Greatest Novellas from Goodreads.
7.  A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title.  First name, last name, or both, it doesn’t matter, but it must have the name of a character.  David Copperfield, The Brothers Karamazov, Don Quixote — something like that. It’s amazing how many books are named after people!
8.  A Humorous or Satirical Classic.  Humor is very subjective, so this one is open to interpretation.  Just tell us in the review why you think it’s funny or satirical.   For example, if you think that Crime and Punishment and funny, go ahead and use it, but please justify your choice in your post. 
9.  A Forgotten Classic.  This could be a lesser-known work by a famous author, or a classic that nobody reads any more.  If you look on Goodreads, this book will most likely have less than 1000 reviews.  This is your chance to read one of those obscure books from the Modern Library 100 Best Novels or 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.  Books published by Virago Modern Classics, Persephone, and NYRB Classicsoften fall into this category.  
10.  A Nonfiction Classic.  A memoir, biography, essays, travel, this can be any nonfiction work that’s considered a classic, or a nonfiction work by a classic author.  You’d be surprised how many classic authors dabbled in nonfiction writing — I have nonfiction books by Dickens, Trollope, Twain, and Steinbeck on my shelves. 
11.  A Classic Children’s Book.  A book for your inner child!  Pick a children’s classic that you never got around to reading.  
12.  A Classic Play.  Your choice, any classic play, as long as it was published or performed before 1965.
And now for the rest of the rules:  
  • All books must be read in 2015.  Books started prior to January 1, 2015, are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2015. 
  • All books must have been published at least 50 years ago; therefore, 1965 is the cutoff date.  The only exception is books published posthumously, but written before 1965. 
  • E-books and audiobooks are eligible!  Books may also count for other challenges you may be working on.  
  • Books may NOT cross over categories within this challenge.  You may NOT count the same book twice for different categories in this challenge.  One book per category — otherwise, they won’t count.  
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicy accessible online format.  
  • Please sign up for the challenge using the linky below BEFORE MARCH 31, 2015.  If possible, please link to your sign-up announcement post, if possible or applicable.
  • You do NOT have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it’s more fun if you do!  You can always change your list at any time.  Books may be read in any order.
  • Please identify the categories you’ve read in your wrap-up post so that I can easily add up your entries for the prize drawing!  Adding links within the post would be greatly appreciated.
  •  The prize will be awarded the first week of January, 2016.  All qualifying participants will receive one or more entries, based on the categories completed, and will receive a $30 (US) gift card from Amazon.com or The Book Depository, as long as they live in a country that can receive shipment.  See herefor list of countries.  

As usual, I don’t have particular books planned for each category but I have a few in mind:

  1. The Plague – Albert Camus
  2. Orlando – Virginia Woolf
  3. one of Jane Austen’s works
  4. Ulysses – James Joyce (we’ll see — it makes me quake ….)
  5. Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  6. Framley Parsonage – Anthony Trollope
  7. Confessions – Jean Jacques Rousseau
  8. Hamlet – William Shakespeare

It’s entirely possible that my list will be completely different at the end of the year, but it will be fun to compare!


  1.  Persuasion – Jane Austen
  2.  East of Eden – John Steinbeck
  3.  Orlando: A Biography – Virginia Woolf
  4.  The Plague – Albert Camus 
  5.  Confessions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  6.  Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
  7.  The Narrative of the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
  8.  Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  9.  The Club of Queer Trades – G.K. Chesterton
10.  Meditations – René Descartes
11.  The Adventures of Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
12.  Hamlet – William Shakespeare

Persuasion Read-Along

Beginning January 5, 2015, a read-along of Jane Austen’s Persuasion begins and, in keeping with my Austen Project for 2015, I’m one of the participants! Hosted by Heidi at Literary Adventures Along the Brandywine, this will be one of two read-alongs that I’ll be doing for the month of January.

Persuasion is the only Austen work that I’ve never read and I hear that I’m in for a treat.  I’d watched the movie years ago and wasn’t particularly fond of it and therefore had avoided the book.  It just shows that you can’t judge a book by its movie!

If you’re interested in joining us, please pop over to Heidi’s blog and sign up!

The Pre-Printing Press Challenge 2015

For the second year in a row, I’m going to participate in The Pre-Printing Press Challenge hosted by Elena at All Booked Up.  I believe books written before 1440 are largely under-read, so anything I can do to support these works, I will.

Last year I planned to read 4-6 books and I’ve made it to 12.  My success makes me want to branch out but, knowing that I have challenges that will keep me reading newer books —- Reading England Challenge, Jane Austen Project, etc. ——, I’ll reign myself in and aim for the trusty 4-6 books, hoping to read more.  What do I have in mind?  Well, from my Classics Club list, I hope to get to Herodotus’ Histories, The Republic by Plato and The Cantebury Tales.  Otherwise, I’d like to read Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Plutarch’s Lives, but these are two chunksters that I don’t see myself being able to fit in this coming year.  However, one never knows ………

The rules of the Pre-Printing Press Challenge:
  1. All books must have come out before 1440, when the printing press was first invented.
  2. Books chosen for this challenge can overlap with other challenges.
  3. Books can be translated into the language of your choice.
  4. All the books you’ve chosen must be read by December 31, 2015.
  5. You can read 1-3 books, 4-6 books, 7-9 books or 10 or more books if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.
  6. The choice of books is up to you. There are no set reading lists, and you don’t have to set one when you join.
  7. Post your blog address where you’ll be posting your comments on your choice of books in the comments of this post when you join, and tell me how many books you’ve chosen. I’ll set up a link to participating blogs from here.
  8. Above all, Have fun.

The challenge starts January 1st.

Are there any other ancient and early medieval literature enthusiasts out there who are planning to join this challenge?

Othello by William Shakespeare

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”

Othello the Moor is lauded over Venice for his help in attempts to rid them of the pesky Turks in their battle over Cyprus.  Yet when Othello weds the beautiful Venetian Desdemona in secret, some opinions of his prowess change, notably those of Desdemona’s father.  And unbeknownst to Othello, Iago, his third-in-command, is plotting a dastardly revenge for being passed over for promotion, the position being given to Othello’s loyal lieutenant, Cassio.  Hence proceeds perhaps the most shocking example of manipulation in literature, as Iago takes possession of Othello’s mind and emotions, like a beast taking possession of its prey, transforming our noble Moor from a honest, straightforward, respected man into an enraged, vengeful monster who believes every evil of his innocent wife, including her unfaithfulness with his second-in-command, Cassio.  Othello’s jealousy manages to eclipse anything within our understanding.

Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud
ben Mohammed Anoun,
Moorish ambassador to Elizabeth I
suggest inspiration for Othello
source Wikipedia

Iago reveals that, as well as the injury of being passed over for promotion, he also harbours a suspicion that Othello has been sleeping with his wife, Emilia, who is Desdemona’s lady-in-waiting.  There is no proof of this accusation in the play, and it is likely that Iago is expecting people to act with the same lack of integrity and base bestial urges, that he himself would, in the same circumstances.

How does a gentle and admired military leader allow himself to be reduced to a maddened beast, his fury leading him to commit the worst atrocity against a perfectly innocent human being, and one who has loved and supported him through their short marriage?  What hidden button inside Othello’s psyche has Iago discovered and pushed, knowing that it will make him snap?

Maria Malibran as Rossini’s
Françoise Bouchot
source Wikipedia

Certainly there are various issues that come into play and work against Othello.  He is used to being a commander, yet is unused to being a husband and obviously, when in love, is out of his depth.  Perhaps he sees Desdemona as a possession that he has conquered and, instead of being able to relax in his marriage, he, like a military leader, feels that he must wage battle to keep her.  And when difficulties do arise, instead of trying to search out the truth, he acts like a military leader and attempts to “conquer the enemy”.  He has insecurities that lead to him being a willing pawn of Iago’s machinations. The jealousy that Iago is able to set aflame within him, corrupts his normal good sense and his actions become intemperate.  I certainly have compassion for his state, as I believe these aspects have severely affected his decison-making and emotional state, but, that said, he is still human and he still has the option of choice.  He knows right from wrong, yet he decides to allow his emotions to rule and himself to be led down the tragic path of mindless jealousy.  In reality, he allows himself to turn into a beast.

Othello & Desdemona
Antonio Muñoz Degrain
source Wikipedia

Shakespeare’s exhibits an uncanny ability to weave endless possibilities into a Gordian knot of drama and draw the reader into his poetic spell.  Will we ever know exactly what motivated Othello and his spiral from an honourable man to a madly jealous murderer.  Will we ever understand why he believed Iago without any “ocular proof”?  What happened to the military commander that must have been used to exhibiting self-control?  Do intense emotions subvert our ability to act as a human beings?  There are so many avenues to explore and no obvious or set answers.

Of all the characters in the play, my favourite character was Emilia.  While she remains surprisingly unaware of the plotting and intrigues of her husband, upon realizing the truth, she becomes the voice of the audience, who has until this point been mute in horror, and satisfyingly spews vile recriminations on the head of Othello.

T.S. Eliot had a different view of the last actions of Othello than many older critics:

“I have always felt that I have never read a more terrible exposure of human weakness — of universal human weakness — than the last great speech of Othello.  I am ignorant whether any one else has ever adopted this view, and it may appear subjective and fantastic in the extreme.  It is usually taken on its face value, as expressing the greatness in defeat of a noble but erring nature. What Othello seems to me to be doing in making this speech is cheering himself up. He is endeavouring to escape reality, he has ceased to think about Desdemona, and is thinking about himself. Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself. Othello succeeds in turning himself into a pathetic figure, by adopting an aesthetic rather than a moral attitude, dramatising himself against his environment. He takes in the spectator, but the human motive is primarily to take in himself. I do not believe that any writer has ever exposed this bovarysme, the human will to see things as they are not, more clearly than Shakespeare.”

I read this play as part of a Shakespeare: From the Page to the Stage course that I’m taking online, and it’s definitely moved in among my favourites!

Laurence Fishburne & Kenneth Branaugh
Othello 1995
source Wikipedia

2015 TBR Pile Challenge

It is once again time for the TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader and once again, I’ll be a participant!

This is by far my hardest challenge for the simple reason that I have such a difficult, insurmountable, arduous, overwhelming problem with following lists. When it comes to reading, I’m more of a free spirit who would like to flit here and there as the mood or read-along takes me.  Being trapped in a schedule is not my thing.  HOWEVER, I do realize that it’s beneficial to work on the areas that are challenging for me, so this challenge reflects my effort at balance.

I still have a couple of books to finish for last year’s challenge.  If I can get to them, I’ll be more than a little pleased!

Here are Adam’s rules:

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).
1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2014 or later (any book published in the year 2013 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat:Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.
2. To be eligible, you must sign-up with Mr. Linky below – link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review. Books must be read and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.
3. The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below). This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge). See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean. Your complete and final list must be posted by January 15th, 2015.
4. Leave comments on this post as you go along, to update us on your status. Come back here if/when you complete this challenge and leave a comment indicating that you CONQUERED YOUR 2015 TBR LIST! Every person who successfully reads his/her 12 books and/or alternates (and who provides a working link to their list, which has links to the review locations) will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.comor The Book Depository!
5. Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before and it was published before 2014!

And so, of course, now I have to come up with a list.  Since I’m being even more unfettered with my planning this year, a list is certainly going to be a challenge.  Let’s see what I can come up with:

  1. Meditations –  René Descartes
  2. Orlando –  Virginia Woolf
  3. The Plague – Albert Camus
  4. Confessions  –  Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  5. Hamlet  –  William Shakespeare
  6. Ivanhoe  –  Sir Walter Scott
  7. Walden  –  Henry David Thoreau
  8. Framley Parsonage  –  Anthony Trollope
  9. If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler  –  Italo Calvino
  10. Persuasion  –  Jane Austen
  11. Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  12. The World’s Last Night and Other Essays – C.S. Lewis

  1. The Cantebury Tales  –  Geoffrey Chaucer
  2. Ulysses  –  James Joyce

Whew!  I think I have a list I can stick to.  Ivanhoe and Ulysses are monster reads but I should be able to accomplish at least one.  I hope!

Best of luck to everyone on their TBR Pile Challenge!

Jane Austen Project 2015

Plethora @ Plethora of Books is doing her own Jane Austen Project for 2015 and I’ve decided to join her.

Isn’t the button lovely?  In any case, I’ve read most of Austen’s works, only having the last half of Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion left to read. Plethora’s described her challenge as this:

February: Sense andSensibility [1811] (409 pg.)

My addition: Pride and Prejudice [1813] (254 pg.)
July: Mansfield Park[1814] (507 pg.)

August: Emma[1815] (474 p.)

October: Northanger Abbey[1818] (254 pg.)

December: Persuasion [1818] (254 pg.)

I’ll probably switch up the months a little.  I’ve heard rumour of a Persuasion read-along in January that I’d like to join and, while she hasn’t included Pride and Prejudice in her challenge, I’m going to slot it in.  This should be my fifth time reading it.
So if we have any more “joiners”, please go to Plethora’s blog, grab the button and sign up!