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text 2017-05-23 00:56
A Personal Literary Canon, Part 1
Jane Eyre - Michael Mason,Charlotte Brontë
Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones,Tony Tanner,Claire Lamont,Jane Austen
The Song of the Lark - Willa Cather
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton

I've been spending a lot of time watching the implosion of my democracy, reading Washington Post and The New York Times, generally with a knot in my stomach, wondering what shoe will drop next. I have decided that in the service of my mental health, I have to limit myself to an reasonable amount of exposure to the terrifying Tumpshow per day. 

 

So, I logged onto my wordpress reader for the first time in ages & started reading the posts written by some of my favorite bloggers. One of them mentioned that he had been challenged by another blogger to identify his "literary canon." I found this intriguing - and it begged the question - what is a personal canon? If we assume that:

 

"The term “literary canon” refers to a body of books, narratives and other texts considered to be the most important and influential of a particular time period or place. Take a 19th century American literature course, for instance."

 

Then a personal canon would be: a body of books, narratives and other texts considered to be the most important and influential to me. I googled "personal canon" and found a number of posts written by bloggers - many of whom are pretty obviously far more intellectual than I am - that described their personal canons. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so I started thinking about mine.

 

This is likely to be an ongoing project - I'm going to set up a page to collect my "Canon" posts, and write some argumentative posts where I identify a book/author for canon and go through an identification of why I am or am not going to include the book in MR's Personal Canon. At the outset, there will be some low-hanging fruit that I can easily identify (including the four authors listed above - I'll get to those amazing women in a moment). I'm also going to work on identifying some elements or questions to consult when I am working out whether or not something gets the imprimatur of canon from me. 

 

As a starting place, I've selected four works that are clearly part of my personal canon:

 

1. Jane Eyre - Michael Mason,Charlotte Brontë: One of the elements of canon that I intend to adopt is "personal importance." Identifying a book based upon a high level of personal importance means that it is a book that I strongly remember reading in the past, and that has been influential in some way. While Jane Eyre is widely considered to be a well-written book, a book that receives a high score on the personal importance element need not necessarily be well-written or well-regarded. Just important to me.

 

2. Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones,Tony Tanner,Claire Lamont,Jane Austen: Another element of canon relates to "rereadability." In order to qualify as re-readable, a book needs to have some resonance that draws me back to the book. Pride and Prejudice is a book that I have reread more times than I can count. It is unlikely that a book will make it into my personal canon unless I have read the book more than once. Probably even more than twice. 

 

3. The Song of the Lark - Willa Cather: Related to re-readability is the quality of the book or the author being horizon-broadening in some sense. It needs to be something that enriches my life or perspective. Willa Cather scores very high on this element for me - I find her writing to be near perfect, and the ground-breaking nature of her writing as an American woman writing about the American west, has been a personal touchstone.

 

4. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton: The last thing I can think of right now is thematic importance, especially as the themes relate to feminism, womanhood, and issues of equality. I would imagine that my canon will be heavy on women writers, because those are the writers to whom I gravitate. 

 

While the four books that I've mentioned so far are undeniably classics, not all books in my personal canon will be classics. I suspect that A Wrinkle in Time will make it in there, as will all of Harry Potter. On the other hand, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald will be conspicuously absent, as those two authors leave me entirely cold, although they might prominently appear in someone else's canon.

 

Do you have a personal canon? What books do you think you would put on your list?

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text 2015-08-07 14:34
It's been real!
The House of Mirth: Library Edition - Edith Wharton

1. The writing is gorgeous!

 

2. This is depressing. I can feel Lily's claustrophobia and desperation. One thing I will say is it has made me grateful for the opportunities I have today as a woman to create my own identity as well as experience happiness and contentment outside of a relationship with a man.  I have friends who, in the confines of their own perception,  think as Lily does and still equate their worth and financial security with securing a good husband. Albeit, Lily had no choice, my friends just  can't see past pressure from their families or a desire to find the ONE and magically everything will be happily ever after.  In talking with a friend of mine, she mentioned the story doesn't get any happier. Couple that with the fact that I feel down every time I pick up or listen to this book, we're parting ways for now.

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text 2015-08-05 16:07
Reading progress update: I've read 57 out of 467 pages.
The House of Mirth: Library Edition - Edith Wharton

Due to such glowing reviews of Edith Wharton's books by my fellow Booklikers, I decided to give this one a try.

 

Confession: I've never read Edith Wharton. I only watched Age of Innocence with Michele Pfeiffer once. I don't remember much about it. That's as close as we've come to meeting.

 

I was prepared to move on quickly if I didn't like it. I even downloaded another audio book so I can listen to something else on my walk. But that was unnecessary. This is very good so far!

 

Anna Fields, the narrator,  is doing a stellar job. Her voices are spot on and her inflections during the narrative make this seem more like a radio play. It's very easy to listen to and lose yourself in the story. I'm going to be in the car for three hours tomorrow to visit friends and now I'm looking forward to the commute.

 

The book and audio are available on Scribd, FYI.

 

 

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text 2015-02-01 22:22
My favorite books of January
A Spool of Blue Thread: A novel - Anne Tyler
A Murder of Magpies - Judith Flanders
Death at Wentwater Court - Carola Dunn
All My Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews
The Bishop's Wife - Mette Ivie Harrison
Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation - Judith Mackrell
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton,Nina Bawden

I finished 16 books in January and liked all of them (this is because I just stop reading books I'm not enjoying) but these 7 above were my favorites. 

 

The Also Reads:

 

 Daniel Deronda (Oxford World's Classics) - George Eliot, Graham Handley, Robert Newton Peck A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'EngleKiller WASPs - Amy Korman

 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum, W. W. DenslowThe Marvelous Land of Oz - L. Frank Baum, David McKeeA Monstrous Regiment of Women - Laurie R. King

 

Desert Shadows (A Lena Jones Mystery #3) - Betty WebbHer Royal Spyness - Rhys BowenI’m Glad I Did - Cynthia Weil

 

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Killer Wasps by Amy Korman

The Wizard Of Oz by Frank Baum

The Marvelous LAnd Of Oz by Frank Baum

A Monstrous Regiment Of Women by Laurie R King

Desert Shadows by Betty Webb

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

I'm Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil

 

A Wrinkle in Time and Her Royal Spyness were re-reads. Her Royal Spyness and A Monstrous Regiment of Women were audiobooks.

 

Source: jaylia3.booklikes.com/post/1101784/my-favorite-books-of-january
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url 2014-06-27 11:52
The House of Mirth (Das Haus der Freude)
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton

Bildhafte Sprache und beißende Gesellschaftskritik. 

 

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