Sunday, December 03, 2006

Booklogged's "Winter Classics Challenge"

I cannot wait to get started on Booklogged's, from the wonderful "A Reader's Journal", Winter Classics Challenge. The rules are simple - all you need to do is to read 5 classics in the months of January and February.

In keeping with the theme (World and South-Asian Literature) of this blog, I've decided to pick 5 Classics from different parts of the World. I will also be doing Miz Books' TBR 2007 and Bookfool's "Chunkster Challenge" and as a result some of my book choices may overlap.

For now, here's my list of books for the Winter Classics Challenge:

1."The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck. 1932 Pulitzer Prize winning novel (American)
(overlaps with the TBR 2007 Jan Read)

2. "Palace Walk" by Naguib Mahfouz (1957) . Book one of "The Cairo Trilogy" . A Landmark of postcolonial Arabic literature that traces three generations of a family in 20th-century Cairo in vivid, realistic detail. At 512 pages it qualifies as a tome so this will be on my Chunkster Challenge as well.(Egypt)

3. "Kim" by Rudyard Kipling (1901). Set in India, this book is about the adventures of an Irish orphan who passes with ease as an Indian native. (Britain)

4."Some Prefer Nettles" by Junichiro Tanizaki (1928-29), exploring conflicts in everyday life between Japanese tradition and Western modernity. (Japan)

5. Umrao Jaan Ada by Mirza Hadi Ruswa(1905). An integral part of Urdu literature, Mirza Haadi Ruswa's 'Umrao Jaan Ada' is an Urdu classic not to be missed. (India)

Based on the 19th century Lucknow Nawab culture, this is the story of a courtesan who was kidnapped by the village baddie during her childhood and sold to the ladies at the kotha. The innocent Ameeran (Umrao) grows up to relish and admire the power she possesses to control men's hearts with her beautiful voice and her dances. This is the story of the loss of innocence as a child turns into a woman and then a courtesan.


"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe (1958). A classic work of postcolonial African Literature that vivdly portrays traditional Nigerian culture and the destructiveness on that culture by colonialism. (Nigeria)

THis is my list for now - I may change titles as I go along, depending upon the availability of the books (for instance, Umrao Jaan is being ordered from India) and my mood, ofcourse!


Joy said...

How funny...we were posting the challenges at the same time. :)

I have to go to Mozilla to view your blog now, but at least I can see it!

Regarding your classic choices, I have THE GOOD EARTH (Buck) as a possibility. I am just in the beginning stages of choosing and I don't want really long ones, so I have to pick carefully.

Happy Reading, Lotus!

Cassiopeia Rises said...

Lotus, I love your list of classics. As I am still on the third book for Stacks' challenge I don't know if I can do this one too. I will have to see how it goes.
I love your blog but I don't use MF much. I have to find a way to get here with a link.
Have a great weekend.


Lotus Reads said...

Hi Joy & Beloved

Thank you both so much for taking the trouble to come to my blog through Mozilla, I appreciate it so much, but hopefully it won't be long before I get my new template which I am sure will be easily accessed by all browsers!

Happy reading to the both of you!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Hollydolly I just posted a comment on your blog - it's unrelated, but still, nice coincidence! :)

Bookfool had a little post about the Chunkster challenge a few weeks ago, but I think she has yet to make a formal anncouncement. If I find anything, I will be sure to let you know.

So glad you're going to be participating in both challenges - guess what one of the books on my Chunkster Challenge will be?

Give up? :)

"Shantaram"!!! Finally, I am getting to it and it's mostly thank s to you that I am so excited about the read! :)

Les said...

I've decided to skip the challenge for reasons posted on Booklogged's blog. It's very tempting, though. Just too many challenges all at the same time. I think you'll enjoy The Good Earth. It's the only one you've listed that I've read, so I'll be anxious to read your reviews for the others.

BTW, I always use Firefox so no troubles. :)

Rebecca H. said...

Nice list -- I've been wanting to read Mahfouz and Tanizaki for quite a while. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about them.

The Traveller said...

Very nice list! I loved The Good Earth, so much so that I've read it twice. I'm eager to hear what you think of it when you get to it.

Unknown said...

You know, I hate The Good Earth when I read it, but it left some of the most vivid images in my head. It was only a few years ago that I thought, "Yeah, for me to remember all these years later, it had to be good." I am going to read it again over Christmas I think.

Beenzzz said...

Hi Lotus,
Umrao Jaan Ada looks like a wonderful book. I will read this book! I also want to read the namesake. I have a week left of the semester and then I am home free! I can read and enjoy some good books.

Lavanya said...

Great choices! I loved the Good Earth and would be very interested in hearing your opinion. Likewise for Mahfouz and Achebe.

tanabata said...

I've had The Good Earth here for a little while. I may have to make that one of my choices too.
Looking forward to your reviews on all of the books though.

Lotus Reads said...

hi Les I can totally understand...if these challenges hadn't allowed an overlap of reading material I might have had to pull out of some of them - I want reading to be a pleasure not a chore. I read 'The Good Earth' many, many years ago, and when I saw it on your self-imposed classics challenge and the great review you gave it, I knew I just had to read it again! Thanks very much for coming by.

Thanks for visiting Dorothy I have been wanting to read "The Cairo Trilogy" for the longest time. Booklogged's challenge provided the impetus to start on book one!

Thanks Traveller I'm very,very excited about "The Good Earth". Pearl Buck was a favorite of mine when I was younger, I am dying to find out if she will appeal to me as much now as she did all those years back!

Hi, Angela Do let me know if you plan on reading "The Good Earth" over the Holiday, I will be starting it early Jan - perhaps we could read it together?

Yeay beenzzz it will feel good to have a little free time again, huh? I am awaiting my copy of Umrao Jaan Ada from India, perhaps I can send it to you when done?

Hi, L Lovely to see you here! I might have to replace Achebe with something else - books 50 years and older qualify for this challenge and I'm not sure that Achebe makes the cut. Maybe I'll go with a Russian Classic?

Hi, Nat Thanks for visiting. I look forward to seeing your list, will visit you soooooon!

hellomelissa said...

hello! i think i'll join you in your first two choices... they are both sitting on my shelf. now that life has (mostly) returned to normal, i'll have to finish the stacks challenge before finishing out my list for the classics challenge. one foot in front of the other, right?

ML said...

Wow, great idea and great classics you chose!

gautami tripathy said...

I must post this too. I am behind time..


KIM is my choice too along with things fall apart..

Smoothieshake said...

hiya lotus...
i read Umrao Jaan Ada in an "urdu literature in translation" class in college, and I really like it. I can't remember it all that well now, but I do remember thinking at the time that it's a novel I'd like to read again. I didn't know what a courtesan was before this book, and when I watched (no, not read unfortunately) Memoirs of a Geisha, it reminded me of Umrao Jaan. I'm not sure if you've read this before, but if it's your first time reading it, I think you'll love it!

Beenzzz said...

Oh Lotus, I would absolutely love that!

Lotus Reads said...

Melissa So glad you commented! I have missed you, infact, I left a note for you on your blog this morning. Yes, please, let's read "The Good Earth" together, it truly is a remarkable book. Start date: 01st Jan (let's hope we're not too hungover from the 31st!) ;)

Thanks ml I was wanting to pick one of Naipaul's books but as you can see the challenge requires only 5 books - wish I could have picked more! :)

Gautami If you do end up doing the challenge, it will be fun to discuss "Kim" with you!

Sruthi Thanks so much for the input. I must call my mom and remind her to buy me the book. Hearing a nice report from you about Umrao Jan Ada has got me very excited, I will probably watch the movie, too, at some point - have you seen it yet?

Beenzzz Fantastic, I'll be happy to send it to you! It might be a couple of months before you get it, but get it you will. Are you planning on seeing the movie? The new one with Abhishek Bachchan and Aiswarya?

Beenzzz said...

I hadn't planned on it, but now I'm curious. Abhishek and Aiswarya are due to marry soon, aren't they?

J said...

I think you should keep Things Fall's ALMOST 50 years old, and I had to read it for a comparative literature class, so that should make it a classic, right? Probably not. But it's a great read.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi beenzzz Well, yes, that's what the rumour mills would have us believe, but when Abhishek was interviewed a few days ago he said he wasn't gettig married, so your guess is as good as mine! :)

Hi, J Thanks, I will read the Achebe for sure...I'll have loads of time once the challenge is over.

Literary Feline said...

Reading your blog always has me adding books to my wish list. And your classic list is no different. Good luck with the challenges, Lotus! If I'm lucky and receive a gift card to a bookstore this Christmas holiday, I may just find myself picking up some of the great books you talk about!

Smoothieshake said...

hi lotus, nope i haven't seen the movie umrao jaan, but i know that rekha's in it,and my parents were watching it when i went home. Also, I've read things fall apart in high school but can't remember what it was about, other than stuff not going the right way...thus falling apart...hahaha i don't know lol. Are you going to read umrao jaan in hindi? or urdu? or english?

Lotus Reads said...

Hello, literary feline! How good of you to drop by and leave me such a lovely comment, thank you! I have been getting some wonderful suggestions from your blog, too - it's truly a pleasure to visit you and to find out what you have been reading!

Hi Sruthi!

Good question! I realize I've kept everyone guessing about which language I plan to read the book in! :))) Well, Urdu's out because I don't really understand it all that well and Hindi's out, too, because my reading of Hindi is far too rusty, guess that leaves me with English! I'm planning on reading the Khushwant Singh translation if my mom can find it!

equiano said...

What a wonderful choice of books - as usual, I've only read the African ones. I loved Palace Walk, so am interested to hear what you think of it (so richly layered); after Achebe you'll have to head for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's PURPLE HIBISCUS (if you haven't already read it) as she refers directly to THINGS FALL APART, starting with the first sentence.

Lucky you - enjoy them!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi equiano Thanks very much for stopping by! I have been meaning to read 'The Cairo Trilogy' for the longest time, and this challenge gave me the perfect excuse to start. I have read "The Purple Hibiscus" - what an absolutely moving book (my 15-year old is reading it now). I also enjoyed Adiche's more recent one "Half of a Yellow Sun", but my most thrilling moment came when I met the author in person at a Q & A and book signing. She was so engaging and lovely.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I'm so glad I can get back on here! I like the site redesign! And there are some beautiful covers on the books you're reading for the winter challenge.

Lotus Reads said...

Thanks, Carl, good of you to stop by...I'm still tweaking the template a little...wish I had your talent for blog makeovers!

Unknown said...

Yeah, I would love to read it with someone. That is what I miss most about school....talking about a book after I finish it. I have driven everyone here crazy with the Kite Runner.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm still doing the Stacks challenge! (I'm stuck on book 4, which is a biography. I tend to prefer fiction, so I think that's why I'm stuck.) Anyway, Things Fall Apart is an incredible book - I can't wait to hear what you think of it! Love the new look, by the way!

Lotus Reads said...

You got it, Angela, we'll read "The Good Earth" together then!

Hi, GuinnessGirl Good to see you're doing so well on the Stacks Challenge, I am on book three so far!

Kirsten said...

Love the list of books you picked - I haven't read any of them, but just added all to my interlibrary loan list!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Kirsten!

I just went over and took a look at your list - such great choices! I am looking forward to reading your reviews!

Anonymous said...

Things Fall Apart is on my list too! I can't wait to read it!

I also have Palace Walk on my TBR list -- perhaps I will read that one for the other challenge :)

Happy Reading!

Sherry (this is where my post for the book challenge is)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Sherry!

I'm thrilled to know we have two reads in common for the challenge! I am definitely interested in reading your thoughts on both books. I tried leaving a comment on your homeschooling blog, but it wouldn't let me!

Wendy said...

I've read Things Fall Apart...awesome book which made one of my top reads for 2006.

There was just a recent article about the author of Palace Walk (and information about his other articles) in Pages magazine (January/February issue). I've heard wonderful things about this author, and specifically about this series. Let us know how you like it!

Another winter classics challenger! *smile*

Lotus Reads said...

Hello Wendy!

So glad we're challege buddies! Thanks so much for letting me know about "Pages" covering Nagib Mahfouz, I'll be sure to hunt down a copy.

The best of luck with the challenge, I'll continue to read your blog and reviews.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lotus,

I read about this challenge on Beloved Dreamer's blog so I popped on over here. I discovered her beautiful poetry via Poetry Thursday and have seen your colourful blog photo on comments for sites we visit in common.

Forgive me, but I don't have time to check the rules now. As much as I love to read, I'm already in two real life book groups on top of working full time as an artist. Pearl Buck's The Good Earth caught my eye here. I vividly recall liking the book in high school but that was ages ago, since I now have a daughter in high school!

Is it alright to sign up for the challenge even if it's likely I cannot complete 5 books before the end of Feb? If not, I'll enjoy reading the others' input. Great idea and good source for my infinite reading wish list! Thanks.

Lotus Reads said...

Hello Gel,

Thank you so much for visiting! I took a look at your blog just now, it's fantastic, I will have to visit again!

Sure, you can sign up for the challenge, I'm sure booklogged of "A Reader's Journal" won't mind at all, she's a wonderful person and very flexible. Do let me know if you do, I'd love to stop by and take a look at your list.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lotus,
Thanks for your kind words. After hastily posting on your blog, it hit me that I should have asked "booklogged" the questions I had, but with a teenager at home and work, I didn't get time on the computer until now.

As long as even reading one or two book is ok for the Jan-Feb challenge, as I (correctly) asked booklogged now, then I'll be posting my choices soon. Even if I read none, I'm in heaven just reading the comment threads on book-related blogs.

Take Care