January 10, 2007

New Year, New Goals

I was inspired to write these out after my small group time last night. Resolutions have such a bad conotation...calling them that almost gauruntee that you won't keep them! So here are my GOALS for the year...
1. Spend more time with God.
2. Spend some time volunteering (you know John Mayer's song "Waiting for the World to Change"? Well, I'm tired of waiting...)
3. Stay focused on my grad work and see it through until the end
4. Work out more consistently.
5. Read one classic novel that I haven't read yet (any suggestions?)
6. Take a leap of faith.
I'm not really sure what the sixth one will look like; I think I'll probably know it after I accomplish it!
Happy New Year!


Lynnea said...

Well, I'm not really sure what you have read already, but here are some suggestions (though they may not all fit your definition of "classic"):

1. Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

2. Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky.

3. East of Eden, John Steinbeck.

4. One of Ours, Willa Cather.

Do those interest you at all?

~bradley james said...

I echo "Crime and Punishment." But I think it's important to figure out a period or style of literature that you enjoy so that you can explore more within that period. I happen to love Russian authors, which I realized after reading "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn (a short book that can be read in one sitting) and "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoevsky. I don't like Victorian literature like the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen (although I do like Thomas Hardy). Once you figure out what kind of literature you like, your world will open up and you'll be able to explore.

I've read Lynnea's first three, and I like them all very much. I'll also add:

1) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
2) Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
3) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4) Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
5) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
6) A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
7) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

and, of course, my favorite

8) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Lynnea said...

I disagree.

I think by reading in one time period of literature you are limiting not only yourself, but authors who may have written during a time that you "don't like" but actually have something valuable to offer that is different from those that you normally think of (i.e. I'm not a big fan of Austen either, but there are some amazing less-known works from her time period that I'm obsessed with).

You should always read deeply, but reading widely is just as important if you want to have a good grasp on literature as a whole.

I really can't stress this enough. I've just seen so many people who get caught in a specific time period or style or literary theory and that's all they'll read and that's great for first getting involved in the literary world...but it is SO limiting in your own ability to participate in any sort of literary dialogue beyond your own small knowledge of what's out there.

Also, it's just dangerous to rule out a whole time period or style simply on personal taste. I promise you that there is something out there for everyone with a love of reading in every period and every style.

~bradley james said...

Lynnea, you have misunderstood me. Notice that I never said Sarah should read only within one period, but that she should find a period she enjoys and explore within it (not ruling out exploring outside it). That does not necessitate completely abandoning every other book, or even reading mostly books from that period. But it can give you something to fall back on when you've read several books in a row that you haven't enjoyed. There's a certain joy for me when I pick up a Russian author or a David Sedaris or Dave Eggers book, because I *know* I'm going to like it.

Also, one can begin self-exploration by inwardly probing the reasons that certain authors/periods/styles appeal.