Thursday, December 29, 2011

National Novel Reading Month is January

January will be National Novel Reading Month. We’ve all got at least one classic book we think we ought to read and have put off too long. I have more than a dozen of them, and the literary guilt may actually be killing me. Check your shelf. Check your conscience. Isn’t there something long removed from the Bestseller’s List you think you ought to read? Be it for craft, for history, or some gap in your personal English canon. #NaNoReMo is about catching up with the classics.

One thing that bothers me about National Novel Writing Month is it isn’t located in a country. “National” is a poor word choice for a program that’s clearly international. Yet it’s popular, so #NaNoReMo will double the dubiousness. Not only can you read it in any nation of your choice, but your classic doesn’t have to be a novel. Want to brush up on Virgil or Ovid? Go for it. The rule is to read a classic.

We’re using a personal sliding scale for "classics." Some people don’t think Jules Verne is a classic author. I don’t like to talk to those people, but they exist, and so they can read someone else. But if you do think he’s a classic writer who deserves your time, then it’s your choice.

Hop on Twitter in the next couple of days to chat about your potential choices using the hashtag #NaNoReMo. Then join us throughout the month of January as we discuss our progress through our chosen classics. If it works the cross-pollination of encouragement will increase our reading lists as well as encourage us to finish reading great works.

Right now mine is a toss-up between Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (a heavyweight contender with five failed starts in my lifetime) and Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita (a rookie challenger to my shelf with a siren song of a premise: Satan in Soviet Russia). Which do you think I should open in 2012?


  1. WEll, obviously I think you should read Pride & Prejudice, but I'm a about that one. Or am I prideful....

    Anyway, my choice for #NaNoReMo is Jane Eyre. I really should be reading As I Lay Dying by Faulkner (with 3 failed attempts), but it's being shoved down the list (again). I've also added East of Eden to my 2012 reading list, but dear Jane will be my January selection.

  2. I didn't know there is a National Novel Reading Month (A way to relax from NaNoWriMo and editing month of December?). Well there are a few classics on my TBR list I should read. Sounds like a good time to pick one. Or two.

    I read both them. Master and Margarita is fantasy and when I read it, I though I would like it. I didn't. Of course, I had to read for class, so that might have ruined it for me.

    Pride and Prejudice, on the other hand, is a book I've loved since 8th grade.

  3. I'm going to dive into Gravity's Rainbow.

  4. Love this idea, John! I have Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes all loaded onto my Sony Reader. I think I'll go after each one of those in that order, as I've been wanting to read them all but have never actually done it.

  5. I adore this idea. Pride and Prejudice is a good choice. It's a fairly easy read (or at least I found it so). Perhaps I'll go with the challenge of Finnegan's Wake, or possibly the much easier read of Bleak House.

  6. I've read both of them and I'd say Pride and Prejudice is better...but knowing you, I suspect you'll prefer The Master and Margarita.

    I think I'm going to read The Time Machine in January!

  7. I've only read P and P, which once I got into the style, was quite good. Classics though... I feel very ashamed I've not read Moby Dick or Ulysses. Perhaps I'll try one on for size.

    Last January I tackled Middlemarch. Twas quite fun as I read with a group. Peace...

  8. I've never heard of The Master and Margarita. Sounds intriguing. But, if I read a classic in January, it will be David Copperfield. My husband has been on me for years to read it. Alas, while it is on my TBR list for 2012, I'm not sure I'm in the mood to tackle it in January. Or I may reconsider. I'm fickle.

  9. Why not call it InReMo (International Reading Month) if that's more what it is? :) Or InNoReMo if you still want the novel part in there - no reason to follow NaNoWriMo's example of acronyms if it's not associated with them!

    Not sure if I'll be taking part yet but the classic on my list to read some day is War & Peace. Not sure I'll do that in a month lol! :D

    Happy reading all!

  10. Great concept, John! I have downloaded a bunch of classic books. I'm leaning toward "Frankenstein" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." But I also got "Wind in the Willows" and I've always wanted to read that book. Happy Reading!

  11. I want to read a Sherlock Holmes novel. I've never read any of them, and I'm sadly underread on mysteries.My first one was an Agatha Christie a couple months ago, so I'd really like to try a Doyle one.


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