Sunday, March 2, 2014

#NaNoReMo Round-Up

It's March, and that means we're kicking of #NaNoReMo!

If you're just checking in, National Novel Reading Month is a support system to finally read the classics you've been putting off. It's not a book club and we don't all read the same book, though you're welcome to read along with me. Instead, every participant chooses their own classic based on their own definition, and blogs or tweets about their progress. It's been a great experiment every year, and everyone is welcome.

And if you've got a book picked out, sound off in the comments so I can add you to the master list!

The NaNoReMo Master List

John Wiswell: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Ross Dillon: Old Goirot by Honore de Balzac
Helen A. Howell: Tom Brown's School Days by Thomas Hughes
Cindy Vaskova: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Beverly Fox: Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Sonia Lal: Murder on the Orient Express by Agathe Christie

Thanks to everyone who commented and e-mailed about which book I should pick. My friend Ross rightly chided me that I'd been talking about reading Bulgakov for too many years, and so I've chosen the Russian classic The Master and Margarita. It's got the wonderful elevator pitch of "Satan vacations in Soviet Russia," which is a wonderful sort of alien satire and immediately reminds me why I bought it. Even if it I bought it an embarrassing number of years ago.

I prefer satire from other time periods and countries because I have a tricky mind. I can't watch The Daily Show or Colbert Report regularly because, great as their hosts are, the social commentary is inevitably obvious and I can always find ways in which it's somehow inaccurate. No, that's not the problem. The problem is my mind always finds the ways they are inaccurate, even when they're arguing my position. But when I read the meaty social criticism of other countries, the requisite invention of context occupies my mind long enough that the criticism can sink in and has a fighting chance. As much as I respect Garrison Keillor, Avarind Adiga is just bound to give my mind more to work with.


  1. I am looking forward to your progress reports. And have tooooo many books on my un-read tower to add another.

    1. There are no classics in your un-read tower, madame?

    2. Probably. Depending on how you define 'classic'. There is a Lionel Shriver which is nagging at me. Not 'We have to talk about Kevin' which I do think is a classic but 'The Post-Birthday World'. Next to it on the pile/tower/monolith it Rushdie's 'Midnight 's Children'.

  2. I don't know the book you're reading at all John. So I too will look forward to reading your progress and learning more about what this book is about. ^_^

  3. Enjoy your read.
    If I were finished writing, I could join the revisions this month. Might by the end.

  4. Sorry I'm so late! But I am officially signing up as reading Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Good luck on yours and wish me well on mine!

  5. Beverely - you're not as late as me. I'm going to read Murder on the Orient Express by Agathe Christie. Hopefully there is still time this month to read it.


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