5 January 2014

Megan's New Year's Resolution

Posted by Megan Marsh

In 2013, I became aware of two grave injustices: firstly, that only 12 women had received the Nobel Prize for Literature in its 112 year history, and secondly, that I had never read a book by any of them. By the end of 2014, I resolved, I would have righted at least one of these wrongs. Naturally, the advantage of the fact that this list contained only 12 authors was that reading 12 books fitted very pleasingly into a single year - a perfect New Year's resolution.

Of course, then Alice Munro had to come along and throw my plans out of balance. Luckily, having anticipated that Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter would prove a mammoth endeavor, I had given myself a head start. I've turned the final pages of that mighty tome, and I'm back on track: 12 Nobel women, 12 months.

I'll be reading one book by a Nobel prize winner each month for the next year. I'll blog about each author here, and I'll let you know what I think of each book as I'm reading on twitter @megancgm.

I know there will be some wonderful things in store - now that The Golden Notebook is back in print, I can finally get my teeth into Doris Lessing - and doubtless some not-so-wonderful things (my colleagues collectively shudder at the mention of Pearl Buck). There will be poetry from Wislawa Szymborska, Nelly Sachs and Gabriela Mistral; short stories from Alice Munro; and uncompromising prose from Herta Müller. I'd imagine most people will be familiar with Nadime Gordimer and Toni Morrison, but there were a few authors I had never heard of: Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf and Grazia Deledda, who won in 1909 and 1926 respectively, but also Elfriede Jelinek, winner for 2004.

I'm going to start this week by blogging about the wonderful Kristen Lavransdatter, and revealing what I'll be reading in January. Advice, opinions and warnings are very welcome - and if anyone feels like joining me for a month or two, even better.