I’m still around, just have been somewhat distracted by other things recently. But I’m still reading (which is not likely to change for as long as I’m capable of it) and want to continue writing blog posts. In fact, after I rather enjoyed last year’s reading challenge, I’m going to do something similar this year – just on my own, and on a somewhat smaller scale, which is why I call it a Reading Project rather than a Challenge.
This one came about through a group reading at Goodreads of William T. Vollmann’s The Ice-Shirt. That novel draws heavily on the Icelandian sagas, in fact is even kind of a retelling of them, so someone suggested we read at least the relevant sagas in preparation for Vollmann’s novel. As I hate leaving books unfinished, of course I ended up reading the whole massive Penguins Classics volume, and rather enjoyed it. And then it occurred to me that besides The Ice-Shirt I own several other novels that are in one way or another inspired by Icelandic Sagas… so why not read them together and compare the different ways they spark off their source material?
So here I am, and here is the list of books I plan on reading and posting about in the next couple of months:
The Sagas of Icelanders, by Örnólfur Thorsson (ed.) – post here
The Ice-Shirt, by William T. Vollmann – post here
Vinland, by George Mackay Brown – post here
King Hereafter, by Dorothy Dunnett – post here
The Broken Sword, by Poul Anderson – read, but not posted about (yet), due to extended blogging slump
Njal’s Saga, by Robert Cook (ed. & transl.) – post here
That’s not a terribly long list, but at least it’s realistic (and I have already read the first three on that list); it starts and ends with Icelandic Sagas, and has one Fantasy novel and three very different historical novels. I hope that makes for enough variety – I’m certainly having fun reading the books in question, and hopefully the readers of this blog will like reading about them, too.
ETA (February 3rd, 2014):
Well, I read all of them, and actually enjoyed them all, if at slightly varying degrees, the high points having been The Ice-Shirt and King Hereafter – the latter even more fun because it was a shared read with Leander who has been following this whole project with probably even more enthusiasm than myself, for which I want to thank her very much. It was also Leander who directed my attention to one or two more books which fit in with the theme nicely, so I might be doing some bonus reads, which I’m going to add here as I read them.