There’s something that I’ve been percolating lately, rolling back and forth in my mind, that’s sort of a long-term project. You see, I love the reading freedom I have now that I’m basically not in school (I’m taking my last six credit hours now which, to be honest, are kind of a joke). But the eternal student in me love’s the structure of a reading list, and the reward of really, really jumping deeply in to a book. And, while I’m hoping I’ll be accepted to a local MLS (Master’s of Library Sciences, so I can go work in that building I love so much) program, I’ve decided on a goal I want to reach in the meantime regardless: I want to give myself a master’s level English education. At least, as much as I can of one relying on my favorite armchair and my local library! Now, I know many of you out there have gotten your MAs in English, and this effort is in no way meant to be an insult to the intense amount of work that I understand goes in to actually being given a Masters in a subject. However, as I cannot afford to actually attend an MA English program (the ones in my area/interests are far out of my price range!), I’m going to just do the best I can and hope that, along the line, I can learn quite a bit I didn’t know before!
So, what’s the actual meat of the plan, you ask? Well, I’m going to be reading these books for two primary purposes: to deepen my knowledge of the English canon, but to enhance my skills as a writer. Therefore, I will be examining each work read along at least one of two criteria lines, laid out in the contents of How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster and Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. The first will cover analytical content, the second stylistic. Now, I’m not saying that every work will be looked at in both ways – the point here is to make an effort to really dig in to these books. My plan for the actual works themselves is to look through this reading list provided by Northwestern University for their graduate students. I won’t be reading everything on the list, but rather to pick out titles that I’ve heard about or know to be influential. Again, the general idea here is to keep furthering my English education even though I graduate in December! The following categories will be chosen from (you can click on each time frame for a more specific list of works and authors):
- The Analytical Foundations
- Medieval Literature
- Early Modern/Renaissance Literature (1500-1650)
- 18th Century British Literature
- Victorian Literature/19th Century Literature
- American Literature
- 20/21st Century Modern Literature
- Drama in English
- Poetry and Poetics
- World Literature
Needless to say, this is not a challenge, per-se. I’m not setting any end date, and per-month requirements, none of that, but if you’d like to read a long on one, a few, or all of the books, I’d love to have you join me! Feel free to analyze and study these books using whatever frame you’d like, I’m just all for rousing conversation based on loverly, loverly books! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if I can drudge up all those old Norton collections I have to have around here somewhere! Happy reading!