Apart from travelling, reading is the only other thing I love doing. Growing up, I remember reading Little House on the Prairie, the Chronicles of Narnia, Pippi Longstockings, Ramona, and other children’s classics. In high school I met the likes Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Dickens, and of course, my personal favorite, J.D. Salinger. And even now, when I recall places I’ve travelled to, though the details of the experience have faded over time, I can always recall the title of the book I was reading at the time.
Out of boredom, and to give my life direction, I have set 2 reading challenges for myself. The first is to read all the books awarded the Man Booker Prize, and the second is to read individuals who have won a Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Man Booker is one of my favorite award-giving bodies in literature. Based on past experiences, novels awarded the Man Booker Prize are interesting and well worth reading.
Recently I’ve made it my life’s mission to read all the novels awarded the Man Booker Prize. The award is given yearly, starting in 1969, and since then there have been 44 winners.
I think: not an easy feat, but do-able. If I read one Booker award-winner after another, which I don’t intend to do, it will take me a little over 2 years to go through the entire list. Luckily, I have my whole life to do it.
Of the 44 books awarded the Booker Prize, I have read only 7: The White Tiger (2008), The Inheritance of Loss (2006), The Sea (2005), Vernon God Little (2003), The Life of Pi (2002), The God of Small Things (1997) and The English Patient (1992).
7 down, 37 to go….
The Nobel Prizes are given to outstanding contributions in the field of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Peace, and Literature. In his last Will and Testament, Alfred Nobel specified that the Nobel Prize for Literature shall be awarded to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction…”
The Nobel Prize in Literature was first given in 1901, and there have been 107 individuals given the Nobel Prize in Literature.
I realize that reading winners of the Nobel Prize will be much more challenging than reading other award-winning books, because unlike the Man Booker Prize which awards a prize to a particular book every year, the Nobel Prize is awarded to an individual for his or her literary oeuvre.
Because it will probably be unrealistic to say I will read all the works of all the people who have won a Nobel Prize for Literature, I have decided to stick with one or two works per individual; if I can manage even that.
So far, I’ve read a few novels by Orhan Pamuk who received the award in 2006, Gabriel Garcia Marquez who was given the award back in 1982, Ernest Hemingway, who received it in 1954, and John Steinbeck who was given the prize in 1969.
Everyone’s got to have goals to make their life more meaningful, but I think I have my work cut out for me.