I’ve been thinking about my inaugural Sunday Salon post for a few days now. Do I try and write something clever? Do I try and write something funny? Or do I just go ahead and write something bizarre and off the wall? Well I never actually did decide what to write in the end, because time got the better of me. Wary that ‘penning time’ was running out fast, I just grabbed at the opportunity for a little self-indulgence, and have decided to speak about me, and a couple of reading challenges I launched for myself earlier this week, challenges that I’m really excited about taking.
The first challenge is entitled ‘100 Shots of Short’. It’s a simple, no time-limit challenge to read 100 short stories. Why? Well I’m currently on a ’50 Novels in One Year’ reading challenge right now as well, and it’s going well, really well. However the focus for that challenge is solely on novel reading and although I’m enjoying it, I’m getting a little frustrated because I’m denying myself access to the wonderful world of short stories. Sure, I have an anthology of short stories in my ‘50 Novel’ list – Great Short Stories of the English-speaking World, but it shouldn’t really be there. Short stories in my opinion should be read individually as single bite-size morsels, and reading this title in a kind of ‘novely’ way just isn’t going to work.
I’ve therefore taken the 51 short stories found in Great Short Stories of the English-speaking World, and used them to form the basis of my ‘100 Shots of Shot’ challenge. I’ve since added a few others short stories (ones that are also deemed to be ‘classics’), but I’ve purposely stopped short, with a few slots left open. Why? Because invariably when these challenges begin and people get wind of them, they come up with some fantastic ideas for further selections (cough…hint…cough )) and I always miss out on them.
My second new reading challenge is really an offshoot of the first. While researching the best short stories to add to my list, I discovered the amazing world of Chekhov and his short stories. At first I was happy enough to just add a couple of Chekhov’s short stories to the ‘100 Shots’ challenge, but then I made the ‘mistake’ of discovering James Rusk’s AMAZING online archive of 201 Chekhov shorts. How could I resist? I couldn’t, and these 201 stories (translated to the English by Constance Garnett) have formed the entirety of the other new reading challenge – ‘Checking Off the Chekhov Shorts’
Again this challenge doesn’t have a time-limit. I just read the 201 stories as and when I can, but I’m aiming at around 1-2 per day. For me, reading a Chekhov short is like taking a spoonful of honey – it’s quick, it’s ‘flavour filled’, and boy does it go down sweet. Take too many ‘spoonfuls’ though and it all gets a bit sickly. So I’m happy to keep my Chekhov to a single spoon, and reap the daily benefit of doing that. Incidentally, this Chekhov challenge is also incorporating the first real use of my new Sony Reader. I’ve taken the texts, converted them to Sony format (lrb) and uploaded them to the eReader. So far it’s really working out well.
So there we are – the 2 new short-story reading challenges I’ve started this week. I urge you to go along and check them both out (perhaps best to go via my challenge ‘hub page’). If you like the idea of either challenge (or both) then don’t be afraid to take up the same challenge (I’ve provided links to different sizes of the challenge graphic on each challenge page). Be warned though! As the picture above testifies, Chekhov can be a little addictive ) Have Fun!
As they always are – suggestions or comments are very welcome.
**This post has been specifically written for Sunday Salon participation**