Friday, 7 March 2014

Books of Canons (Week 9 List)

As you may or may not be aware, I missed last week in my list-a-week project!
I've been bogged (not blogged) down with the research and writing of my term papers, going to meetings about said term papers and generally stressing out about said term papers. I've been back in York, home in London and am now in (sunny) Germany again!
Therefore, today I am going to try and rectify this issue of lost list writing by doing two lists about opposing themes… We're onto books again I'm afraid, click away if I've lost your interest… If you like scandal though carry on - scandal in literary terms though! ;-)
Here is part one (week 9) and part two (week 10) is to follow later today:

52 Lists
Week 9 & 10 - February 26th and March 7th
Part one: Books of Canons
This week is dedicated to those who, like me, were blessed with making the economical decision to study a degree in English Literature, though also of course, not without spending a year faffing around in the 'arts' world in time for the fees to rise first! 
We had (or perhaps still have) those high hopes of graduating with the ability to enter the adult world with the knowledge to quote Shakespeare, the patience to read Middlemarch, and the style to immaculately walk through life in blazers, thick-rimmed glasses and cute dresses all whilst delicately clutching a canvas bag full of books (or a sleek folder and a kindle…) Well none of that is going to happen I'm afraid, but a degree in English Literature (if you can spell literature that is- took me two proof-readings before noticing I had written Literadoor) should, if you obey the rules and jump through the hoola hoops, at least make you aware of one -or hopefully more- literary canons. Let us just take a moment to ponder the use of the word canon here… What is the first word that comes to your head when you hear this word? Mine are… Bang, ship, man, church, men, weight, crash, power, sea, man, death, Rhiannon the Canon, men, Canon cameras, man, Empire… oops, I mentioned the Empire! 
Ok, so essentially what I'm talking about is a list, another list, like the list to follow, only more structured, less nonsensey and generally wholly sanctioned by the world of academia. The list states what the most 'important' or 'influencial' works of fiction in that specific genre are (ie. The Western Literary Canon or a Victorian Canon and so on, you get the gist). Also, the mighty, Wikipedia writes that,"The process of listmaking—defining the boundaries of the canon—is endless." Oh so, lucky you, my list a week posts might never end… especially when I'm writing about canons, ha!
A common misconception often made by literature students is that to be deemed worthy of your degree you must read each and every word from the works in 'the canon', including deciphering any ink smudges you might come across, "did the author intend for this error in printing? What does it mean? Is the protagoninst entering a deep and dark state of self-doubt?!" I believe however, that as long as you are reading lots, and loving what you are reading, you are worthy of your degree no matter what your peers or tutors might think*.
So on that note, I would like to write my own (current) canon! A list of things I think are inspiring, influential or important (or all three)! I'll break the rules a bit, it is my canon after all, and include a variety of things: novels, magazines, blogs, and perhaps if I feel it right, a little classic too (all in no particular order)!

1. The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
3. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
4. All of the Harry Potter books by J.K Rowling
5. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
6. Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
7. The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner
9. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
10. The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
11. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
12. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
13. Leviathan by Paul Auster

18. Sugarhigh

*Disclaimer: of course it is also necessary to read some things you dislike if you're studying English Lit.   Speaking from experience, telling your professor you dislike Middlemarch won't be reason enough for them to allow you to not finish reading it or to not turn up to seminars… even if you phrase it in a powerful, argumentative, literary reasoning sort of a way... hehe!

- Part Two to follow: 'Books of Banning' (this is where you'll find yo' scandal!) -

(none of these images belong to me, all are courtesy of the publisher of each book/magazine/blog, find more info by clicking on respective links)


  1. Thanks for adding me to your list :)

    1. not at all, thank you for stopping by!