Bloggers love to share their love of books. I understand that.
What I don’t understand is the yearning to direct the reading of other bloggers in a chain of endless Readalongs and Challenges.
What I call “Bossy Blogger Disorder” dominates the net these days. Bloggers used to have group reads. One book, one discussion. Nowadays as the canon grows looser (excuse the pun), trendy “challenges/readalongs” are organized around a genre, category, or publisher. A blogger designates himself or herself the leader and (hypothetically) declares it Japanese Literature Month. He/she suggests everyone should read a Japanese book: any Japanese book! The question is: can a group of bloggers really bond over different Japanese books from different centuries (and read in translation)? One blogger might post about Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji, another about Hiruki Murakami’s 1Q84. Is there a link between the 11th-century classic and the 21st-century science fiction classic? No. Not unless a Japanese literature professor volunteers to spend months teaching us the history of Japanese literature.
Blogging is the homespun flip side of literary criticism. We’re not James Wood: we’re gals from the Midwest, the rural South, and Alaska. Most of us are doing our own thing
In recent months, we have survived Virago Month, Persephone Month Women in Translation Month, R.I.P. Challenge, Witch Week, and the 1924 Club.
And now we are in the middle of German Literature Month.
My husband and I were chatting about this. We are both foreign language junkies. We are of a generation that read widely in the canon and studied literature in foreign languages. And so all hail German Literature Month! But here’s the thing. We have read the books the German Literature bloggers are posting about! And so I’m thinking: these Challenges are a generational thing?
It is probably an internet phenomenon. We’re all alone on our phones, and this is how we connect thee days (not closely).
Anyway, I couldn’t resist creating a Spoof challenge.
My cousin the librarian and I together have “come up” (sorry!) with the risque Sex in Literature Spoof Challenge! We challenge you to have sex! Err, I mean, we challenge you to read about sex!
You get triple points for every menage a trois and twenty-four for an orgy!
Choose from this list.
- Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying
- D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover
- The Kama Sutra
- The Joy of Sex
- Doris Lessing’s Landlocked
- Elizabeth Tallent’s Mendocino Fire
- Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones
- Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus & Little Birds
- Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series
- Nicholson Baker’s Vox
- John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman
- Aristophanes’ Lysistrata
- Angela Carter’s The Passion of the New Eve
- Petronius’s Satyrica
Read ten. Then add ten more books to the list.
Send the list to ten people.
And you win a free book if you get ten people to read ten!
It’s a spoof! It’s a chain letter!
I couldn’t resist.