Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Pre-Printing Press Challenge

The Pre-Printing Press Challenge
May 1st 2009-April 30th 2010
The Pre-Printing Press Challenge
May 1st 2009-April 30th 2010

I've seen a lot of challenges for reading romances, fiction, award winning books and many more. Challenges on various themes (King Arthur etc.) and challenges to fit certain criteria, such as the What's In A Name Challenge.

What I haven't seen is a challenge for reading books that pre-date the Printing Press. There's so many good pieces of writing that fit in this category (and I'm not asking you to read them in the original language unless you want to). So, for my first reading challenge, the pre-printing press challenge, I'm asking people to give these ancient and medieval books a try.

I'll admit that I'm more familiar with the European books, but if you know of something that fits the qualifications of the challenge from other parts of the world, feel free to include it.

Just some rough examples of the sorts of books that count, both histories and fiction:
Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War
Herodotus The Histories
Homer The Iliad and The Odyssey
Greek Tragedies and Comedies

Norse Sagas
Geoffrey of Monmouth The History of the Kings of Britain
Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

The lists could continue on and on.

The rules of the Pre-Printing Press Challenge:
  1. All books must have come out before 1440, when the printing press was first invented.
  2. Books chosen for this challenge can overlap with other challenges.
  3. Books can be translated into the language of your choice.
  4. All the books you've chosen must be read by April 30th 2010.
  5. You can read 1-3 books, 4-6 books, 7-9 books or 10 or more books if you're feeling particularly ambitious.
  6. The choice of books is up to you. There are no set reading lists, and you don't have to set one when you join.
  7. Post your blog address where you'll be posting your comments on your choice of books in the comments of this post when you join, and tell me how many books you've chosen. I'll set up a link to participating blogs from here.
  8. Above all, Have fun.
The challenge starts May 1st.


J.G. said...

I said no, no, NO MORE CHALLENGES when I saw this one, even though I was sorely tempted. I love reading the old stuff.

But what the heck? A deadline in 2010 is no big deal. So okay, I'm in!

Post with book list to follow.

Unknown said...

Good to see you joining in.

Lynda said...

I'm in!

Unknown said...

Great to see you here, Lynda

J.G. said...

Here's my link: http://hotchpotcafe.blogspot.com/2009/05/pre-printing-press-challenge.html

Looking forward to starting soon . . .

Jodie said...

Ok, ok you got me pile on the next challenge. The plan is: Juvenal's satires (as we only read selected ones at college), Le Morte D'Arthur and...others.

Unknown said...

Glad to see you here Jodie. As to your list, I'm sad to say, every edition of Mallory I have notes that his version (which I'm assuming you are referring to here) came out in 1485 when Caxton edited and published it.

Unfortunately, the rule for this challenge is pre-1440.

Otherwise, go for it, and have fun.

Jodie said...

Noooooooooo! Oh well I guess that's another year Mallorey will hang around for. But Juvenal is ok so I'm still good to go.

Unknown said...

Do you have a particular blog you intend to post your opinions at? If so, let me know and I'll add it to the Participants links on the sidebar.

SariJ said...

Elena, I stumbled upon your site through Weekly Geeks. I have already read most the books you list as I too am a medieval student. Wow it is great to find another like minded soul out there.
I have book marked your blogs. I look forward to reading about this challenge.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment, SariJ. If you enjoy reading history and have the time, why not think of joining the challenge?

J.T. Oldfield said...

A year for three books? So what if it is the third challenge I've signed up for in less than a week.

I'll be reading:

The Histories (Herodatus)
The Koran

Maybe I'll go further and do 4-6 or even 10. Not sure.

Unknown said...

Glad to see you joining, J.T. Three books are great, and you've picked some challenging ones.

It's always better to underestimate than to try to do too many (especially if, like me, you are a procrastinator).

J.T. Oldfield said...

Well, I've already added another to the list. I'll read Plato's Republic, since I've never read the whole thing.

Also, I just blogged about the challenge (I tweeted about it before).


Unknown said...

Thanks. I know what you mean about adding more books. I've done that a couple of times already myself.

Betty, aka quiltinbk said...

What a great challenge this is. I've signed up for some other challenges that relate to my love of mysteries and science fiction, but I also love history. In my master's program in religious studies I focused on the early church, so most of my choices will come from that period I'm sure. At the top of my list will be Eusebius' The History of the Church. I've read bits and pieces, but have never finished the whole thing. I've also got some medieval works in mind, particularly Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen. Do you need a link to my blogging about this challenge? I may set up a separate blog just to keep things straight - or to try to.

Unknown said...

Thanks for joining up Betty. I'm seeing more and more interesting pieces of literature turning up in people's lists.

Please give me the URL of wherever you're going to post your reviews. I'm linking each of those blogs.

Betty, aka quiltinbk said...

Here's the link to my blog post about this challenge: http://bettysbooknook.blogspot.com/2009/06/pre-printing-press-challenge.html. Sure hope it works.

Jenn said...

I'm a little late in joining, but I would love to take part in this challenge! It gives me an excuse to actually finish "The Canterbury Tales"! ;-)

My Challenge Post

Unknown said...

Jenn, nice to see you joining in. You know the saying: "Better late than never". That's a good way of looking at these challenges.

I'll get your blog linked right away.

J.G. said...

I started reading these last year, but am (clearly!) way behind in my reviews.

Here's the first one. Should I be leaving them somewhere else?

Gilgamesh: http://hotchpotcafe.blogspot.com/2010/01/pre-printing-press-challenge-gilgamesh.html

J.G. said...

Here's my review for the Tao Te Ching. Slowly but surely!


J.G. said...

Here's my post about Beowulf (and a bonus book).


J.G. said...

Last post! It feels good to finish and to know I've read all of these, filling in another gap in my literary education. Thanks for hosting!


Unknown said...

Congratulations on completion JG. You're actually doing better than I am.

J.T. Oldfield said...

Here's my review of Reading Judas (exegesis & The Gospel of Judas):


Unknown said...

Glad to see you managed one J.T.

Hope to see you again this year too, although nobody but me's signed up to date.


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