Friday, January 9, 2015

MFA Reading

By the end of this year, I will be one of the most well read people you know (and I know).  This isn’t a challenge that I just decided to do.  Looking into the MFA programs, many of the schools list reading list (or suggested) reading lists.  The books range from one of the first novels The Tale of Genji written in the 11th century up until recent 21st century fare.

I’ve read some of the books on the list, and I don’t have to read them all. Only 2 from here or 5 from here, but for one school alone, I will have to read 35 of these books.  I will not apply to schools until the end of this year and if I get an interview, that won’t be until early 2016, but I will have to get through many of these books. 

I thought I read pretty widely, but it turns out, I don’t.  It was sad for me to see how many books on the list I did not read.  I just skimmed the list and perhaps out of 200 books, I’ve read 15.  I will be reading things that are sitting on everyone’s TBR lists but are never read.  Most of these were not on my TBR list as of late.  They were at one time or another, but then I decided I wasn’t going to read any more classics. Well I guess never say never.

I have to read books from the UK, Americas and other countries.  From 18th and 19th centuries and the 20th century.  Books such as Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe, The Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope and Moby Dick by Herman Melville (kill me now).

Thankfully I made it through three books by Joyce this past summer (including Ulysses). But with those, I had a lot of help from my advisor/professor.  These books, I’ll have to rely on my brain.

I am looking forward to reading some of these books and some I’ve never heard of but sound interesting.  The “RUSSIANS” are on the list, but I doubt I’ll get to or through War & Peace, as The Tale of Genji is also over 1,000 pages.  I don’t think I can do two of those in one year. 

I have to read 35 books in all, I will be happy if I read 20 of them and I’ll be happier if I really understand 10 of them.

All this while I’m working full time, going to school full time, writing my manuscript for the MFA program, writing my personal statements for five schools and trying to get my own reading done.

I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about it too much.  I will make a conscious effort to read books from the list, and whatever I finish, I finish.  I don’t anticipate being done with the list by March 2016, but hopefully by the time I enter the program (keeping fingers crossed) I will be done.

If I don’t make it into the MFA program, well, at least I will have the bragging rights.

So if you come across my currently reading lists on goodreads, and wonder why in the world I’m trying to read Heart of Darkness and The Age of Innocence at the same time, remember this post.

Currently reading:  To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (20th Century English)

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