My friend Katherine keeps a list of books read each year and this year I chose to follow her example, faithfully recording the books I have read in a document on my desktop. According to my reckoning for 2008, I had read 43 books and 14 Shakespeare plays; my goal this year was to top that. Considering that I have read 56 books cover-to-cover, and that I did not record how many most-of-books (i.e., I read most of the N-Town, Chester, York and Towneley cycles, and secondary materials, and other books for research), I would say that I have definitely read more in 2009 than I did the year before.
But just now Kelly has announced that she read over 130 books, and so I cannot gloat after all. (A blogger she follows apparently has read 400; we suspect that her profession has something to do with reading.)
Today I finished Morality Play by Barry Unsworth, a book shortlisted for the Booker Prize about a group of players who investigate a murder in a 14th-century town. Having written my master’s dissertation about medieval plays, I found this a very enjoyable (and well-researched) read. While reading it I thought that an interesting course to teach would be ‘Mystery Plays: Past and Present’, in which the course would study both medieval plays and then also Morality Play and Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. Last week while I read The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton I thought that a comparison could be made with Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, and that a course on political philosophy in literature would be extremely fun indeed. And then I realised that I really do have to see this PhD thing through, so that I can someday teach these courses.
For the curious, my Books Read in 2009.