Saturday, August 2, 2014

On Being a Completionist

I am currently listening to an Econtalk episode with D.G. Myers, a literary critic who is living with cancer. He mentions that one of the great thing about these days is the possibility of being a completionist--the ability to read the entire work of an author.

I've wanted to read through some great authors' works before. and I think that I am going to get started on it. Now my question is: who do I read? I going to restrict myself to the 20th century, though I might eventually be up to reading through Twain and Melville and Dickens, though not Dickens (Nickeby was the worst thing I've ever read, except for Moll Flanders). I'm actually very close to having read the entire works of some authors (Philip K. Dick, Alfred Bester; not to mention some recent authors who don't count), but never in a mindful way.

On to the list. I hope others will suggest possibilities in the comments. (% I've read before).
Raymond Carver (0%)
John Updike (0%)
Arthur C. Clarke (5%)
Kurt Vonnegut (60%)
Hemmingway (5%)
UK Le Guin (35%)

Of course, maybe I should just endeavor to read more good books, the best of everyone.

I recommend the podcast, by the way. The first half is his reflections on cancer and the common mentality towards those with cancer; the second half is a discussion of literary theory and the teaching of creative writing. Both halves are good, but the second half is a little more engaging. He seems to share my feelings that critical theory is the poison that is slowly killing the humanities.