Monday, May 4, 2009

Pre-Printing Press Challenge

Elena over at All Booked Up has created a challenge that began May 1 and runs through April 30, 2010. The Pre-Printing Press Challenge involves reading books that came out before 1440, when the printing press was invented. Isn't that a fun idea?

I am always trying to fill in the gaps in my education and tend to pick up nice copies of the ultra-classics when I come across them. Of course, then they go onto the TBR shelf along with everything else. This challenge is the perfect excuse to prioritize some of them and read my way through history at the same time.

Click over here for the official (and very flexible!) challenge rules and to sign up.

Next year, I plan to be reading:

Gilgamesh (Sumerian - 2150 BCE)
Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu (Chinese - 500 BCE)
Beowulf (English/Scandinavian - 1100 CE)
The Decameron - Giovanni Boccaccio (Italian - 1353 CE)
The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer (English - 1400 CE)

Just think. Some of these books are so old, we don't even know who wrote them.


  1. I was thinking that a great reading challenge, particularly for English speakers, would be to read x number of books that are translated from another language/culture.

    I think that English speakers especially read very little from other parts or the world/other points of view.

    I like this idea a whole lot though.

    I have actually read some of those, though not in the original form...Beowolf, but updated a bit to make it a might easier, and of course, in translation.

  2. The Canterbury Tales is on my TBR shelf now, but otherwise I will watch this one from the sidelines. I'm always mindful of the Woody Allen line from . . . Manhatten, I think . . . "never take a class where they make you read Beowolf."

    It was a warning that came too late for me, but I think I appreciate it all the more because of that.

    Have fun!

  3. Orenta, I have seen a few challenges similar to your idea (at It's a great idea!

    Cultural narrowness is certainly a weakness in my own reading list. The Booker Prize helps, but it doesn't go far enough.

    Maybe I can add your challenge to the last half of 2010? I still have room there. :)

    And thank goodness for translations!

  4. Rose City, I've read some Chaucer already, and also Beowulf back in the day. I actually enjoy the heroic mode, although I usually agree with Mr. Allen's cultural observations.

    But I'm working around to John Gardner's Grendel and thought I should start at the source.

    Wonder if "pair books" like that would make a good challenge?

  5. Glad to see you joining in. That's an interesting list too (Of course, part of the reason I think it's interesting is that I'm going to be reading some of the same books, such as Beowulf LOL).


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