Dewey Tackles the Edgars…

May 12, 2007 at 3:28 am 3 comments

Dr. Sparky’s Literary Truth

 Some time ago, fellow Blogger came up with a plan to go on a literary crusade.  Using the Modern Library’s Best 100 Novels list as a guide, Dr. Sparky is tackling the classics.

I think it must be the English major in him.  Being an English major is both a blessing and a curse.  During one’s college years you get to read assorted classics. You get to discuss them.  You get to share your love of reading with others.  And you read some really well written books.

Then you leave college and you get a job doing whatever you find yourself qualified to do.  And you keep reading.  But now, you no longer need to read the classics.  You are free to read whatever you want.  You can go to the supermarket check out and pick up a potboiler if it suits your fancy.   And you can read bestsellers in record time.   You quickly become in the know and can discuss books at the bus stop, at the library, and at the lunch table.

But being an English major is also a curse.   You end up with a case of the “should haves”.   In other words, while you are reading the newest Stephen King  you think “I should be reading Dickens.  I should be reading something a bit better.”

And you are swayed by literary awards.  You check out the winners for the National Book Award, or the Man Booker Prize. You need to know what won the Pulitzer.  And you think that any English major worth his or her salt would be reading said books.   And you check them out from the library.  And you put them in your ever growing “to be read” pile.  And time goes by and you cannot bring yourself to open them.

And this is why I admire Dr. Sparky and his quest.   And I thought I could begin a literary quest on my own.  I decided not to tackle the classics like Dr. Sparky, but wanted to stay within my comfort zone.   I wanted to discover new authors and books considered to be the best of the best.   And I wanted to read books written over time, and not just in the last few years. 

So, I chose to follow the winners of the Edgar Allen Poe awards.  The Edgars started in 1946 and are sponsored by the Mystery Writer’s of America.   They began given awards to the best first novel from an American author, and then, in 1954, added a best novel category.   It is the best novels that I am focusing on.  And I have my work cut out for me!

Luckily the  Edgar database can help me keep track of the winners and a handy print out lets me check out what I have read and keep a tally of what I need to read.

Of course, this will not be an exclusive task, I still will be reading other novels, peppering my reading with as many books as I can get my hands on.  But it will give me a task that I can work on, and I can share the results with you.

Unfortunately, many of the early winners are now out of print, and I will have to call the city library, do an interlibrary loan, or try to purchase them on Ebay in order to read them.  But it will be well worth it.

Starting with a Dram of Poison by Charlotte Armstrong,  the Edgar winner in 1957, I am working on my own literary journey!  I hope you stick around for the ride!


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. urspo  |  May 12, 2007 at 6:11 am

    thank you for stopping by my place in the past few days. I am honored! I hope to stick around for the ride too.

  • 2. Dr. Sparky  |  May 12, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Good luck! I’m doing pretty well on my quest, but it is still early. We shall see . . .

  • 3. Bunny Lynn Boofay  |  May 12, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    I ain’t been a readin’ much lately. I think I’ll stop by the book store today an’ see if’in’ I can find somethin’ good. Thanks Doug Darlin’ for the insperation.

    Huggs, etc…


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