Time to draw breath at this point and say a few things about what I have done and where I will be going from here.
Firstly, after six months I have read and blogged my thoughts on 23 titles covering from 2000 BC to around 500 BC, roughly the first 1500 years. I have not read every extant piece of writing available from that period by any means, but have certainly looked at the more familiar and renowned titles, and I feel comfortable that I have achieved what I wanted to at this point, and I am eager to move on. My favourite book this year was undoubtedly The Ramayana, with The Odyssey a close second.
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Secondly, I must admit that from this point on, European literature (and later English literature) will form the bulk of titles being read. There are a number of reasons for this (i) my own Western background and lack of language skills, (ii) the ease of availability of these works to a reader with my resources, and (iii) the building of a cohesive and structured reading plan which builds directly upon what has been read before, so essentially the ‘Western Canon’.
Already, I have come to realise that there are many works of literature throughout China, India, the Arab world and elsewhere that I was not even aware of, yet will not be reading, although I will include those most familiar to Western audiences (The Tales of 1001 Nights, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and more)
So with a New Year upon us, I turn towards the plays of the classical period of Ancient Greece, and acknowledge that the next 12 months will be focused mostly on this area. The dating of most works from now on can be a little more precise, compared to the previous titles which were lucky to be tied down to a particular century with any certainty. Also we can start to see more than one surviving work by the same author, as up until now only Homer has had the luck to have had more than one substantial work reach us intact.
So from Kimmy and I, we wish all readers, regular, occasional, and new, a year full of peace, prosperity and enjoyable reading.