Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Invitation to Read Along...


As the New Year begins, Terri and I will embark on a new project. We're going to read Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. This 18th century masterpiece, subtitled Or the History of a Young Lady, is an epistolary novel composed of 537 letters dated from January 10 through December 18. At roughly 1500 pages, we'll try to read the letters around their corresponding dates. This should provide at least a loose structure to the venture.

Plot synopsis (from amazon):
Pressured by her unscrupulous family to marry a wealthy man she detests, the young Clarissa Harlowe is tricked into fleeing with the witty and debonair Robert Lovelace and places herself under his protection. Lovelace, however, proves himself to be an untrustworthy rake whose vague promises of marriage are accompanied by unwelcome and increasingly brutal sexual advances. And yet, Clarissa finds his charm alluring, her scrupulous sense of virtue tinged with unconfessed desire. Told through a complex series of interweaving letters, Clarissa is a richly ambiguous study of a fatally attracted couple and a work of astonishing power and immediacy. A huge success when it first appeared in 1747, and translated into French and German, it remains one of the greatest of all European novels.

I will be reading a very hefty (nearly 3 pound!) Penguin Classics edition, while Terri has the tome downloaded on her e-reader. We don't have a firm posting schedule set, but are leaning toward monthly progress updates. We'll be chatting on twitter, too. Would you like to join us?


42 comments:

  1. Reading the letters around the dates they were fictiously written on sounds like such fun! I may join you, yes :)

    I think I'll go with the ebook version ;)

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  2. I was planning on reading this with Jillian (from A Room of One's Own) in April. I'll definitely come and discuss with you guys!

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  3. I read this once many years ago - and I'll be following this with interest! I like the idea of reading according to the schedule of the letters.

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  4. This sounds like a very interesting book. I don't think I can commit at the moment but I very much look forward to your posts and discussions.

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  5. I'm really looking forward to this!

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  6. Iris - We'd love to have you join us! Ebook may be a better way to go. My copy is very heavy, and it's a paperback.

    Allie - That's great!

    Lisa May - I've wanted to read this for years. Was so excited to see Terri was about to tackle it, too!

    Sam - I hope I don't have too hard a time slipping into the 18th century writing!

    Terri - Me, too. I actually weighed my book on the kitchen scale this morning - 2lb 12 oz. I'm wondering if I should be reading the ebook, too!

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  7. You're VERY ambitious - so good to have a reading/blogging friend to do this with. Have fun with the readalong.

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  8. I've had a copy of Clarissa for years, and I do like the idea of reading in line with the dates of the letters. So that's a yes!

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  9. I also like the idea that you're reading the book around the dates the letters were written. I'm tempted...

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  10. Dawn - I've wanted to read Clarissa for years, so when Terri said she was about to begin I couldn't resist!

    Fleurfisher - Hurray!! I'm so glad you will join us!

    Leeswammes - You don't have to decide right away, Judith. The letters don't start until Jan 10, but you can jump in any time.

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  11. I thought about this one but I'm going to live vicariously through you!!!


    Love the header photo!!!

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  12. I know if I participate in this read-along, I'm going to fail! Instead I'll just cheer you guys on!

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  13. Sounds like a wonderful project--count me in. Now I just need to decide--Nook or book?

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  14. I read the Penguin edition maybe 15 years or so ago-I am intrigued by the idea of reading them over a course of a year-I am pretty sure I will join in via a down load to my e-reader-

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  15. So when I saw that Terri was reading this I kind of scoffed at her a bit. ;) This is one of those books I was assigned in grad school but just didn't get all the way through.

    But, you know how I feel about readalongs. And a whole year? Will think a bit about it.

    Header is GORGEOUS.

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  16. I'd really like to join you, JoAnn. I don't know this book well but I wanted to read it several years ago when I learned of it.
    I also want to read classics that I've never read or that I read years ago. I say this often and then fail to follow up. Maybe reading with some friends will get me off to a good start!

    I'm going to read the paperback version but I honestly might end up physically dividing the book into parts depending on how difficult it is to manage because of the size!

    To make sure i've got this right, The plan is to read the letters on or around the dates corresponding to when they were written? So this is a year long plan? As I typed this out and thought about it I realized I love this idea, it's brilliant and fun!

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  17. I am a bit intimidated, as the e-book comes in 9 volumes! However, it does sound like a classic I really should have read by now. I think I'll join you.

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  18. Staci - Glad you like the photo. Our snow is almost all melted again.

    Vasilly - We may need all the support we can get. Thanks!

    Shelley - That's great!! I put my book on the kitchen scale and it weighs 2 3/4 pounds. Will that help your decision? ;-)

    Mel U - If it's good enough for you to consider a reread, I am very encouraged! Hope you decide to join us.

    Trish - Hurray for read-alongs! :-)

    Amy - The book is huge... what a great idea to divide it yourself! I may actually have to do that, too. So happy to have you read with us!

    Col - That's fantastic!! I am overwhelmed at the number of people who are interested in reading Clarissa. My paperback is 1500+ pages, but I did notice that it's also available in separate volumes, too.

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  19. Oh, I was going to say what Allie said -- I'm reading it in April with her. I'll be back to discuss. Can't wait!!

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  20. Oh, is this tempting. But I am already quaking at my commitment to read 1Q84 and all the Harry Potters. So many books to read - and I don't think I have ever heard of this one until today.

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  21. Wow what an undertaking! 3 lbs.! I did get them from Kobo for the ereader but have not attempted them yet. I love the frosty picturer on your header! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  22. Jillian - I'll look forward to discussing with you in April!

    Care - Looks like you already have some pretty hefty commitments for the new year! We'll be here if you change your mind ;-)

    Peggy - This may just be the text that convinces me to get an ereader! Hope you decide to read with us:-) Merry Christmas!

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  23. I do appreciate an eReader for big big chunkster books. :) Have a great time reading this one - I will enjoy your reviews and updates instead.

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  24. I love the idea of the corresponding dates and I was already going to at least try this next year, so I'm in! :) My arms are thanking heaven for my Nook right about now. hehe

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  25. I started reading this today! So whilst I won't be reading to an exact schedule, I'd love to check in for discussions about it :)

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  26. Eva - Yay!! So glad you're going to read with us.

    Charlottereadsclassics - Look forward to reading your thoughts on Clarissa, no matter what schedule you choose!

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  27. I'll join you - love the idea of reading to the dates and sounds as if it will be a fun reading experience.

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  28. I've got to say, you're all going to have such a wonderful time with this! I finished it in November and it is absolutely one of my favourite books ever! :)

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  29. I made my own resolution to get this done (so I have read all the 'big' eighteenth century novels by the end of this year,) I would love to read along.

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  30. Theeclecticreader, Cat, I lodge in Grub Street - I'm so happy you've decided to read with us! Can't wait to get started on our project.

    o - It will be wonderful to have you join our discussion. I look forward to chatting with you about Clarissa this year.

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  31. I'd love to join in with this. I've got the first volume downloaded to my ereader and am looking forward to starting it!

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  32. shereadsnovels - I'm glad you've decided to join us!

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  33. I am so in. The plan for reading this on the corresponding dates is ingenious. I don't think I am brave enough to read Clarissa on my own, so this readalong might help. Can't wait!

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  34. tasseled - Welcome aboard! I think Clarissa is almost too overwhelming to just pick up and read by yourself. Hopefully this project will provide both loose structure and motivation for all of us. Looking forward to the first letter...

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  35. What a fun idea! I started this, but found myself rushing through it (I had a bad habit of skimming books when I first started using my e-Reader, I guess from the habit of skimming when reading online). I think spreading it out over the year on the corresponding days would be quite fun, so count me!

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  36. Lindsey - That's great! Glad to have you read along with us.

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  37. I now have my copy of this brick, er... I mean book. :) Looking forward to getting started on Tuesday. :)

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  38. I am in. I read the preface and the first day's letters today. Will there be structured posting etc?

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  39. Literate Housewife - So glad to have you reading with us!

    Mel U - We will collect posts at the end of each month. Details in the tab at the top of the blog.

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  40. I'm going to jump in on this -- I can't resist. Always wanted to read this -- so thanks for hosting!

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  41. Audra - That's great! There were only 6 letters for January, so you'll have no problem jumping right in.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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