Sunday, 13 December 2009

Sunday Salon: The Nobel Edition

The Sunday
What Caught My Fancy This Week

The 10th of December every year the Nobel Prizes are given out. Growing up this was a time when my mum and I would sit down and watch the dinner. Yep you read that right, we watch people eat. Seeing what food is served was always exciting (my irreverent first years wondered if you didn’t like the food could you order pizza). We also watch to see what everyone is wearing, kind of like the pre-Oscars show. Critiquing and commentating. It is always a lot of fun. And I firmly believe that honouring science and thought this way is an inspiration. I wish that this event was shown more (also then the maker of A Beautiful Mind would know that the Nobel Prize Winners DO NOT give speeches* (well the winner of the Peace Prize does but not at the ceremony in Stockholm). I stop the movie before that. It is a good movie but that bugs the h*ll out of me). By making science and thought cool we could help the world (sorry for the soapbox)
*They give speeches at the dinner and if you have a chance listen to the speech by on of the winners of the Prize in Medicine. It was funny and she was so elegant and passionate.
In honour of the Nobel Prize I thought I would look at the Literature Prize winners I have read. It is a rather paltry number. I haven’t even read all the Swedish winners (I’ll attempt to blame my high school teachers here but the truth is I have probably read more than most Swedes). Here we go:
1907: Rudyard Kipling. I read both The Jungle Book and The Just So Stories growing up, and as an adult “IF” is one of my all time favourite poems.
1909: Selma Lagerlöf. I have read Nils Holgerssons Resa. I hope that all Swedish children have read or been read this. I have not read any of her adult books though (the HL Swedish did but I did SL). Gösta Berlings Saga is on my TBR list.
1923: William Butler Yeats. I’ve read some of his poems. Not nearly enough to earn my English Major title though.
1948: T.S. Elliot. Again I’ve managed a few poems. Still it counts, right?
For whom the bell tolls 1954: Ernest Hemingway. I’ve read “Hills Like White Elephants” twice as a student and once as a teacher. I also read For Whom the Bell Tolls in high school and hated it. With a passion. Didn’t actually finish it *shhh* don’t tell my teacher.
1962: John Steinbeck. I read both Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath in high school. Didn’t like either. Maybe I should try them again.
1970: Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, read in high school. Seem to remember I found it depressing.
Nässlorna blomma 1974: Harry Martinsson. I read both Vägen till Klockrike (The Road) and Nässlorna blomma (Flowering Nettles) in high school. They were beautiful books.  
1983: William Golding. I read and saw the movie Lord of the Flies in high school. Scary book but one that lead to good discussions.
Okay that is a pitiful list. Some of the ones I haven’t read I am really embarrassed about (Toni Morrison being the first on this list). I need to read at least some more of them this coming year.
Full list of winners can be found here
Which Nobel Laureates have you read? Should someone who considers themselves well read have read them all (or at least a majority)? Or is it just a pretentious prize that no one cares about?


Reading has taken a backseat this week as I worked on the essay of doom. But I have been reading Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Reading this one for two challenges 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge and the 2010 Terry Pratchett Challenge (which started on December 1st).

I posted reviews for The Harper Hall Trilogy by Anne MacCaffrey

I’ve only got a few more challenge posts to go up this week. I am doing one post for each challenge for my own house keeping so that it is easier for me to keep track of where I am in the different ones.

Fun Stuff
bbhs_teaser_smallMy Book Blogger Holiday Swap Pressie arrived this week with lots of goodies!
Hope you join us for the Progressive Dinner Party this past week over at The Book Bloggers Social Club, there were loads of scrumptious looking recipes.

There is a great giveaway right now over at Bibliofreak. Click to Join the Great Kindle II GiveAway! and I get another entry (have I mentioned how much I really really want a Kindle?)


Nina said...

I like this post!
Have a great week!

Aarti said...

What a WONDERFUL tradition you have! I don't even think the Nobel dinner is televised here- though I admit I don't know for sure. Great post!

Kristen M. said...

I love the holiday header and side pictures!

I'm reading Kipling for the first time right now (The Jungle Book on my iphone) and I've also read Hemingway, Steinbeck, Garcia Marquez, William Golding, Toni Morrison and part of a Jose Saramago novel that I need to probably restart. I definitely need to pick up a few more Nobel authors as well!

I think it's difficult to gauge being well-read on this list because many of the authors are not readily available in a variety of languages. However, it's not a bad thing to use it as a reference for finding the best writers from certain cultures and countries.

Greg Zimmerman said...

Cool post! I refuse to pay any attention to the Nobel Prize for Literature until Philip Roth gets his just desserts! ;) (He's due any year now - and I'm gonna celebrate massively when he wins!)

Nice blog, too - I just found you and am following now.