Completists' Club discussion

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Cracking the Canon

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message 1: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Some distinctions to be made for different types of canon completion.

1. Everything & More

This is where you seek out every single scribble by your beloved writer with absolutely no exemptions. You read the tedious formative works and the uncollected dribblings. Straightforward in the case of Charlotte Bronte or J.D. Salinger. Not so simple for Gore Vidal. Think of all the plays not in print, the essay collections not in print, the tedious early war novels not in print. This is only an achievement if your chosen writer has more books than brain cells.

2. Selective Completion

If your writer is a prodigious bastard like Gore Vidal, it is still an achievement to have finished all the novels, for example. Your writer may also have written poetry volumes before becoming a novelist that don’t exist in print and impede your obsessive completion: provided the canon of novels is substantial, this still counts as a proper completion and achievement.

3. Discriminatory Completion

If your beloved writer has written a work so bad, or so long (and bad), that completion becomes a physical impossibility, and might put you in hospital, it is permissible to skip this book. But only in extreme circumstances, and with strict justification, can these books be omitted.


message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant I think you yourself should issue exemption certificates for category 3.


message 3: by Thom (new)

Thom Swennes (Yorrick) | 2 comments This year I have read (almost) all publications by Mark Twain. This includes all novels, novellas, short stories and newspaper articles. I’ve always had an affinity to Twain and enjoy everything I’ve read. Another author I have dedicated myself to reading this year is Charles Dickens. One may wonder why I chose those two authors and the answer is simple; both are long dead and I can fulfill my resolution and don’t have to wait for any additions. One of the greatest books (in my opinion) is Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. I wish I could say that about the few other novels he wrote. I couldn’t really get into any of them. I have always been an everything reader……I read anything in print and try to find the good in it.


message 4: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Paul wrote: "I think you yourself should issue exemption certificates for category 3."

We can assess each case on an individual basis, then arbitrarily discriminate, like what the government does with benefits.


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