Reading Challenge # 3: Smooth Criminals

Well, here’s my third Reading Challenge for the year 2012. The Smooth Criminals Reading Challenge hosted by Dead EndFollies. The goal is to read books in Eight different categories. The categories (as explained by the host) are:

Hardboiled Classic

What is hardboiled? It’s up to you to find out. I’ll drop two names though. Chandler, Hammett, rings a bell? There are other hardboiled novelist (better even), you just have to look them up.

Noir Classic

There is a difference is between hardboiled and noir. When you look at it, it’s rather evident, but I’ll let you investigate it for now. Two pioneers of the style are James M. Cain and David Goodis. You can start there.

Read: The Story of Ivy by Belloc Lowndes (1927)

Prison Book

It can be a novel, or it can be narrative non-fiction. Prison is a very powerful narrative device and a lot of great writers that have written books about it.

 Book written by a writer who did time

Writers often provoke and often live within the margins of society. There’s a rather large number of them that have been prison walls. Read one of them, see if it influenced his/her writing.

Book with psychopath protagonist

What’s a psychopath exactly? I’ll leave you do find out. You’ll see there is an impressive number of them in the history of literature.

Read: Drood by Dan Simmons (2009)

Gothic Novel

That deserves some explanation. The concept of literary genres really took its stride when Gothic fiction was invented. It’s debatable that there were older examples, but it’s Gothic that changed the game. It birthed many genres like Southern Gothic, crime, science-fiction and dark romance, but it’s still a genre going strong today. You might want to read an older Gothic novel (Walpole, Poe, etc.) or a more recent one, but it has to be Gothic. No, Southern Gothic isn’t a part of this. It’s a different thing.

Read: The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl (2009)

Classic where the plot revolves around a crime

Easy peasy. It just can’t be an all out crime novel. Not every literary classic turn around a crime but maybe twenty or thirty percent are.

Read: The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens (1870)

The “Why the hell am I doing this to myself?” book

Read a book that looks menacing from the store shelves. A novel (or narrative non-fiction) that looks like the most daunting task to you. PICK UP THAT THING AND READ IT, SOLDIER!

If you are unsure about any category, you can mail the host at benoitlelievre (at) gmail (dot) com with SMOOTH CRIMINALS in the Subject Line. And you have to post your reviews. For further details, go here:
Right now, I plan to read  a Hammet and an Archer for this one, the rest I will choose as the year progresses.

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