The OF Blog: The Sadistic Reading Challenge

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Sadistic Reading Challenge

Lately, I have seen people on other blogs talk about the books they have been "challenged" to read.  Books that may come from say the Gollancz SF and Fantasy Masterworks list (thus the SFF Masterworks blog creation, and where I just posted a review of J.G. Ballard's The Drowned World) or perhaps some challenge that author Sam Sykes has put out to some online reviewers to read books (at his choosing) that would fall "out of their comfort zones."

All this is well and good.  But I started thinking about it a few days ago.  If online reviewers feel a sense of masochism, a desire to read books that may be "uncomfortable" for them, then there really should be a true reading challenge that meets this apparent need.  It should be a truly sadistic reading challenge, I believe.

Therefore, I am issuing an open challenge, to be called the Sadistic Reading Challenge.  Online reviewers who participate are asked to read and comment on any of the Marquis de Sade's literary output, which includes classics such as Justine, The 120 Days in Sodom, and Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man, among others listed here.  Reviews would be posted on each participant's blog or Livejournal and I would be happy to post links to them here.

So, is anyone up for this truly Sadistic Reading Challenge?


Paul said...

Sure, but I'm not doing 120 days of Sodom again, one reading was enough for at least the next ten years.

Larry Nolen said...

Ha! Perhaps we could talk Pat into reviewing it? ;)

Bill said...

I'm in. I've been wanting to read his stuff for a while now anyway, as research for my WIP. I'm showing Justine and 120 Days as the top choices on Amazon (and am inclined towards the former).

Unless you have a suggestion that would be more profound?

Nephtis said...

You ought to include Baron Von Masoch on the list. For a balanced perpective.

Larry Nolen said...

I thought about it, but decided that could wait for the Masochistic Reading Challenge, perhaps later this year.

Eileen said...

Meh. I'm already participating in a Horrible Dare Challenge hosted by Raych of books i done read. I'm sure Mr. de Sade pales in comparison to the horror that was L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad. I now have two YA Twilight rip-offs to look forward to. Oh joy.

Jason said...

I'm no prude. And I love a pretty wide swath of literature, from Ulysses to How It Is. And I have a pretty high tolerance for pain in the name of art; e.g. I often love Lars von Trier.

But just skimmed through 120 Days, after seeing it mentioned here, out of curiosity.

Please excuse the naivete of my reaction. But... but... what? why? why?

James said...

Hmm, maybe. I am inclined towards masochism, so I may wait for that challenge. ;)

Anonymous said...


Read 120 days and Justine my freshman year on the strong recommendation of my advisor/prof for a course on the 18C French novel. I'll second Jason and say I'm quite comfortable reading explicit sex scenes but, ick, yuck, no I really don't need to read again about the joys brought about by killing someone while anally raping them. The non-sex stuff is cliched, the prose is turgid; the only redeeming features are shock value and familiarity with a famous piece of literature.

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