Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Books I Haven't Read but Should

In David Lodge's book, "Changing Places" there is a game wherein the participants admit to not having read something which is considered de rigour.  In this contest of "Humiliations,"  the protagonist eventually confesses in his desire to win the game more than to consider the consequences of his admission (He's a professor at a university), that he has never read "Hamlet." 

As an English major in college, the list of what I haven't read has always exceeded the list I have and the "important" books I've avoided continue to nag like a to-do list that I actually want to do but often forget to get around to in the course of every day life.  That being said, here are ten books/works of literature I hope to get to in the next 12 months and admit I have yet to read:

10) A Tale of Two Cities  While I've read Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol and Our Mutual Friend, this one remains on my haven't got around to it list.

9) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer --I read Huck Finn and Roughing it and Connecticut Yankee but not this one. 

8) The Sound and The Fury. --Actually, I've read this but acknowledge when I did read it, I really really really struggled and didn't get it so I'm going to try again.

7) The Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers   --never read them.

6)  Some books, you read and they stick. (For me, the Illiad, Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, anything by Pope, Swift, O'Connor).  I read the Great Gatsby, but I was a freshman in college and don't remember squat.   Figured I'm due.

5) James Joyce's Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man --fuzzy memories from high school of this, nothing more.

4) War and Peace --this is why I don't have 12 books with one for each month, I know this will take a bit of doing.

3) Summa Theologica  --was given a glimpse into it back in college but only a glimpse.

2) Jane Eyre --I did drawings for friends for their assignments on this book when I was a sophomore though I never read the book. Must have sketched three red rooms in one lunch period. 

1) Titus Andronicus --why?  Because it's important to remember that even the greatest of writers wrote some major clunkers and so it's reassuring when one is stuck in the throws of writer's block to see that sometimes, not being able to write, might be better than writing something like this...based on what I've heard. 

If you'ld like to play along, link back to this post and list 10-12 books you think you should read but haven't and hope to get to in the next 12 months. --Now, time to hit the books.


Karen said...

I've tackled most of your list but will add a few recommendations and omissions of my own.

Catch 22
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Brideshead Revisited
The Man Who Died
Love in the Time of Cholera
Cat's Cradle
The Road

My Omissions (but will read someday soon):
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Am I the only person on the planet who has not yet read this?)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Any Harry Potter book
Dr. Zhivago
The Invalid (in French and English)
Lady Chatterly's Lover

One last bit of gratuitous advice - Never waste your time with clunkers or War and Peace. Life is too short.

MightyMom said...

well, I could just list out all the book on my audiobooks list!! haha.

desperately trying to get through Moby Dick right now. ugh. I may never finish this awful sea story. And yet Bartleby the Schrivener is one of the best things ever written. odd.

In addition to or instead of a tale of two cities I'd say you should read Hard Times. It's characterizations and fundamental story is much more rich at least to me.

I just started a translation of The Canterbury Tales and it's fascinating!! (thank goodness for translations)

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