I just moved into a new apartment last weekend, and I'm currently in the middle of rebuilding my bookshelves and putting my many (many!) books back on them. As I re-shelve the books, I'm reminded of how many I still need to read, and I feel a great motivation to get started on that. We'll see how long that lasts, but sometimes my whims are stronger and longer-lasting than firm convictions.
In the meantime, I'm going to play a game. There are all sorts of "You really should read all of these books" lists, compiled by all sorts of people. What I'd like to do is, over the next however-long, is to compile some of these lists, see which books on those lists I've already read, which ones I have no desire to read, and then maybe get started on a comprehensive To-Read List.
Today, I'm gonna start with the 40 books British librarians think everyone should read.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Believe it or not, I managed to escape from the American public school system never having read this one. I'm pretty sure it was a case of: I left one school before it came up on the syllabus, and arrived at the next after they'd already covered it. This happened a number of times, in a number of subjects. I've rectified some of those omissions. I suppose I should suck it up and get myself of a copy and officially join the ranks of the well-read, right?
No. Just no. Next!
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
How many hardcore fantasy fans haven't read these? Well, there's at least one. I know. I mean, my god, I like epic fantasy. But every time I've opened up The Hobbit or The Fellowship of the Ring, I've been bored to tears. I suppose I'll give them another go, one day.
1984 by George Orwell
Check! Now this one I read and adored. I always mean to go back and reread it, but there are just too many other good things I haven't read at all yet. But, yeah, this one's covered.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Hm. I've seen about a million different movie versions.
And my favorite is the Muppet version. Shut up, don't judge me. Does that count? I'm thoroughly tired of the plot, and I'm not a big enough fan of Dickens to slog through the wordcount, just to be able to say that I read the original words. Next
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This book is very high up on my waiting list, vying for place with one or two Jane Austen books. My reasons for not having read this (or the Austen books) are really too stupid to commit to writing, but I'mma fix that soon.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This book, I did not escape reading in high school. I don't think I particularly enjoyed it at the time, but looking back, it really was quite good. I've developed a taste, in the intervening years, for Regency romances and comedies of manners, so I'd like to go back and read this one again. After I've made my way through some of Austen's other books, which I haven't yet had the chance to read.
All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque
Another one to go on the To Read List.
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Started reading The Golden Compass a few years back, and stopped in the middle for reasons I don't quite recall. Will definitely need to go back and start over, and hopefully finish this time.
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Never so much as heard of this one. I'll look it up when I have more time than at the moment.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I've always had a curious aversion to John Steinbeck, though I'm not quite sure why. I've never read anything he's written, so I don't even know if I dislike him or not. I think I've always associated him with Hemingway, and oh, how I hate Hemingway. One of these days, I'll get over myself and try reading this, though.
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
This is another of those books that I missed in school by merest mischance. It's been on my list for years and years now, but I just never quite get around to it. I will, though, absolutely. I've wanted to read this one forever.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
This one has been on my radar for a while, but I never thought too hard about reading it. I'll need to look into it again.
Tess of the D'urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
Read about a quarter of this in high school. It was a quarter of a novel too much. I was rather proud of how well I did on the test, considering how little of the book I'd read, but nothing could get me to pick the damned thing back up.
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Never read the books, just saw the cartoons. Perhaps I'll pick this up sometime, but I feel like there should be a kid somewhere in the equation, and there is a distinct (and welcome!) lack of kidlets in my life. We'll see.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Read this in high school, loved every minute of it!
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
I suppose I'll add this to The List. I am dubious, but I'm willing to give it a go.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
I've seen this book. Long book is long. But, I'll give it a try; on The List it goes.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I've read this book. I know I have. I'm... next to positive that I read the whole thing -- I distinctly (well... indistinctly) remember the hero (old What'shisface) in London, doing... something. He was... in a house. Um. I dunno. Trying to remember what I read is making me just curious enough that I might go back and read the damnable thing again, my dislike of Dickens to the side.
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
This one is definitely on The List!
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I remember at one point (probably around the time the movie came out) having a vague kind of desire to read this. I might, still. On The List it goes, and we'll see if I ever get around to it.
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
I'm a little fuzzy on what this book is actually about, although I suppose I could take a guess. I'll have to look into it a bit more.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
As far as I'm concerned, David Copperfield is a magician in Vegas. I'm just not that fond of Dickens, really. Skip.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I've picked this up several times in bookstores before, and I've always put it down, uninterested. I think I'm just going to skip this one, unless someone gives me a good reason not to.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
I'd actually never heard of this one until about two or three weeks ago, when I saw it at Half-Price Books. The copy I saw there didn't look like a great translation, so I didn't buy it, but I got home, and it went immediately on my Amazon wishlist. I will definitely get around to this one!
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
This one's been on The List for years. I will read it! One day...
Middlemarch by George Eliot
I've been meaning, in a vague sort of way, to give this one a try.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Here's another one I've picked up a few times, and then put down, deciding I wasn't interested. I was so uninterested, in fact, that despite having read the back of the book no fewer than three times in the past year or two, I don't remember what it was about. Skipping.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
On The List.
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn
Never heard of it. I've read The Death of Ivan Ilyich, if that counts. Will look into it.