So Emily over at Telecommuter Talk and I are on the same frame of mind, since we both were looking at the new Oprah magazine on the newsstands for the same 'Summer books' article. I came away thinking I'd got off rather lightly since for once, as none of the books seemed to catch my interest. Then Emily went and got inspired from the same article , and here is her meme that I'm borrowing because I think it's fun and interesting: what books have you planned to read for years, and never have gotten around to? what have you never read? In Emily's words, it's true confession time, and in the spirit of sharing the shame, here are my ten books that I've meant to read, but never got around to:
1. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy. I have bought at least two copies, no, three, over the years, and I still haven't got past the first page. I used to take it with me on holidays as my "I have lots of time to read on my vacation" book, but lately I've given up on even that. I don't know why I haven't read it, I want to!!
2. Any book by Charles Dickens. *hangs head in deep, deep shame* I am buying them now. Ever since I saw the latest version of Bleak House on tv (the version with Gillian Anderson) I have realized that maybe Charles isn't quite so wordy as I thought once. Plus, Dr Who made him cool in their first season episode where the world-weary Charles finds there is something unexplained in the universe after all. I own David Copperfield and Great Expectations. Which one should I start with? And why can't I find Bleak House anywhere?
3. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger. I was such an angry teenager, already in danger of great disaffection to hide the disappointments in my life, that when I read the first page of this book, I got so mad at the insufferable main character - what did he know about suffering? About pain so deep there wasn't words? I put the book down and have never picked it up again. Lately I've been wondering if I've finally put my teen angst away enough that I can try this. Maybe.
4. Anything by Robertson Davies. *hangs Canadian head in shame*. My friend and book-twin Bybee at Naked Without Books has a book-crush on him, making me feel like I might be missing something after all. But not enough to actually pick up a book yet. It must be his beard.
5. Books I've been meaning to read, and have started, but never finished: Little, Big by John Crowley, Possession by AS Byatt, and Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. There must be something wrong with me. Almost everyone loves these books passionately, and they left me bored, yawning, falling asleep even, and I can't remember any of the characters names, even though I've tried to read all three within the last two years. Maybe I'm not a 'everyone loves this' kind of book reader. Maybe they just aren't for me. I'm still disappointed though, because I went in with such high expectations of really enjoying each of them. See? true confessions of a book reader.......I'm sure you all feel much better about yourselves as book readers after seeing my failures!
6 and 7. Homer - The Iliad and The Odyssey. I own these now. They are referenced in so much. I do, I really want to read these. I am embarrassed that I haven't read them yet! How can I be a reader and a writer and not read two of the best and oldest written adventures in the world?
8. Ulysses - James Joyce. I have long, long wanted to read this book. I own the unabridged version, recently acquired. I think I'm afraid to pick it up and find I don't like it, after waiting so long. This one requires a big dose of courage.
9. Le Mort D'Arthur - Thomas Mallory. *shuffles feet. Stares fixedly at the ground.*
10. Earthsea Trilogy - Ursula K. LeGuin. One of the finest fantasy trilogies ever, even my 21 year old son has read it, but I have not. I think my mother has too. What am I waiting for?
So there you have it. A small fraction of the books I have not read yet, that I want to read. An embarrassing collection of mostly great books that have slipped through my reading hands. The emphasis is on want - these aren't books I feel I should read, anymore. I want to read them. Well, maybe Robertson Davies falls into the 'should' read category still.
How about you, dear reader? What books do you feel you should have ready by now, and haven't? what books have you really, really wanted to read, and have never gotten around to reading yet? Please feel free to take this meme and run with it. After all, what's a little shame between book friends?