Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In the Words of Mark Twain...

"A Classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read." (Here's looking at you Epic Book Blog)
Even though my reading has been sporadic this summer between moving, working, trying to write, my cat having a bladder infection, I have conquered my shameful secret of never having read The Great Gatsby and it was rather enjoyable. I'm almost finished A Farewell to Arms now, though it's depressing me greatly. Still there are so many other classics I really ought to read. None of them are as shame-making as Gatsby, but still. Here are some books I'd like to tackle soon:
Moby Dick by Herman Mellville
Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Dubliners by James Joyce
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Possession by A.S. Byatt
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Middlemarch by George Elliot

What is your list of unread classics (shameful or otherwise)?


  1. Would like to read more of Elizabeth Gaskell, as I've only read "North & South" (and that was only because of the BBC miniseries). Seen bits of "Cranford", which I believe is hers as well.

    I read "Moby Dick" some years ago, but I'm not sure I finished it. I might have gone to the point of "oh would ya look at that, the library wants it back tomorrow" and casually "forget" that I could just extend the loan!

    Classics to read ... would like to read James Joyce, I think. "Lolita" would be fab, as I came up with a whole roleplaying plot after watching the movie (the Jeremy Irons version), which turned the lives of two characters around in a rather major way. *cough*

    Almost finished reading all the Brontë novels, then I need to read the majority of Austen novels I haven't yet read, and I've got Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and Bram Stoker's "Dracula" lined up somewhere down the line.

    Not too fussed about reading all the Big Classics, because I'm not taken with the idea of reading a book just because it's a classic. I'd rather read a book because I want to read it for myself, not because "it's a Classic, so I must read it". "Dr. Zhivago" and "Ivanhoe" - happy to watch them on DVD (with Sam Neill as Komarovsky AND Brian de Bois-Guilbert, rowr!). War and Peace? Meh. Ohh, tell ya what, actually. Charles Dickens, now there's an author I both should and want to read! And Oscar Wilde. And, of course, DH Lawrence. :)

  2. Love Wilde! Not a huge fan of Dickens I must admit, though I'd like to give him another try one of these days. I would never try War and Peace... well I shouldn't say never, but I couldn't even finish Anna Karenina last summer.
    Mostly it's not because their "classic" that I feel I should read them so much as, because I'm an English major I feel I should have a working knowledge of important literary works. It'll also help out in lit classes, I'm taking American Lit this coming semester and I realized I've read very little important American literature.

  3. Some of the biggies on my list:

    Tolstoy's Anna Karenina
    D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers
    Gaskell's North and South (but I want to see the DVD first)
    George Eliot, Middlemarch
    Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
    Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

    Of the ones on your list, I've read Lolita (several times -- love that book! Nabokov's Pale Fire is also great), Dubliners (very much enjoyed it especially the last novella), and Possession (very, very good book but hmm... too cerebral, maybe? I felt like there wasn't quite enough heart in it).

  4. Good list, I'm currently working through Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and will be reading some DH Lawrence for one of my challenges this fall.
    Thanks for the tip- if I like Lolita, I'll try Pale Fire.
    I managed to finish the first of the eight books that make up Middlemarch this past winter, but then the cast of characters changes completely and I had trouble keeping interested. I would like to finish it though.