I'm fairly sure that there are hundreds of books I 'ought' to have read, but for one reason or another never have. Lots of the "classics" that I can't get on with, often because the language in them is too archaic or whatever. I've read almost nothing by Virginia Woolf or Thomas Hardy, DH Lawrence or James Joyce. I've read nothing (other than what I had to for my Latin O level) by any of the Roman or Greek authors (ooh, except Tacitus writing about ancient Britain), and hardly anything by French greats such as Camus, Sartre, Voltaire, Baudelaire etc.
I should also have read stuff by Mrs Gaskell, seeing as my Mum wrote a book about her, but I can't get on with all that 19th Century chick-lit (including Austen and the Brontes).
Ulysses. I think I ought to try reading it a page a day, but even that might prove too much. The thing to do would be to set up a blog
and enlighten the world with one's impressions every 24 hours. "Page 219: Erm, still not getting it. I'll try and sleep on it and get back to you tomorrow."
My list is a lot like Boris' - no Joyce or Lawrence - and I have read a few things by Camus and one thing by Satre (Nausea) but not much. I've never finished Moby Dick. I couldn't get through Catch 22 and haven't read much of more recent literary greats - nothing by Roth or Mailer or Delillo (is that his name?). I'm a failure as a human being, really.
Another one who occurs to me, who everyone seems to be raving about but who I've yet to grapple with, is Primo Levi. I'm sure I will get round to reading something by him sooner or later, but he's always been off my radar when looking for new material to read.
As a matter of fact, I'm almost done with the second Harry Potter book right now. Had listened to the first one on audiobook a long time ago on a road trip when our oldest daughter was then our only daughter, and she was younger. They're starting to put out really gorgeous illustrated versions of the books, and best of all they are unabridged. Book 1 came out last year, and Book 2 this year. She got Book 2 for Christmas, and we've been reading them to her before bed.
My wife read the entire series to our kids at bed time, and this is after reading all 7 on her own. I have no earthly idea how she did it. I dropped out midway through book two. She's doing the Fablehaven series now.
I've never read a Harry Potter book. I remember giving the first one a go, but it only took me about two pages to realise that it was the most badly written load of crap I'd ever opened. Just because they're supposed to appeal to 8 year-olds, that doesn't mean they have to look as if they're written by one.
I've never read anything by Charles Dickens, although I've enjoyed one or two film versions. Just couldn't get into them. By way of contrast I picked up Crime and Punishment in a charity shop and was surprised at how easy it was to get into (almost like a modern crime novel), although I had difficulty in remembering who was who because of the Russian names.
Don't think I've ever read Dickens, only seen adaptions. Nor George Eliot either. And Ulysses obviously, couldn't get past the first few hundred pages. Buck Mulligan seems a right cunt (and Daedalus not much better). Bloom seems a decent skin but.
And there are a number of philosophers I can summarize without having actually read their whole book/books. Who has time?
That's ultimately why I dropped out of academia. I want to live life, not spend my whole life reading what other people have to say about it. Indeed, when I first got into studying philosophy and religion, it was because I wanted to figure out what life was all about and how I should go about mine. I didn't want it to be an end in itself.
WOM wrote: My wife read the entire series to our kids at bed time, and this is after reading all 7 on her own. I have no earthly idea how she did it. I dropped out midway through book two. She's doing the Fablehaven series now.
Ah, it is easy. I have read
Elisa Cooper's Farm
well over two-hundred times. I know it back to front. Very excited for the point where the story actually keeps moving forward each bedtime.