Thursday, March 5, 2009

BTT - 3.5.09

I really like this week's question:

We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

I am fairly certain that I have previously shared on this blog that I really have not read many of the classics that all "should have" read. I feel so very unworthy of being called an English teacher. However, I am trying to make up for lost time, and teaching British Literature has helped in that area. There are still many, many worthwhile books that have not quite made it to my reading list. Those that I might consider "the best" include:
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison. I know that I will read this book before I pass on. I must. However, I know that I must "psyche myself up" to read to it before I begin. I have a very hard time handling such brutality and injustice in our world -- even though I know it exists.
  • Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. I have read so few Russian authors - and that is a huge shame on me. There is much that I can learn from this great classic (but to find the time to read this chunkster is the intimidating factor)
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I am ashamed to say that I have read very little by 20th century British Literature authors. I would very much like to read Woolf, and this one seems to be the quintessential choice.
  • Faulkner --- anything by Faulkner (I have absolutely read none of his works). I have read some 20th century American workds (namely, Of Mice and Men and the Great Gatsby -- both of which were read several decades ago in high school). I almost feel like a traitor to my own country.
  • Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover. I would consider this a contemporary classic - but one that I know I must find the time read at some point.
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I am really fascinated by psychology. In fact, if it didn't require one to take so much science - I am sure that I would have seriously considered becoming a psychologist. This book has been on my radar for quite sometime, yet somehow it is always overthrown by a more "urgent" read.
I am sure there are many, many other novels that I have not read that I truly must read in my lifetime. I purchased the book 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die --- but I have not read much of it. I am afraid that I will become too depressed because at the age of 49 years and 3 months, I only have a limited time. Then of course, there are all those books that I have read -- but I truly feel the need to read again:
  • Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. I read this in high school. I am sure it will be an entirely different book when read as a middle aged woman.
  • Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. Again, another high school read that would probably take on an entirely different meaning when read with my current level of maturity.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I did not like this book as a young girl, but I think it is because I read it when I was too young to understand. I think the story would probably be much more endearing to me now that I have raised two daughters.
How about you? Have you given any thought to the great books that you have NOT read? It is something worth pondering :)


  1. I re-read Little Women every few years! Like you, I did not like it when I read it in middle school, but love it now. Be sure to find time for Poisonwood Bible!

  2. Beloved, Mrs. D, and C&P are all books I need to read, too, with C&P at the top of the list. My book club read Poisonwood Bible. I liked it, but one member claimed that it 'changed her life'. We still tease her about that!

    As I Lay Dying was my first Faulkner. I read it last year and loved it. Light in August will be next.

    There are quite a few books I need to read again...The Grapes of Wrath is at the top of that list.

  3. Beloved is a tough read - both for the confusion of the story line, and the harrowing scenes it contains. It is only when you finish it that you realise how powerful it is. It's well worth the effort.

    I haven't read any of the others yet, but I really should!

  4. I have a lot of interest in The Poisenwood Bible as well! I've also wanted to re-read The Bell Jar for some time now. I read it in HS, but feel I'd get more out of it now as an adult. Great list of books you mentioned!

  5. My oh my you have some great books on your list. I like Faulkner, the Bell Jar is definitely worth reading.

  6. Beloved and Crime and Punishment are two books that I probably never would have picked up but was required to read for school. I'm so glad I had to, because they are two of my favorite books.

    I thought I was going to hate C&P because I really did not get along with Ana Karenina. I want to try again sometime, but in the 11th grade, it just didn't do it for me. C&P surprised me, both with how quick of a read it was and how much I liked the story. Good stuff.

    Beloved was one that I didn't love while I was reading it, but after I finished it, it quickly made its way to the top of my favorites list. Definitely read that one!

    Poisonwood Bible is a must read! I read that one for a paper I wrote and I loved it.

  7. I loved Beloved, The Bell Jar and The Poisonwood Bible. I still haven't had the chance to work through anything Tolstoy though.

  8. Great List--all books I have not read either! There just is not enough time, is there?
    Hope you have a great weekend. :)

  9. Oh, I'm close to finishing The Bell Jar and I can only recomment it! I hope you'll find the time to read it soon :-)


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