One of the first tenets in the writing world is to be well-read.
It’s one of those givens…in order to be a good writer you must read – a lot.
What should prospective writers read? you ask…
The accepted philosophy is anything and everything – whether it’s Gone With the Wind or the back of your cereal box.
Well…I have a confession to make, but before I bare my soul…I want to say that I do love to read. I read as much as I can (when I’m not writing) so I would like you to take that fact into consideration as you read on.
This is my confession (I feel like I should genuflect and cross myself or something)…
There are many great…no CLASSIC works of literature I have not read.
Sometimes when I’m with other writers I feel somewhat ashamed when the conversation turns to Dickens or Shelley or Verne, because I’ve never read them, but I hide it well and I’ve learned to bluff my way through the conversation.
Now it’s time to ‘fess up…I’m going to list 10 classic novels I have never read.
Why am I doing this?
Well, ordinarily I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I think when 2015 gets here I am going to make a concerted effort to read more – starting with some classics.
So, without further ado…
10 Classic Novels I Have Never Read
10) Pretty much anything by Charles Dickens. I’ve seen many of the movies/plays, but I have never finished a Charles Dickens novel. They were assigned reading in high school (David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations) but I could never get past the first few chapters. I blame it on the distractions of youth.
9) Ditto for Ernest Hemingway. More assigned reading in high school (The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms & The Old Man and the Sea) which I never bothered to read. Once again…chalk it up to a wandering teenage mind.
8) 1984 by George Orwell. Another example of assigned reading that took a back seat to girls and baseball. Even though I’ve learned a great deal about the story by osmosis I have yet to actually read it.
7) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I’ve never even seen the movie. Horror just isn’t my thing – although I do appreciate the metaphor of people creating a monster and not being able to deal with it afterward.
6) On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Even though I’ve always considered myself more of a hippy than a beatnik – Kerouac’s handbook for the Beat Generation seems to be going strong even after 57 years, so it must have something really cool to say, daddy-o.
5) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. More classic literature I was supposed to read in high school. Judging by the classroom discussions, it’s a fairly interesting story, but I still don’t know for sure. I’m not really a high society kind of guy.
4) Animal Farm by George Orwell. Naturally I’m familiar with the concept, and I love political satire, but the fact remains I’ve never read a single word of it.
3) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I’ve heard many things about this book. Unfortunately, thanks to some of the more deranged members of our society, I have avoided reading it. That needs to change.
2) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. A Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by a Nobel Prize winner, this tale of American history should be a must read for every citizen…at least that’s what I’ve heard.
1) Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. I know, probably not the most influential novel of all time, but it’s about the military (I love books about the military) it’s about bureaucratic logic (or the lack thereof) another theme near and dear to my heart. I remember my mother reading this book when I was young and she seemed to really enjoy it. I’ve seen the movie and loved it, so it’s high-time for me to read the book.
They say confession is good for the soul…I think it’s true. I feel better now that I’ve come clean about my lack of literary diversity. This is not to say that I am totally lacking in that department…I’ve read many classics, but the majority of my reading is contemporary, and not considered classic.
They also say that knowing you have a problem is half the battle…so I’m halfway home – I just need a good book for the rest of the trip!
What classics are on your list? Share them in the comments if you dare!
As always – thank you for reading