Our quotation for this week comes from Mark Twain:
‘Classic.’ A book which people praise and don’t read.
Our question: What is a classic that you always wanted to “have read” but haven’t tackled yet?
Colette: There are some classics I have not read which tug at me. Why haven’t I? And there are some which I have not read, or have tried to read and have not finished, which don’t bother me at all. Moby Dick is a good example. I tried twice to read those 70 gazillion pages and have never made it through. All that water. All that whaling. Call me “Who Cares.” As a sweeping generalization, nearly all really dead British authors (yes, Brontes I mean you too) also fall into this category. If the female characters are wearing bonnets, I’m usually not interested. I tend to prefer more contemporary authors.
Then there is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Why haven’t I read anything of his? Not One Hundred Years of Solitude, not Love in the Time of Cholera. Shame on me. I really need to rectify this, and put one of those two books in the “on deck” pile on my night stand. Any recommendations for which one I should read first?
Emily: Despite the fact that I’m a librarian, I’ve never felt guilty about not having read all the “great” novels. A quick perusal of my” to reads” revealed only two classics: All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren and Middlemarch by George Eliot. Middlemarch is there, no doubt, because my boss told me to read it, despite my lack of enthusiasm for Victorians. What makes something a classic versus just plain ole’ well regarded anyhow?
Pam: Being a huge Charles Dickens fan, I have always wanted to read David Copperfield but have not yet.
Sally: There are a lot of classics I would like to read. One would be Walden.
Jolly Librarian: I am the total opposite of Colette. If there’s bonnet-wearing in a novel, then I want to read it. And I’ve made quite a dent in Victorian novels. Still, there are a few classics out there that I’m ashamed to have missed since I am an English major. Probably the most shameful is Ulysses by James Joyce. But every time, I think of tackling that modernist masterwork, I decide to put another novel in front of it. Putting off Joyce has allowed me to read War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and Les Miserables!