It turns out there are a lot of authors I’ve never even touched. That’s not to say I don’t own their books or that I’m ignorant of their contribution to literature. I actually own a ton of classic books, I just haven’t pulled them off my library shelf yet. I think this is partly due to fear and partly to apprehension. Classics always seem daunting because they’re from another time. They contain archaic language and phrases; everyone’s dialogue is elevated and description is sometimes convoluted. I’m worried I won’t understand what everyone’s saying or what the story is about, that I won’t be smart enough or know enough to fully enjoy a book as it was meant to be read.
I’ve also been burned several times when it comes to classics where I’ve essentially wasted my time on a book as boring as dust bunnies and swear off the author altogether, possibly missing hidden gems. I don’t even have to explain because I have a great example. I reviewed Lorna Doone which started with great promise but became an exercise in frustration. By the time I was done I swore I would never read another Richard Blackmore book and so far I haven’t.
The last and possibly most important aspect is the scope of the project. Every year brings me further from the publish date of classic novels and adds more books to my list. Realistically I don’t expect to read them all before I ‘shuffle off this mortal coil’. (I have read Shakespeare, who is awesome by the way although sometimes his diction is like trying to read wingdings). My approach is to tell myself to look at the next book and to see it as an adventure. I might discover another favourite book or author in my romp.
Here goes, I have never read:
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Michael de Montaigne
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sir Walter Scott
William M Thackery
Ok wow. That’s a lot longer than I was expecting. And that’s just the heavy hitters! If you think that’s bad you should see the whole list. If I look at it for too long it make my head hurt. But I am determined because to be fair to my younger self I spent my formative years reading sci-fi and fantasy novels. I could go on forever about why time travel on Pern was a mind twister, why I really want the Deryni to crush their enemies or how terraforming a sand worm’s backyard is a bad idea. I feel I should expand my repertoire with classics but they’re not even the scariest genre. Modern fiction gives me the jibblies. *shudder*
So what about you? Are you book blogger enough to admit who you haven’t read? Let me know and we can commiserate. I can see it now. “You haven’t read them? I haven’t read them too! Huzzah! Let’s go eat pie!”