I was reading this NPR article by Lynn Neary about the best books she’s never read — books that she actually wants to read and intends to read — but still, there they remain on the shelf. Unread. Neary’s list includes MOBY-DICK, anything by William Faulkner, and LOLITA.
I read MOBY-DICK and LOLITA in grad school, but I’m not sure I would have read them on my own. I needed the support group. I remember I even wrote my big semester paper on MOBY-DICK as a way to make sure I didn’t ‘cheat’ and skip and skim through it. As for LOLITA, I thankfully had a professor who taught me how to appreciate the genius of Nabokov’s writing. Faulkner? I loved THE SOUND AND THE FURY so much I read it twice in a row — as in, I finished the last page and without even putting the book down flipped back to page one and started over. Sadly, that’s the extent of my Faulker experience. I should read more.
Neary’s list got me to wondering about my own Shelf of Constant Reproach, so here goes:
1. Jane Austen. I have never read a Jane Austen book, though I’ve tried to start PRIDE AND PREJUDICE every summer. For years!
2. Charles Dickens. How have I gotten this old without reading any Dickens?
3. THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. So many writers I admire call this their favorite book. I’ve tried to start it twice without success.
4. MIDDLEMARCH. I desperately want to read this book and I don’t even know why.
What’s on your Shelf of Constant Reproach?