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?

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