As I said in my last Top 10 post I haven’t read many Classics, and that is something I want to rectify. Therefore this list compiles the Top 10 Classics I want to read at some point (hopefully soon!).
Feel free to recommend any others in the comments or further rave about/express disbelief that I haven’t read the 10 I’ve listed 🙂
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This Classic is one that gets the biggest gasps when I state that I have yet to read it and fair enough, it is on many people’s list of favourite books and regarded as one of the most loved books in print. I’m not certain why I have never gotten around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird, as I have known about it and had an interest for many, many years, but it was when I was researching for a presentation on Perth author Craig Silvey that my interest perked up again. In my research I found that Silvey’s novel Jasper Jones (which is one of my Top 10 Books of All Time) has been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird many times and that intrigued me. Luckily I received the book for my birthday and since Free Pick February is in effect, perhaps I shall read it very soon 🙂
2. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
This is another unique war novel recommended by my mum, and another one that gets surprised gasps. Like many people I have used the phrase “Its a Catch 22” many times before when referring to a situation that has a series of conflicting and intertwined options that seemingly leaves no positive outcome, but I’ve always felt like a bit of a phony using it without reading the book that introduced the phrase to popular culture. Just like To Kill a Mockingbird I recently purchased a copy of this book so hopefully I will be able to read it soon and have a fuller understanding of the term when I am next in a situation that’s a Catch 22 😛
3. The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
This Classic is one that I may have encountered at school if my path had been a bit different, and at that age it may have had a bit more impact as it explores themes of youthful rebellion, angst and confusion. However, I didn’t read it then which can’t be helped now, and so all I can do is read it in adulthood and reminisce about that strange time that is adolescence (many people would think of me as an adolescent still as I’m only 25, but my 25-year-old self seems a world away from my 13-18-year-old self!). Unlike my first two choices, I have not purchased The Catcher in the Rye yet but I am sure I will have no problem finding it at a bookstore (online or the old-fashioned physical-building-filled-with-books type that seems to be near extinction) or at the many libraries I’m a member of, as since it was first released in 1951 it has been published many times.
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Yes, yes, I’m sure readers especially of the Bookish female variety are probably scandalised by the fact that I have never read this classic love story, and in fact (hold onto your bonnets) I have never read a single book by any Brontë sister! This is not some kind of Brontë sister hate on my part, just laziness and distraction and once I have finally read about Catherine and Heathcliff I hope to become more acquainted with the talented sister’s works.
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy is like the Holy Grail to Literary types (in my opinion) as his works are not the easiest (or shortest!) books one could read but the reward is worth the journey. I have heard so many good things about Anna Karenina and I have wanted to read it since I was about 14, but I knew that I would need to develop my reading muscles for a while so I could fully enjoy it, so I stayed away. At 25 I think I have read enough confusing/complex/convoluted/vexing novels (or ones that were a trial in some other way) that I am prepared to tackle whatever this 864 page Russian Epic can throw at me 🙂
6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
If Tolstoy is the Literary Holy Grail, then War and Peace is a Holy Grail perched atop Mt Everest. I don’t know many people who have been able to read the entirety of this 1444 page behemoth, which Tolstoy himself considered more than simply a novel, quoted once as saying it was “not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less an historical chronicle.” I consider War and Peace my Everest and if I can read it before I die I will regret less all the many books I never got to experience.
7. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Unlike the preceeding books on the list, I had never heard of Atlas Shrugged until a few years ago when I saw it popping up in a few of the lists of award-winning and otherwise highly regarded literature which were sprinkled through my first Book Lover’s Journal. I didn’t give it much more than a passing thought until I stumbled across an old documentary/interview with Ayn Rand while channel surfing some lazy Sunday. Her personal story and general demeanour and intelligence was fascinating and as soon as she started speaking about her writing process for Atlas Shrugged, I knew I wanted to read it one day.
8. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
I have to admit while I have been interested in Oscar Wilde since I was a teenager and have read bits and pieces of his work (mainly poetry and children’s stories) I didn’t have a desire to read The Picture of Dorian Gray until I saw the recently made film, Dorian Gray last year. Even if it wasn’t the best movie, the story of a young, beautiful man’s descent into hedonism and darkness with the aid of an ominous painting of his likeness, instantly drew me in. If I enjoyed a so-so movie adaptation so much I can just imagine how much I’ll love the original work!
9. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
This choice is one of childhood nostalgia. Who hasn’t seen a cartoon as a child that played on the idea of Dr Jekyll and his experimental elixir that turned him into the monstrous Mr Hyde? I can think of at least a dozen times I saw a play on the Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde idea in popular cartoons, from Looney Toons skits to the literary/adventure/fantasy film that I adored as a child, The Pagemaster (does any Bookbaggers who grew up in the 90’s remember that movie as fondly as I do? :)). And yet, even with the story so ingrained in pop culture I realised recently that I never read the original story by Robert Louis Stevenson! I shall have to rectify this on behalf of 10-year-old me don’t you think?
10. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is another book so ingrained in my popular culture memories and also one that has influenced so many of my beloved books, movies and TV shows (I was a Vampire fan long before they sparkled – ie. Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Last Vampire series by Christopher Pike) that it seemed ridiculous that I have never read it. I actually bought a copy way back when I was 15 via a school book club brochure (for 2 dollars!!) and yet for some reason I didn’t read it at the time and it has stayed unread on my shelf ever since (a fact that my little brother finds very baffling). This year I hope to finally dig out the now old and dusty, yet untouched paperback and read the story that started the Vampire craze.
So there you go, my somewhat embarrassing list of Classics I’ve never read but would like to. As this year is the National Year of Reading I have made an unofficial pact with myself to read at least a couple of the books on this list, so if I keep my word you may hear my thoughts on a couple of them once I have finally achieved my goal 🙂
After this post goes out I will also be posting the last poll for Top 10 Themes. This doesn’t mean that the Top 10 posts will cease (I still have many ideas in the works) It just means that they will revert back to what they once were – themes chosen by me and a surprise for you the reader every month 🙂
Happy Reading! 😀