I came across this list several months ago: http://www.listsofbests.com/list/2222-1001-books-you-must-read-before-you-die-2006-edition?page=1

I was actually shocked to see how many of them I haven’t read, and I like to think I’m a pretty good reader.  What was even more interesting is the fact that, unlike so many of the people I’ve discussed this list with, none of the books that I read in college were on the list.  Then again… I guess neither Jaws or Jurassic Park are considered great literature, even if my college professor seemed to think they were.

At the time that I first saw this list, I could honestly say that I’d read 6 of them.  There were several that I’d seen quoted in writing textbooks, but I didn’t actually read the whole book, only tiny excerpts.  There were a couple of “classics” that I read the so-called sequels to, you know the type, that are written by someone else long after the author of the original has died.

Right now, I’m reading Frankenstein.  I tried to read Madame Bovary the other day but I had a really hard time getting through it.  I think I stopped at about page 50.

The one thing I don’t like about a lot of these recent publications of the “classics” is the publishers’ need to cram in a whole bunch of literary analysis both before and after the actual story.  I think it’s annoying and unnecessary.  Even if I were reading these for a class, I would think that the analysis would do me little good, after all, in that case, I would be expected to come up with my own opinions of the work, uninfluenced by any “expert” opinion.

I don’t expect to get through the whole list.  I know there are a couple of titles that I’ve already attempted in the past that I was unable to finish, and there are others that cover subjects I just have absolutely no interest in, whatsoever.

How many on the list have you read?

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