Having just finished a delightful piece of fluff in "Cousin Kate" (all of Georgette Heyer's books are fluff, but very delightful fluff) I've decided to read "Vanity Fair." All 864 pages of it. I find I've been re-reading a lot of my favorites, and not touching the books that I bought but haven't read. So I'm alternating. I can re-read something, but then I have to read a book I own that I've yet to crack.
There are all these "classic" books that I've never read. Vanity Fair, War and Peace, most Dickens novels (I think I'm up to three of his; I do wish the first half of "A Tale of Two Cities" wasn't so dull so I could read it again.), Lolita, anything by James Joyce, anything by Faulkner, Atlas Shrugged, Slaughterhouse Five, Catch-22, Gone with the Wind...so many books that we all talk about and that, as a English-majoring book lover, people expect me to have read. Yeah, well, there are a lot of books, and only so much time to read them in.
Besides, there are lots that I've read that I don't really care for. Anything by Toni Morrison, what little Faulkner and Joyce I've read--I just don't feel like I should have to have a what-beats-what card to figure out a novel's stream of consciousness--the da Vinci Code, Midwives (thanks for nothing, Oprah), etc.
Often,I feel they're overrated, for any number of reasons. "Anna Karenina," for instance was dreadfully dull. It didn't help that I had the ending ruined for me (by a musical, no less) when I still had about 900 pages to go. "I thought everyone knew the end of Anna Karenina," my friend exclaimed when I told him during intermission what had happened. No, not everyone, it turns out. I did slog through it, but it was terrible. Perhaps my edition didn't help. Bad translations make for a long 1100 pages.
"Madame Bovary" I also did not care for. I don't like "adultery for adultery's sake" novels, may the French and Russians please take note. I don't care for adultery in general--shocking, I know--but when that's the entire plot...bleck. I didn't even finish that one.
"The House of Sand and Fog" is a contemporary one I've heard talked about quite a bit, though I had no idea what it was about until I started it. I didn't finish it either. Too depressing and...what's the word?..."earthy." If I want my entertainment to comprise of sex and swearing, I'll get Cinemax. Didn't finish that one either. There are good books I could be reading, I'm not going to waste my time with bad ones.
There are lots more. Maybe it's because I've heard so much about them that they get talked up too much. Or maybe they're just not as good as people make them out to be. Maybe I have unusual taste. At any rate, I've given up wasting my time with bad books. If it's no good halfway through, finishing it isn't going to make it better.
I'm always on the look out for new things to read. I really want to read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. I only have the first two Artemis Fowl books. (I'm a big fan of children's lit.) Everyone swears the Lord of the Rings is much better than the Hobbit, so maybe I'll give them a try. I'd like to collect some Boxcar Children books. Oh, and some Trixie Belden, if I can find them.
What else should I add to my reading list? Anything to avoid?