Friday, 17 February 2012

Friday Five: Books to read

I don't necessarily believe that there are books one 'should' read - I think you should feel entitled to read whatever you want (as long as you don't bore me with the revelationary findings of your latest self-help tome). But I feel there are certain blanks in my literary knowledge that I really should fill.

5 Books I should read (but haven't)
  1. The Koran - The Bible has a huge influence on my life (and would whether I wanted it to or not). The central religious text of the Islamic faith has ever-increasing ramifications on my society so it behoves me to make some attempt to understand it.
  2. Gone with the Wind - As this novel regularly appears on recommended-to-read lists, is the second-favourite book in the USA (after The Bible) and won its author, Margaret Mitchell, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937, I feel I should give it a go. Afterall, 30 million Americans can't be wrong, right?
  3. À la recherche du temps perdu - I would feel a compulsion to read this in the original French and, as it is seven volumes long and I would have to have a dictionary by my side, this could take a while. It is frequently referred to as the definitive modern novel. However, as it is also often mentioned in the same breath as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, it is probably a work of unbearable pretentiousness. Temps perdu, indeed...
  4. The Origin of the Species - Charles Darwin may not have changed the world, but he changed our understanding of it. The fact that some people still argue against natural selection or evolution amazes me - I bet they haven't read this book either; I do not want to stand on the side of the ignorant and uninformed.
  5. War and Peace - I bought this in a Wordsworth Classic edition in 1993 because it intrigued me that I could purchase 1647 pages for a pound (which at approximately 320 words a page, works out at 0.0002 pence a word). It's still taking up space on my bookshelf and it's about time I got around to giving it a little more respect. 


blurooferika said...

To this list, of which I've read only Gone with the Wind, I would add Anna Karenina, Dr. Zhivago, and anything by Faulkner, which I tried to foist on my book group recently, but they were having none of it. Ah, well. I tried.

Kate Blackhurst said...

I loved Anna Karenina and use it in my defence for not having read War and Peace yet. I'm with you on Dr Zhivago and with your book group on Faulkner!

Kate x

Anonymous said...

I read Anna Karenina recently, only because I kept reading that it is the greatest novel written to date. I think I liked it, but have read other Russian ones I thought were better. Still thinking about War and Peace though - have a great old version with reviews the previous owner had cut out of newspapers when s/he bought it many years ago.


Jo said...

'Gone with the Wind' is brilliant. I would loan you my copy but it doesn't leave the house...ever. That's how much I love it