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)
- 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.
- 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?
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.