Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Words: To Be Read

When I was an English major in college, there were certain expectations that came along with being in that department. Cite your sources. Present your arguments clearly and be able to support them. Those went without saying, but there was also an expectation of what books we had already read, either in high school or in other courses.

My English 301 professor operated under the assumption that everyone in class had already read Jane Eyre and therefore many of his examples and analogies incorporated that text. However, somewhere along the line, I hadn't. It wasn't required reading in my high school and then once I got to college, they figured most of us had read it before. Finally after a few weeks of confusion and hoping he would start using examples from other texts, I went and got a copy of Jane Eyre and read it on my own on top of my required course reading so I could actually know what my teacher was talking about.

The more I browse library shelves and talk to other book lovers, the more I find that I have serious gaps in my reading history. Usually on this blog that's in reference to the fact that I'm a little late to the YA party, but I'm here now and trying to catch up. But this time, I'm thinking more along the lines of canonical literature - those books that people assume (and usually, rightly so) that people who have English degrees, have their teaching certificate for English, or are librarians (and I'm all three) have read them. Some books on my Goodreads "to read" list that I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I haven't read yet already are:

  • Catch 22
  • The Bell Jar
  • The Sun Also Rises
  • More by Shakespeare. Nothing specific, just MORE
  • On the Road
  • The Iliad
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Anna Karenina
And so on and so forth. And so, I think the time has come for this blog to spread its wings just a little bit. Is this still going to primarily be a place where my love for YA literature is overflowing? Yes, but there are still plenty of books out there such as some of the ones listed above that would still be incredibly good for teens (really, all of us) to read because they have value. 

So my questions for you, dear readers, are these: 
1. Are there any books where you've always meant to read them but still haven't?
2. What other books am I missing that should really be on this list?

Comments welcome (really, I love getting them otherwise I wouldn't ask for them!), and as always, happy reading!


  1. I haven't read any on your list. Well, except Shakespeare :). I took a whole class on him in college (and I wasn't an English major).

    I was talking with someone the other day and I am also embarrassingly behind in my Jane Austen knowledge. Did you know the movie Clueless is an Emma retelling? I didn't. Because I've never read Emma. So, I'm adding that to my list (and to yours if you haven't read it...but you're an English major, so I'm sure you have ;)).

    1. haha Erin, I did know that about Emma, but I think that's less because I was an English major and more because my friends and I were Jane Austen fans, searching for Mr. Darcy's of our very own. It's not that well known of a fact, though, so don't be hard on yourself! The movie and book are both pretty amusing, though =)