Anyway, I was meandering through my Google Reader (I am too ashamed to tell you how many blogs are on there now. Take it from me, it's a lot.) and came across Three Minute Boy's post about how he is reading "Treasure Island" online, using an RSS feed. He also mentioned that this is not the first time he has read the book, and that he recently read "Kidnapped" too. That got me thinking (and commenting, because why think and not share?): I know the plots of both of those books and I have read other works by RLS, but I have never actually read those two books. I am slightly embarassed by that. It feels a bit like confessing you have never listened to a Beatles tune or seen "The Wizard of Oz".
The more I thought about it though, the more I realised that there are LOADS of books that I feel like I ought to have read/would love to read but have not got around to yet, and which people who know me (as an avid reader) might be surprised/shocked/horrified to find I had never read. And this despite the fact that I seem to find the time to read entertaining tosh like Tess Gerritsen no problem.
Am I alone in this? Feeling like there is some celestial reading list somewhere that I ought to be crossing off before I can read whatever rubbish takes my fancy on Amazon? And guilty when I don't? I have a copy of Catch 22 sitting in the pile beside my bed which I got hold of because I had never read it and felt I should. It looks at me reproachfully every time I go rummaging through the teetering piles looking for a new book and leave with Chris Brookmyre's new one instead. That book is making me feel guilty. (I may have to stick it in a cupboard so I don't have to face it.)
The really, really daft thing about feeling guilty about my reading material is that I often tell my kids that I will buy them pretty much any book they want (within reason) and that I don't mind what they are reading as long as they read (again within reason - Playboy and Jeffrey Archer, for example are off-limits. But you can bet I'd let them read the former before the latter!)
Anyway, rather than wallowing in feelings of inferiority because I am not reading Plato this afternoon, I thought I'd turn this into a game. So all of you lot, 'fess up. What books/plays are you willing to confess to never having read that you think other people will judge you for? I'll start. I have never read:
- Hamlet (in fact most Shakespeare - I've read Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and The Tempest and that's it. My excuse is that drama is best seen performed, not read on the page!)
- Any poetry that I was not forced to read at school, other than Roger McGough and Jacques Prevert (when I went through my poncy French phase). And that includes, to my shame, Robert Burns.
- The Great Gatsby -always meant to, never have.
- Sir Walter Scott, other than Ivanhoe.
- Anything by James Joyce - I tried once, but just couldn't do it.