Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Books I Have Not Read

I read an article about Pierre Bayard’s essay “How to discuss books that one hasn't read” a few months ago, and now the London Times has one. The premise is how reviewers write about books that they haven't read, which is something that happens all the time. As someone who reviews books frequently, there are times when I come close to not reading the entire book, but I always manage to eke it out in the end. But I know plenty of reviewers who don't read the entire book, and many who just skim the entire book.

The article also makes me think about books that are part of the canon, but that for some reason or another, I have not read. Since I am getting an advanced degree in English, people often expect me to have read everything ever written, but there are some major works that I haven't even touched. Yet, as the texts are part of the canon, I know a. the plot and b. the importance of the work, and can therefore write intelligently about these texts.

My embarrassing list of major books/authors I have not read:

1. Paradise Lost
2. Anything by John Steinbeck
3. Anything by William Faulkner
4. Middlemarch
5. Purgatorio & Paradiso
6. Anything by D.H. Lawrence
7. Swann's Way
8. Vanity Fair

1 comment:

LZA said...

May I suggest Travels with Charley as a great Steinbeck read. It's a memoir of Steinbeck's travels with his dog across America and is one of my favorite books.