2013 Resolutions

Resolution #1: Great Literature I’ve Never Read

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It’s a long and shameful list. Made more so by the artful dodging it required for someone with a B.A. in English. There are books on this list that I should have read in grade school. There are books on this list that were required reading. I took tests over these books, turned in papers about these books, and waxed pretentious on occasion about them. What was my problem? They were downers. They were downers and I knew they were downers. And well…I don’t like downers. I like stories that aren’t big fat downers. I like some tumult, with a sprinkling of crisis, book-ended by humor and happiness. I don’t like unrelenting tragedy or pathos. There you have it.

So I’m a grown up now. Supposedly. And it bothers me a little bit-all these years later-that I dodged the bullet on some of these stories. So here is number one on my very short list of 2013 Resolutions….

I will read one bypassed tome of “Great Literature” per month in 2013.

For a total of 12, which doesn’t even begin to cover the list of great literature I’ve never read. Let’s face it, life is too short and too full for a book like Moby Dick. No offense to those who love it. It’s a crazy dude and a whale. It ends badly. Gotcha.

So here they are in no particular order:

1. Bleak House…Charles Dickens 2. Treasure Island…Robert Louis Stevens on 3. The Three Musketeers or the Count of Monte Cristo….Alexandre Dumas 4. The Red Badge of Courage…Stephen Crane 5. The Grapes of Wrath…John Steinbeck 6. The Call of the Wild…Jack London 7. The Good Earth…Pearl S. Buck 8. Johnny Tremain…Esther Forbes

I’m stopping there.  It gives me four to play around with.  If you have suggestions, I’d love to see them. If it’s great chick lit, I’ve probably read it.  It’s the more masculine or primitive tales that were diligently avoided.

What are your resolutions this year?

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17 thoughts on “Resolution #1: Great Literature I’ve Never Read

  1. I’m with you. I haven’t read many great literature either. But I can say for sure I probably won’t. Good luck to you though! 😀 I haven’t come up with a New Year’s Resolution yet. I’ll get back to you on that!

  2. I’m going to join you, but a bit of a different list. I don’t like the more masculine stuff either. I read Tale of Two Cities by Dickens on my own… I didn’t even have to. I couldn’t put it down and skipped a day or two of college to stay in bed and read it. Have you read that one? I want to read the juvenile lit that I never did as a kid so I can make my kids read it and not feel dumb. Plus, they are faster reads. Keep us posted:)

    1. I haven’t read A Tale of Two Cities-It’s on the shame list. I picked Bleak House because I know the least about the plot. My kids are definitely a huge part of my motivation for this goal. How can I encourage them if I haven’t read them? Good luck! Keep me posted on your progress.

  3. I applaud your desire to commit to some classics this year. I have a B.A. in English as well yet apart from the Bible I can count the number of classics I’ve read in the past 20 years on one hand. I hope to dig into several in 2013 myself. I wish you well.

  4. I did Eng Lit too and also avoided lots of the books, wrote essays on them and discussed them in seminars (all without reading them!) glad it’s not just me lol! Maybe I’ll try to fit a few in but my motto tends to be so many good books and so little time… So why waste it on reading ones you don’t really want to!!

  5. I’ve read most of those… I’d add Moby Dick, and perhaps swap in some other Dickens (David Copperfield, perhaps). Bleak House is probably the most difficult/dark of his works (that and “Out Mutual Friend”). If you like Dumas, you will have no problem getting through those two.

  6. I read The Count last year. It was good, very long though. I took my time with it and read it over a span of a few months (not reading it at all for about 2, which I don’t recommend just because there are so many characters to keep straight!). But I enjoyed it and I’m glad I read it.

    I read Treasure Island last year, too. Not a bad story. Not incredibly long; could definitely see it being an exciting story for boys. (I wrote reviews on both this and the Count on my blog if you care to check it out, but certainly don’t take my word for it…!)

    Tried to read Moby Dick and just couldn’t do it. I gave up after about 100 pages.

    Good luck with the books! 🙂

    1. Thanks! I’ll check out your reviews. I may have to jump ship to The Count. I started Bleak House and slowed to a crawl almost immediately. I had to re-read the Hobbit just o break it up 😉

      1. Ha, I know the feeling. Sometimes some books can get overwhelming! I haven’t read Bleak House, but got it for free on my kindle, so maybe someday I’ll read it!

  7. Grateful to have made it over here for your inspiration! What a grand idea. Love your term “artful dodging.” Yes, she nods. I did that. I had it down pat, how to read what I wanted, skim an overview of the book in order to pretend that I’d read it. Artful dodger…that’s me in many areas, gonna ponder that today. Thanks, Amy!

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