I like to think of myself as a likeable, well-read individual. Not true, but I sure do like to think of myself as such. Whenever I see Pride and Prejudice in the bookstore or on TV, I always point out that, hey, I’ve read that book! I just refrain from telling anyone I read it so I could then read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Nobody has to know that part.
I decided late last year I really need to read more older significant books (if I was going to tell people I’m a writer) so I searched for lists of the best books to read. I ended up copying the BBC list of the 1001 books you should read before you die. I wanted a more ‘worldly’ list and was afraid if I went with an American one I would miss out on some fine reading. As a proud American, I sometimes have a hard time seeing beyond my own borders.
The BBC broke their list down into seven categories: Comedy, Crime, Family and Self, Love, Science Fiction and Fantasy, State of the Nation, and War and Travel. I’m not thrilled with some of the categories (war and science fiction are glaring examples for me) but I figure I’ll read a few excellent books I normally wouldn’t touch with a stick.
I’ve only read four so far…this will be close…seeing if I can actually read them all before I die. I’ve enjoyed two: The Face of Another by Kobo Abe and Silver Stallion by Junghyo Ahn. The other two, not so much: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Money by Martin Amis.
I must say, the reason I didn’t enjoy the books by Achebe and Amis is because I’m a woman. I don’t like reading books where women are treated like property or treated poorly. Achebe’s world is much different from mine and Amis just doesn’t seem to like women.
I’m enjoying (mostly) reading from the list the BBC kindly created for the world. I’m currently reading Le Grand Meaulnes by Henri Alain-Fournier and am enjoying it immensely. Too bad he died so young, he has real talent! I’m sure I’ll love some and hate others but I’ll try and make it through them all before I cross the rainbow bridge. Maybe I can see if I can’t find Things Fall Apart and Zombies and Money and Zombies. Those might be a blast!
Ps – Happy Birthday, Sue Grafton!