I found this in an old Xanga post in my personal Xanga archives, which are stored in six or seven Word docs I keep on my computer. (A, keep all your writing. B, don’t trust the Internet. C, never revisit your actual Xanga page.) It was posted March 13, 2004 during my freshman year at Davis. I had just begun an ambitious, indeterminate project to “read all the classics” and was endeavoring to persevere. The list:
Books I Want to Read.
Ender’s Game (re-read)
The DaVinci Code
Love in the Time of Cholera
Franny and Zooey (re-attempt to read)
Pride and Prejudice
East of Eden
Battle Royale (translated?)
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Rape of Nanking
Stupid White Men/Dude Where’s My Country
It’s been eight years and I’ve read exactly three of the eleven (DaVinci, Cholera, and Eden). My tastes, and thus my list, have changed quite a bit. But it does take me back to what was probably the first time I concerned myself with wanting “to be all well-versed in literature and stuff” (direct quote).
Since I clearly didn’t follow my list very well, I should explain that I still embarked on my “classics” project, which instead resulted in repeated, expensive trips to the Davis Borders, coming away with everything from A Clockwork Orange to The Satanic Verses to, a couple years later, Lolita. But despite years of classics-reading, I still don’t score as high as I’d like to on those “Mainstream British Newspaper’s List of the 100 Novels You Should Have Read But We Only Think You’ve Read 6 (Haha, Just Kidding, We Know You’ve Read More but Now You’re Taking Our Test).” Jane Austen’s probably a big reason.
Here’s the list again:
Books I Want to Read– 8 years later
Ender’s Game— who has time to re-read these days?
Franny and Zooey— I love you Salinger, but I still can’t make my way thru a whole novel of dialogue.
Pride and Prejudice— YES. still on the list.
Fight Club— requisite college-age Palahniuk flirtation, never consummated.
Battle Royale— the movie’s enough.
Memoirs of a Geisha— eh. a little too Book Club?
The Rape of Nanking— might have been a Japanese guilt thing, lingering from a single bad day in junior-year AP US History.
Stupid White Men— requisite college-age Michael Moore flirtation. the movies were enough.
I think only one still makes the cut. Jane Austen is immortal and I have finally had the pleasure of making her acquaintance. The post is for later, but I am thoroughly, thoroughly enjoying Sense and Sensibility.