Monday, February 2, 2015

Top Ten Classic Books I Can't Believe I Haven't Read

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's topic is to pick a genre of which you've read a lot but have managed to miss some staples. For me, I make an effort to read a lot of books that are generally referred to as "classics" — those that are commonly referenced not only by other books but by popular media in general. I've mentioned that I have a list of classic literature I've been working on for some time, which includes everything from Pride and Prejudice to Moby-Dick to Animal Farm. But there are some books not on this list that I really should have read by now but which are still sitting on my to-read list.

1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
At Christmastime my cousin's girlfriend was reading this book and I was like, "How is it? I've never read it." She said, "It's my favorite book — I read it every year," probably thinking, "You've never read it??" All I know about it is that it's supposed to be depressing, but I guess it must be really good as well. I'll have to pick it up when I'm in the right mood.

2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I haven't read any Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov is on my list as well) but I feel like he's pretty solidly considered a classic writer, so I will need to remedy that before too long.

3. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
I read excerpts of this in school, but I have yet to tackle the full 900+ page book. I feel like most cultural references stick to the basic facts I already know (he charges at windmills and has a squire named Sancho), but I should really read the whole story at some point.

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
I noted previously that this is a book I've avoided because I don't like horror, but if Frankenstein is any indication, classic science fiction / horror books are more literary and boring than they are scary.

5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
I'm pretty sure my husband read this book for school, so it's even more unbelievable that I haven't read it yet, since he reads maybe two books a year to my hundred. It seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it book, so we'll see where I end up.

6. Middlemarch by George Eliot
Another 900+ page classic I haven't picked up yet. I remember liking Silas Marner OK, and this one seems to have more fans, so I imagine it's a good read.

7. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This is another one with enough cultural allusions that I have a rough idea what it's about, but I'd like to read it for myself. For some reason, it makes me think of A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man (maybe because Picture/Portrait and both authors are Irish?), which I hated, so that has made me less eager to pick this one up even though I'm sure they're completely unrelated.

8. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
I've heard the premise of this one (a woman choosing between her two children's lives) and I think it has something to do with World War II, so I'm guessing this is another one I need to be in the right mood to read.

9. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
I've read quite a lot of Hemingway even though I didn't like A Farewell to Arms or A Moveable Feast very much; The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls I liked better. This is one of Hemingway's best-known works, so I'm surprised I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

10. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
This book is referenced all the time, and I enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo (it's on my list of books to reread), so you'd think I would have read this other classic Dumas by now, but I haven't.

Which classics are on your to-read list?

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  1. Great list! Sophie's Choice is one I have wanted to read for years and years. I am not sure why I haven't. Maybe the size?

    The Sun Also Rises is my favorite of Hemingway's books. And I loved Dracula. I didn't expect to--but it was so good! Crime and Punishment is a favorite classic of mine as well. I want to read The Bell Jar at some point.

    The only one on your list that I read and didn't care for was The Picture of Dorian Gray. It was the longest short book I'd ever read. Ugh.

  2. I highly recommend The Three Musketeers and the rest of D'Artagnan romances! Madame Bovary was a hate-it for me. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a love it!

    Top Ten Tuesday!

  3. I've only read Dracula and The Picture of Dorian Gray, both of which I loved. I haven't read any of the others on your list yet, but I would like to.

    Check out my TTT.

  4. I have both of Dostoyevskiy's major novels among my books in storage (TBK a present from my surviving uncle, C&P taken from my parents' collection), plus a few of his other books, but embarrassingly enough haven't read any yet. I'm a Russophile of over 20 years, so it's pretty wrong for me to admit I haven't read one of the culture's greatest writers!

  5. I quite liked The Picture of Dorian Gray. There are many classics that I haven't read yet! Oops!

  6. Dorian Gray is actually a good book and thats coming from someone with a dislike for classics :P chack out my post?

  7. That's quite an endorsement, then!

  8. I probably wouldn't have read so many if I hadn't made an intentional effort to do so. Some are great but some are super boring.

  9. That makes me feel better about not having read them!

  10. Good to know you liked those!

  11. You have encouraged me to bump these up on my to-read list!

  12. I had forgotten that The Three Musketeers was part of a series of books. If I really like it, maybe I will read the others!

  13. The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only one on your list that I've read, though I have read excerpts from a few of them. So many books, so little time!

  14. I need to read a couple of these books too LOL!! Here is my Top Ten Tuesday if you wanna check it out :)

  15. Haha I guess so! I must try and read more classics one day though!