Books I haven’t read…yet.
As we all know, there’s too many books out there to be read in a lifetime (sob!) so you have to pick your reading material wisely. This inevitably leads to gaps in all of our reading histories, which got me thinking…which books do people expect me to have read that I haven’t?
1. About 97% of the Classics
I just don’t get on with classic books by people like Charles Dickens or Jane Austen. I find them so hard to get into, they usually fail to hold my attention and I generally get frustrated at the way that the characters are so bound by societal norms that they can’t just say what they want and get on with it. Also, representation of any minority group is pretty much zero so I kind of get bored reading about very similar types of characters over and over. Am I being unfair? Probably, and perhaps there is more diversity out there than I realise but overall – not for me.
2. The vast majority of YA literature
I’m too bloody old to be interested in all that teenage angst! Again, there are some brilliant examples of YA books that I’ve really enjoyed (most recently, Illuminae) but books by the likes of John Green don’t really do it for me. I have a bit of a personal rule that if the main character carries a backpack, I’m out (she says whilst reading Wild, where the narrator’s backpack features so heavily it almost becomes it’s own character). What can I say, I’m a conundrum 😜.
3. Core texts for most schools
For some unknown reason, my school chose a) not to stream English lessons by ability, b) to devote as little time to English as possible and c) to make us read the most random books ever. This resulted in a woeful teaching standard and one very bored Lucinda. So whilst everyone I’ve ever met that’s roughly my age read books like Of Mice and Men, we got stuck doing Hobson’s Choice which is literally the most boring novel ever. We also had to watch the immensely dull film which was made in 1954, in black and white, which did nothing to improve my feelings for the story. In fact, the only interesting work that we did study was the poetry of Maya Angelou, which has stayed with me to this day. I recently read Of Mice and Men and it was great – no idea why we didn’t study it.
Again, we’re back to my “how is this relevant?” feelings about classic literature and also the emotional scarring caused by my senior school. I have memories of teachers who would rather make us watch the RSC televised “play” of Macbeth – a group of hammy actors sitting in a circle reading their lines (no set, no costumes, just big shiny faces) than read the actual book. Possibly something I should revisit as an adult but as soon as I start reading all those doths and tis trues every fibre of my being shouts “NOPE!”
5. Any Harry Potter stuff that isn’t books 1 – 7
The term “flogging a dead horse” comes to mind when I see all these HP spin off books, play scripts and tenuously linked additions to the Wizarding World. Either write something else entirely (I quite enjoyed The Casual Vacancy) or make up a new fantastical world and start a new series of books there. It seems such a shame that someone as talented as JK Rowling keeps getting dragged into all these watered down versions of her original (brilliant) series.
So that’s mine – what are your bookish confessions? What famous books haven’t you read? Let me know in the comments!