Tom over at Wuthering Expectations recently posted about authors he hasn’t read yet–narrowing it down to ones he feels he should have read by now, rather than just anything. (It both delights and boggles the mind to consider the many categories one could fill re: authors thus far unread: “Found in the drug store,” “In garbage bags outside the public library,” or “Authors who died in bizarre gardening accidents,” to name just a few tantalizing possibilities. (I would go with the third option because anyone who dies in a gardening misadventure must have penned something crazed and compelling.))
I think this little exercise might actually be a thing; but I can’t be sure as I have so little time to surf teh interwebs (to which, incidentally, I would like to wish a very happy 25th birthday.) Tom mentions having gotten the idea to do his list from another blogger (a blogger that my computer won’t let me look at, because it thinks it’s porn). A “meme.” The scare quotes signify irritation rather than fear; I wish I liked that word better. Never mind. I’m all a-jumble here; let me focus.
Here’s my list; I’ve decided to narrow my ten choices by combining Tom’s “I should have by now” with my own “Especially because I already own one or more books by this author.” Shining a light on my poor impulse control when it comes to book-shopping and finding a way to reference an ’80s horror film that will be incomprehensible to damned kids these days, who all own smartphones and may never have seen an actual land line. It’s a win. Except for the fact that I haven’t read any of the following authors.
1. Arthur Rimbaud. I don’t know what to say; I think I hate poetry written after 1667, but that just proves I’m not very smart. I’ll try. One of these days.
2. Moliere. I’ve seen The Breakfast Club probably 18-24 times; there’s really no excuse for this.
3. Patricia Wentworth. There are just so many of them here (I raided the laundry room in my old building). My bestie likes her and I suspect that if I don’t read PW soon, I’ll have to begin interviewing for a new bestie.
4. Georges Simenon. See number 3. Also, French.
5. Victor Hugo. It’s hard to claim to be a fan of French lit and not have read Hugo. Still, now’s not the time; if I began Les Miserables now, I’d be lucky to finish it before August and that would cause a different sort of embarrassment.
6. Vera Brittain. This gap is symptomatic of a larger sinkhole in my reading: the first half of the 21st century (Waugh and Sayers excepted).
7. John Galsworthy. See 6. Also, novels in a series. About society. And English.
8. Dorothy Dunnett. Because Rohan Maitzen says so. Literally because she says so: I’ve got a stack of Dunnett novels here because my favourite Victorianist once said, somewhere, that she was into Dunnett. I’m very susceptible to peer pressure.
9. Frances Trollope. Tony’s mom was one tough lady: she cared for her sprogs and slacker husband all day and then wrote books all night.
10. Boris Pasternak. I still have not read Doctor Zhivago!! No one should ever again take me seriously as a book-reader.
Book shame. I’ve shown you mine; now show me yours.
8 Comments Add yours
I owned books form most of my list, too. That was at least a part of my “Why haven’t I read this?” thinking.
Simenon is a great example of my idea bout “having read” an author. I have read a single Maigret book, and I liked it fine, but the other seventy-four cannot be all that different. Now, the romans durs, those do sound different, and worthwhile.
Hugo is another good one for this – a pretty small dose of any Hugo book I have read gives you the Big Hugo Voice.
That is sad, and funny, about The Broke and the Bookish (I assume you mean them). They likely read some romance novels that are pretty steamy, but they oughtta be Safe For Work.
I had no idea about The Breakfast Club reference. I had to look it up. It has been close to thirty years since I saw it.
Rimbaud is actually not as bad as you think he’ll be. 🙂 Certainly not as depressing as that hack Baudelaire. 😛
For me Tolstoy would definitely be on the list. I’ve felt like I need to read either Anna Karenina or War & Peace forever but, you know. Also Victor Hugo. I THOUGHT about listening to The Hunchback of Notre Dame, briefly, before I looked at how many hours it was on audiobook.
I haven’t even heard of a few of these. But yes, you must read The Forsyte Saga immediately. The while saga would probably take even longer than Les Mis, there area a ton of books in that series, and I’ve only read the first,a different kind of shame.
Since touring his house in Paris (a serendipitous discovery made on a walk — nothing I’d planned in advance), and taking a bike tour in which our guide had much to say about Hugo’s influence in French politics, I’ve always thought I’d rather read a book about Hugo than a book by him. I suppose Disney and Broadway have spoiled the big novels for me which is a terrible excuse I know.
The largest gaps in my reading are among modern writers, people like Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing.
I totally want to read that list of writers who died in bizarre gardening accidents!
Galsworthy is definitely on my list too. Maybe we should organize a summer read of the Forsyte Saga! Balzac is another on my “should” list. And “To the LIghthouse.”
I am not just “into” Dorothy Dunnett – I am a hopeless fangirl! At least of the Lymond Chronicles, which are the only ones of hers I have read. I suppose that puts her others on my “should” list. I’ve been told that her Macbeth novel is “actually” her best …
Long time reader, first time commenter (I think). Thank for your great blog and insightful posts.
Since you asked for our shameful little lists, here goes mine:
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.
Thomas Hardy’s Novels.
Leopoldo Alas Clarin.
Henry de Montherlant. This last one not for long, I just started reading him.
Fun! We’ve (coincidentally) just started Shelf of Shame week at Vulpes Libris, and I chose Christopher Isherwood, but I shall have fun coming up with my other nine omissions.