Friday, March 23, 2012

30 Books to Read Before You Turn 30: Yea, another book list, plus snark

As folks know, I see one of these "must read" lists, and I have to make snarky comments about it and see how many books on it I have read if any. So, naturally, when I saw the "30 Books to Read Before You're 30" list over at Perfectly Prompted!, I had to take a look. I am already past 30. Out of the list, I have read 10, and I have read at least one or two under protest, or I just did not care for them. As with many classics-heavy lists, I may never read them all as there are classics I honestly do not give a rodent's derriere about. So, here are the ten I read, with my commentary. Feel free to follow the link and see the rest:

  • George Orwell, 1984. I read it, and I had to teach to seniors in high school for a few years. That alone assures that the book will stay with me for a long time, and it also assures I will not be rereading it anytime soon. After my first year teaching it, I practically had it memorized. And while I like the book, I certainly hated the dissection process I had to do with students because the powers that be said so (even though I did find a few workarounds). 
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude. I have mentioned in various places that this is my all-time favorite book. It is one I reread every couple of years or so, when I get the feeling that it is time to go back to Macondo. 
  • Sun Tzu, The Art of War. One I have to reread sometime soon. Well worth reading. 
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. I reread the trilogy recently when the movies were about to come out. With The Hobbit film coming out, I may reread that as well soon. However, since I do not do movie theaters, there is no rush since I will likely wait for the film to hit DVD.
  • Joseph Heller, Catch-22. I remember liking it when I read it years ago. It may be time for another visit. 
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. One of those classics I honestly do not give a hoot about. I read it as an English major; I read it in graduate school. I cannot remember what class it was for. Hated it then, still hate it now. What people see in it is beyond me. 
  • J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye. I read this voluntarily, and it is one of the great regrets of my life. As far as I am concerned, Salinger owes me for this piece of overrated tripe (and I am being polite). So, Salinger went into seclusion and did not write much else? Good. I hope it stays that way. There are not too many books I actually hate in a visceral way. This is one of those few. 
  • Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince. Great advice on leadership and dealing with people. When I read it, I did find much of it relevant to my field of librarianship, specifically library "leadership." Yes, there is a reason I put the term in quotes. 
  • Henry David Thoreau, Walden. Another one I read in college as an English major; it was in graduate school for a course in American literature. This one I did like a bit better.  It would be nice if I could take some time to just hang around in a cabin in the woods, write pithy and curious observations on nature, then go back into town. Yes, contrary to popular belief, Thoreau did not stay in the cabin the whole time. 
  • Plato, The Republic. I remember reading as an undergraduate for an introduction to philosophy class. I don't think I got much out of it back then. I have reread it since, and I have come to understand it a bit better. I could probably reread it one more time.
In addition, I have read other works by authors listed, but not the book listed on this list:

  • Thomas Paine. I have read some of his shorter stuff, like Common Sense
  • Charles Dickens. I had to teach Great Expectations to high school freshmen. It was one of the most excruciating experiences I have faced. The book is not really that good overall. Teens tend to hate it, and at a time when there are so many and so much better young adult books out there, why my school persisted in shoving this down our throats was beyond me. The experience with Great Expectations pretty much ruined Dickens for me, and I know I will never, in all likelihood, ever pick up any Dickens book again. 
  • T.S. Eliot. I have read some of his poetry here and there, mostly in anthologies. 
So anyhow, there it is. How did folks out there do? Feel free to comment, or if you write your own post and thoughts, leave me a link in the comments. I always enjoy reading about what other people read or not.

    No comments: