I had the delightful pleasure of hanging with my girl Jessica today, and while we ate our Chinese food in the park I told her of my latest annoyance of people flaunting their interest (or knowledge, for that matter) of things; specifically, interests that I sometimes question the authenticity of.
Well actually I should keep my mouth shut on some of the things I listed for Jessica, but one thing we did discuss was my annoyance of people reading classic novels just to say they did. Now I shouldn't judge whether people actually care about these classics they read, but I've read several that I didn't care for, so it really makes me wonder...I mean, I read Frankenstein three times--three times!--for school and didn't like it any of those times. So if I catch someone reading such a book in public, I won't lie, I roll my eyes to myself. And wonder if really, reeeeally, that person is enjoying that book. And I usually want to slip them a copy of a book that I thought was particularly incredible, such as The Middle Place, which I suggested to Jessica today at the bookstore.
I just want people to be truly honest about their interests, because I'm sick of wading through the bullsh*t.
So now that I've shown you all my cranky, not-so-loving side, for those of you who haven't closed your browser tab and are still with me I'll tell you about some of the classics I've read (just about all of these are from high school, as I've kind of abandoned the genre since) and those that I haven't gotten around to.
The ones I read more than once because my family moved and different school districts aren't perfectly aligned in their curriculum:
A Raisin in the Sun (sophomore year, junior year)
The Catcher in the Rye (sophomore year, junior year)
Macbeth (sophomore year, senior year--are you seeing part of the reason why high school wasn't my favorite time in life?)
The one I read in high school (once) and college (twice) and refuse, unless for some reason am forced, to read again:
The ones I read on my own (and loved):
The one I read for class, and loved:
The Great Gatsby
The ones I didn't finish:
Lord of the Flies
The one I almost didn't continue reading because it was so violent and graphic:
A Clockwork Orange
The one that freaked me out:
In Cold Blood
The ones I didn't necessarily "love love," but that taught me something:
Things Fall Apart
The Bluest Eye
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The ones that were never assigned to me and I'm yet to get around to:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Wuthering Heights (I imagine I would like this one)
Pride and Prejudice (this one too)
And finally, one that I started on my own and didn't finish:
Sense and Sensibility (technically I only read about two or three pages and there were so many Sr.'s and Jr.'s that I got confused and deemed it not exactly a summer read)
The Grapes of Wrath (read a little more of this one)
So. I'm just saying. There are only three on that list that I really loved. Maybe it's just because I'm not a fiction person. Maybe it's because I'm a snob.
Or maybe it's because I'm actually on to something here. I don't mean great disrespect to the authors of these books, because obviously these books wouldn't rise to such fame without some sort of reader following, but I do have a theory that, fiction books in particular, often have to fall into the right hands of someone who a)loves the book, and b)has some influence so that people will listen to that person and then read the book themselves.
I just think there's gotta be a point where hype gets in the way of original, blind opinion. I feel like this can be more of a touchy statement for books than other forms of entertainment, but would we not say the same for certain movies? Music?
Go ahead, fight me. What do you think? What's your classic list look like? Which percentage did you love? Hate? Feel "meh" about? Am I just a jerk? Have you read some books that you think are outstanding, but feel like no one knows about them?
I mean, (and not that I'm arguing for Harry Potter here, because I'm not), but didn't Harry Potter sit on shelves unnoticed for some years? Would it be so popular if fewer people declared it to be wonderful?
Sorry to be a sourpuss, I'm just thinking here. Like I said, feel free to disagree.