Lori passed along a link to the secret life of non-readers, so I thought I’d blog about reading guilt.
I think I was born with book guilt - even when I was reading The Cat in the Hat I felt that I ought to be up to Pippi Longstocking already. Book guilt led me to voluntarily read Paradise Lost in high school. I still have a healthy guilt about the classics, but I’ve never felt the need to read the new mainstream literature. My book guilt ends at WWI with Goodbye to All That, which has saved me no end of guilt over the years.
I’ve read about 70 books this year, most of them science fiction or fantasy. In a way that’s reading for work - I started back into sci-fi with such literary devotion not because I thought I’d missed gems like LMB (though I had), but because I wanted to write in the genre. My muse needs a constant supply of good examples to keep her fresh.
I’ve found that writing is a great reliever of book guilt - I’d read Robert Browning, I can say to myself with a straight face, if only I weren’t so busy revising this fanfic novel. I’m a producer, not a consumer. That excuse also covers a multitude of unread fanfic.
So, how about a book guilt meme? Feel free to up the numbers if you’re guiltier than I am.
Name three classics mouldering on your shelves:
- Os Lusíadas, Luís Vaz de Camões, the epic work of Portuguese literature, by the Portuguese Shakespeare - also an example of foreign language guilt
- The Faerie Qveen, Spenser
- The Divine Comedy - true guilt extends beyond Dante’s Inferno, not that I’ve read even that much
Name three works of modern literature you managed to avoid:
- Anything by Barbara Kingsolver
- Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
- On the Road, Jack Kerouac
Name three novels you read but wish you hadn’t:
- Lady Chatterly’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
- The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
Name three books you skimmed your way through or never finished:
- Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
- The Golden Bough, abridged edition, Sir James George Frazer
- Eyeless in Gaza, Aldous Huxley
Name three famous fanfics you’ve always meant to read: