Sometimes i find myself feeling really thick in terms of my literary education. Especially while watching BBC 2′s “University Challenge”. I don’t understand how people of the same age as me can know SO MUCH!
They can just easily answer a question about Jane Austen, or T.S. Elliot, and i’m like, i probably knew that but only after the answer has been produced do i actually remember it!
I feel very stupid when it comes to questions about classic novels and authors and my parents look at me expecting me to know the answer. If i don’t know the answer (more often than not), i just think “i should know that” or “i spent 3 years getting into all that student debt and i don’t even know the answer to that question which should be easy for a graduate of literature and language”. Oh dear.
I also feel bad when people discuss certain typical school English lesson novels which everyone learns about, which i haven’t! Ok, so at school i did a lot of Shakespeare, like Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, etc. However, I didn’t do Hamlet, Twelfth Night or some of the others. I did A Catcher in the Rye and Wuthering Heights, but i didn’t do Of Mice and Men, or To kill a Mockingbird, or Lord of the Flies. Of course, i know it’s not possible to study them all at school or university but i could have at least read them in my spare time maybe?
I’m afraid i generally prefer the more contemporary and modern novels. A bit of sci-fi, a tiny bit of chick lit, a large dose of fantasy, and a bit of thriller and crime. I also like to try out a bit of translated fiction. But in order to be a “proper” English student, i feel i should be more acquainted with the classics, the essential backbone of literature.
I therefore plan to read a lot more classics. I also want to read more into the critical and analytical side of literature and these authors. I have a few such books in my possession from university and yet i haven’t read all of them. The main problem is that many of those textbooks are not cheap. But since getting a Kindle, it brings a new way to get hold of these books, and sometimes at a cheaper price.
I need to read more Dickens, having only read a few of his shorter works or bits and pieces of the longer ones. I intend to read A Christmas Carol soon as i’ve only really watched the film versions. I will also attempt to read the rest of Jane Austen’s novels, as i borrowed my mum’s anthology of her works and have currently read Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice, and i would like to read the others.
Then there is a huge list of others i would like to read, and a bunch i want to re-read! Just so little time and too many books on the list!
Do you have anything you feel you ought to read? Do you feel like there is something you have missed out on?