Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rachel, Acceptable Gaps

When compiling my list, I also thought about a few famous/epic/classic books I've never read, which I purposefully don't plan to read. Some people love these books, and they're common on "Must Read Before You Die" lists--but I feel like I can die without reading these and it'll be OK, for I will have filled my reading days with other wonderful things.

Here are my acceptable gaps (list edited to include those I was reminded of by your comments below, thanks):

Hardy (Thomas): any
Joyce: Ulysses
Melville: Moby Dick
Mitchell: Gone With the Wind
Rand (Ayn): any
Tolstoy: War and Peace
Wallace: Infinite Jest

What are yours?

24 comments:

iasa said...

I love War and Peace, but I never need to read anything by Hemingway or Jane Austen ever again, unless there are zombies!

Rachel said...

You've heard about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I hope...(not kidding, Google that)

Amanda said...

I'm in the middle of reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies right now. :)

Amanda said...

And Rachel, I'm totally with you when it comes to War and Peace (anything really by Tolstoy, since I hated Anna Karenina so much) and Moby Dick. My never-need-to-read list includes anything involving poetry, and the second volume of Don Quixote.

Alps said...

Rachel, This made me laugh. (In a good way! Not mean, haughty laughter. Definitely I-can-relate laughter.) I left out those exact books on purpose too. Another one I'll add to my own Acceptable Gaps list is Watership Down. My mom gave me that book when I was a little girl and I tried to read it several times, but could never get into it. Now that I'm an adult I still have zero interest.

BTW, has anyone seen Bollywood's Bride & Prejudice? It's awesome.

iasa said...

Alps, yes Bollywood rawks! Rachael Pride and Prejudice Zombies is on my project list.

Jen A said...

I'm totally with you on Moby Dick. I'm also good with never having read Catch 22. I tried. Several times. Can't do it, have no interest in trying any more.

Amanda said...

Oh Jen, I'm so sorry to hear that about Catch-22. It's one of my favorite books, and I've reread it about 5 times. I can see why it wouldn't be for everyone, though.

Jason Gignac said...

Oh, it hurts! I love Moby Dick! I reread it this year actually, it gets better every time I read it. It's a very humane novel. I feel like I can love anyone by the end of Moby Dick, and feel glad that I do. And Watership Down! I alway cry during that one-part-that-I-won't-spoil-for-people-who-will-read-it...

Jen A said...

Yeah, my husband (also an English nerd) does not understand on either count - he loves Catch-22 and Moby Dick both. But I've tried with both...just not for me. For my part, though, I utterly adore Hemingway and it breaks my heart a little every time someone says they can't read him.

Amanda said...

I love Hemingway, too, but there are some authors I avoid like the plague. Tolstoy, DH Lawrence, Emily Bronte...

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

This is a fun one. I also made a "don't need to read this" list earlier this year. At the top: Ulysses. Second: Moby Dick. And yet I put Moby Dick on my Gap list here! Which shows just how conflicted I am.

Amanda -- why does it make me happy that you didn't like Anna K?

Jason -- I also loved Watership Down -- read it aloud to my kids years ago and they made it all the way through!

Other questionable may-not-ever-reads: Infinite Jest? Even though I feel for the poor author (rip) and feel I should read something else by him.(eeps. sorry. this is why I wish I were using a pseudonym.)

Alps said...

I love Hemingway too.

And maybe you're convincing me to try Watership Down again. Maybe I could read it to my kids.

One writer I'm absolutely done with is Conrad. I apologize in advance to any Heart of Darkness lovers out there, but I took a senior seminar on Conrad in college and afterward made a pact with myself never to crack another Conrad book again ever. Blah!!

Amanda said...

Ooh, I forgot about Joyce when I named my never-reads. Ulysses, Finnegan's Wake, anything else by him...

Rachel said...

Ulysses and Infinite Jest, I'm so with you! I forgot about those two as well. I've never completed any Conrad -- I thought about a separate "Started But Never Finished" list, and Heart of Darkness would be on that (with Possession, The Monk, 1984, etc.).

I read A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea, and don't feel the need to rush back to Hemingway for any novels -- but I do have his story collection "The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories," and will get around to reading that at some point.

Amanda, I read E. Bronte's Wuthering Heights last year for the first time, and didn't like it. Some people call that sacrilege! But I found the characters irritating and unlikeable, not remotely romantic. I don't feel the need to read anything else from her either.

iasa, I hope you'll post a review on here of P&P&Z when you're done, I'm so curious! I think the premise is hilarious -- I hope he pulls it off.

Amanda said...

Rachel, Possession is my favorite book of all time, but I can definitely see why someone would have a hard time getting through it. Still, I love it.

And I completely agree with you about Wuthering Heights. I don't get the allure.

Megan said...

So glad we can admit this here! I cannot read Faulkner or Hemingway and feel like a terrible English student. I had to read The Bear for an antebellum History class and was so annoyed by his sentences.

As for Hemingway, I do love The Old Man and the Sea, but anything longer I just can't get into.

I loved Infinite Jest, though. :) If you can get through all of the mathematics and grammar talk it's totally worth it.

PurpleClover said...

Hmm. I had a really rough time getting through James Joyce's Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, but that could be because I was in high school and many of the dilemmas he was facing were foreign to me.

Now that I've experienced more of the deadly sins in my time...lol...I think I could try a re-read. But it is an acceptable Gap and actually I didn't add any of his to my list. Though it's not to say I won't read him again. He is an excellent writer.

PurpleClover said...

Ooh, many pardons. He was an excellent writer. Or his writings are excellent...still. Today. But he's deceased. Now.

Moving on...

Nom de Gare said...

Ooh, "acceptable gaps" is almost as intriguing a topic as the original "100 gaps" challenge :) I wonder if I could come up with 100 things I never hope to read?

When my beloved Aunt found out that I was writing my thesis on a particular author, she was horrified. She considered disowning me, I think. We adore each other and otherwise agree on most things. But she HATES this author, whom I LOVE above nearly all others.

I haven't given much thought to this, but off the top of my head, my acceptable gaps include Watership Down (largely because of the Art Garfunkle song 'Bright Eyes', which I find sappy. Perhaps not a good reason??), all of Tolkien (but I've resolved to overcome this prejudice, so I've put him on my fill-in-the-gaps list), and Ayn Rand, on political grounds. I read Atlas Shrugged in highschool. From memory, her prose wasn't good enough to make me want to revisit her (IMHO) reactionary philosophy. Oh, and Paolo Coelho, only because I get the impression from his fans' rapturous endorsements that he's a bit new-agey. But again - this may be blind prejudice on my part.

I love that in the comments on this topic so far, there's much overlap between people's favourite books, people's "To Be Read" books and people's "No Way" or "Never Again" books. I LOVE some of the books mentioned in people's "acceptable gaps" posts so far (Joyce, esp. Ulysses and Dulbiners; DH Lawrence, though I swore off him before I'd read him when I was younger; Heller; Austen; E. Bronte).

Facing down my 100 to-be-read list, it's comforting to know that for everyone who adores a particular book, there's probably someone else who despises it...

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Cheers to that, Nom De Gare. I also simply appreciate people's honesty here. None of us have to pretend we like something better than we actually do. Also, I know there are books I might have despised when I was young that would work much better for me now, and vice-versa.

Rachel said...

I've been reminded by several of your comments that my acceptable gaps also include Ayn Rand (not my thing), and any more Thomas Hardy (might as well go hang myself, thanks).

I'm so interested to see Watership Down on here for several of you. I haven't read it since it was a 7th grade English class assignment--but I do have it, and may have to revisit it sometime. (But will avoid the Garfunkel!)

Kelly said...

I LOVE the notion of Acceptable Gaps! Wish I had considered the idea before I made my list. I chose several books which I am determined to plow through. (Joyce comes to mind...) Perhaps after reading one by these chosen authors I can put the rest of those "gap" books on the "Acceptable" list. :)

nishitak said...

I don't get it. I loved Moby Dick, as well as Gone with the Wind.

Totally agree with you about Hardy too. My list would also include Chaucer, and anything that's written in other languages and translated into English.

I think translations suck!