September 28th, 2009


Why I Don't Do Booklists

Because I'm a freaking fiction junkie and ex-academic. I look at that list of "Classics Most People Haven't Read" and I find three that I haven't read. I spent one summer working my way through Dickens, another through Trollope. I was an English major specializing in American Literature, and then I went to Hopkins, and followed that up studying for a PhD at Indiana University (didn't make it, went to go do computer stuff instead). In studying for the GRE, I snagged a copy of Anthony Burgess's history of English literature and worked my way through everything it mentioned, including things like George Orwell's Keep The Apidistra Flying and Kingsley's The Water Babies. I think Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida is one of the most brilliant things ever written. Early on, they let me go check out books from the adult section because I'd exhausted the fiction in the children's room and was starting on the folklore section out of desperation.

Every time I think about filling out one of those lists, I feel like such a snot. I read omnivorously, and on a plane flight, I work my way through 2-3 paperbacks that I have bought specifically for their thickness. I have read Finnegan's Wake, Tristram Shandy, and every single John McDonald novel, because I -like- crap as much as I like classics. I worked my way through everything I could find that was mentioned in Dale Spender's Mothers of the Novel. It's vaguely embarassing and makes me feel like I'm wanking, but I don't sign up for the "read 50 books in a year!" program because I've worked my way through that within the first couple of months. So yes, I'm a freak.  Stop asking me how many banned books I've read, because chances are, I went through that list too. Okay?