A little over a year ago, I had an epiphany. I’ve always loved books, but I’d never thought seriously about working in the publishing industry. I’d always wanted to write, but just ended up with a few dozen half-formed novels that had reached a dead end. But it was the thing I loved, so I decided to finally go for it. I enrolled in graduate school, and started writing and reading full-time.
Since then, I’ve determined that my literary history falls woefully short. For a long time, I considered myself well-read. In reality, I wasn’t even close. In fact, I put more effort into appearing well-read than actually being well-read. My twelve-year old self proudly proclaimed that Pride and Prejudice was my favorite book, but I never actually read it until I was twenty-one.
So I’ve made up a very long reading list, and am slowly making my way through it. I read 1984 for the first time last year. A month ago I finally made my way through Beowulf (which was assigned to me in high school, college, and graduate school before I actually sat down and read it). And just yesterday I completed my nine-moth trek through Anna Karenina. I want to be the person who can honestly say, “yes, I’ve read Paradise Lost and Vanity Fair.” I want to read the books everyone claims to have read, but no one actually does.
I started this blog as a sort of journal to keep track of my reading and my experience in grad school. I’m looking forward to actually making some progress on my to-be-read list (which I keep in a physical journal). Crossing books off the list is a wonderful feeling, so if you have a list – whether it’s five or five hundred books long – write it down, and enjoy that satisfying feeling when you draw a line through The Hobbit or Ulysses. If you’re so inclined, share your lists in the comments or let me know what your must-read book is – I might just have to add it to my list!
Next up… I’m reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, and The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (I still haven’t decided which to read first).