I majored in English, and I make no secret of my love of reading, so you probably assume I have read most of the classics. As someone who did not read her first Jane Austen book until about seven years ago, I must confess that there are a number of books I am embarrassed to admit I haven’t read. Many readers have this secret list of unread books. If any of these books come up in conversation, you hope you can get by with the knowledge you have gleaned from online sources or overheard conversations in bookstores. When you finally pick up one of these books, maybe you dog-ear a few pages and put a small rip in the cover before starting, so you can give the illusion that this is your third or fourth time reading it.
Oh, this old thing? I’ve had it for years. It’s quite beat up from all the times I’ve read it.
As bad as we may feel about the classics we have not read or the borrowed books gathering dust on our nightstands, it really is not a horrible problem to have. It just means there are loads of great stories to explore in the future. My to-read list is so long that I would probably have to stop time to catch up on reading if I wanted to put a dent in it. It’s no wonder that there are some must-reads that I have not read.
Here are my top ten books I haven’t read yet but probably should have:
1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I can’t come up with a good excuse about why I haven’t read this. I love Angelou’s writing, and I really need to get to this one soon.
2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Don’t act surprised that there is an Austen book on my list.
3. One of Anne Brontë’s books
Somehow she’s the lost Brontë sister when it comes to the list of books I’ve read.
4. Anything by Bill Bryson
So many people have recommended him to me, and I even have two of his books sitting on a shelf.
5. Everything by Octavia Butler
I read Kindred last year and wondered by I hadn’t read anything by Butler before. I am embarrassed to admit it took me this long to read one book by her. Now I’m embarrassed that I’ve only read one book by her.
6. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I’m not a huge Dickens fan, but I feel like this is one I might like and should probably read.
7. Any of Ursula Le Guin’s novels
Sorry, I’ve only read her short stories. Years ago I met her at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. She was really nice, and I was afraid that she would figure out that I hadn’t read the books I asked her to sign.
8. Animal Farm by George Orwell
I didn’t read it, but I saw the movie…
9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Sigh. Am I the only person who hasn’t read this?
10. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
This is one book that will probably always remain on this list.
There are more, but these are the ones that come to mind as I write this. I guess I better head to the library and get to work.
What books are you embarrassed to admit you haven’t read?