This week, the Wall Street Journal wrote a great piece about classic books we haven't read, and how to get over the guilt. In it, there's a poll asking people if they've read Pride & Prejudice and, as of this writing, 53% of respondents had not. As someone who's devoured it and multiple iterations of it at least a dozen times, I audibly gasped. Of course, I have my own gaping holes in the classical canon that I have yet to read that might cause you, dear readers, to clutch your pearls. Here's a small selection of the books I will probably never finish (or start), and I'm (mostly) okay with that.
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
"Call me Ishmael?" Call me bored. I can do without all the chapters on obscure whaling techniques. Plus we all know how this one ends.
War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy
A coworker recently finished this giant tome, and I was impressed, but no more motivated to read it myself. I really don't feel guilt about this one—maybe a touch of shame at the lack of Russian masters I've read in general, but not enough to pick up this 1200-pager anytime soon.
Ulysses by James Joyce
I love puns, Dublin, and actually enjoyed reading The Odyssey in school, so this one should be a no brainer. Buy Joyce doesn't make it easy, and I don't have the energy.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I somehow didn't have to read this in high school (thanks, public school!). I do feel a little guilt about this one, but it doesn't mean I'm rushing out to pick it up.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I also missed this one in high school, and I'm glad I did. Holden Caulfield sounds like someone I'd like to punch in the face.
Your turn! What books haven't you read? Do you feel guilty or not?