So, classics. Or at least classic writers. I’m definitely not an advocate of reading nothing but what is generally regarded as classic literature – some of my favourite novels are crime novels, or fantasy, which have been mocked by those who only believe in “proper” literature.
That said, the classics I have read are classics for a reason, and mostly I’ve enjoyed them – Austen is one of my favourite writers, I loved Anna Karenina (although I would like to re-read it now), and of the more modern writers who are considered “worthy” I’ve recently enjoyed Orwell and Graham Greene.
So, there are quite a few writers who I think I probably should read. If I don’t like them, fair enough, but I should give them a go. Here are my current top five unread writers.
1. Charles Dickens – I’ve read “A Christmas Carol” but I don’t think that really counts as reading Dickens as it’s really short. Dickens is supposedly one of the greats, I generally enjoy Victorian literature, so I really should give him a go. I also feel it’s pretty shameful that I’ve got past 30 without reading him.
2. George Eliot – Again, I feel like this is pretty bad on my part. Especially as I’m really interested in women’s writing and how women were marginalised. Everything I’ve heard about George Eliot makes me think I’d really like her. I think I even have a copy of “Middlemarch”, and yet it remains unopened.
3. Angela Carter – I’ve read the odd short story of hers and really liked it, but no more than that, and I really should. She’s so important in feminism and women’s writing, and I feel like I’m missing out.
4. Jules Verne – I got “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” from the library last week so this should be remedied soon. I really like the adventure story, I’ve enjoyed all the Robert Louis Stevenson novels I’ve read, so really should read Verne. Plus it’s a bit rubbish to have watched “Around the World with Willy Fogg” as a child and not read the book it was based on!
5. H.P. Lovecraft – He’s been recommended to me by a few people, and the fact that I enjoy gothic-type horror makes me think I would really like him. I’ve got some stories of his on my Kindle but haven’t got round to reading them yet.
I hadn’t noticed this until I put this list together, but I probably own works by each of these writers, either proper books or Kindle, so it’s only being distracted by other books that has stopped me reading them. Perhaps my goals for 2013 need to include reading these writers, it might motivate me to get on with it.