(It seems like I stole this idea from Stefanie, who recently did a similar post, but I promise I didn't. She and I just happen to be on the same wavelength -- not for the first time.)
I was reading O magazine over the weekend (that's my first "true confession," I love that magazine), having, of course, skipped right to the article "What to Read Next: Our 26 Favorite Books of the Summer." Actually, since I'm in a confessing sort of a mood, that's not quite true. It was where I was headed before I got sidetracked by "Take the Intimacy Quiz!" (you will be happy to know that, according to this short little quiz, Bob and I score a "Congratulations -- your friendship and your marriage are strong") and the pictures of all the lovely pairs of clogs in "Love That! Clog Heaven" (falling madly in love, of course, with the pair that cost nearly $400).
Anyway, eventually I got to the article on books, because I am, of course, in desperate need of titles to add to the TBR tome (luckily, it seems that every other one was compared to Amy Bloom, a writer I have decided I don't like, so TBR damage was kept to a minimum). This article had a great sidebar feature in which authors were confessing about books they should have read but never have. "What fun, and how empowering to come clean," I thought, being someone who has lived her whole life trying to avoid people who might say to her, "You haven't read what? I can't believe you haven't read that!" I mean, if Kathryn Stockett can freely admit to Oprah's 5 billion (or whatever it is) followers that she's never read Jane Eyre, and Jennifer Egan can admit she's never read David Copperfield (woo-hoo, Jennifer. I'm right there with you!), surely I can admit to the handful of very kind people who read this blog that I've never read The Old Man and the Sea (or any Hemingway, as far as I know, although I may have read some short stories in high school that I don't remember). In fact, why not create a meme that revolves around such lapses?
So, here you go. This is the true confessions meme. Think of ten books it seems you should have read by now but never have. Post them. Feel free to say anything you want about why you haven't read them. Tag others when you're done.
1. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
I love the hard-boiled genre. People have told me for years that I can't really say that without having read this classic. We read The Glass Key a couple of years ago for the detective book club. I planned to read this one right after that. I never did. Still planning to read it, though... Really.
2. Light in August by William Faulkner
I love Faulkner. About 20 years after having read it, I still think The Sound and the Fury is one of the most brilliant books I've ever read. I want to read this one. I pull it from the shelf from time to time, but, for some reason, I keep putting it back unread. Maybe it's because Faulkner takes real commitment, and I'm too much of a commitment-phobe or something.
3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne
I was living in England when everyone read this one in ninth grade. Thus, I never read it. I know what it's about, though. Do I really have to read it? (I was thrilled a number of years back when both my parents admitted to me that they'd never read it, either. Maybe we Southerners just have a hard time with that Puritan stuff.)
4. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
I never get around to this one, despite my love of Mark Twain, because I keep thinking I need to reread Le Morte D'Arthur before doing so, and, well, I never get around to that (despite the fact that I love it). I did, last year, try to listen to the audiobook version, but that just convinced me more than ever that I needed to revisit Malory, and so I gave up on it.
5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
My sister told me, back when I was in high school, that I had to read this book. I've been having and planning to read it ever since.
6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Can anyone think of a single good reason why I haven't read this book that is so up my alley it smells like garbage and has alley cat paw prints all over it?
7. Call of the Wild by Jack London
Is it horrible that I just really have no interest? Despite the fact that everyone tells me I'll love it?
8. Shogun by James Clavell
It's just so damn long, isn't it? The copy we have is actually in two volumes. I mean, no matter how good everyone tells me it is, who has time for that?
9. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
It's not long. I loved The Secret Agent. Why haven't I read this one?
10. Black Boy by Richard Wright
Again, I have no excuse. In fact, I ought to go pull it from the shelf right now and begin. But I won't (for the 100th or so time).
Oh well. At least there is one book I can say I've read that most haven't: the Bible (yes, the whole thing, although not the Apocrypha). I think that definitely makes up for never having read all these others. Maybe the next meme ought to be "books I've read that make up for those I haven't." (Madame Bovary three times, not by choice, certainly fits that bill).
So, now, everyone but Stefanie, because she basically already did it, who is reading this, must do the meme. I mean it. If I can confess, so can you. Or at least tell me: how many of those I've listed have you not read?