I read a lot of books, maybe not as many as some people, but I love to flick through the pages of a story or explore the depths of a piece of non-fiction. My love of books and stories has been prevalent throughout my life, though I didn’t necessarily realise how significant that love was until more recent years. I try to find unusual books, or books which fit some of my very strict criteria, when it comes to reading. But recently I’ve been branching out, reading books that I wouldn’t necessarily pick up (and most definitely wouldn’t usually finish) and forcing myself to not give up until the back cover has been closed.
There are many books in the world which I haven’t read, it would be impossible to have read them all, since many go out of print or disappear off book shop shelves within a few years. I digress, there are many books which I have considered reading and, somehow, that consideration has disappeared into the ether behind my very full shelf of unread literature.
So, I’m sharing with you five of the books I should have read already:
1. Sing You Home – Jodi Picoult
I bought the book when it was released back in 2011, I even went to a book shop and got it signed by the author, an experience I will never forget. The book is very special to me, not least because of its signing, but also because it incorporates one of my favourite author’s work and my sexuality, something which is often lost, abandoned, or just, not there, in the world of fiction. I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time (though it’s certainly not the only Jodi Picoult I’ve yet to complete) and one day I will get to it, but for now, it’s going to have to remain a hard back on my bookshelf. (I don’t know what it is, a book being a hard back is such a magical feeling for me, and yet, it makes me less likely to read it straight away.)
2. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
I once picked up The Catcher in the Rye and I started to read it, but that was many moons ago when I wasn’t quite as forceful with my finishing of a novel, and I gently placed it back down and never thought about it again. Until recently. I’m not sure what reminded me of my once upon a time hope of reading said novel, it’s supposed to be one of the classics, a Great American Novel. I’ve not long since finished reading another Great American Novel (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn…though I wonder why The Adventures of Tom Sawyer before it didn’t get the same accolade since it came first?) and this book would surely be a great follow up, in terms of classic literature. Unfortunately, unlike Sing You Home, I don’t own a copy of this book. Though it might be free on iBooks or the Kindle, and if it is, then I really have no excuse.
3. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Yet another one of them ‘classics’ I haven’t yet read, but have a desire to do so. Once again, I picked this book up a while ago and I tried to read it, but didn’t get very far. It’s one of those stories that a lot of people were given the opportunity to read in school. I’m not sure whether I’m disappointed that I didn’t, or not, because I got to read To Kill a Mockingbird instead, which will always hold a place in my heart. One day I will pick this book up, perhaps, like The Catcher, it will be available as a free book on the Kindle. Or maybe I’ll have to buy it. Either way, I look forward to emptying my bookshelf a little so that I can make space for some of these classics.
This is where my list becomes a little harder to fill, I’ve covered a book that’s been on my bookshelf for a long time, I’ve covered classics that I’ve been meaning to read but never have and now I’m stuck with two spaces to fill and little ideas in what to fill it with. There are plenty of other books on my bookshelf waiting for me to pick them up, but none of them have very interesting stories to tell, and I can quite happily take or leave the majority of them. So perhaps it’s time to head on over to non-fiction. I don’t read non-fiction all that often, it’s not something which I’m particularly obsessed over quite in the same way I am with fiction. I don’t mind some non-fiction, the informative types, books about psychology and sociology and words. Give me a biography and I’ll probably throw it back in your face. But that’s not to say there aren’t some interesting books out there that I’m simply wasting my free time not reading.
4. The Etymologicon – Mark Forsyth
When I first heard about The Etymologicon, I knew that it was a book for me. I love language; I love words and understanding more about where they came from and how their variants work excites me. A few years back I read a book called Much Ado About English (by Richard Watson Todd) and it was one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. It works in much the same way, you explore language like you don’t generally, and it provides you with knowledge you never knew you wanted before. Perhaps my expectations of The Etymologicon are high, but it’s one of these newer books, where the cover feels more like material than paper and the beautiful gold text puts this book pride of place on my bookshelf.
5. Casper the Commuting Cat – Susan Finden
I’m cheating a little bit here. I’m currently reading about Casper and his commuting lifestyle. The book is mostly a true story, mixed in with occasional messages ‘from Casper’ and the sporadic rant from the owner of Casper about something or other. The reason this book is on my list is because it’s borrowed from a friend. I borrowed the book in July…2012 and I’m yet to complete it. The only reason I know it’s been so long is because I used a train ticket from 2nd Aug 2012 as my marker. I made some good progress that summer, but through very strange events (basically people taking the mickey out of the book, it becoming the biggest joke of the summer and me feeling less comfortable reading it whilst working with those people), the book slipped into the back of my mind. Until I saw my friend again a few months after that and she asked how I was getting on with the book. Now we’re several months later and I’m yet to see her again, and yet to finish the book. I intend to contact her again and meet up with her (she only lives around the corner, after all) but to do so, I feel I need to finish reading about Casper.
There we have it, a very mixed list of books which demand my attention, with one exception, but only because I’m even more ashamed at not completing that book than I am about Casper. That book, however, will remain on my bookshelf and not in this piece for various reasons unknown to you. In the meantime, I will continue to make progress with my books and hope that I can tick off some of these books I should have read already. Unfortunately, after I finish reading about Casper (not long to go now!) I have to read about Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, (and I really should read the unnamed book, too) so that’s another few hundred pages I have to wait before I can even consider moving on.
One day…one day I will be able to say that this list is null and void…one day I will have a new list of books I should have read already.