Once upon a time, when I would tell people I was studying English literature, they would assume that meant I knew all about all of literature that had ever been written, or ask me whether I had read book X or play H. Of course I would feel embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t read it and somehow as though I had dodged the university entrance system which had somehow allowed someone with a sub standard knowledge of literature to study. Of course I know now that was a nice dose of imposter syndrome raising its head, making me feel that I didn’t belong there, that I was faking it while everyone else surely had read all the high brow literature- or at least all the Shakespeare.
The thing I most looked forward to when I was approaching the conclusion of my undergraduate Life was the slowing of my reading demands. With lots of texts to read through and think about and write about each week- I longed to choose my own pace. But now I miss the push that university required reading gave- I find it too easy to give myself excuses or reasons that I didn’t manage to find time to read or that I don’t need to read that book right now.
I did however leave with a much broader understanding of and grasp of the history of literature, (who expects you to go into your degree knowing it all anyway?!) and while I didn’t read every work from the whole of the English canon, I had certainly touched on each area. From Restoration texts which were meaty and difficult to digest, to Shakespeare and modern texts.
But even with the space to choose what I want to read, there are lots of classics that I should have read, but haven’t. Or actually, classics that I want to read, that I want to prioritise- not from feeling obliged or a lack but because I know they will be great! I started with To Kill a Mockingbird and Little Women bit several more remain.
Recently I started a bullet journal (after dabbling with bits of it for a while) and my favourite collections in it are of course books to read and series to read pages.
So here are some of the classics I should read – or rather ones I haven’t read yet that I want to! Have you read them? Or are any on your list?
Little Lord Fauntleroy – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Tender is the night- F Scott Fitzgerald
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Emily Bronte
Lord of the Rings series – JRR Tolkein
I know why the caged bird sings– Maya Angelou
Catch 22– Joseph Heller
Middlemarch– George Eliot
Moby-Dick- Herman Melville
Vanity Fair – William Thackeray
The Catcher in the Rye– JD Salinger
Which are your favourite classics- and are there any you haven’t read that you want to? I think Lord of the Rings is quickly speeding up my list along with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It’s about time!