Today I finished reading through the book list I started on about two and a half years ago! I had taken a break on this list last summer around the time I started the nursing program because the library I had access to in Farmville didn't have 2-3 of the final books I had to read on the list. When Chris and I moved to Williamsburg, I got access to a new library and put those books on hold. Well last week I got the final book and finished it today.
The best thing about completing this list has been picking up books I never would have originally chosen for myself, reading them, and enjoying them. Sure, there were quite a few that I didn't really like, but overall it was a great exercise to stray from the norm and read authors, topics, or stories that would never have peaked my interest on a book jacket. For example, I never would have read Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov), Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy), or Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) by choosing only from books that I "wanted" to read - and you know what, I actually liked a couple of them!
Some of my favorites from the list:
- Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell) - takes place during the Civil War and Reconstruction. All I can say is the book is awesome and it's tragic she never wrote other novels.
- The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) - about the building of a cathedral during the 12th century. I've read quite a few by him and they've all been good; just don't read its "sequel" (World Without End) right after it, because it's the exact same story.
- All the classics (To Kill a Mockingbird [Harper Lee], Pride and Prejudice [Jane Austen], East of Eden [John Steinbeck], The Count of Monte Cristo [Alexandre Dumas], The Fountainhead [Ayn Rand], Wuthering Heights [Emily Bronte], and many, many more). I know my high-school self wouldn't agree with me here, but there is a reason these books are classics.
- Actually, starting to go through the list, I realize that I really did like so many of them that I don't want to single too many out and prevent those avid readers out there from ignoring the rest, so I'll stop here.
Lastly, there were at least 5-10 of these books that in my opinion, were awful. Others may enjoy them and I won't name them here because I don't want to insult anyone (including authors I will never have any contact with). Usually I can appreciate a book despite completely disagreeing with or disliking its content just because the story is so unique or the writing is so impressive, but there were a handful on this list that weren't written well and their story lines certainly didn't save them.
So...any suggestions out there for a new list to begin? I have lots of books on my "to read" list right now, but again, I like the list approach to make me pick up things I wouldn't normally and make myself a more well-rounded reader.