Last week I listed some (literary) fiction that I haven’t yet read. There’s loads more that I haven’t read and I thought of additions for that list during the week. I was reminded of some of these additions today while in a bookshop with my friend the Children’s Pastor. We discussed Charles Dickens (see below). Then I was at a memorial service for my aunt this afternoon and the preacher quoted John Donne. This made me think of all the poetry I haven’t yet read, but I think I’ll save the poetry list for next week. For now, More Literary Fiction I Have Not Yet Read.
1. Anything by Charles Dickens. Oh wait. I’ve read A Christmas Carol. But that is a short story, or a novella at best, and Dickens has so very many lovely long novels. How many have I read? None. Zero. Zilch. I feel guilty about this from time to time when I hear someone talking about how great Dickens is, or when I make a joke about one of his titles (usually A Tale of Two Cities), or when I look at the placemat I’ve got with a picture of the actual Old Curiosity Shoppe on it. I think I’ve got a copy of Bleak House somewhere about the house. I should find it and read it.
2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I’ve no desire to read this book. At. All. Thus I don’t feel any guilt about not reading it. I think I owned a copy once that someone gave me for Christmas thinking that because I like books I’d like that. Even then, long ago, I had no desire to read it. I’ve heard bits of a movie version but it mostly sounded like people yelling at each other and wind whipping across the heath. Uninteresting. But go ahead, try to change my mind.
3. Anything by Dostoevsky. I sort of implied this in my discussion of War and Peace last week, but feel it merits saying explicitly. Lots of people I know have read Dostoevsky (including the Street Pastor and the Norwegian) and recommend him highly, and apparently there’s loads of interesting theology in his books. I have a view of The Brothers Karamazov at work and this adds to the burden of not reading Dostoevsky. Plus the Archbishop of Canterbury has written a book about Dostoevsky. Surely if Rowan Williams thinks Dostoevsky is worthwhile, so should we all.
4. The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. Here I feel like I’m letting down Canadian Women. I’ve got a (dusty) copy of the book on my shelf, in the to-be-read area, but on a shelf with other to-be-read books which have been neglected this year. Also in this neglected zone are The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, Son of Laughter by Frederick Buechner, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson etc. Now that I’ve reminded myself that this shelf exists, I should read some of those neglected titles.
5. Anything by Robertson Davies. Here I feel like I’m letting down the Canadian side entirely. I’ve got The Deptford Trilogy in one volume sitting on a more accessible to-be-read shelf, but it sits and looks at me sideways and I look back and don’t begin. I think I’m intimidated by the beard. And by the introverted walls of Massey College, where Davies was the Master. I walk by the Master’s Lodge at Massey and think how can I read his work? I need to get over the intimidation factor.
Watch for the Poetry I Haven’t Read list coming next Saturday. Oh the things yet to be read in the world.