I’ve always been an avid reader. I was the big nerd who enjoyed spending summer days at the library as much as I did at the pool. As I’ve grown older and my personal time has shrunk considerably due to the demands of owning a home, having children, work, and other various social obligations, I’ve found that I am often hard pressed to carve time in my day for reading for enjoyment. It’s a shame, really, because there’s something about getting lost in a book that is so relaxing to me. Now that Shortcake is quickly developing her own reading abilities I think it’s more important than ever that she sees me reading to instill in her the importance of reading for life long learning and enjoyment.
Because of this, I’ve placed a few reading related goal on my life list of dreams. I’ve always loved the idea of belonging to a book club. There’s something about the camaraderie and discussion of a shared piece of literature that sounds so fun to me. I have also heard they often serve snacks at these shindigs and that doesn’t hinder my interest at all either. I’ve been told by multiple people on multiple occasions that the Harry Potter books are a must read and therefore I’ve added that to my list of goals to accomplish as well. Part of me wants to wait to read them with my daughter(s), but I’m not sure I’ll be patient enough for that. Perhaps it would be better for me to read them first as a censor? Yes, I think that’s the excuse I’ll use.
The biggest and most ambitious reading related goal on my list is this: Read all the classic novels of the 20th century according to Time Magazine & Modern Library. I am one that is often overwhelmed and intimidated by the sheer volume of books available to me when I walk into my local public library. I almost exclusively choose to read works of fiction, although the occasional non-fiction work might find itself in the rotation every once in a great while. In order to fine tune this goal, I did some (Google) research to find a comprehensive list of classic “must-read” novels. I was pleased to find two such lists which I cross-checked and then compiled into one mega-list of the most important novels of the 20th century. In all, the list included more than 200 works by a wide variety of authors. Some are penned by very influential and well-known writers. Others I haven’t the first clue about; I’m not even sure I’ll be able to find them in my small town library. In case you’re interested in what books made the cut, you can check out the complete list here.
I’ve read a few of the books previously but I’ve decided to reread them on this go-round either because I loved the book so much the first time (A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is by far my favorite book of all time) or because it’s been so long since I read it that I can’t really remember the details (Lord of the Flies and sophomore year novels class with Mr. Patterson was oh-so-long-ago). I’m easing into the massive list slowly: yesterday I started reading the Judy Blume classic, Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret and together Shortcake and I are reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis each night before bedtime. Punkin is invited to join us as well of course but the book's lack of colorful pictures coupled with the short attention span of a three year old makes that time together a little less appealing to her than it does to a story loving Shortcake. Punkin would much prefer to roll around on the floor making patterns in the carpet with Daddy’s back scratcher. To each her own, I suppose.
I’d like to extend the following invitation to all of you: would any of you like to join me as I embark on reading my way through this mighty list of literary greatness? We could read the same book together (and then discuss! like a book club!) or you can pave your own way. Also, after reviewing the list, if there’s a book that you’re outraged to see didn’t make the cut let me know what it is and I can add it – what’s another couple of books when you’re already at 218, right?