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Absolute Must Reads

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My sixtieth birthday comes up later this year, and whilst I'm not really in to 'landmark' events like this, I have to admit it's made me think more than previous decade markers have done, not least because I've now exceeded the age my father died at.  I don't want to get morbid about it, far from it, but it has made me think a bit about a number of things, including my reading.


And the question it's most stimulated is "What books or authors do I really want to make sure I've read or had a go at reading?"  Most of us have TBR lists, but which of these books do we feel that, for whatever reason, we feel that we really want,even need, to read.  My TBR pile is humungous - probably bigger than I'll actually manage in my lifetime.  They're all books that I'd like to have read (obviously!), but which  ones do I feel that I would be incomplete as a reader without having at least tried them? 


So, here's my current list of "Absolute Must Reads".  I'd be very interested to see what, if any, others have on their lists.  I've focused it on fiction, and it's not long, although there are plenty of others that are bubbling underneath, and could get added, especially as those on the list itself are ticked off, because at the end of the day is our reading ever 'complete'?.  Surprisingly non-fiction actually produced a much bigger list, but most people here are more interested in the former, so that's what I've started with. They're mostly classics, I know, which I suppose is somewhat inevitable given my reading inclinations and the fact that they are, by definition, considered part of 'The Canon' by most people, but they don't need to be - that's just the way my list has worked out (many of those American authors aren't considered that way, at least yet!).


1.  Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

2.  The rest of Charles Dickens (I'm half way through the completed novels)

3.  Grapes of Wrath / East of Eden - John Steinbeck

4.  Tess of the D'Urbevilles / Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

5.  House of Mirth / Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton

6.  Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes

7.  Adam Bede - George Eliot

8.  Completing my Tour of the US challenge.


The latter really just represents the fact that there is a whole bunch of American authors who I really want to try - this remains a big personal gap in my reading, and several of those authors don't appear on the tour.  Indeed, this list could have just been one of American authors who I want to try!


So, what would make your list?  I suspect others would feature a few more modern authors.





Edited by willoyd

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1) As I lay dying (by Faulkner) -- it's a dark comedy... 
2) Canterbury Tales (by Chaucer) -- it's bawdy (must get the uncensored version)
3) Pale Fire (by Nabokov) -- an absolute must read -- darkly hilarious

4)  Macbeth by William Shakespeare -- my favourite play ever)
5) St. Urbain's Horseman (by Mordecai Richler) -- mordant 
6) The Odyssey (Homer) 

Edited by Athena
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