So, because I needed another project, my usual partner-in-harebrainedness Stephanie Whiteside and I decided that we are going to read our way through the classics.
Well. Some of them, anyway. 102 of them, to be exact.
It happened something like this:
“Man, I wish the crappy public school I went to had even attempted to teach literature. I end up in these situations where everyone’s talking about some Classic Work of English Literary Canon, and I have to just nod along like I know what the hell they’re referencing.”
“Me too! I know they tried to make us read some, but I didn’t bother because I was a teenager, and could bullshit it well enough to get an A w/out reading the book.”
In unison: “OMG WE SHOULD READ ALL THE THINGS!”*
And then, there was a five year plan and a spreadsheet that lists page counts, because that’s how we roll.
Our list is an overview, pulled from several of those “100 books everyone should have read” lists; we did edit it to include more women and minorities, because wow, is all our “classic” literature written by dead white guys, and we also limited it to one book per author, with maybe one or two exceptions. We also carried it up through the year 2000, so probably some of these are not yet being taught in schools, but they probably are in college classrooms, so that seemed ok. We also eliminated books both of us had already read (Gatsby, for example), and we each have a personal list of a couple titles that we can substitute if needed. (Stephanie feels like she needs to read Catcher in the Rye because it is heavily referenced in our culture, but if I have to read it again I will probably light it on fire, so I will be subbing in something she’s read, but I have not.)
You can view our entire list on her little write-up here; we’ll each be blogging sporadically about the books we’re reading, so you’re welcome to play along at home.
*I’m not sure who started the convo this time; it’s one we’ve had before. But it’s a pretty accurate paraphrase.