I Can’t Believe You’ve Never Read That!

If you have ever had any length of a conversation with me, seen me in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, passed by me while my kids are playing in the park, sat next to me at a stop light, or peered in my bedroom window at night (creeper!), you probably know that I love to read. I always bring a book with me wherever I go just in case I have a spare second to read. I’ve read books for school (high school, college, and graduate school) and I’ve read countless books for pleasure. Then I began teaching English and started reading books for work. I’ve lost count of the books I’ve read. But when talking with a fellow bibliophile about our literary conquests I’ve often gotten the response, “I can’t believe you’ve never read that!”.

As a voracious reader and former English teacher, I feel a responsibility to have read every notable book out there. Why is that? Should I have read Moby Dick instead of The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club? Should I have read Jane Austen instead of rereading the entire Harry Potter series three times? I want to say no, you should always read what you want, but I also feel a responsibility to explore the world of literature…good, quality, long-lasting literature. Sure I can get through Hunger Games: Catching Fire in a weekend, but The Bronte sisters will last forever.

I think it’s a balance. Reading is reading. As long as you’re reading something you’re gaining new perspectives, learning new words and increasing your reading fluency. But you should also challenge yourself as a reader. Read something new. Read something about a different culture. Read something you’ve always wanted to read, but never have. Read something just so you can say you read it.

I sometimes feel shame that I haven’t read a notable classic or blockbuster novel that everyone and their brother has read. There are certain books that I feel I should have read. Then I realize…who cares! Reading is something that I love. It’s something I do for myself; not to be part of some elite group of people who read all 1,037 pages of Gone with the Wind.

Here are some popular and/or classic books that I’ve never read. Maybe someday…

Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments. No book-shaming, please.

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6 thoughts on “I Can’t Believe You’ve Never Read That!

  1. I totally agree! Yes, read what you love, but challenge yourself to read some of those classics because there is a reason they reach classic status. It’s just so hard to do because there are SOO many great books out here, and we just keep getting more!

    Don’t feel bad for not having read the list because I have only read 2 books from the list. Recently, I read my first Jane Austen book, but it was Emma instead of Pride and Prejudice.

  2. You know, I think most avid readers feel this to some extent. I read an interview with the author of My Life with Bob (I haven’t read the book, though!), who I believe was editor of the New York Times Book Review and was lamenting and then accepting the gaps in her own reading. Even she hasn’t read everything!

    I’ve read all but two of yours above (I wish I hadn’t read The Girl on the Train), but I still feel guilt about others I haven’t gotten to. To try to combat it, I have a “reading bucket list” of 50 mostly classic books I want to read at some point. I’m chipping away at it but not making it a chore, and I also don’t add books that I don’t actually have an interest in reading. Life is too short and reading time is too precious!

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