We all have those books we’ve put off reading for too long. Maybe we’ve owned them, or eyed them in the library, or have just heard about them our whole lives. Each reader is responsible for what he or she thinks is a classic. Moby Dick and Wuthering Heights are classics to most people, but if Ray Bradbury looms heavily over you, then you get to Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Then across March we all blog about our journeys through our classics. Does the book measure up? Are there things about it you're surprised you've never heard of? Even if you hate it (and I did, one year with Jane Austen), it's worth sharing the experience of canons.
Like the last two years, I’m asking for opinions on which classic I should knock off my list. Because writing my own novel is taking up a great deal of my mind and time, I’ve cut the 1,000+ page novels from the list. I simply wouldn’t do The Infinite Jest or Les Miserables justice this March. This leaves me with five possible books:
1. Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations
2. Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita
3. John Irving's The World According to Garp
4. Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities
5. Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita
I have only ever previously read Wolfe and Nabokov, but never these two particular great novels. Dickens is one of my great hollow spots, while The Master and Margarita is the most commonly recommended to me.
So, friends and fellow readers, which of these five do you most recommend?