I just got finished reading On the Road by Kerouac and I'm starting In Cold Blood by Capote. I've read 2 Faulkners, 3 Steinbecks, and a couple of Hemingways. I've still got a couple of Austen and Dickens to go as well. If I didn't read it in HS, I'm reading it now.

2007 seems to be the year in which I fill in some of the gaps in my reading of the best books of all time. I think I've read most of the classics in mystery fiction, but I'm curious to know what books all of you are missing in your "education" of the genre and reading at large.

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William Faulkner. In fact, he nearly ended a friendship for me. A friend of mine couldn't believe I'd never read The Sound and the Fury and bought me a copy. Now I have to avoid speaking to her because she keeps asking me if I've read it yet.

I never finished Moby Dick but I can bluff well enough to pretend I have. In fact I believe I wrote an essay on it in my finals.

I've read Dickens and Austen and various Bronte sisters galore, but hardly anything in translation except Anna Karenina.
Actually, the Big Novel that I've never had the patience to get through is Tristram Shandy. But it's another one of those where-do-I-start jobs. To read Sterne, you should know your Cervantes, Pope, Locke and Montaigne quite well, or so I'm told. A pox on these well-educated 18th century authors. Bad enough that they can frolic about in Sophocles or Ovid without any difficulty. Very disheartening to a virtual monoglot like me.
You know, I was going to mention Tristram Shandy. I had a copy on my bookshelf, and every time I did my five-yearly sort-out, I looked at it, and decided "yes, I'll keep it - I'll read it one day". But after twenty years of this, I eventually sold it, or gave it to a charity shop, or something... all I know is, it's not sitting reproachfully on my bookshelf anymore. And I feel freer because of it.
I have to confess to never having read any Dickens, Austen, Russian authors nor have I read any of the authors you mentioned, Jeffrey. I did listen to In Cold Blood in audio format, though. Does that count?

And what counts as classics? If we're including crime fiction, then yes, I've read Christie, Sayers and some Doyle. and I read Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone. Wind in the Willows count? Tom Sawyer? Alice in Wonderland? The Jungle Book? Animal Farm? Wait a minute, in high school I did read Steinbeck's The Pearl. Talk about a downer. It was a hide all the sharp objects read, that one.
Try on---"An Anatomy of a Murder" by Robert Traver---It's a classic in the truest sense.

I read On the Road soon after it was published when I was a wee tad and was amazed that anyone could write like that or get it on the market. My reading has always been haphazard, heavily American, few translations, and few books from any earlier period. Faulkner was liberating for me -- anything could be said and the high school English teachers, whom I loathed, were not writers but nitpicking after the fact. In college we studied the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell -- does anyone read him now? And the same magnificent professor introduced us to David Markson with Ephitaph for a Deadbeat. That professor was positive that the best modern writing was to be found in the mystery genre and I have agreed with him for a lifetime of reading. Recently I read some titles I had missed earlier by both Ross Macdonald and John D MacDonald and was upset to find them dated.

I feel sooooooo old.
What classics am I missing? If you asked what I've read, the list would be far, far shorter. I don't know why I never had to read a bunch of "famous" books in school...
I haven't read the Russian masters, no Kerouac, no Faulkner, no Salinger, and only one Austen that I had to read for a college lit class.
Since I'm out of school, I've made an effort to try to read some classics. I have LOVED Graham Greene and tried to take on other classic adventure books like "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Count of Monte Cristo." I'll stick to Monte Cristo sandwiches over the book any day.
Proudly, I did just finish Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House." Pretty compelling, that one.
Anyone ever read Gabriel Garcia Marquez? I've been curious about his work but not brave enough to try.

I love "Rebecca" and "To Kill a Mockingbird," and I need to reread "Catcher in the Rye." I've read "Dr. Zhivago" and "The Brothers Karamazov," the amount of Shakespeare one normally reads in high school, and "The Great Gatsby," though I loved it too and want to get into the rest of Fitzgerald's works.

I have read no Southern authors, though. Travesty, I know!


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