With my free time this summer I’ve been trying to tackle some challenging books. Well, this project actually began back in the autumn when I decided that it was time I finally finish reading a Russian novel, as opposed to just starting them, which I have done several times. I chose “Anna Karenina” because a woman I worked with several years ago had been on her third reading of it and told me that it was her favorite book.
I liked the book at first, but then the characters began to grate on my nerves as much as an actual human in the flesh might. That’s a testament to Tolstoy’s skill at character development, I guess. I plodded along for four months — occasionally pausing to read something else — and finally finished. So at least I can brag about that for the rest of my life.
I’ve been focusing more on American writers lately, and the more I delve into the collection at our library, the more I feel as though my education is really lacking. I did read Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Steinbeck in school, but there are so many acclaimed writers that I have no experience with.
I tried “The Adventures of Augie March” by Saul Bellow, but I couldn’t force myself to go on. That man loves a long sentence. Now I’m reading some short stories by Eudora Welty and finding them much more agreeable. So I’ll seek your input. What should I be reading? Or perhaps I should ask, what would I enjoy reading? I’m definitely looking for books that could be considered classic, which I guess is to say that the authors should be well known and dead.