This month we’re tackling category #7: “a book ‘everyone’ has read but you.”
It’s easy for me to add new books to my reading list. And it’s easy for me to prioritize reading great books I just found out about, or books that were just recommended by someone with good taste, whether those books were published this year or a hundred years ago.
I have a harder time prioritizing those books that I’ve known about forever but haven’t gotten around to reading yet. This is your chance to cross one off the list.
Your list of books “everyone” has read may overlap your list of books you’ve been meaning to read, and that’s okay. For my own lists, I have some pretty obscure titles on my “books I’ve been meaning to read” list. Today’s list contains books that people talk about—whether that’s in literary circles or in pop culture—and I’m clueless, because I haven’t read the book.
For a less light-hearted take on this category, check out this parlour game David Lodge invented for his campus novel Changing Places, aptly called “Humiliation”: players take turns naming works of classic literature that they haven’t read. The player with the most egregious omission wins the game. In the novel, a professor wins the game because he’s never read Hamlet—and that admission gets him fired.
This is my incomplete list of books “everyone” has read but me. I can’t wait to read yours.
Series: 2015 Reading Challenge: a book everyone has read but you
I only recently discovered that "everyone" has read this title but me. I read a lot of Judy Blume as a kid, but this title was never on my radar. So in all the buzz surrounding the release of Blume's In the Unlikely Event, I was surprised to hear how many people cited this as their most favorite, beloved, life-changing, childhood-defining novel. I picked up my copy from the library yesterday. More info →
Frances Hodgson Burnett wasn't on my childhood bookshelves. I'm making amends: I read The Secret Garden earlier this year, and this title is next. The gorgeous Puffin in Bloom edition is waiting patiently on my bookshelves. (It's so pretty it could absolutely be a book I chose for the cover.) More info →
It was supposed to be the perfect crime. But an avalanche stops the Orient Express in its tracks just before a passenger is found murdered in his berth, foiling the perpetrator's getaway, and trapping 13 potential suspects—each with an airtight alibi—in the train car with Inspector Hercule Poirot. If you've seen the movie, take note: Branagh changes Christie's ending. Hot tip: Dan Stevens's audio narration is fantastic. More info →
Every time I talk about gripping novels, un-put-down-able stories, or books worth binge-reading, someone always says, "Didn't you just LOVE The Light Between Oceans?" This book has been recommended too many times by too many thoughtful readers for me to pass it up. More info →
I didn't read the book, I never saw the movie, and it really didn't bother me any. But I love Gilbert's TED talks and have watched them multiple times, and I can't wait to read her next book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear coming out this fall. I feel like I ought to read the book that made her career—especially since everyone has read it but me. More info →
This book has 843,378 ratings on Goodreads. That's more than Wuthering Heights, Persuasion, Middlemarch ... or even Gone Girl. My husband has even read it and given it his seal of approval, which means it's definitely time to move it off my TBR list. More info →
People are shocked when I tell them I haven't read this modern British classic, and I can't tell you how many times I've checked it out of the library only to return it weeks later, unread (again). (It doesn't help that the hardcover my library carries is massive.) But serious readers speak so fondly about it, and it shows up on so many book lovers' favorite-books-of-all-time lists, that I want to see what I'm missing out on. More info →