Publishers Weekly has a blog. (Though who doesn’t in the world these days).
Yesterday there was a post dedicated to the Literary Wall O’ Shame. I personally thought this was going to be aout everything you’ve read that you’re ashamed of, I have lots of those, but it wasn’t.
The best and worst thing about books is that there are too many of them. According to Bowker, there were 288,355 titles published in 2009 in the U.S. alone. What that means is you have a whole lot of options, but that also means there are over 288,000 books every year that you haven’t read (unless you have nine eyes and more than 365 days, in which case you’re a time-traveling mutant and are readying plans to take over Earth). I’m not very good at math, but if you multiplied 288,000 and 100, I’d imagine you’d get a number with roughly 70 zeroes. This number would represent, give or take a few digits, the number of books in the last hundred years you haven’t read.
Instead, it was about the books you are ashamed to admit you haven’t read. So the thinking started (especially as I’ve seen all these weddings with great book themes and thing, wow I totally haven’t read any of those).
So I put my thinking cap on and came up with my own mini book wall of shame:
- Most of Steinbeck. I read Grapes of Wrath, I couldn’t stand Grapes of Wrath so I read nothing else. It seems petty now, but at the time (re: high-school), I felt super validated in my opinion.
- Wuthering Heights. I have started it, I’ve read the ending….the middle through. Oops.
- Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. It has been on my nightstand for about a year. Still there, with the receipt holding the last page I read….page 11.
- The Russians. Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Two words: very long. That being said I did force my way through Anna Karenina, but after that, I couldn’t do it. That being said Crime and Punishment is on the “to read” shelf, where it has been since college.
- Anything George Eliot. I would love to like the works, but my grandmother gave my mom and I a VHS tape with the PBS version on the Mill on the Floss recorded on it. Let me ruin the end, death. Two and a half to three hours of the most painful PBS drama every…and death. After that, there was to be no Silas Marner, Mill on the Floss or Middlemarch on my bookshelf.
Anything on your Literary Wall of Shame?