There’s been one of those list-things floating around Facebook again. You know the ones: how many of these movies have you seen, answer these 25 questions about yourself and pass it on, describe your most recent grocery list (ok, I made that one up). The one that caught my eye recently is called something like, “Have you read these books?”
Books. Ah, I love ’em. So I was interested to see what this book thing was all about. Here’s the text that precedes the list:
Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt.
Game on, I thought. I’m sure I’ve got this list covered. Ok, the instructions are a bit complicated: bold this, italicize that….but I can handle it. On to the list (here’s a sampling. If you want to see more, poke around FB. I’m sure you can find it):
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
I’m feeling pretty good about this list — I’ve got the six the BBC mentioned in only this chunk of the list. (I didn’t italicize anything, but please know that I’ve tried to read The Kite Runner about a dozen times and can’t get through the first chapter. There are others in this selection that I’ve tossed aside too — life is too short to waste it on a bad book.) I’m not going to quibble about the BBC’s inclusions — that’s not what this post is about. I could wonder aloud about whether my kids’ versions of Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland are what the BBC had in mind, or what The DaVinci Code is doing sandwiched between Animal Farm and One Hundred Years of Solitude. (Not to disparage Mr. Brown, but really??) But that’s not what I started to think about.
It was this: the implication that the more you’ve read from this list the smarter, more literate, better looking (whatever) you are got me thinking about how I might improve on this list. I’m thinking I could delete selections like Dune, or Bridget Jones’s Diary, and add my own. What do you think?
17. The essay instructions for your first-choice College Application.
25. Love letters from your current Signficant Other (aka future husband/wife).
28. The Human Resources information from your first job.
30. The lease agreement from your first apartment.
31. The fine print on the coupons from your first car payment book.
36. Every word on every line on your first speeding ticket in your new car.
42. The “compatibility assessment” (or whatever it’s called) from the pre-cana requirement at your parish church.
43. Your wedding license.
44. What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
46. Mortgage documents.
48. Instructions for crib assembly.
49. Instructions for infant seat installation.
50. Instructions for the Medela Breast Pump.
51. Instructions for Discharge from the Maternity Floor.
52. Mixing directions for Similac.
53. Laundry instructions for onesies.
60. Your child’s letter to Santa.
67. Your children’s report cards.
69. Orthodontist’s bills.
73. Your child’s Facebook page.
74. Your child’s Twitter stream.
76. Your child’s name on the athletic/academic commendations.
80. 5th, 10th, 15th Anniversary cards
81. 21st, 30th, 40th Birthday cards
88. The annual report from your favorite charities.
92. Insurance policies.
For sure I’ve left things out. The thing about this list, though, is that nothing here is beach reading. Seems to me, it’s mostly all required reading — and this kind of required reading list grows and changes all the time. You may not love fine print, or legalese, or that C grade on your child’s math report….but we read them.
And really, I’d rather read more from our Homeowner’s Insurance than Lolita or Madame Bovary (I’ve read one of those, not both) any day.