10. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
A book about a magician? Count me in!! Even though I have never read this Dickens classic, I am sure it is chock full of impoverished orphans, wicked men trying to take advantage of our titular hero, and some odd twist at the end where everyone is related in some way. Oh yeah…..and magic!!!
9. Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
I have never been a fan of Notre Dame, but since seeing the Disney film and that little guy with a heart as big as his hump makes me curious about the source material. Is there truly a happy ending where Quasimodo is accepted by society? Hugo is known to write uplifting and feel-good tales to soothe the soul, and when has Disney ever changed and ending?
8. Ulysses - James Joyce
From the book cover, you can see this story looks very exciting. I mean the subtlety of the cover art, the font of the letters, there is nothing about this book that makes me not want to read it. Also I have heard it is an easy read; an afternoon fare that will engage me from start to end with no hiccups.
7. Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
A man turning into a roach? Other than the fact that is a very relatable story for all of us, I may find out what the word ‘Kafkaesque’ actually means. It appears often in crossword puzzles (due to its strange letter combinations and the popularization from the documentary ‘Wordplay’) and I really have no idea what it means. One thing I know is this; Kafka is a straight shooter who definitely is not weird.
6. The Stranger - Albert Camus
I have no idea what this book is about. I have just heard it is a must read for all people who know how to read words. I guess I heard it is about a guy who learns of his mothers death, kills a guy, and goes to jail. Philosophy ensues. Sounds sort of good to me. I think the key part to it is that it is 150ish pages; always appreciate a thin book.
5. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
My entire life I have heard the term ‘in a Catch-22’ and still do not know the derivation of that saying. I know it is like a no-win situation type thing, but I cannot imagine writing an entire novel about this. I guess that is why I have to read it. I mean why Catch-22? Why not Catch-23, or Catch-24? Sounds like a good stand-up bit to me. And what’s the deal with Grapenuts? No grapes…no nuts? I mean really.
4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Every feminist’s favorite novelist, Jane Austen is the quintessential voice of Victorian Era England. Although I have never read any of her stuff, I have seen the movies of some of her stuff. Not bad. Not bad at all. I prefer the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice over any of the feature films, but have a feeling I would like the book even more. I hope to read it someday. But I don’t own it. So I may not. I don’t know. I’ll let you know when I decide.
3. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I’ve always wondered…..crime or punishment? I am not sure which one to choose. But never in my life have I considered crime AND punishment! This is something I have to read. Russian literature has historically been rich with optimism and hope. I am sure this unlikely duo of both crime and punishment will prove consistent with this trope. I can imagine a scenario where a man commits a crime, stuff happens, and he gets punished later in the book. Justice served. Happy ending. I must read this thing to find out more of the details.
2. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Some say this is the great American novel. It is hard to dispute that when the title has ‘Great’ in it. Although I have never read this book, and I have never seen an entire movie adaptation for this book, I have seen clips of movies on TV and on the interwebs. Whether it is Robert Redford or Leo DiCaprio, if there is one thing I know about this Great Gatsby is that he is a very handsome man. Although that alone doesn’t motivate me to read the book, the fact that Baz Luhrmann did the most recent version of this story does. I mean who wants to see a Baz Luhrman film? Answer: no one. So if I want to get this story in my brain, I may have to read the darn thing.
1. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Some say this is the great American novel. It is hard to dispute that when the title has ‘Dick’ in it. Moby Dick is a story that we all are aware of, but not many people have actually read the damn novel. A recent survey cited that Moby Dick is the most lied about book that people have claim to have read, but have not from beginning to end. Other than the fact that I have no idea how or why this survey was conducted, the results fit well into this narrative I am creating. I have heard that a lot of the beginning of the novel centers around the ins and outs of the whale blubber business; another industry I am sure Trump promised to bring back to America. Maybe this is the reason why not many people have slogged through this Northeastern tale of man vs nature. Regardless, I feel it is my duty as a self-proclaimed man-of-the-arts to actually read this big mamma from start to finish. From ‘Call me Ishmael’ to ‘look at Ahab stuck to Moby Dick! That is one crazy whale’, every word will be read at some point.