Since I started to do yearly reading challenges, I’ve had a chance to tackle many of the books that I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time. There are many books, primarily classics, that I would love to read at some point but I’ve avoided for a variety of reasons. The yearly challenges have been great for setting shorter-term reading goals, but I thought it would be interesting to also keep track of some longer-term goals as well. Because of this, I am not including any books that I have earmarked already to be read later on this year.
The books on my “bucket list” are books or series that I would love to finish at some point in my life, although I’m not necessarily in a rush to read them right now. In part, I was inspired by seeing this video by Regan (PeruseProject), and in part, I was inspired by looking at so many lists on the ListChallenges website, which includes things such as the Rory Gilmore challenge, and many lists of “books everyone should read before they die.” I noticed that many of the classics mentioned there really didn’t interest me at all, but it got me thinking about what books I would want to try. Here are some of the books or series that I would love to finish eventually:
1) The Lord of the Rings Series by JRR Tolkein
Why is it on my list? – This is such a hugely popular fantasy series, and it comes so highly recommended. I’ve always felt that I’ve been missing out a bit by never giving it a chance.
Why haven’t I read it yet? – The sheer size of the books is intimidating. I generally try to read all of a series in a row, but I don’t think that would be possible with this one. I wasn’t a huge fan of The Hobbit, and while I liked the movies, I didn’t love them either.
2) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Why is it on my list? – I often enjoy reading classics that are more character-driven, and I’ve had this book on my shelf for a long time. I’m also very interested in Russian historical fiction. Ideally, I’d love to try War and Peace at some point too, but I thought Anna Karenina was a lot more realistic for me and a lot more likely to appeal to me.
Why haven’t I read it yet? – Again, this is a very long book and I haven’t had the time to devote to it. It doesn’t help that a friend of mine recently read the book as part of her book club, and she really struggled to get through it. Our tastes tend to be quite similar, so it’s not very encouraging.
3) The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
Why is it on my list? – Of these three, I am most interested in The Three Musketeers, but I’ve also heard great things about the other two as well. I’ve always been a big fan of The Three Musketeers story, which I’ve read in abridged formats. Although these books are all quite long, I’ve heard that they are all pretty compelling.
Why haven’t I read it yet? – Although I can blame it on the size of the books again, I’ve also been a bit hesitant because of how old these books are. All three books were written prior to 1850, and in my experience, I tend to have a lot of difficulty with the old-fashioned language. It depends on the author, but I’ve had enough bad experiences with the old-fashioned writing styles lately that it’s put me off.
4) Les Miserables and/or The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Why is it on my list? – I actually tried to read The Hunchback of Notre Dame many years ago, when I was way too young for it, and was put off because it wasn’t like the Disney movie. It was far too difficult for me then, and I gave up pretty quickly since I wasn’t understanding anything that I’d read, so I would love to give it another chance. I want to try Les Mis because I really loved the movie and stage versions.
Why haven’t I read it yet? – I haven’t tried Hunchback again because the only thing I remember of the first time I read it is how much I hated the experience. I haven’t read Les Mis because the size is intimidating, and I’ve also seen many reviews that the book is extremely slow-paced. I tend not to do so well with slow-paced books, especially of that length.
5) Don Quioxte by Miguel de Cervantes
Why is it on my list? – If I’m completely honest, because of the Wishbone TV series and the companion books that went with it. Don Quixote was one of my favourite stories from the series, and I read the (extremely) abridged version many times. I was fascinated by the idea of a man who tried to battle windmills, and always wanted to know the rest of his story.
Why haven’t I read it yet? – I haven’t had the time to devote to such a long book, especially one that I know so little about. I’ve found that when I read classics in the past, especially older books, it really helps me to have a basic foundation of the story before going into the book. Aside from the windmills, I actually know very little else about this story.
6) The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Why is it on my list? – Sherlock Holmes is a very interesting character, and his fame, I know very little about the stories. I’ve only ever read The Hound of the Baskervilles, which I liked but also knew the ending to before reading it.
Why haven’t I read it yet? – This may seem like a silly reason, but it is partly because so much of the collection is short stories. In general, I prefer full-length novels over short stories because it gives more time for the story to develop. I also have a tendency to try to read entire collections at once, and I don’t think that would work well in this case.
7) The Complete Works of Shakespeare
Why is it on my list? – I had to read a few of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays in school and I really enjoyed them. I’ve always wanted to read give more of them a chance.
Why haven’t I read it yet? – Although I like the storylines of the plays, like most people I find the language difficult to understand. I generally try to read it myself first, and have some kind of synopsis available to follow along just to make sure I really understand what’s happening. It can be time consuming.
8) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Why is it on my list? – It is such a well-known classic that it is one of those books I feel like I “should” have read at some point. It is definitely not one that I am particularly strongly motivated to try any time soon, but possibly at some point in my life.
Why haven’t I read it yet? – Again, it may seem like a silly reason — and a pretty big deal-breaker when it comes to this book — but I don’t often enjoy stories that are primarily set on boats. I honestly have no idea what it is, but I often find that I am immediately put off by the mention of being on a ship or a lot of sea travel. I think I’ve always found those books boring in the past, so I now expect the same any time a boat is mentioned.