Ambitious Summer Reading List

Last summer I had this really ambitious plan to read a bunch of classic books I had sitting around. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got several piles of books under my bed to be read at some point in the future, some of which might be considered classics. I got through exactly one book, Gulliver’s Travels, last summer and didn’t really dig it, but powered through. Then I started House of Seven Gables, but accidentally left it on an airplane and my plan fell through. Well, I’m at it again this summer, trying to read through these books in chronological order. It’s way too ambitious and I’m sure that if I do actually read them all, it will take me way more than a summer, but here’s the list:

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1860-1861)
This is my first Dickens ever.

Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)
I’ve read this one in college and high school, but it’s easily one of my favorites.

The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells (1898)
I bought this in grade school after falling in love with the radio show, but it was way over my head and I quit. This will be the first time I’ve given it a real shot since then.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
I think I might have read this once before during my internship, but I really can’t remember. Reading FSG’s short stories inspired me to give this another whirl.

Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)
Clearly I need to switch this one with Gatsby in the order. Anyway, I read portions of Ulysses in one of my college classes, but not the whole thing. Can’t wait to slog through this bad boy. Hopefully I can dig up my notes from that class.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950)
Snobs might not consider this one a classic, but who cares? I’ve never read any Asimov, so this will be a new experience.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
Another one I haven’t read before, my friend Heather told me this is one of her favorites. I actually have no idea where my copy came from.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
Hmm, apparently I needed to do more research before putting the books in the correct order. Ah well, I’ve liked most of the Russian literature I’ve read and will hopefully like this one too.

The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson (1960s/published 1998)
I’ve never read any HST, so when I saw this on the free table at my old job, I picked it up. Should be interesting.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
I don’t think you can get through school without reading To Kill A Mockingbird, so, yes, I’ve read this one before, but it’s been a while and everyone loves it, so I’m giving it another whirl.

I kicked things off tonight with Great Expectations and my first impression is surprise at how easy I can understand what’s going on so far. I thought Dickens would be hard to muddle through, but I guess all that reading in college has paid off as I’m having very little trouble. Here’s hoping this nearly-500 page beast doesn’t take me TOO long to get through.

5 thoughts on “Ambitious Summer Reading List

  1. Good Luck!

    BTW, I feel like you were in my class with Steinitz when we read A Tale of Two Cities but it seems like my memory of college keeps getting fuzzier and fuzzier. I’ve never read any of those books so maybe this will be my next project.

    Side note: after you get done with this ambitiousness, if you like really long and detailed historical fiction, I suggest Drood (it’s about Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins and Eastern mysticism…spooky stuff).

    1. Thanks man, I’m gonna need the luck. I think we had Essays together with Steinitz and many 19th century British Women Writers? It’s hard remembering this stuff after more than five years!

  2. Wait a minute. How did you get through high school without reading Dickens? I’m pretty sure Em and I had to read 2, maybe 3 of his things. Let alone 4 years of English majordom? I now have questions about Ohio’s school systems.

    I like Fitzgerald a lot. I really want to get my hands on a cheap copy of Tender is the Night. I’ve read a bit about the couple it’s based on and they’re pretty interesting.

    Good luck!

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