So Many Books, So Little Time

A comment recently pointed out that if I were to read a book a week with my “339” reading challenge, I would need about 7 years to finish. Given my progress with 1984 this week, it’s probably safe to say that I might even need at least 14 years.

Let’s not even get started on the fact that this wouldn’t include time to fully understand the social-cultural context of each book, literary critiques of the text, or close reading. I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something when I’m reading incredibly influential works with a limited understanding of the period they were written in or the author they were written by.

I don’t mean to use the above lament as an excuse to not read great works of literature, but perhaps to recognize the need to make time to read great works in partnership with literary criticism and history. I believe strong plot and characters can be enjoyed across social, cultural, and historical boundaries. However, a reader would miss the author’s frame from which they viewed the world which might inform a deeper meaning of the work.

That being said, here are two more lists of books I would eventually like to read (there may be some overlap between the lists):

Buzzfeed–Greatest Books By Women

The Irish Times– Books That Define Ireland

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Source for photo.

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12 responses to “So Many Books, So Little Time

    • I believe that’s called a fully-funded PhD in English. 🙂 Which can be a frustrating thing in itself because even if one is accepted into such a program, there is an over-saturation of PhDs in the market.

  1. I’d like to listen again to every piece of music I’ve ever enjoyed, and my tastes go right back to Little Richard in the 50s, through Northern Soul/Motown/Stax to Lindstrom today, and every classical composer who ever lived. So I just keep on trying 🙂

    Don’t beat yourself up about it. You did start with a particularly hard book, so it may get easier. ;-D

  2. I have recently found a love for reading books. My challenge is trying to read one book a month. You are definitely waaaay ahead of me haha. Good luck on your goals. 🙂
    – Derek

      • Exactly. I love watching the show Game of Thrones. I am looking forward to buying all of the books and reading them before the final season. I can’t wait another year to see how it ends haha

  3. Plus when you consider the rereads. The words may not change, but every time I read Beowulf (or any work for that matter) I’m blown away. I pick up on things I didn’t see before or find another highly enjoyable quote.

  4. Story of my life! I’m reading four books at the same time currently; funnily enough, as little as I know of writing fiction I read fiction mostly until I went back to school 3+ years ago. Now I read NF until I need a mental health break 😉 and pick up a recommended fiction read. I know what you mean about not wanting to speed through great works, or any work, without background knowledge to give you deeper understanding, meaning, appreciation. Great post. As tempted as I am to click the Buzzfeed book list, I cannot take any more at this time or my head will explode. LOL

  5. I never read 1984 in high school either. (choose Animal Farm instead) Reading the book as an adult was a bit frightening though. I’ve been calling the IT department where I work the Thought Police for years.

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