Everybody posts pictures and quotes about books on Facebook…well, at least everybody among my friends and family. I suppose that’s understandable since I’m an author and tend to “hang out” online with other authors and avid readers.
Recently I came across a quote from Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Books are mirrors. You only see in them what you already have inside you.
I did a double-take on that one. Although it’s true that our experiences in reading are influenced by who we are, books — IMHO — are much more than mirrors. I think of books as gateways to new worlds, to new ideas, to thoughts and beliefs and possibilities that we’ve never before considered for ourselves. Maybe what Zafon means is that we have more inside of us than we know. Maybe books are tools for discovering new facets of ourselves.
Another quote that impressed me recently was from Ursula LeGuin:
The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
Here again is the idea that the meaning of a story is shaped not so much by the author as by the reader.
After chewing on these different quotes for a time, I went browsing for books — classic books, powerful books, life-changing books. I quickly came across a number of different lists, including this one from Business Insider.
And this one, from The Telegraph:
The Book Ogre features:
Abe Books goes a step farther and tells us not only which books we should read, but why:
I browsed through a few of these lists, and I found books I’ve read, books I’ve always intended to read, and books that I probably will never read. That’s another thing about books. There’s something for everybody.
From time to time on social media, someone starts a list of “Most Influential Books” and tags a few friends to share their own list. I’m going to do something similar…but different. Today, please comment and share one classic book you haven’t read yet. Maybe you’ve started it but haven’t finished. Maybe you just haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe you feel like you should read it, but aren’t really sure.
For me, it’s Frankenstein. I downloaded a Project Gutenburg edition years ago, and I did start reading. I was enthralled. It made me stop and think…and I stopped to think so many times, I never got beyond the first few chapters. I’ve always wanted to go back and finish reading it. Maybe this will be the year I finally do.
What about YOU? What classic books are still languishing on your TBR list?
FWIW — I’ve grabbed Frankenstein again from Project Gutenberg. Yes, I’m really going to finish reading it. Have you read it yet?