Friday, March 18, 2011

The Book You Must Read Before You Die

Welcome to the Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase!

The writing prompt for this week's blog hop is:

What one literary work must you read before you die?

I've always been a Bucket List kind of gal.

When I was eight, I decided to start with the A's
and read every book in the children's fiction section
of our small public library.
I didn't get very far before I realized that some books are
more worthy of being read than others.

Another life-changing moment came
the first time I visited the library at University of Houston.
I was a senior in high school
working on a paper for my Western Thought class on Kafka.
Perhaps because I looked so lost,
but for some reason a librarian walked me through the stacks
in this enormous library.
"Here," she said, finally, pointing to a shelf of books,
"are Kafka's original works in German. And here,"
she said, pointing to another shelf,
"are translations. And here,"
she said, this time pointing to a whole set of shelves,
"are commentary on Kafka in English and other languages."

It finally hit me: I could not read it all.

That was a terrible thought.

To take my mind off it,
I've chosen to focus on spending my time
reading the good books.

So, I don't know the answer to the question.
I suppose that's why I asked it.
Please tell me.
What one literary work must we read before we die?


  1. I'll give you 3 books that I feel everyone should read before they die. :)

    1. Watership Down by Richard Adams
    2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
    3. King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

    Those are the 3 books I could read over and over and have done so. There are many more, but those are my main 3 that have always been in my collection.

    Happy hopping and reading, Deb!

  2. I suppose I can go ahead and die right now then as I have read all three of these, DJL! (And I agree---all three are wonderful books.)

  3. Hi there,

    I'm working my way through the 1001 must read before you die list. Although I don't agree 100% with it, it contains many of the best literary works.

    my 1001 list

  4. I'm getting more selective myself, Deb, and try to read only books that I expect I will like a lot. So many books, why waste time with the bad ones!

  5. You came up with a good question for us this week, thanks :) I chose for myself (something by Hemingway and Steinbeck) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for my fellow book bloggers. Have a great weekend :)

  6. One that I want to read before I die is
    The Brothers Karamazov...and I have no excuse not to do it soon as I have a copy on my dresser at this moment.

  7. Ahh! so it's your fault eh. you and those ladies from the blue bookcase, well I hope your happy now, you've left me all confused & wittering on aimlessly. I've chosen a book about reading as my answer :~)

  8. Well, anything by Tolstoy or Dostoevsky is my opinion.

  9. Great question! It's true, there's no possible way to read it all. I want to read Proust's seven novel masterpiece some day, but I also want to make time to reread classic that I have already read and loved. I'm rereading To Kill a Mockingbird, and am still dazzled by parts--and I've read the novel half a dozen times...

  10. I chose The Odyssey. But I recommend that you read The Leopard by di Lampedusa.

  11. I went with my region (the South) if I could be the perfect ambassador for it before I keeled over and checked out. :) Great prompt, seriously - I really enjoyed agonizing over it!

  12. Great question Deb! If you haven't read War and Peace yet, I would suggest it. But here are a couple of others. The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. I'm definitely in agreement with The BookGirl. I read it a couple of years ago, it's a hard read, but very very satisfying. Another one might be Milton's Paradise Lost. One I haven't read yet, but have been seriously considering it.

  13. Good question, really made me think about what I've read -- and I'm pretty happy with how much I've read. I picked War and Peace, Les Miserables and Huckleberry Finn. Can't possibly pick just one!

  14. East of Eden by John Steinbeck is one of my favorite books ever. Have you read it?

  15. Too hard. Off the top of my head:
    The Bible, of course.
    Tolkien's The Lord of the RIngs
    Victor Hugo--Les Miserables

    I know that's more than one, but I can only read. Not so good at counting.

  16. Very well said! I know I'll never read every single book I want to read, but as long as I'm reading books I like, I'm happy :) Loved reading about your library experiences :)

  17. Gone With the Wind!!

    (Ha! I was wondering how you'd answer this question. Turns out you didn't know either.) :-)

  18. that's a good question, but I hesitate to be too prescriptive-- everyone is so different. I just love making out my to-read list. Right now it's at four hundred sixty something on Library Thing, but that doesn't bug me, because it just gives me so much to choose from when it's time to pick out a new book.

  19. Gabriel Garcia Marques's "A Hundred Years of Solitude"


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