What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?
Well, of course, the best book I haven't read is the book I haven't written yet!
Seriously, I'm not sure exactly how to answer that question. I mean, there are many thousands of books I haven't read out there on all those lists. How could I possibly know which is the best one of that unread number? I can say that there are several books that keep turning up on each of the best-book lists that are surprising to me. I hesitate to mention titles because – well, one person's trash is somebody else's certified classic, and I don't want to stir up a lot of ire and indignation.
But I will admit that there are quite a few books I myself consider "classics" that I haven't read yet. Some I fully intend to get to someday (Swann's Way, A Farewell to Arms, Sense and Sensibility, The Ambassadors, Rabbit Run, among many others); and some, although I know they're "worthy," just don't sound like my cup of tea (Last of the Mohicans, War and Peace, Tristram Shandy, The Naked and the Dead, anything by Charles Dickens).
This question was especially interesting to me because I recently read one of the classics I've had on my to-read list for many years – Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. Don't know why it took me so long to get around to it. I'd been putting it off and putting it off, year after year, thinking it would probably bore me to death – one of those things you read because you know you should, like medicine you know you should take. And then I finally made myself sit down and read the thing, and loved it. It's become one of my absolute favorite books – one that I know I'll probably re-read in years to come. So I guess there's just no accounting for taste, is there? Not even one's own.
Edith Wharton, 1915
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