I enjoy checking out recommended reading lists to see what I should be reading. The problem is every list is rather subjective. It includes the books someone deems vital to be read as part of a well-rounded education, but are they relevant to you?
Recommended reading lists usually include many of the classics we were forced to read in school. That’s okay with me since I love the classics and want my reading to encompass as many tomes as possible in a variety of genres. Any self-imposed list I create is one with a variety of classics. I still think timeless books offer so many opportunities to learn about excellent writing. They also usually have stories and plots that have not been rivaled in centuries.
Reading lists make a great guideline to help you have a program that includes many authors and important works to consider. Reading lists can only be followed in regards to your available time to read and study. Though we would love to read it all, we must choose from the many suggested offerings since most of us don’t have unlimited time. Such a shame!
In order to truly study an author requires you to read most everything they have ever written. With some prolific authors that idea can be overwhelming. First you need to choose an author from those suggested. You can begin with a sampling of their work, say three or four volumes. If you enjoy them, it means another choice. Will you begin a more sophisticated study and read many more titles they write. If you feel your sampling has indicated you don’t enjoy them or wish to continue with their works, then you must once again choose a different author. Most lists offer several authors with their most important works, but I think life is too short to waste time reading what you do not love unless it is a part of a class or course of study.
When I look at lists I usually find I have read many of the recommended books, but it was so long ago, even from my school days that I may not even remember what the title was about now. I am of a firm belief that sometimes we read books at the wrong time of our lives and they are much less relevant then they would be at a different time for us. Often, where you are in life determines what you get out of a book. I regularly wish to revisit those books that left a lasting impression upon me. If they seemed important at the time and still hold a place in my heart, memory or soul, they should be reread.
So what would be the first three ‘must read books’ you would recommend to others?