When people learn I have a degree in English Lit, it is assumed that I have read everything ever written. Shocker: I haven't. Actually, that's not even the shocker. the real shock response is usually something like, "You have a degree in English and you haven't read __________?!?!?" (fill in with some literary masterpiece) There are too many books and not enough hours in a day, and, by the way, have you SEEN the size of some of these literary masterpieces?!?!

Here are some of my confessions as an English major. Grab some Kleenex in case you begin to tear up.

1.) I have never read anything by Charles Dickens, with the exception of A Christmas Carol which I finally read in December. I do not even really count this one because it was made into a movie starring animated mice and ducks.

2.) I have only read three Austen novels and one of them is NOT Pride and Prejudice. (FYI, I have read Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and Northanger Abbey in that order.) GASP! I don't even care for her books all that much. GASP! (That last gasp is me as I try to run from an angry mob of Austen freaks. I still swear to this day that there are many people out there who openly swoon over Austen because it just seems like the right thing to do.)

3.) I have not read anything by any Bronte. I have owned a copy of Jane Eyre for more than five years. It mainly gets moved around from bookshelf to bookshelf. At one point I owned two copies because I forgot I already had one. It all goes back to that addiction thing.

4.) I still need to tackle Tolstoy's two tomes. (How do you like that alliteration?)

When I posed the question of reading shame to my book group, members responded with one or two books from their lists that they have passed by over the years. Here is the list from most to least votes.

We'll call this list "Books We Haven't Read But Feel We Should"
The Catcher in the Rye, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn/Moby Dick(tie), Pride and Prejudice, 1984, Dickens (in general), Jane Eyre, Paradise Lost, Jude the Obscure, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Divine Comedy, The Odyssey, Invisible Man, Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby, Sense and Sensibility, House of Seven Gables, Crime and Punishment, Romeo & Juliet, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Hobbit, Slaughterhouse Five, and Walden.

To relieve some of my literary shame, I have set a goal in 2010 to read the following classics. This is an ambitious list, but I will put it out there for my 37 followers to see.

What books are you ashamed to admit you haven't read? Do you plan to read any of them in 2010?

Book Addict Challenge #2: Read at least three classics in 2010. Post your classics in the comments section and come back to tell us what you have read and what you thought. 

I have three favorite times of the year:
1.) When school resumes, because I love the start of the school year and meeting all of my new students
2.) The first two weeks of summer vacation when I know I have weeks of free time in front of me
3.) March Madness, when basketball is on in our house non-stop and money and mudslinging possesses my family

We find ourselves at #3, and watching basketball is really cutting into my reading time. If I am not watching basketball, I am updating our brackets and praying that I am pulling ahead in the family pool. Cornell's win today should help me out, but two other nail-biters (Pitt and Texas A&M) did me in. Regardless, things are looking hopeful; unlike other brackets my husband and I do, the big family one goes round by round...this means Kansas did not hurt me for the $120 pot. I need to finish a few books by Thursday when the games resume.

Why do I want to win so badly?

That money would go towards a Nook. Oh, how I want a Nook. 
After listening to the lovely little novel Last Night at the Lobster for a few nights and a few treadmill miles at the gym, I finally finished it on Sunday. It took me two nights and three attempts to finish the last track. TWO NIGHTS! The last track is only three minutes long! Because of a medical condition and nighttime meds, bedtime usually finds me akin to an anesthetized St. Bernard at the vet's and finishing a bedtime audiobook can be a huge challenge because of this. Can the book beat me to dreamland? I never know.

The first night of listening to the final tracks I dozed off at the VERY END of the story, only to be woken by the spokesperson for the publishing company thanking me for listening. (Listening? Sleeping? She should have been chastising me for falling asleep in the last 180 seconds of the story.) I sighed, dug around for my iPod in the drawer next to my bed and scanned back to the approximate point of my nodding off a'la St. Bernard and hit play.

INTERJECTION: (I used to keep the iPod in bed, but I have had several near-strangulations from earbud cords and that would just be downright humiliating. My husband would have to explain that I can't just read seven books at a time, but I also have to have an audiobook going as well, and that my insane habit killed me. I couldn't do that to him.)

Anyway, I fell asleep AGAIN during the final track. At this point, I am annoyed and as fuzzy as a twenty-one year old coed on her first night at the bars, so I just shut the iPod off, throw the entire thing into the nightstand and vow to finish the next day when I am wide awake and nothing like a doped up St. Bernard or a drunken sorority gal.

Jumping in bed the next night with only three minutes remaining on the book did the trick. I was able to finish, AND had time to squeeze in an NPR Books podcast.

If you read my last blog posting, you know I have yet to read this critically-acclaimed novel; however, I know many of you are huge fans of the first two books of the planned trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson. This little tidbit is especially for you.

I happened to be scanning through the cable guide for the week and noticed that the REELZ channel (you might have it - it hides among a group of channels you might be missing altogether!) television program Leonard Maltin's "Secret's Out" will be dedicating an episode to the upcoming film this week. Check your local listings and get a first look at this film by one of Hollywood's most famous critics. In the meantime, here is the English trailer.
During a commercial break of mindless television viewing last night, my eyes were drawn to my gorgeous World Market bookcase (I can't help it, it's right next to the television) because I swear I heard desperate calls of, "Pick me! Pick me!" floating in my direction. These calls seemed to be coming from three books in particular, three books that have longed for my eyes to scan their words for months...yet I have kept passing them by to read books checked out from the library. I have heard nothing but good things about these three novels. Many of my friends have read them and raved about them to me. I started all three of them but was forced to return them to the library because someone had them on hold. Many of my book groups have discussed them. Many podcasts I subscribe to have talked about them. I located cheap, new copies for purchase (Half Price Books, half.com, and Goodwill) so I wouldn't have to worry about due dates and I could keep the books for myself. So why haven't I read them?

The answer? I truly don't know. I know with each book I am in for a phenomenal reading experience, yet I keep shutting out their cries and pleas for other books that just seem to jump ahead in line. Maybe it is time to cut myself off from the library for a bit and read the three books that keep beckoning to me. (I know this would provide some much-needed relief to the librarians at Library B who have to manage my sometimes-up-to-35-books-on-hold account.)

Do you have books crying out to you for attention? What books have you neglected, even though you want to read them and know you will enjoy them?

Book Addict Challenge #1: I challenge all of you who follow this blog to post one-three books that you have neglected and read them before the end of 2010. Post all pertaining comments below and let's save these books from their misery!

Post the titles of the books, then come back and post what you have read and provide a quick review and your thoughts about your neglected book(s).

The past couple of weeks have been difficult in our household with various illnesses and dramatic events needing addressing, so my reading moments and opportunities to post regular blogs have been nonexistent.

Postings will resume this week along with reviews, recommendations, and some site changes as I continue to orient myself with Weebly. Thank you for your continued support!