It would be super-easy for me to sputter about the lack of Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem, seriously) and Salman Rushdie, and Dashiell Hammett, and Hamlet, and Kerouac, and The Odyssey, and Evelyn Waugh, and oh hell, Tom Wolfe–(oh look I just did!)- but there are probably four hundred Great Works of Literature that I’ve never read. Such as:
Ulysses (well, I read about 1/3 of it, and then my brain broke. I fully intend to go back to it, though.)
A People’s History of the United States (yes, I have a liberal arts degree, and yet I’ve never read this.)
A Room of One’s Own
The House of Mirth
…dear lord, I could go on and on and on. There is so much out there that I haven’t ever read through. I had guilt about thinking myself to be vaguely cultured in light of all this, then I realized that unless you was a lit major, you probably have a half-dozen Important Books that you haven’t read, either, and you just fake your way around those in conversation and assume that no one will hold them so dear as to get deeply into specific plot points. (Or you rent the movie and talk about the “atmosphere” of the book, assuming that will suffice.)
Admit it to make my not-so-well-read brain feel a little less alone: what Essential Reading did you not find essential enough to actually read?