Sometimes I Feel Like A Fraud.

Last week, I read and reviewed The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay. In reading the book and writing the review, I got to thinking. So much of the backbone of the book focuses around the lives and works of the Bronte sisters (thus the title), and while I really enjoyed reading it, I felt at such a disadvantage because I’ve never read anything by any of the Brontes.  Ok, I may have read Wuthering Heights….like 10 years ago….and I’m not 100% sure that I finished it.

In thinking further, I realized that my literary priorities are totally skewed.  Some of my favorite reads are books about books.  Not only that,  but more often than not, they’re books about authors of literary classics (Hemingway, Austen, Fitzgerald, etc). “So? What’s skewed about that?”, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.  While I enjoy reading about great literary minds, I’ve read little to none of their actual work.  Of course, I read all the obligatory high school curriculum reads: Canterbury Tales, The Scarlett Letter, Macbeth, etc, but the only “classic”, in recent memory that I’ve read simply because I felt like it was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which, in case you’re wondering, I love with every fiber of my being.  I haven’t read Twain, Hemingway, Fitzgerald (no, not even Gatsby), or pretty much anything that one would respond with “BUT THAT’S A CLASSIC!”  And, for the record: No, I’m not limiting “classic” to mean American or male…they were just the first three that came to mind.  But, that’s neither here nor there and I’m digressing.

Here’s where the fraud part comes in.  Who am I, as a book blogger, to Well of Excusesprovide commentary on contemporary works of literary genius (or flop-ness), when I haven’t read the work from which literature as a whole has taken root?  I literally have a 5×4′ shelf FULL of literary classics, resplendent in their leather-bound, gilded paged, smelly-good glory.  I haven’t touched any of them, and this is a travesty.  Granted, an argument can be made for the fact that they’re so pretty, to read them would be to risk ruining them.  BUT, that well of excuses runs extra-dry when you factor in the knowledge that I do, indeed, own a Kindle, and most, if not all, of the works I am referencing are not only available, but FREE!

I feel like, if I’m going to be taken seriously as a reviewer (more like: If I’m going to take myself seriously), I need to fix this gaping festering hole in my literary life.  So, here’s where you come in, my beautiful non-judgy readers….I need help.  I’m going to create my very own special TBR challenge for 2016 to help me to put a dent in my classic-oriented deficiency.  I haven’t decided on a number of books, frequency of completion, or even a list of authors to include in this challenge.  While most of these details I will be able to hash out myself, what I need help with is this:  There are SO many books that are considered “classics” and “must-reads” that I’m having trouble compiling a comprehensive list.  So, if you were compiling one-said list/challenge, what book (or books) would absolutely be included?pleading cat

(Side note: I’ve tried to read Shakespeare.  I know it’s a cardinal sin, but I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that Shakespeare and I are just not destined to be friends.)


11 thoughts on “Sometimes I Feel Like A Fraud.

  1. Julia Byers says:

    You know what? I feel this way too. I have a degree in English literature and my list of read/comprehended works doesn’t seem any longer than yours, and I totally get the “fraud” feeling. When you come up with this list/challenge, will you share it? Maybe we could cheer each other on? There’s also a Berkeley book club on, I’ve meant to participate, but never followed through with it. If I were to add a book to this list, it might be The Scarlet Letter. So many people seem to talk about it/refer to it, and I’ve never read it.



    • Trisha says:

      I will definitely share it! I’m glad I’m not the only one 🙂 I have a few friends that are extremely well-read, and I’m just over here like “uhmm derp?”

      I read TSL in high school, but I think I zoned out on most of it….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Julia Byers says:

        Haha I know that feeling.

        I was a commuter student in college, and I discovered LibriVox, which saved me on more than one occasion. Because I spent so much time in the car, and had so much reading to do, I would download these free books, narrated by volunteers, which had fallen into creative commons. Which means that pretty much most things considered “classics” are covered, even the dreaded Shakespeare! (I took a whole class on the War of the Roses, you can guess this was one places my butt was saved!) Just a thought if you spend a lot of time commuting or if you enjoy audiobooks more than reading. For the same thing, you can see if your local library participates in Overdrive, and “check out” audio or ebooks there as well. Just a thought 😉


  2. marytkincaid says:

    Select a representative work from each genre, and have at it. Many of us haven’t read everything, but I’ve read a lot, and it is just okay. Go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. laurelrainsnow says:

    It has been so many years since I read any of the classics (maybe 50 or more?), so I can’t really address any of the themes, etc. I was in high school when I read them, and that seems like another lifetime.

    And Shakespeare and I aren’t friends, either…LOL.

    I like Mary’s suggestions: select a representative work from each genre.

    I would have to reread everything in order to even discuss these literary greats. I don’t think I’m up for it….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. emilyreadseverything says:

    I haven’t read a classic since high school and I don’t feel guilty in the least.

    That being said, I would recommend East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I love Steinbeck.


  5. Alena says:

    I’m a huge fan of Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird. Her new one Go Set A Watchman is great too, but only after you have read TKAM first!


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