Thursday, January 08, 2015

Check-in time
A look at what 15-year-old me declared she would read...

In case anyone thought this whole making-lists-of-books-I-want-to-read habit was a new thing or started in adulthood or (god forbid) a Goodreads-inspired internet solution (in that last case, you should probably go read To Save Everything, Click Here and stop thinking about the internet as the only and ultimate solution for everything), we have actual evidence to the contrary. I have here an old notebook from my junior year of high school in which I wrote some goals for the New Year, including the aspiration to "read 100 books (as in, good ones)."  I'm terribly curious as to what kind of unworthy books I thought I would  be tempted to read that needed to be excluded from the list...young adult, maybe? *smirk*.. but in any case I then gave some examples
of what I should read. Here's the list, from my 15-year-old self to you:

  • The Scriptures
  • Les Miserables
  • Jesus the Christ
  • A Marvelous Work and a Wonder
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • [The] Catcher in the Rye
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Wuthering Heights
  • War and Peace 
  • etc.
Gotta love the "etc."  Couldn't be bothered to actually list 100? Or is it because I reached the end of the page? The top of the next page of the notebook begins with a new topic, "WAR." Oh, yes, I was me. Gotta also entirely love that War and Peace made the list. I feel satisfied knowing that even at such a tender age, I was fully aware of my destiny. Great stuff, teenage Linda. (Who was at that time, as evidenced by some of the more Christ-y entries on the list, most assuredly still a Linda With Borders, eh?) 

So, then?? Status report? Well, here we are two decades later and I have completed more than half of that list, but not quite all. I did apparently start at the beginning, because I remember that school year I indeed delved into scripture (and yes, I did read The Whole Thing, though it took a few years) and Les Miserables. I am terribly sad to report I read only about 250 pages of that long novel (obviously, unabridged; what do you take me for?!) that year. Well, guess what, it is totes on the 2015 list anyway, for me and Brian. How about that! What else? I read The Catcher in the Rye later, during the summer after my senior year, then finally got around to  Wuthering Heights and To Kill a Mockingbird a few years after that, in adult life. In Boston, I read a good chunk of Uncle Tom's Cabin, maybe 100 pages or so, but didn't finish, and of course we all know that in 2005 I had the good sense to tackle War and Peace. I wonder if I ever read much of Jesus the Christ and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder...hmmm. I know I've touched those (and they're still on my mom's bookshelves to this day) but nothing sticks with me, and I can't say I have any interest in reading them now. The Mormon General Authorities and higher-ups are kind of like tenured professors, I think, in their writing. They might be technically competent and even have interesting things to say, but they're not really inspired to write a book so much as they are compelled by their life situation to write about their topics of expertise. And we all know how I feel about reading academic journal articles that are more concerned with citation than narrative.

Now, about that "etc."...

No comments: