In 2007, I was working in Washington, DC when I heard some of my coworkers discussing an article that had recently been published. The article was a list of their version of the best 100 books of all time. The thesis of this article was that many individuals had not read these novels. As an avid reader, I thought for sure that I for one could disprove their thesis. Then I read the list and realized how very wrong I was. I was one of those individuals who hadn’t even read 10 of the novels on that list. Many people disagreed about what novels made it on that list, but I hadn’t even read the ones that they wanted to add to the list. I felt ashamed. How could I love reading so much and not have read at least half of these listed novels??!! That was when I viewed this article as a challenge. I was going to put down whatever new mystery had just come out and was going to start reading novels and short stories from all time periods. This decision opened a whole new world for me. This is when reading stopped being a task I enjoyed whenever I had free time and began to be part of who I am.
I mostly read classic fiction now. The word “classic” seems to be a word of contention amongst everyone I know. It is commonly agreed that “classics” are novels that have withstood the test of time. That to me is still a bit vague, so I personally classify “time” as 25 years. If a novel is still well known and read a quarter of a century after publication, I say that deserves the term “classic.”
Since 2007, reading has become a never-ending source of happiness, relaxation, and fulfillment for me like it never was before. What are your favorite novels (doesn’t have to be classic fiction)?