Day 23 – A Book You’ve Wanted to Read for a Long Time but Still Haven’t
For a great many years, I felt somewhat lacking in my reading because I’ve never been able to complete Tolstoy’s War And Peace. While I still may tackle that weighty tome once again, as time goes on I feel less and less desire for Russian literature. Fifteen years ago, circumstances in my life were different and I avidly read most of the more notable volumes by Turgenev, Gogol, Dostoyevsky, and others which made my failed attempts at War And Peace all the more distressing. But I’ve moved on.
Other than that, there aren’t any individual books that stand out at least in terms of being oh so important for me to read. I add and remove books from my To Be Read List quite regularly as my tastes for literary enrichment changes. I’ve read most of the books I’ve felt were “important” for me to read in a lifetime but am constantly discovering new “must reads.” Still, I haven’t read many which are considered cornerstones of literature, either serious or popular. I do regret not reading more John Steinbeck or Ernest Hemingway but know I will once the time is right. With the recent press on the anniversary of Gone With The Wind‘s publication I found myself unable to recall whether I’d read Margaret Mitchell’s novel or not. Perhaps I’ll find out for certain someday soon. I’ve long wanted to complete The Lord Of The Rings trilogy (I believe I’ve only gotten as far as halfway through the second book) but that would involve much more completely distraction-free spare time than I ever seem to have (not to mention I’d feel compelled to re-read The Hobbit first).
The truth of the matter is that I just started reading one particular book that I have really wanted to read for just under two years and that’s probably the one that qualifies most for today’s topic. In mid-2009 I found a copy of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns in the teacher’s book exchange at my old school. It looked intriguing and was also one of the few books there that I hadn’t yet read so I traded something long since forgotten for it. I didn’t begin reading it until September but it kept me engrossed for a week or so and I discovered that I had known absolutely nothing about Afghanistan before opening those pages. Immediately after finishing it I began searching bookshops for Hosseini’s earlier novel, The Kite Runner but it wasn’t to be found anywhere. I asked fellow teachers and other expat friends to be on lookout for a copy. A few months ago the illustrated edition appeared at the branch of B2S in Central Festival but it was prohibitively expensive (and I couldn’t visit the mall often enough to try and read the book sitting in the stacks in the store). Finally, about a month ago, I found an ebook online that I was able to download. I’ve read about a hundred pages in the past few days; at first I thought it paled in comparison with A Thousand Splendid Suns but I’m slowly becoming drawn into the lives of Amir and Hassan. Since we have a four-day holiday weekend this week I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time indoors with this book (all indications are that our current rainy weather will continue through the holiday).