You know all those “Great Books” you were told to read in school or heard that you should read because … well, because they’re great?
Yeah … not so much.
GQ isn’t saying to bag all the Great Books, just 20 of them. The writers even provide handy replacements, 21 in fact. (One book had two suggested replacements.)
I’ve read two of them, both in high school — “The Catcher in the Rye” (which I think I recall liking) and “The Old Man and the Sea” (which, like any other Hemingway foisted on me in those days, I know I hated).
Neither were on the list, but my aunt gave me “Watership Down” and “Moby Dick” when I was a kid. She meant well, but I don’t think I made it through more than three chapters in either.
In the spirit of giving, let me give you my recommendation for books you should definitely read.
Here it is.
1. Whatever you want.
I say that with the disclaimer that if you have to read something for school, you should do it, but if you get to choose, why not read what strikes your fancy?
When I was younger, I pretty much only read sports books. My tastes have expanded somewhat since then, but I still don’t read fiction.
The main factor in whether I read a book is whether it looks interesting upon first sight, which is why the last book I read is about racism and identity in Great Britain and the one I’m reading now is about the history of tactics in the Premier League.
I saw them both, and a few others on my current wish list, while in London. (It is considerably easier to find books about Great Britain in London than books about Canada in Ottawa.)
Because I have a birthday coming up, I added a few more to my list during my visit to Cambridge the other day.
But that’s what I’m into. If you’re into novels, historical fiction, bodice-rippers, academic tomes, sports, politics or whatever else, don’t let me, GQ or anyone else stop you.
Heck, if you want to read “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” go get yourself some …
… even if that was the book the GQ writers had two replacements for.