Sunday, August 17, 2008


A while back I started a book club called "Books I Shoulda Already Read." For 6 books' time, it was a group that met face to face, had spirited meetings and sometimes watched the movie version, but Ulysses kind of killed it. So I then moved it to an online group.

The idea was to read "classics" from the "canon," whatever that means. Personally, I was looking for a motivation and a social element to help me get around to reading a lot of old books that I had always been curious about.

The group still technically exists, but we have been on a looong hiatus from reading books together. Here is what we read before it petered out:

The Sorrows of Young Werther - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson
Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Ulysses - James Joyce
To The Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
The Analects - Confucius
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Bound For Glory - Woody Guthrie
Don Quixote - Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
A Confederacy Of Dunces - John Toole Kennedy
Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
The Age Of Innocence - Edith Wharton
Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Sometimes A Great Notion - Ken Kesey
Justine - Marquis de Sade
The Third Man - Graham Greene
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
The Sound and The Fury - William Faulkner
Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Sister Carrie - Theodore Dreiser

My favorites were Sometimes a Great Notion, The Age of Innocence, Anna Karenina, and Middlemarch. I had a very strong negative reaction to Faulkner but enjoyed most of the rest.

Books I Wish BISAR had read before it fizzled:

Vanity Fair
The Scarlet Letter
The Thousand and One Nights
Moby Dick
The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
The Trial
Aesop's Fables
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Les Miserables
My Antonia


Tobi Vail said...

Long live BISAR!

Sarah U. said...

j.h. christ, My Antonia needs to be re-read by all! personally, i think it might be a touchstone in my life. and i would be very interested in joining a new online BISAR, as all i am looking for is the next book i should read.