I’ve spent the last couple of months applying to various post-graduate writing programs, both in the US and UK. In the course of submitting my applications it has occurred to me that I’m not nearly as well-read as I think I am.
As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Kuwait. I’m also a product of the public school system where Western Literature was not part of the curriculum. Consequently, I was never charged with reading Shakespeare or analyzing Pride & Prejudice or any of the other standard exercises that the high school experience usually consists of.
Moreover, I went to a business college; and so I didn’t have the opportunity to study the Classics as part of a Base Year course of study.
That didn’t stop me from reading them on my own. From high school on I read Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal Farm, 1984, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Inferno, In Cold Blood, Catcher in the Rye, A Room with a View, Edgar Allan Poe, The Screwtape Letters, and others that caught my eye.
It occurs to me that such lack of exposure might count against me in the interview process – should my applications get that far…
And so, I’m playing catch-up.
Over the coming months, I’ll be applying myself to making a dent in the Classics I have not read yet.
I’ve begun with A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway and David Copperfield by Dickens.
Here’s a list of what I hope to get through… Feel free to add to it!
Anna Karenina – Tolstoy
Moby Dick – Melville
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
Oliver Twist – Dickens
Vanity Fair – Thackeray
Wuthering Heights – Bronte
A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens
The Princess Bride – Goldman
Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury
Slaughter-house Five – Vonnegut