The Blue Bookcase, the question at hand this fortnight is:
What one literary work must you read before you die?
This is such a hard question! Over at the Blue Bookcase, they've answered it in 2 different ways, which is something I'm going to do too, because it means I can advise not only myself, but you guys as well (don't you just love me advising you? The answer you're looking for is yes.)
So, the book I think everyone should read before they die has to be To Kill A Mockingbird- there just aren't word invented to deal with how much I love this book, or how important it is to me. It just is to do with everything- growing up, dealing with disappointment, dealing with other people's prejudices, and gives you the ultimate role model in life in Atticus Finch. There are so many other amazing books that I also adore and would have everyone read (almost everything by Steinbeck, The Bell Jar, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, all of Jane Austen etc.) but To kill a Mockingbird is possibly the most accessible of these, and possibly the one that has taught me the most. And, I just generally adore it, so you will too (obviously...)
And then there's the book I must read before I die. At this point I kind of want to say Anna Karenina, since I've been reading it for weeks already and haven't even gotten to the midway point yet, even though I already know it's amazing- so hopefully I will finish it before I die! But really. I'm quite tempted also to say The Complete works of Shakespeare, because he is, in my opinion, indispensable to literature, influencing basically everything that has been written after him, but that feels a little bit like cheating because it is just so many different works, rather than just one. The right thing to say next would probably be Ulysses by James Joyce because it's meant to be pretty important, but I just can't face it! I read about 5 pages of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and I just couldn't deal with it, so I now have a Joyce phobia, and I don't really want the one book that I must read before death to be the thing that kills me!
So, I'm a little stuck. If I died tomorrow, I would be immensely sad that I hadn't finished Anna Karenina, but at the same time I'm not sure if that's the ultimate book for me to read before I die. Maybe you guys can help- what can I absolutely not go through life without reading? I genuinely need your help on this! Note: Anyone recommending James Joyce to me will be hunted down and gagged...