Saturday, December 5, 2009


I spent a good portion of yesterday actively avoiding reading "The Plague" by Albert Camus. I cleaned. I washed clothes. I went grocery shopping.

The version I have refers to it as "A Perfect Achievement" on the cover, courtesy of the New Republic, but it's taken me over a week to read 126 pages (barely half the book), which is so unlike me. 

Why do I do this to myself? I'll be at the library with a perfectly healthy stack of books in my arms, ready to check them out, when I feel a sudden burst of inadequacy and think, "I should've read more classics by now." It's not that I didn't read any classics in high school or college, but I get frustrated whenever I see a title that's part of literary canon but unfamiliar to me.

The Plague is a perfect candidate for NaNoGitMo. I loved The Stranger, so why am I struggling so much with this one?

The other problem is that it's gumming up the works; I wanted to read 100 books this year, but at the moment I'm stalled out at 91, and time is running out. PLAAAAAAGUE!!!!

P.S. I've made the image of the book cover extra large so that you, too, can feel the oppression.


  1. I alwasy feel the same way! Even though I read like crazy, I always feel unaccomplished because I haven't tackled most of the classics. It's worst when people find out that you like to read and start rattling off their favorite books and you haven't read any of them, let alone heard of half of them.

    I'm trying to get my teenage sister into reading, but she always claims to hate it. Yesterday I pointed out that maybe she's reading the wrong type of books because in the past year she has read two books and loved them - Twilight and Dear John (by N. Sparks). I suggested that maybe she should try more books with a romantic plot/subplot and she said that she didn't want to because "reading should be smart" and while she liked those books, they weren't increasing her knowledge or making her a better person.

  2. Yes! There are vegetable books that are "good for you," candy books that go down easy but make you feel a bit guilty if you indulge too much, meat and potato classics, and fine wines that are a challenging but rewarding, too :)

    Hopefully your sister will come to see that reading can be entertaining as well as, dare I say, fulfilling?