Literary Blog Hop: To Read Before You Die

Cover of "The Amazing Adventures of Kaval...

Cover via Amazon

What books should you read before you die? What books do you think everyone should read before they die?

These are the questions for this week’s Literary Blog Hop, hosted as always by The Blue Bookcase,and like the original poster, I’m going to both recommend one to interested readers, as well as divulge some of my own “bucket list books.”

First, what should you read? Well, I would recommend one of my all-time favorite novels, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; even if (and perhaps especially if) you don’t care at all about comic books, superheros, New York City or Jewish iconography, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be enriched by experiencing this book.

However, in a less conventional choice, I would recommend that everyone read the Bible, not because I consider myself Christian, but because after teaching excerpts of it as literature for the past four years, I am continually amazed at how deep its roots permeate all of modern art, literature, history, politics: indeed, all of civilization. Also, it’s so consistently misinterpreted by many who consider themselves Christian that reading the actual text is kind of a mind-blowing experience.

Second, what book do I intend to read before I die? Well, one of the big behemoths I intend to face down this very year is, of course, War and Peace (Vintage Classics), partly because it looms ahead of me like Mt. Everest, partly because I so loved Anna Karenina , and partly–yes–so I can say I’ve done it!

I think that I would also like to read some of the sacred texts I’m less familiar with, the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita especially. Reading the Bible has been such a powerful experience for me, and these texts would help better inform me about large portions of the world which I am sadly not very familiar.

Of course, as a writer myself, part of me wants to answer this question by saying that the book I’d most like to read before I die is a book I’ve written myself, but that particular title has a much hazier outline than the other choices I’ve shared here.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else picks!

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7 Comments

Filed under Literary Blog Hop, Pensees on Reading

7 responses to “Literary Blog Hop: To Read Before You Die

  1. A great selection, with some great reasoning as to why you chose those books, have read bits of the bible, but never attempted it as a whole, how about chuck in a few ancient works say for example, the Epic of Gilgamesh, to add some perspective.

  2. You given this some thought, I like that. Yes, the Bible is everywhere in literature and is essential to understanding and appreciating great works of literature. I have not read anything by Michael Chabon. Thanks for the recomendation.

  3. @Parrish: Gilgamesh is a great suggestion, I will add that to my list!

    @Kinna: “Wonder Boys” is another good Chabon title!

  4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a great book and a nice selection for this week’s question. Like you, I picked War and Peace as my must-read. Though right now, it’s just gathering dust on my bookcase. 😉

  5. @Kinna, @Jackie: Have you read The Mysteries of Pittsburgh or Werewolves in Their Youth (short stories)? Both early Chabon and fantastic.

    Jackie, love your answer. The Bible really is a rich source of story and poetry. So happy to have found your blog!

    • @Lulu, I have read “Mysteries” (but was ambivalent about it, honestly) but somehow have missed “Werewolves”! Did you read “Yiddish Policemen’s Union”? LOVED it.

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