It is only by second year you realise A) nobody's read anything on the humanities reading list, outside of coincidence and B) people rarely demand you cite author, title and year of publication outside easily googleable environments. This is, of course, no excuse. Here are the classics we have missed out on, feel free to scold us and give us your classic recommendations, what larks we'll have...
2. It was the best of starts, it was the worst of starts. As a pretentious 7 year old, I settled down with a copy of A Tale of Two Cities and ploughed through to page 14. It bored me shitless. 3 years later, aged 10 (and just as pretentious), I tried again. The attempt stalled on page 14. At the age of 12 I decided to force the issue, and brought only a copy of A Tale of Two Cities to our month-long holiday in rural France. An inveterate bookworm, I reasoned that I would finish the book out of sheer desperation, if nothing else. I was wrong. Stymied once again by page 14, I survived that holiday by reading the complete works of Brian Jacques, which my sister had brought along to read. I tried one last time in my mid-teens. And given that page 14 had become an uncrossable Rubicon, I decided to start with page 15. 16 years later, and I've yet to make it to page 16... F1 Kate
3. I've read a shamefully small number of classics, especially considering I did an English degree at university! I've always looked to the future rather than the past, so I struggle to motivate myself to read to read books that were written before electricity was invented. Even classic sci-fi doesn't do much for me - I just find HG Wells quaint and ridiculous. Frankenstein is probably the only exception I can think of. So in answer to the question I'd probably have to say 'all of them'. Unless you count skimming the first dozen or so pages before going 'eurgh' and rereading a Iain M Banks book. Gareth
4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, you have to say it like that because it's the WHOLE title when you include the fancy author. I had to read this book because it was on my reading list for English Literature Module 2 in the first year of university. Not only that, I promised my English Lecturer - I told him I'd read everything on the list apart from that one and he looked me dead in the eye and said: "Promise me you'll read this book. You must! It's very good." Surrounded by books in his study which overlooked the park and the entirety if Glasgow I felt very much at one with the passion of books and study of literature. "Yes! Yes I will!" I exclaimed. I haven't. Squeamish Nicola
5. Everything I know about The Classics (whatever they are) I know from parodies and fan author's prequels and sequels. Sometimes I think, rather like Abba lyrics, we somehow get the collected plot summaries of all The Classics in the womb and emerge aware of the plots in order to get by at all those civilised dinner parties we never go to. I never read Jane Eyre but I read Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, PD James left me pretty certain I don't care to read Pride and Prejudice and everything else French and Saunders, Bleak Expectations and Kate Bush fills in. Squeamish Kate