The summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school I found a list of the 100 best American fiction novels, and I had read probably 10 already, so I decided to try and work my way down the list. I think I got through three or something. (I mean seriously, the Grapes of Wrath? For leisure reading? I'm sorry, Ma Joad, your plight is not what I would call entertaining.) For some reason I also thought that summer would be a good time to start reading Oprah's Book Club books on the side of this big book endeavor, but I couldn't find one I liked, so I kept going back trying desperately to figure out why I didn't like the books the rest of America was gushing over. (Ironically, the ONLY book I have EVER enjoyed with an Oprah sticker on it was Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, and he pulled his book from the club even though they'd gone ahead and printed it with Oprah emblems on the jackets. So it wasn't even a real Oprah book. And I didn't read it until college.) So I got sidetracked and it was basically a big old waste of a pile of summer reading.
Anyway, every summer I start going to the library and feeling guilty because I'm grabbing books like The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and other less-than-classic novels, and not even attempting to finish that list. Last summer and the summer before, having mysteriously accumulated a big debt to the good old Loudonville Public Library the spring of my Senior year, I was forced to either re-read my old favorites or pick through my mom's collection. Which was alright. But I still wasn't scratching those 100 off the list.
So this summer I decided that I would read one classic for every "fun" book I read. I started with Main Street by Sinclair Lewis because I vaguely remembered that being on the list. I am on page 140, and I've had it for a month. A MONTH. And while I was home last weekend, I stole my brother's copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Oh, I know, I am totally busted, because you definitely had it sitting out in a "I'll read this as soon as I get a chance" place, and I took it anyway. So. Um. Sorry.) and I read the entire thing last night. And you know what else? It is a double edition with the sequel, and I read that too. A whole two children's books in like, two and a half hours.
And I'm thinking it's going to take me until I'm 50 to get through that list. Which is annoying.