You’re a writer. You choose to spend your time spilling your guts onto the page. You bleed. You reveal. You go deep. You reflect. You share your desires, obsessions, and insecurities with your readers in the name of your craft. You study the work of other writers for your craft. You read for pleasure, for research, to learn. You’re not a book snob, you’re an artist. So, when conversation turns to [insert author here], surely you’re familiar with their work. You’re well read. You know the cultural impact they’ve had or what all the buzz is about. You have an opinion.
Listen, we all have our “Tower of Shame,” as Zadie Smith calls it—those books we should have read. Or think we should have read. But, when you’re in the PWN studio, surrounded by other writers—by other readers—which are the books you’re ashamed to admit you haven’t read?
Some of our PWN studio frequent flyers spilled their guts:
Lisa: “Oh, God. Harry Potter, the most popular series. I don’t have the interest but I feel like I should. Is that terrible? A friend even loaned the first one to me. It’s been in the back seat of my car for weeks but I still haven’t started it.” [Spoiler: she returned the book unread]
Megan: “The Shining. I’m obsessed with the movie and whenever someone quotes the book, I just … ” [looks down at feet]
Nyla: “Romeo & Juliet. As a writer, I feel like I should know the original story as it was written.”
Lauren: “All the Russian novels. Except one, The Brothers Karamazov, because I had to read it. But I like Russian culture. I’ll read them. It’s a chore I’ll get to.”
Maria: “Well, I didn’t go to high school, so imagine all of those books.”
Kelly: “Lord of the Rings. I really, really tried. I tried for a year. Then I gave up.”
Allison: “One Hundred Years of Solitude. I will read it. Maybe soon. Maybe that’ll be the next book I pick up. Then I’d say anything by Kafka. Not sure I’ll get to that.”
Greg: “Any Toni Morrison. I’m hoping I’m ready for her now. It’s like Joni Mitchell. For years I said she wasn’t my thing, and then I started listening and got really into her music and now I’m a huge fan.”
Jen: “The Hobbit. When I was younger, I wasn’t into fantasy. And my brother was reading it so of course, I couldn’t read anything that he was reading.”