The Book To Read Before I Pass On


This week’s Sunday Salon Post comes courtesy of the Literary Blog Hop.  The Literary Blog Hop is a bi-weekly event hosted by The Blue Bookcase.  This week’s question is:  “What one literary work must you read before you die?”

That’s such an interesting question, that I really hadn’t given much thought too, and after reading various responses, I still haven’t really come to much of a conclusion.

One might say Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which I’ve read.  Another might say Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, which I’ve also read.  So obviously those two titles are eliminated for me.  Along with Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

So when I started to sit down and think about it, there are some books that I haven’t read yet, that could very well make the list.  Milton’s Paradise Lost comes to the forefront.  Along with the complete works of Shakespeare.  So many to choose from to simply pick just one title.

With that being said, my answer is thus.  As long as the good Lord wishes to bless me with life on this planet, as long as I’m a well read individual, that in itself will make me quite happy.  I know that may sound like such a cop out to this question, but I simply cannot pick only one.  So I’ll go with the following books, that I should read, and these aren’t in any particular order:

  1. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
  2. John Milton’s Paradise Lost
  3. The Bible

What book(s) might you choose?  Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section!

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About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

14 Responses to “The Book To Read Before I Pass On”

  1. As I’ve already read Paradise Lost, I’m with you on the other two. 🙂

    I’d also include the Harry Potter series, just for fun, and also because it’s what I’m reading now.

    • Harry Potter does seem to be a must-read these days, especially with how popular the novels have been across all generations. Before I read them, I thought they were only books for kids and teenagers. Boy was I pleasantly mistaken!

      I’ve been hearing some really good things about Paradise Lost. I think it’s definitely going to have to add it to my TBR list. 🙂

  2. Like yourself I’ve read W&P , The brother K & Dante, Like yourself I had trouble coming to a definitive answer, unlike yourself I didn’t calmly compile a list of possibles. No instead I ran around accusing people of torture in a paranoid tantrum before picking a book about reading. Unless you did the same ?
    Please tell me you did.

    • Nah, I did my best to remain calm while trying to compose my answer to this awfully difficult question. What I can tell you is that I went to Deb’s blog at Readerbuzz, to see how she responded to the question. 🙂 Plus, there are so many phenomenal books that have been written over the ages, there could be a multitude of possibilities, with so many possibilities, I try not to get too worked up about it. I simply know that I won’t be able to hit all of the great ones, and will just enjoy what I can while I’m blessed to be living. 🙂

  3. I’ve read War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov…and many other wonderful books, including several by Shakespeare. I haven’t read anything by James Joyce…he was someone revered by one of my English professors, but I avoided him out of sheer rebellion back then. What did I know? I was very young…LOL

    I can’t list one, or two, or any number. I guess I will settle for reading more books that I want to read instead of what others think that I should read.

    Here’s MY SUNDAY SALON POST

    • Very good point Laurel-Rain. 🙂 We should be more concentrated on reading what we want. I also haven’t read anything by James Joyce, maybe it’s something I should seriously consider!

  4. I couldn’t pick one either, made a list of four contenders:
    The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood), A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf), The Edge of the Alphabet (Janet Frame) or Lady Chatterley’s Lover (DH Lawrence). My must read book was War and Peace until I started it this year… now I’m crossing that off the list I need a replacement. Blind Assassin looks poised to steal the spot.

    Also, I am insanely impressed that you’ve ready WaP, The Brothers Karamazov, and DIvine Comedy. Wow.

    • Hi Kath! I’ve already added Lady Chatterley’s Lover to my list to read. I haven’t heard of The Blind Assassin. The only other Virginia Woolf novel I’ve read is Mrs. Dalloway and that was in my Brit Lit course many years ago. Will definitely look into A Room of One’s Own.

      All three books, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Divine Comedy are all very challenging to read. I’d go as far to say that Dante was one of the most challenging I’ve read, simply because of all the references to many historical persons and ancient literature. The Brothers Karamazov was probably the deepest of the three works I’ve tackled.

  5. You should consider Joyce!! I’m excited to try him. I like that he started Finnegans Wake with the ending of a sentence that he starts at the end of the book. I might be weird, but that sort of thing intrigues me. Life, story, is a circle, and all that. It runs together.

    I’ve read the Bible and intend to read Paradise Lost, and well, everything else you mention.

    • I think I am going to take a look at James Joyce. Haven’t really considered reading too much of his works before, but I would be remiss if I didn’t. 🙂

      With all the choices out there, we should definitely look into developing something for professional reading. Too bad it wouldn’t be able to pay the bills! 🙂

  6. I meant to tell you, I read a review recently that calls Gone With the Wind the American War & Peace. Ha! Or rather, War & Peace is the Russian Gone With the Wind. (Okay, Tolstoy came first.)

    • Hmm…. If that’s the case, that would make me look even more forward to reading Gone With The Wind. I truly enjoyed War and Peace so that review makes me more anxious to tackle the work!

  7. It was my question so, naturally, I’m quite interested in reading everyone’s answers. I’m working on War and Peace this year, but I’ve never read Brothers, so I’m adding that to my big list. Also all of Shakespeare. Whew!

    Here’s my post: http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-you-must-read-before-you-die.html

    • The Brothers Karamazov took me almost nearly as long to read as War and Peace. I enjoyed The Brothers Karamazov almost nearly as much! I definitely think both should be any everyone’s list of books to read! 😀

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