Gill Chedgey’s Ten Books I Haven’t Acquired But Feel I Should Have Done

Article published on January 25, 2018.

Turning things on their head a little, I thought about books I haven’t acquired but feel I should have done! To be fair, one of them is languishing on my TBR shelves and I hope I will read it in the fullness of time, but the rest I don’t have copies of. The interesting question for me is why I feel I should have read them!! So, in no particular order but simply as they occur to me, ten books I’ve never acquired and why!

1. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie – Okay, I’ll admit it I have never read a book by Rushdie. Maybe it’s the controversy surrounding him. Maybe I’m scared of having a fatwa slapped on me if I was seen to be buying his work! But this book seems to be viewed as his seminal piece so I guess this is the one I will read. Sometime.

2. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – I want to read this, I really do, because I’ve been led to believe it is a landmark and important piece of fiction. But I don’t willingly do horror, as I believe this book to be. So it’s always going to go to the bottom of the pile. It’s my loss, I know, but there it is. I am of a nervous disposition. Blame it on my over-active imagination, which fires up during the night.

3. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho – I read one book by Coelho with overwhelming anticipation, Brida, but I was underwhelmed after reading it. It wasn’t that I disliked it, it just didn’t meet my possible over expectation. But maybe The Alchemist is Coelho’s one work that should be read in preference to any of his others. So it’s there on my periphery.

4. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – My mum loved this book, and she would be the reason I’d read it. It captivated her as a child. I believe it’s one of a series. I’ve no idea what it’s about even. But if it was good enough for my mum then it’s good enough for me.

5. A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute – My paternal grandfather had carpentry skills and he built my parents a book shelf as a wedding present. So it’s been around my whole life. When I was a kid it was filled with books and grandad had put a little cupboard in the centre of the bookcase. My parents put various bits and pieces in there, pretty random things. But as a child I loved going through the bits in there, not always book related, to be honest. But it was primarily a bookcase so there were loads of books, it was brimming. I remember many hardbacks – Dornford Yates sticks in my mind. But there were also a few paperbacks, A Town Like Alice being one of them. It stuck out because the spine was more colourful. I always meant to read it but somehow I never did. I don’t know what happened to that copy 🙁 but I now have the bookcase. Fortunately so. I was the only one of my siblings who had the space and it now houses my TBR volumes.

6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville – I’ve read a large number of those works considered to be classics. I was fortunate as a child that they all seemed to be there. Miraculously. On the shelves. By magic. Children’s’ editions. But Moby Dick wasn’t one of them. I kind of forgot about the book until Dylan sang about Captain Ahab and I wondered who he was. And then when I visited Martha’s Vineyard and saw Nantucket in the distance my friends told me that this was Moby Dick country, whale water. That whetted my appetite but I still haven’t got around to it! However, I fear I’d be upset because I’m totally on the side of the whales. Leave ‘em alone.

7. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth – My desire to read this is all about statistics and stuff I think. One of the longest novels in a single volume. Wow. But I fear I may have missed my opportunity to read this because simply holding the damn thing would possibly be a challenge that I might have managed easier as a younger person!! On the other hand, some strength training while I read is multi-tasking beyond my wildest dreams. Seriously though, it does sound like a substantial and culturally rich read.

8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Whatever I read about this book has something that draws me to it, thematically, historically, geographically. However, I keep confusing the author with Gael Garcia Bernal the actor. Please don’t ask me why. I think it’s because there are three names and both guys are Latin American. Why that should affect my reading the book I have no idea. But I am not responsible for my own quirks. They were bestowed upon me by forces beyond my immediate control.

9 The Lacuna by Barbra Kingsolver – I can be a sucker for award-winning works and this is one of them. It’s sitting, politely, on my TBR shelf patiently waiting. I have nothing but admiration for a book that does that and it surely deserves to be read. Soon.

10. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking – Not sure I’d understand this but there’s something about it that draws me. However, it may be one of those false ideals and I’m thinking more Eddie Redmayne than Professor Hawking. My impression is that although written by an erudite scholar, it is accessible and understandable.

Gil Chedgey
January 2018




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