Friday, 17 January 2014

My 2014 Reading Challenge begins...

I was in my early twenties when I read The Great Gatsby, and, quite frankly, I hated it with a passion.  

At the time, I was still young enough to be committed to finishing every book I started, so I pushed my way through to the end, and then kept in on my bookshelf for years, because, even though I hated it, it was a classic and it made look well read.

When Baz Luhrman's cinematic version was released in 2013, it wasn't the story that had me hunting it down, rather it was Baz's wife, Catherine Martin, for her set design and costumes.  She didn't disappoint.

But in watching the film, I also found something unexpected.  Baz had managed to make me feel sympathetic towards characters I'd previously loathed.  I've been wondering why.  Am I am simply more mature now and have a better understanding of the complexities of adult relationships?  Was it Baz, or Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire?

The easiest way to answer these questions is to simply dust off my old copy and re-read it. 

And this had me thinking some more.  Are there other books I hated as a youngster that I ought to give a second chance?

And so my 2014 reading challenge has been set.  I am going to spend this year digging out those classics I had to force myself to finish and give them another go.
I'm starting with The Great Gatsby, and then I'll dig out A Catcher in the Rye and try to find something redeemable in that brat Holden Caulfield.

After that, I'm looking for suggestions.  What are the books you simply don't get?  Which ones did you struggle through or give up on?  Let me know and I'll add them to my challenge.


  1. The Catcher in the Rye. I read it when I was a young, cynical, know-it-all so I should have been all "Holden Caufield?! That's my boy right there!!". But I thought he was was a dick and that the story went nowhere. Probably means I was a dick too ; )

    1. Yep, he was such a smug little piece of work. I wonder if I'll be able to finish it on the second read...