My friends are very well-read. They’re teachers and editors and writers themselves, so what are you reading? and what should I read next? are questions that come up often in our conversations. So it was a little bit of a surprise when one of my well-read friends admitted to never having read Charlotte’s Web. Immediately, we pounced on her.
Were you raised by wolves?
But, I’ve met your mother. She seems nice enough!
Maybe we can’t be friends with you anymore.
OK, OK, no one said that. Nobody even teased her about it. We had all assumed she’d read it already, but she was the one who judged herself and felt that she’d come up short. So she recently rectified that by reading Charlotte about a week ago, in addition to other kids’ classics like Dear Mr. Henshaw, and Mixed Up Files.
Then this weekend, my husband and I were watching a remake of Dorian Grey with Colin Firth (mmmm…. Colin Firth…) and I said something about not remembering one of the more racy scenes from the book. At which point, my husband said he didn’t know much about the plot of the story. And then I fell down. Because The Picture of Dorian Grey is one of my favorite books of all time, and I started wondering if I’d married the right guy.
Fortunately, a few minutes later I came off my high horse. Even great writers know we can’t read everything. I call myself a science fiction fan, and I’m yet to read The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. There are other things to do, like eat, and shower, and stalk Colin Firth. And maybe it’s enough to have the gist. Otherwise we’d all be going blind from reading, and nothing else would ever get done, like, you know, a cure for cancer, or flying cars, or Colin Firth clones for all.
Besides, not having read everything is good news. It means you’ll never run out of things to read.