Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Books & Big Fish

In my post this past Friday, I alluded to the shelf-full of new books we got on our anniversary weekend. Lest you think I'm exaggerating...
...the new books we got literally filled a shelf. Sixteen new books. Can you be addicted to books? Because if you can, we definitely are. I just looked it up. There's a term for this. We're "bibliophiles". We don't just love books, we love to collect them. You'd think we'd have run out of shelf space by now, but I have an easy solution for that: buy more shelves. I decided to do an entire post about the books we recently acquired so that I could also talk about this idea I have that some books are like fish. Before I get into that, let me tick off the books we got. From left to right:
  • Aesop's Fables : (a beautiful hardcover 1968 edition)
  • Villette : Charlotte Brontë
  • Jude the Obscure : Thomas Hardy
  • The Age of Innocence : Edith Wharton
  • Anna Karenina : Leo Tolstoy
  • The Brothers Karamazov : Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Sons and Lover : D.H. Lawrence
  • Catch-22 : Joseph Heller
  • The Old Man and the Sea : Ernest Hemingway
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn : Betty Smith
  • A Wrinkle in Time : Madeleine L'Engle
  • Poem a Day, Vol. 1 : edited by Karen McCosker & Nicholas Albery
  • Atlas Shrugged : Ayn Rand
  • The Pearl : John Steinbeck
...and then a couple of French books for Cody because he's going on a missions trip to French speaking countries soon. I know this seems excessive, but we got half of these at our local used bookstore at a 1/2 price sale. 8 books for $17? Yes, please. The 1/2 price sale just happened to fall on our anniversary weekend. WE CAN'T CONTROL THESE THINGS! I mean, it's not like we could skip our annual Barnes & Noble anniversary date just because we already bought 8 books that day. Let's not be silly.

But getting back to my fish analogy: I think of certain books on my Life List as "big fish" books. In fact, I think of my Life List as a whole as a "big fish". Go with me here. If you've ever been fishing or listened to an avid fisherman tell stories, he'll often recount tales of the "big one". Big fish are elusive things. Oftentimes they get away. But when you actually reel one in, you feel an undeniable sense of pride and accomplishment. 

That's how I feel about a huge classic. Moby Dick (pun unintentional but fully embraced), The Count of Monte Cristo, Gone With the Wind, Les Mis, The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina--these are Big Fish books for me. My Life List is a Big Fish because it's constantly growing. The goal to read all of Shakespeare or a biography on every president: Big Fish. Will I ever read all these books and plays, all the classics and all the poetry? Probably not. There are so many books and so little time. These goals are elusive and slippery. But it's such an adventure tailing the treasure and slowly reeling it in. Since starting this blog and creating yearly book lists for myself, I've managed to catch some of my Big Fish. Vanity Fair, Theodore Roosevelt, and Great Expectations to name a few. I've also discovered that some of those fish I'd been trailing weren't such a challenge after all like The Last of the Mohicans

My Big Fish this year are The Three Musketeers and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. The Three Musketeers is already proving its Big Fish status by putting up quite a fight. But it's going to make it that much better when I'm finally able to say I finished it. 
fishing in the Keys : 2007
Is this the craziest analogy you've ever heard? What are some of your Big Fish books?


  1. I think the analogy works. This year At Dawn We Slept, finishing John Adams, and Paradise Lost are some of my big fish. Oliver Twist was much easier than I anticipated it would be, since I didn't get far the first time I tried. The complete works of Shakespeare is becoming a lifetime goal, but I may give myself a pass on reading ones that I've seen performed. I've gotten through at least 3 books off list so far this year, with another in the mail. One of them was an unabridged version of George MacDonald's Sir Gibbie, which may have been around 1,000 pages in the Project Gutenberg version.

    1. I'm glad the analogy makes sense to someone! The first time I tried to explain it to Cody, he looked at me like I was a nut-job. LOL! That's really how I think of them in my mind though. I think so far this year I've read just as many (if not more) that aren't on my list as ones that are. Haha! Oh well. Considering my list is only 12 books this year, I'm still going at a pretty good rate to read them all.

  2. Totally makes sense to me. I should make a Big Fish list - except I should make sure whatever books are on the list are books I actually want to read (obviously "The Three Musketeers" wouldn't be on there. Lol)

    1. Oh good, I'm not totally crazy! The Three Musketeers has actually picked up a bit since I wrote this post although I'm currently in the lovely world of Emma because #wisdomteeth.

  3. Love your post. Just watched your first one :) very nice. http://aazae.com/