Writers even as cynical as I have to fight the impulse to live up to someone else’s idea of what they are.
– Raymond Chandler
I’ve accepted that I will never read all the books that I want to read in my lifetime. It just won’t happen. It can’t, mostly because the list grows every year, and every time I take a book off that list five more replace it. But in a strange way I find it comforting to know that no matter what I’ll always have something to read.
I was browsing the aisles at the bookstore yesterday and came across several authors I would like to read but haven’t yet. Many people are embarrassed to talk about the books or authors they haven’t read, but I don’t see the point in that. There’s no rule that says you have to read Melville, Franzen or Wharton. And if you’ve read all of Dean Koontz’s books but none of Toni Morrison’s, who cares? Read what you like. I’m only talking about the authors I haven’t read yet to remind myself that I actually want to read them, not that I have to for some strange literary reason.
Up first on my list is Raymond Chandler.
Chandler starting writing later in his life (44) after losing his job. Turned out, he was pretty good at it. He published 7 novels before he died. I was first introduced to him by a university professor of mine who assigned Dashiell Hammett in class but told us all to read Raymond Chandler in our spare time. Of course I didn’t because I was in university and any spare time I had was spent sleeping. But I’ve never forgotten that advice, and I think now is as good a time as any to get started.
So here’s the question: Should I start with The Big Sleep or go right to The Long Goodbye?
Raymond Chandler reading list:
The Big Sleep
Farewell, My Lovely
The High Window
The Lady in the Lake
The Little Sister
The Long Goodbye