Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Foundation and "Must Read" Books

I just recently read Foundation by Isaac Asimov.  It's not one I would have chosen myself, probably, but it was The Sword and Laser group pick for September, so I figured I'd join in.

To be quite honest, I didn't really enjoy it at all.  I read it and finished it just to read it.  The thing is, I've seen people say that every science fiction reader should read this book.  I've seen that said about other books too.  It got me thinking if "should read" is something that should even be in a readers vocabulary.  Yes, maybe if you're still in high school and have to read something for English class.  But even then, most people don't enjoy those books. 

Maybe my brain has withered away over time, but I read for enjoyment.  That's it.  Sometimes I learn something or get some meaning out of the books I read, but I certainly don't read for those reasons alone.  Not anymore.  There are too many books out there for me to read something I don't like.

I think having these "must read" lists, especially in genre fiction, is a good idea.  It gives people a starting off point.  It gives people ideas of what to read.  But I don't think the reading of these novels are necessary.  One can still be a science fiction fan without having read Foundation, or any other title that "should" be read.

So blog readers, what do you think?  Are there books that every reader should read?


  1. No. I used to carry a list from one of my high school English teachers of "books you should read before college." I've still only read less than half of them. I wish I could find that "hand written" list! (I've been out of high school a looooong time.)

    There are books that I used to think I "should" read, but not any more. I'm not ashamed to admit "I haven't ever read that" - and since I'm a librarian, I get to say that a lot!

    BTW...I LOVED Foundation, and read the whole series. Go figure...Maybe you like Dickens? Because I pretty much can't stomach that...

    1. I've never read Dickens. That's almost an appropriate admission here, I guess. Dickens is something I probably "should" read.