When my kids were in elementary and middle school, I never faced guilt trips for not having read a novel they were reading.

First, because in elementary school, I could whip through whatever they were reading pretty quickly. By middle school, many of the more recent YA books were of less interest to me and I was happy to have them describe what they were reading without having to partake in some Hunger Games-like dystopian fiction myself…

And then came high school…

Some was pleasant. Rereading novels I last read a gazillion years ago when I was their age.

But looking at the reading lists, doubt started to set in. Why hadn’t I read The Dubliners or Animal Farm? Oh, darn! I’d always meant to read Things Fall Apart – and now my son has beat me to it. What’s wrong with me for letting that happen?

Since both my kids study Italian literature, too, I feel far less guilty in that literary universe. I haven’t grown up reading Verga and Mazzini and Boccaccio, but I can start now with catching up – and guilt-free at that.

As for any lacune in my English-language classics, and as someone who (used to?) consider herself well read… Mea culpa, mea culpa, Mea maxima culpa

Time to get reading!

And for you parents of young children? Enjoy the glorious Goodnight, Moon and Green Eggs and Ham phase for as long as it lasts! Happy (guilt) reading to all.