What are we after when we open one of those books? What is it that makes a classic a classic? ... in old-fashioned terms, the answer is that it wll elevate your spirit. And that's why I can't take much stock in the idea of going through a list of books or 'covering' a fixed number of selections, or anyway striving for the blessed state of having read this, or the other. Having read a book means nothing. Reading a book may be the most tremendous experience of your life; having read it is an item in your memory, part of your receding past... Why we have that odd faith in the magic of having read a book, I don't know. We don't apply the same principle elsewhere: We don't believe in having heard Mendelssohn's violin concerto...I say, don't read the classics -- try to discover your own classics; every life has its own.
Deep layers of context are missed when cursorily reading for quantity at the expense of comprehension - only the vapid are impressed by those who try to squeeze as many books as possible into each passing month as if shoving one more oiled hot dog down the gullet in a food eating contest to prove accumulation superiority.