I have basically finished my grad school applications and have some time at hand. I want to start reading some classic papers in Operator Theory so as to breathe more culture here. I have read some when doing specific problems but have never systematically study the literature.
I wonder whether someone can give some suggestions on where to start since this area has been so highly-developed. Maybe to focus the attention let's, say, try to make a list of the top 20 must-read papers in Operator Theory. I believe this must be a very very difficult job, but maybe some more criteria would make it a little bit easier.
I can only read English and Chinese and it's a pity since I know many of the founding fathers use other languages.
I prefer papers that give some kind of big pictures, since I can always pick up papers related to specific problems when I need them (but this is not a strict restriction).
I would like to focus on the theory itself, not too much on application to physics.
I have already done a rather thorough study of literature related to the invariant subspace problem, so I guess we can omit this important area.
Thanks very much!