22 Books You Pretend You’ve Read But Actually Haven’t

Thanks to MaraEastern,I came across this article today and deemed fitting to share it here,just as I did when I stumbled upon the 50 Best Cult Books according to the Telegraph.While I do not agree with the given reasons for which the books should be read,such as reading War & Peace for the sake of bragging rights or Crime and Punishment to understand that the end doesn’t always justify the means,this article is a perfect reminder of how much I still have to read!

Let’s see the books:

1.Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
I remember coming across an extract of this classic while practising for the SAT.I loved it.However I didn’t give it a go,opting to read other classics instead,as I thought that it would be very predictable and filled with morals – as are most of Dickens’s books.But someday or another I’ll definitely read it!

2.The Hobbit – J.R.R Tolkien
Shame on me for never having read this book! I plan to buy The Silmarillion before going for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.But that won’t be any time soon,as I need to read all the books waiting for me on the shelves first.

3.The Bible
I have a vague knowledge of Biblical stories,but that’s about it.As an atheist,I think I might just pick the Bible out of curiosity.

4.Moby Dick – Herman Mellville
Finally a book I read! My first ever classic! How can I forget this book? But truth be told,this book is unforgettable to me not so much for its beauty as for its size and countless digressions.

5.The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
Prior to last year,I had never heard about this book.It is often cited as a cult book,and I want to know why.I’ll definitely read it.Either this year or next year.

6.The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
I loved A Farewell to Arms.I’ll buy it once I finish reading the twenty-something books standing on my shelves.I have no doubt that The Old Man and the Sea will turn out to be a gem,for it is widely regarded as Hemingway’s best work.

7.Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Although I’ve seen mixed reviews about this book,Lolita really intrigues me.I am eager to discover the English employed by Vladimir Nabokov,he who wrote his first 9 novels in Russian.I also believe that Lolita is a pretty unique book,as no other controversial book before or since its publication has so often been included in book ranking lists! Besides I am quite curious about the instances of paedophilia that,I heard,subtly tinges this book.

8.Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
One of the few classics that have over 4 stars on Goodreads.When it was put on sale on the Folio Society website,I hesitated a (very) long time checking my funds; in the end,I bought two other books with the money,as I opined that it was not enough discounted.Well,I’ll buy it in the next sale.

9.1984 – George Orwell

I read Animal Farm,but not 1984.I know how much of a gem this novel is,but it is one of those classics that I will read once I’m done with my current pile of books.

10.To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
I read this book only in 2013.I think it is one of the most read,most known and most loved classics in literature.

11.War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
I’m currently reading Anna Karenina,and there’s beauty stamped all over the words.I can’t wait to lay my hands on War and Peace! What is striking with Tolstoy’s works is that very little seems to be lost in translation; this tells you how great a storyteller he was!

12.Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
I have this book at home in a cheap and tawny paperback Penguin edition.This book doesn’t appeal to me at all.I hope I’m mistaken…

13.Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
Yet another book that I will read later.I will buy this,the Proust and the Camus in French,so as not to lose anything in translation.Flaubert is often associated with aesthetics and in this light,is often compared to Oscar Wilde,one of my favourite authors.I have a hunch that I will like Flaubert equally.

14.Odyssey – Homer
I was short on funds when deciding whether I should buy it or not.I ended up going for Crime and Punishment instead of this poetic work.I will get back to it when the time comes; this and the Iliad are must-reads.

15.Ulysses – James Joyce
I could have bought it from a charity bookshop in a lovely Folio Society edition,but it was rather costly.I read extracts and reviews,but finally made up my mind when I saw a comment referring to James Joyce as ‘a drunk Dostoevsky’. I think I’ll read this book when I will have aged considerably and read almost all classics.

16.Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Extremely popular classic that I haven’t yet read.It doesn’t appeal to me as much as it is loved by countless readers.However in my quest to read the best books of all time,I will have to read it one day.I hope I won’t be disappointed.

17.Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Sadly I watched a fair part of the movie with my mum.I will wait some time before reading the book,as I already know how the story ends and what secret Mr Rochester is keeping away from Jane.I know it was stupid to watch a movie whose book I planned to read,but the story was so enthralling that I couldn’t help but keep my eyes fixed on the screen.

18.Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
It is often seen in book ranking lists,yet I have never heard of it until last year.As with other books from John Steinbeck,I don’t know how I feel towards Of Mice and Men; they look somewhat dull to me.These are books that I will read once I’m done with all the classics I fancy.

19.The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Now this is a book that I want to read.I’m a fan of Plath and find her poems original,deep,and sensible.I believe her only novel might be similar.

20.The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
I bet I’ll love it when the time to read it will come.For some reasons unknown,it reminds of Fight Club which I’m so fond of.This book has over 1 million reviews on Goodreads.A clear example of the extent of its popularity.

21.The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
I have it on my phone,but not in printed copy.This is yet another classic that I will read at a later time.Thanks to practising the essay section of the SAT,I’ve come across huge spoilers concerning this book…

22.Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
I read it in 2013 and I’ve recently written a post about its significance.A book that grows on you and that is far more complex than people think it is.Like Moby Dick,this book is unforgettable!

I would have read a good deal of the books listed here had it not been for my principle of always giving priority to the book I bought first.As I said earlier,this article reminds of just how many great books I still have to read.In a sense I think it’s a good thing as I won’t be bored for the coming years!

And you,which book have you read? 🙂


12 thoughts on “22 Books You Pretend You’ve Read But Actually Haven’t”

  1. Wow, what a great write-up, as always! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughts on each of these books. I almost feel like responding to each of your comment on each of the book 😀 But that’s impractical, so I’ll just say how I love the epithet for Joyce as ‘a drunk Dostoevsky’. How very true…

    Now in short: Lolita is brilliant, and much of the pleasure derives from Nabokov’s genius in language play. I’d very much recommend reading it soon! Do read The Catcher in the Rye soon as well, I believe you’ll love it as much as I did 🙂

    Jane Eyre is a beautiful story and that’s about it, I love the book but I’m not sure if it possesses any transcendental literary qualities. Pride and Prejudice has lovely passages of irony, on the other hand, the love story is conventional. So, you’re quite fine not to read these two immediately, I guess.

    Whatever you choose to read next, I can’t wait to see more of your literature posts!

    1. Oh thanks a lot!
      I only have a vague knowledge of these books!

      That James Joyce line sure is a killer! 😛

      Lolita and The Catcher in the Rye are definitely books that I’ll be looking forward to reading once I’m done with my current pile of books! I think they are among the most accessible classics.

      And I now feel reassured that I haven’t yet read Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre.My impressions about those books are the same as your thoughts after reading them!

      All in all,thank you very much for reading and commenting! I’m glad you appreciate my blog. It’s (really) very encouraging.And remember,this post wouldn’t have seen daylight had it not been for your generosity. 🙂

    1. Out of the 4 you cited,I only read Crime and Punishment (22).

      I’ll definitely check them out especially because they are classics that I’m really looking forward to reading.1984 and The Catcher in the Rye are among the most popular classics and I can’t wait to reach the time when I’ll have to read them! And Madame Bovary looks very promising.As I said above,I’m a huge fan of Wilde and I hope I will see some tinges of wittiness,aestheticism and irony in Flaubert’s book that would have inspired Wilde; the latter was a fond admirer of the French author!

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read and commenting! Much appreciated! 🙂

  2. Haha 😀
    Let’s see, I have read 2. 3 (kind of…well actually have not) 4. 6. 9. 10. 11: I didn’t enjoy it so much. I think disliked it because in the beginning Tolstoy had foreword where he said basically that he doesn’t want to describe lives of simple people…kind of opposite my all time favorites Les Misérables. 12, 14 ,15, 16: I have tried but I can’t :DDD 20, 22. Loved your comments on the books!

    1. You’ve read so many great books!
      I still have a low score: 3/22 – the reason being the book I’ve read do not feature in it.
      I hope by the end of this year or the next,I will have read at least half of the books listed here!

  3. Nice list! Among which, I’ve read #1,2,3,6,16,20. I like Pride & Prejudice and The Catcher in the Rye the most. The Old Man and the Sea is a nice, quick read (you can finish it in half a day or less, I think)

    I’ve had To Kill a Mockingbird on my shelf for ages, but I can’t seem to get around to actually reading it. I told myself I should finally do it this year.

    Good luck on your To Read list. Happy reading! 🙂

  4. Great list. Did it come from Book Riot? They run a lot of these types of lists. Interestingly enough much of the classics depend upon or refer to the bible so reading the bible will help you understand some of these classics such as Jane Eyre in a deeper sense. Have you read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Foster? It is amazing in how it dials in the focus of understanding when reading classics.

    1. I think it does!
      It was actually sent to me by a friend..

      I must read the book by Forster you mentioned.I read A Passage to India and was impressed,so I know I’ll learn some things or two.
      As for the Bible,I think I might glance at it! 😉

      1. I suggest starting with John in the New Testament, as it has the best overview of what Christianity is all about. Foster really helped me to better understand the Christ connection in novels such as Lord of the Flies and Billy Budd.

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