Classics I’ve never read
Ulysses by James Joyce,
(being read by Marilyn Monroe in this iconic image by photographer Eve Arnold in 1954).
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
I’ve never read any of them. And unless you’ve got a very compelling reason to fling at me, I’m not likely to.
What are the classic books you’ve never read?
We’ll be talking about it at tonight’s Discuss session, at Elanora Branch Library, from 6.30pm to 8pm, but feel free to out yourself here.
I don’t feel bad about not reading all the “must-read” classics – I don’t even feel bad about still having classics on my very long, I may never get to them, to be read list.
I do, however, feel bad about lying about having read classics….
So, confession being necessary for expiation and all that, I admit that I completely lied about reading War and Peace, when I wrote my comparative book review in grade 12. I had chosen to compare the way two novels depicted Nature, and I (correctly) thought that my reading Tolstoy’s massive epic would impress my English teacher, and that being set in Russia during the Napoleonic War it would be full of desolate, frozen landscapes which I would be able to contrast with the lush and bucolic settings of my other text, Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. Which is precisely what I did. Unfortunately, I found Tolstoy’s writing almost impenetrable, so I flicked blithely across pages scanning for references to snow and dead trees. Of course, if there was any justice in this world I would have been caught out in the lie. Instead, it was a terrific essay. I won the school prize for English, and I’m sure I have Tolstoy to thank for that.
I was gratified to read that I am not alone in my heinous crime of fibbing about this particular book. Five years ago the U.K.’s World Book Day people polled readers on the books they had lied about reading. The BBC reported that 31% of the 1,342 people who responded had lied about reading War and Peace.
We could have a great book club chat about it:-
“I liked … all the snow.”
“Oh, yes, the snow was particularly good, wasn’t it?”
“Mmmm, mmmm. Yes, the snow was… very…. there was a lot of it.”
“Especially in part 3.”
So, ‘fess up, fellow coasters. What have you unrepentantly enjoyed not reading?