Thursday, January 8, 2009

Never have I ever read...

An English professor of mine in college used to play a game with his colleges where everyone went around and listed a book that, as scholars in Literature, they were embarrassed not to have read. Whoever got the most shocked responses (ie. "I can't BELIEVE you haven't read fill-in-the-blank book!" or "I'm reporting you to the department head because you should be fired for such a travesty!")won the game. Or lost, depending on whether you think that losing your dignity and the respect of your peers constitutes winning. It really wasn't taken that seriously, but it did get me thinking about my own laundry list of literature overlooked.

First some background info to explain why I hang my head in shame when people around me discuss certain books. I have a Minor in English. I work at a bookstore. I read multiple books at a time. I run a book group. I'm Ernest Hemingway's daughter. Just kidding about that last one. But I am a super book nerd. So here are my confessions. Go easy on me.

1. Wuthering Heights. Oh, the tragic (is it tragic?) story of Heathcliff and ... I don't even know her name. Yikes.

2. Brave New World. Subsequently, I have never read Catch 22 or 1984, both books that I lump into the same category as Brave New World. I know, I know, how did I escape high school without having read those?

3. Great Expectations. I wrote a five-page paper for one of my brothers about imagery in this novel without actually having read it. So I can talk about it, but I never got past the third chapter. Or saw the movie, either, come to think of it.

4.Anything else by Charles Dickens. Except for A Christmas Carol. I've been avoiding Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities for years. The extent of my knowledge of those two is largely dependent on my former obsession with Wishbone, the wonderful little dog who taught me all about literature through my television.

5. The Scarlet Letter. Nope. Just never went there.

6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I haven't read Tom Sawyer either, but according to one of my coworkers, that one doesn't count as much. It's Huck that I've been missing out on, apparently.

So there it is. I hope you can still take my recommendations seriously when you ask for suggestions from me here at the shop. But right now, my question for you is, What book are you most embarrassed about not having read? Post a comment and we'll see if anyone can top my list...

--Krista Gilliam

3 comments:

Cheryl said...

I love your list! I was a Spanish major and actually graduated (from a well-respected college) without having read Don Quixote! I read it in high school, but that was in English and probably an abridged version, so it doesn't really count...

Little Shop of Stories said...

wishbone has helped us all. i miss that little guy.

Little Shop of Stories said...

Wishbone lives! They've even made some new ones. Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. on the PBS station. It's a great show.