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(The New York Times)   "How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read", and 14 other books that you lie about having read   (6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com) divider line 150
    More: Obvious  
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8830 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 May 2012 at 1:17 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-12 12:21:46 PM  
Interesting because I have read all the books on that list.
 
2012-05-12 12:39:33 PM  
I have no desire to read Moby Dick and I have no problem telling anybody.
 
2012-05-12 12:47:28 PM  
I read the first 50 pages of The Fountainhead and just couldn't go on. But I still got B+ on the test.
 
2012-05-12 01:19:40 PM  
Number one book people haven't read but pretend to have read?

The Bible.

Why isn't that on the list?
 
2012-05-12 01:19:54 PM  
Tl;dr
 
2012-05-12 01:21:25 PM  

mitchcumstein1: I have no desire to read Moby Dick and I have no problem telling anybody.


You're not missing anything, it is a long and boring slog.
 
2012-05-12 01:23:18 PM  

Raharu: Number one book people haven't read but pretend to have read?

The Bible.

Why isn't that on the list?


That's a wrap, people. Somebody hit the lights on the way out.
 
2012-05-12 01:23:52 PM  
I've tried to read that NYT article several times, never making it past the first 50 words or so. I think I get the gist of it though, and should be able to fake my way through discussing it at cocktail parties...
 
2012-05-12 01:27:18 PM  
The trick to not reading required reading--at least in grad school--is to gather three reviews. At least in the liberal arts, you can get away with making professors believe you read the book. And the same thing goes for book reviews (several of my classes required them). I once heavily borrowed from a book review for my own, turned it in, and about an hour later discovered that my professor for the class was the author of the review I "borrowed" from. Still got an A.

/csb
//Totally bullshat my way through so many seminars that way...
 
2012-05-12 01:27:47 PM  
Ayn Rand.

Every first semester poly sci freshman has read Atlas Shrugged, according to them.
 
2012-05-12 01:28:35 PM  

EnviroDude: Interesting because I have read all the books on that list.


Liar.
 
2012-05-12 01:29:07 PM  
I made it through a few honors classes acing in class essay tests on books I refused to read, so I'm getting a kick out of this thread.
 
2012-05-12 01:29:50 PM  
I think I read 1984... otherwise no, none on that list. Several I've never even heard of.

Me, I like sci-fi. You can keep your worthy literature.
 
2012-05-12 01:30:15 PM  

maram500: . At least in the liberal arts, you can get away with making professors believe you read the book.


7sistershomeschool.com

/Worked all the time
 
2012-05-12 01:30:24 PM  

SharkTrager: I made it through a few honors classes acing in class essay tests on books I refused to read, so I'm getting a kick out of this thread.


I'm fairly convinced that academia is based on the lie that required reading is required. Nobody reads all that crap.
 
2012-05-12 01:30:50 PM  
That article was insightful and interesting. I especially liked the part where it talked about books.

/DNRTFA.
 
2012-05-12 01:31:22 PM  
Satanic Verses: i purchased 3 copies the i lent out, i never finished the novel, but love the first chapter
the people whom i lent to novel to, claimed they were not finished yet.
no one should admit reading anything by Ayn Ryand, unless you are Neill Peart.
 
2012-05-12 01:31:53 PM  

maram500: SharkTrager: I made it through a few honors classes acing in class essay tests on books I refused to read, so I'm getting a kick out of this thread.

I'm fairly convinced that academia is based on the lie that required reading is required. Nobody reads all that crap.


In one course the only books I actually read were 1984, Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby. The rest I knew enough about to know I wasn't interested.

And I regretted wasting my time on Catcher in the Rye.
 
2012-05-12 01:32:09 PM  

Trance750: maram500: . At least in the liberal arts, you can get away with making professors believe you read the book.

[7sistershomeschool.com image 300x209]

/Worked all the time


Book reviews were, for me as a history grad student, the equivalent of Cliff's Notes/Spark Notes/whatever. And when the library threatened to cut off all the academic historical journals, I about rioted.
 
2012-05-12 01:32:09 PM  
I made it through Poetics by Aristotle. I deserve a dang medal or something for that.
 
2012-05-12 01:32:15 PM  

itsfullofstars: EnviroDude: Interesting because I have read all the books on that list.

Liar.


book case on fiah!
 
2012-05-12 01:32:47 PM  

zato_ichi: Ayn Rand.

Every first semester poly sci freshman has read Atlas Shrugged, according to them.


I managed to get to part 3 with the summer camp for the masters of industry. I was just so shocked by how ridiculous the book was getting and decided to take a break, fast forward to three years later.
Same with Sophie's World, once I realized it was just a rehash of my first two years of history of philosophy my enthusiasm waned.
 
2012-05-12 01:32:49 PM  
Ulysses by Joyce. I've had that shiat on my shelf for 6 years now, and I just never get around to picking it up. And Dubliners was really good too...
 
2012-05-12 01:32:57 PM  
Confederany of Dunces is the worst book I have ever read. Read six books on that list. Great Gatsby is awesome.
 
2012-05-12 01:33:27 PM  
Two deserving additions:

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

A Brief History of Time
 
2012-05-12 01:34:58 PM  
I have a very simple and effective technique. If I haven't read it, I say I haven't read it.
 
2012-05-12 01:35:34 PM  

zato_ichi: Ayn Rand.

Every first semester poly sci freshman has read Atlas Shrugged, according to them.


I have no problem admitting that I've never touched any of her books.

/once a polisci freshman
//GED in astrophysics
 
2012-05-12 01:35:53 PM  
1984 was assigned when I was in high school. And my sister read it too since we went to the same school and she's a year younger. However she had no idea what was going on in 1984 since she had no real concept of politics so I ended up writing an essay for her. She had no problem with this because she just didn't care about politics, much less fictional political systems.

There's no point in reading a book if you can't understand the ideas that produced it. Maybe more people would enjoy something like Moby Dick if they understood the era it was written in and what the author is trying to say.

/enjoyed Moby Dick
//could not get into Anna Karenina
 
2012-05-12 01:37:18 PM  

expobill: Satanic Verses: i purchased 3 copies the i lent out, i never finished the novel, but love the first chapter
the people whom i lent to novel to, claimed they were not finished yet.
no one should admit reading anything by Ayn Ryand, unless you are Neill Peart.


The Satanic Verses wasn't bad. Not a must read, but pretty good.
 
2012-05-12 01:37:29 PM  
Mein Kampf. Should you ever tell people that you read it?
 
2012-05-12 01:37:51 PM  
I won't lie about not having read A Canticle For Leibowitz. I've heard that one's 5 million kinds of awesome, from people whose opinions I hold in high esteem.

Is it on the list? The article won't pull up for me.
 
2012-05-12 01:38:13 PM  

Underwater Bystander: 1984 was assigned when I was in high school. And my sister read it too since we went to the same school and she's a year younger. However she had no idea what was going on in 1984 since she had no real concept of politics so I ended up writing an essay for her. She had no problem with this because she just didn't care about politics, much less fictional political systems.

There's no point in reading a book if you can't understand the ideas that produced it. Maybe more people would enjoy something like Moby Dick if they understood the era it was written in and what the author is trying to say.

/enjoyed Moby Dick
//could not get into Anna Karenina


Thoroughly enjoyed Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, even if I had only a cursory idea of the time period. Of course, I read it back when I was in seventh grade, so there's that...
 
2012-05-12 01:38:38 PM  

EnviroDude: Interesting because I have read all the books on that list.


oh yeah! Well I read the first chapter of Anna Karenina and the first third of Great Gatsby. Anna Karenina seems really good and I'll eventually come back to it, Great Gatsby is at least twice as boring as everybody says and F scott fitzgerald can suck my balls
 
2012-05-12 01:39:24 PM  
Everyone really should read Infinite Jest though. Definitely one of my favourite books. The first 200 pages are the hardest, and then the next 800 whip past you.
 
2012-05-12 01:40:10 PM  

olddeegee: Mein Kampf. Should you ever tell people that you read it?


Read Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto. Both excellent reads.

/Studied modern European history with an emphasis on politics and war.
 
2012-05-12 01:40:17 PM  

Ball Zitch: I won't lie about not having read A Canticle For Leibowitz. I've heard that one's 5 million kinds of awesome, from people whose opinions I hold in high esteem.

Is it on the list? The article won't pull up for me.


Nah, that one's not on the list.

Good book though, and as a hater of self-appointed literature I didn't find it self-aggrandising or pretentious in any way. It's just a good book.
 
2012-05-12 01:41:58 PM  

maram500: The trick to not reading required reading--at least in grad school--is to gather three reviews. At least in the liberal arts, you can get away with making professors believe you read the book. And the same thing goes for book reviews (several of my classes required them). I once heavily borrowed from a book review for my own, turned it in, and about an hour later discovered that my professor for the class was the author of the review I "borrowed" from. Still got an A.

/csb
//Totally bullshat my way through so many seminars that way...


Did he ask you why you took off the picture of the whale he drew and say "I always thought that essay deserved an A?"
 
2012-05-12 01:42:45 PM  

gito: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich


You want to talk about a book that was a straight up motherfarker to read, Jesus. And I like that stuff.
 
2012-05-12 01:44:08 PM  

Voiceofreason01: Great Gatsby is at least twice as boring as everybody says and F scott fitzgerald can suck my balls


I hated The Great Gatsby when I had to read it for high school, but later on I went back and read it for pleasure and really enjoyed it immensely.
 
2012-05-12 01:45:48 PM  

Fano: maram500: The trick to not reading required reading--at least in grad school--is to gather three reviews. At least in the liberal arts, you can get away with making professors believe you read the book. And the same thing goes for book reviews (several of my classes required them). I once heavily borrowed from a book review for my own, turned it in, and about an hour later discovered that my professor for the class was the author of the review I "borrowed" from. Still got an A.

/csb
//Totally bullshat my way through so many seminars that way...

Did he ask you why you took off the picture of the whale he drew and say "I always thought that essay deserved an A?"


Actually...*she* gave me an A and we spent about an hour in her office discussing the parts of the book we both liked, validity of the argument, blah blah blah. She was an awesome professor, awesome to talk to, and I ended up with an A in her class. She wanted me to pursue getting my term paper for the class in a journal.
 
2012-05-12 01:50:52 PM  

zato_ichi: Ayn Rand.

Every first semester poly sci freshman has read Atlas Shrugged, according to them.


I barely got through part 1 of the MOVIE of Atlas Shrugged. Although I do want to see part 2 made, just to see if it could turn out as disastrous.
 
2012-05-12 01:52:49 PM  
t1.gstatic.com
 
2012-05-12 01:52:56 PM  

Underwater Bystander: Maybe more people would enjoy something like Moby Dick if they understood the era it was written in and what the author is trying to say.


I actually enjoyed Moby-Dick. I think this is because I read it for the hell of it, not for a class, so I wasn't worried about analyzing the symbolism of whatever or trying to find themes or anything. I just wanted to read the story.

The structure of the book doesn't jive with modern folks' expectations of a novel, which is difficult for some people. You've got a chapter or 2 about {Ishmael, Ahab, Queequeg, and those guys}, then you've got a chapter or 2 about whaling as practiced circa 1850. Lots of people seem to hate the whaling chapters. I thought they were interesting because they're essentially a detailed how-to on something that no one does anymore. Melville's attempts to explain whale/porpoise biology are pretty lame though, since we've learned a lot since the 1850s.

crow202.org
(obligatory whale image)

A People's History of the United States is difficult to read? I thought the book was interesting/useful, because it deliberately turns the "Rah rah go USA!!1!" slant of most US history books on its ear. Again, I read that because it looked interesting, not because I had to read it for a class....
 
2012-05-12 01:53:38 PM  
Why would anyone lie about reading a book?
(Not too impressed with that Farkin' list)
 
2012-05-12 02:00:47 PM  
How about "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair? So many people only reference the 2 pages of meat packing standards. The rest of the book (sans the "Communism is bliss" crap at the end) is fairly light reading.
 
2012-05-12 02:01:40 PM  
Didn't finish Atlas Shrugged. Hardest thing to finish was The Myth of Sysiphus and other essays by Albert Camus. Never trying to read him again.
 
2012-05-12 02:06:12 PM  
I tried reading Infinite Jest and realized how much meta fiction sucks and how much I hate David Foster Wallace.
 
2012-05-12 02:06:30 PM  

maram500: Underwater Bystander: 1984 was assigned when I was in high school. And my sister read it too since we went to the same school and she's a year younger. However she had no idea what was going on in 1984 since she had no real concept of politics so I ended up writing an essay for her. She had no problem with this because she just didn't care about politics, much less fictional political systems.

There's no point in reading a book if you can't understand the ideas that produced it. Maybe more people would enjoy something like Moby Dick if they understood the era it was written in and what the author is trying to say.

/enjoyed Moby Dick
//could not get into Anna Karenina

Thoroughly enjoyed Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, even if I had only a cursory idea of the time period. Of course, I read it back when I was in seventh grade, so there's that...


I liked Dostoyevsky's "Notes from Underground", but honestly I found the rest of his writing so inpenitrable and dense it could be used to sheild a reactor. I always figured there was a translation issue working against me or something.

/F451 scared the piss outa me
//The Jungle was blah
 
2012-05-12 02:07:32 PM  

mitchcumstein1: gito: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

You want to talk about a book that was a straight up motherfarker to read, Jesus. And I like that stuff.


That is one of my favorites...but I also was a history major at the time...and like dry history books...I'm kind of a nerd

And i just read Atlas Shrugged. Mostly to see what the fuss was all about. Book was ok but nothing great...and I still don't get the fuss. Oh well.
 
2012-05-12 02:07:32 PM  
I'm a pretty voracious reader and a big fan of David Foster Wallace, but it sincerely took me three tries over the course of 5 years to get the whole way through Infinite Jest.

War and Peace I only got through because I brought it on a deployment to Iraq back before things like running water and electricity and air conditioning were standard in our bases. I got through a good chunk of the required reading classics list that way. I'd go to the used book store and buy 200 bucks worth of the Willa Cather's and Henry James's of this world and plow through them when I wasn't on patrol. I'm glad I did in most cases.
 
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