5. Ulysses –James Joyce
I “read” this for my Joyce and Woolf seminar my senior year in college. I really did try to read it. Much like Ulysses himself, I got lost somewhere around Scylla and Charybdis. I do remember, in that chapter, instead of almost being eaten by a sea monster, the main character goes to the library. Talk about false advertising.
4. The Second Sex-Simone de Beauvoir
I’ve read about it one million times, I’ve read lots of excerpts, but I’ve never actually read the book itself. I’m guessing I’m not the only one; it’s just one of those books. Anyone who can pronounce her last name and knows the premise feels justified in saying, “Oh, yes. I’m familiar with that work.”
3. A Tale of Two Cities—Charles Dickens
If any past students are reading this, don’t worry—I’ve read this book many times in the decade or so. But I was afraid of it for a long time, because it was assigned in my 7th grade language arts class. I remember getting so confused about Carton and Darnay. Were they twins? Why did they have different names? I just wanted it all to end. Once I was old enough to actually read the thing, though, I loved it.
2. Lolita-Vladamir Nabokov
This one always seems better in theory (postmodern masterpiece) than practice (actual book about a creeper with a thing for a middle-school age girl).
1. Kid Klassics
I have no idea what this series was actually called, but I’ll call them Kid Klassics. When I was young, I read scads of these shortened versions of classic novels. Many years and books later, I would become confused about whether I’d read the Around the World in Eighty Days, Gulliver’s Travels, or Journey to the Center of the Earth. I guess these were the Spark notes of my childhood.
And....Top Five Books I’ll Pretend I HAVEN’T Read at Some Point
5. Crash Into Me: The World of Roswell
On second thought—nah. Not even embarrassed.
4. Any Star Trek novel.
3. Anything with the word Lord or Duke plus a prepositional phrase like “of Scoundrels” or “of Seduction"...
2. A Vampire for Christmas
I haven’t read it yet. But: that title! Come on. That has to happen.
1. Fifty Shades of Wow That’s Embarrassing (I mean Grey).