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October 08, 2009


Jean Miles

In one of David Lodge's books, a group of people play a game in which you name a famous book you haven't read (my trump card is going to be David Copperfield) and then score a point for everyone at the table who has read it. I think someone says that Americans don't get the idea, because the point of the game is sort of to put yourself down.
I've read five of the books on your list, plus a fair amount of the Bible.

mary lou

I have read only 3 of those books, and anyone could catch me out with questions, I can hardly remember my name some days! The Selfish Gene? Must go check it out so I can lie about it.


I was feeling increasingly stupid as I read down the list and realized I hadn't read any, other than parts of the Bible, (we did 1984 in school), so your comment was heartening. I think here in the US Moby Dick would fall high on the list.


I guess I think that people would lie to impress...but it makes me think about the process of reading a book vs. the product...clearly someone who lies thinks product (having read) is the reward...and clearly an online synopsis isn't hard to come by if one wants to lie. For me, with a lousy memory, it's both process and product. I know I do read for how things make me feel and how contexts of novels make me feel.

To jog my memory, (I forget BOTH the process and the product!!) I keep a reading journal! Ironically, I guess the lessons of "In Search of Things Past," (how to jog one's memory, in basic essence) read in college in FRENCH were TOTALLY LOST on me!!! (my French wasnt' that great). Guess I better go eat some cookies that I liked in college to see if that helps (that was pre-journal days)... Thanks for your lovely post.

wavery on ravelry


I am with you on the reading of that particular list. Yep, I have read 1984, and Animal Farm, and along the same lines, Anthem and A Brave New World. Have read most of the New Testament, and some of the Old. Have not heard of the last book on the list. And, most of the other books on the list, not really interested in reading.

Dulce Domum

I have only lied about my reading to my lecturers in college. I bluffed a whole tutorial on "Emma", simply by smiling and saying "hey, what a great point you made there!" I made friends because of it, simply because they saw me as a positive and generous person, rather than a big, fat lier.

To be honest with you, I think life is a bit too short to read books you don't like the sound of, even if they are fashionable and meant to be brilliant.

That being said, I have read all of those books you listed...(wink, wink)

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  • "'Then I am the first,' cried Pullings with infinite satisfaction. 'Let me wish you and Mrs. Aubrey all the joy in the world.' He grasped Jack's limp, wondering hand, wrung it numb, and showed the printed page, reading aloud, '"At Ashgrove Cottage, Chilton Admiral, in Hants, the lady of Captain Aubrey, of the Boadicea, of a son and heir,"' following the words with his finger.

    'Give it here,' said Jack. He grasped the magazine, sloped the page to the light and pored over it intently.

    '"At Ashgrove Cottage, Chilton Admiral, in Hants, the lady of Captain Aubrey, of the Boadicea, of a son."

    'Well, I'll be damned. God bless me. Lord, Lord … upon my word and honour … I'll be damned to Hell and back again … strike me down. Killick, Killick, rouse out a bottle of champagne -- pass the word for the Doctor -- here, Killick, there's for you -- God love us all -- ha, ha, ha.'

    Killick took the handful of money, put it slowly into his pocket with a look of extreme suspicion and walked out of the cabin, his lips pursed in disapproval. Jack leapt from his seat, took several turns fore and aft, chuckling from time to time, his mind filled with mingled love, happiness, fulfilment, and a most piercing nostalgia."

    -- from The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian

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