We all know which books these are. Quite often, they’re Those Books: the Books You Must Read Before You Die, or otherwise You Will Have Missed Out On Life.
Of course, nine times out of ten this is utter rubbish, but there you are.
- Ulysses – James Joyce. There’s a reason no-one reads this. It’s because it’s pretentious, dull, and features two guys wandering around a city for 800 pages. That is all.
- Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon. Long, rather incoherent but actually quite compelling. I still have no idea what it was all about, though.
- Clarissa – Samuel Richardson. I haven’t actually read this, but it’s about 1000 pages of eighteenth-century wittering. I’m not sure it would exactly be fun.
- The Iliad – Homer. You think it’s going to be all arguing Greeks and lofty metaphor and endless stylised combat that doesn’t feel like it exists in any real world, ever. And, in fact, you are correct.
- The Complete Works of Shakespeare. I’m not saying Shakespeare is bad (I actually think that’s illegal for an English student) but…I think you’d always be worried that it would be terrible and you’d have to announce that in fact, you didn’t like Shakespeare…or is that just me?
- The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer. I don’t really like Chaucer anyway. Plus, it isn’t even finished, and Middle English.
- Tess of the D’Urbevilles – Thomas Hardy. REALLY DEPRESSING and REALLY LONG. Enough said.
- Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes. Now look, I do want to read this. It’s on my TBR list and everything. It’s just…well, it’s HUGE, and old-fashioned, and what if I hate it? I might be trapped in sixteenth-century novel hell for weeks.
- Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett. OK, this is a weird one for this list, but honestly, I’m about to read it and what if it’s really terrible? What if? What if I hate Discworld for ever and ever because of this one?
- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess. I’m just never going to read this. Super-violence and a made-up language does not sound like a good combination.
(The theme for this post was suggested by The Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)