Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Reds Confess!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: The fabulous Shelf Awareness asked me to do their wonderful "Reading With...." feature (hurray, such an honor) and you can read it here! It's fun.  

But one of the questions they asked me was "What book have you faked reading?"

This is a serious and fraught question, and requires one to confess any number of literary lapses. My answer:

"MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT by Charles Dickens. My high school class was assigned to read it in April of the year we graduated. It was 500 pages and we rebelled. We all got together and divvied up the book, each read part of it and then compared notes. Then we all wrote essays on Sairey Gamp. Sorry, Miss Godfrey. We loved your English class, and Dickens, but we were done with high school."

I also, in high school, fake-read ETHAN FROME. I thought it was ridiculous. (Sorry, Mr. Thornburg. I loved your English class, too. And sorry I said I read it. None of us did.) Now, of course, I love Edith Wharton, beyond all love, and  so it all worked out very nicely.)

Okay, Reds, confess!

LUCY BURDETTE: this is so embarrassing that I'm only admitting to one. It's bad for a psychologist to say this, but mine my fake (poorly done, since this was a small seminar and it was completely obvious who wasn't participating) was THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS by Sigmund Freud. I was working full-time and this class was an extra, so time was an issue. But more important was the fact that the book was a mass market paperback about a foot thick. (Ok, an exaggeration, but still almost 500 pages.) Though I admire the man and found his theories fascinating, this book was impenetrable. (We weren't smart enough to divvy it up like you did Hank!) I was relieved to find this chunk of prose in an Amazon review:

"Freud successfully makes his point within the first 75 pages of the book - the remaining 400 pages are a dry, archaic, tiresome, and in my opinion are not worth the time to read. Much of the book is dedicated to analysis of the dreams of either Freud or Freud's patients. Since Freud lived in early twentieth century Germany, the dreams described are anachronisms and for the most part are irrelevant. Also, I think a lot of meaning is lost in the translation from German to English."

HALLIE EPHRON: This is why I did not even consider majoring in English. I'm a slow, very undisciplined, sloppy reader. I'd say MOST of my assigned reading in high school and even college I, ahem, skimmed. I got pretty good at going to the library and looking up criticism of whatever the assigned book was and rewriting it in my own words. Of course that was in the days before the Internet; it would be so much easier now. I remember it wasn't until I was out of college that I actually read a book for pleasure and remembered what fun it is.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I didn't major in English either, Hallie. What is REALLY embarrassing for
me is all the books I just plain haven't read, and I mean the books that literate people are supposed to have read. My list is scary. On the other hand, I read things that I liked obsessively, so am pretty well versed in a lot of odd things. But as for not having read things I said I'd read, hmm. JULIUS CAESAR in 10th grade English. I did not like that play. And I have no idea how I passed that class...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Okay, here's mine, and it's a doozy for a self-proclaimed nerd: I've never read THE LORD OF THE RINGS. I loved THE HOBBIT as a young person, but the Rings just seemed so long and boring at the time. Then years passed, and the movies came out, and well - why bother wading through the endless descriptions of too-good-to-be true elves when you can look at Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen?

In the just-never-got-to-it category, I am still innocent of all the great Russian writers. Tolstoy, Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Pasternak - I've ignored all the greats. This is even more embarrassing since one of my best friends love them so much she keeps Russian novels in the bathroom to read.

And my biggest miss in my own genre... I've never read any of the Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane books. (Ducks against incoming fire.)

HANK: Oh, Julia, you are in for a treat!  And I never read any Little House on the Prairie books, OR Anne of Green Gables. But I never  pretended to.  Debs, they should NOT start with Julius Caesar. It is so great, but 10th grade is not the time. And I did major in English! For which I am endlessly grateful. (Except I missed out on out physics, which I would have loved except for the math part. But that's another blog.)

Okay readers: Your turn! What books have you FAKE read?


  1. Fake read? When I start a book, I feel compelled to finish it. But I was sorely tempted to toss those stream of consciousness books [James Joyce, “Ulysses” and “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” come immediately to mind]. Chaucer wasn’t one of my favorites, either . . . .

  2. Hank, I always enjoy reading Shelf Awareness . . . your “Reading With . . .” is fantastic!

  3. Lucy, from one therapist to another, no one should be required to read THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS by Sigmund Freud. It is the kind of book that should be listed in the professor's bibliography of those you may read if you want to at the end of the course syllabus, and no one does. It's all made up. Freud sat there, and to himself said, "What can I come up with today? Oh. Ja. I can prove the subconscious exists with dreams."

    I once confessed, in a torrent of tears and fifty-page bibliography in my fist, to Professor Bernadette Brooten that I was unable to read all the books attached to her course syllabus. She looked at me with great empathy (maybe sympathy) and said, "No, of course not. No one can. Pick the ones you need. Share the reading with others in your study group."

    I told her I thought that would be cheating. She was shocked. "Why would that be cheating?" I was shocked. Everyone I told about it was shocked. I am still shocked. But, I guess that's how you graduate in the big city—at least when there is a fifty page course syllabus.

  4. I am like Joan...when I start a book, I am compelled to finish it, not matter what. I don't think I have any DNR books in my review database (which I have used for over 35 years). I was always a voracious reader and English was one of my favourite classes in school. So I definitely read all the required books each year and much more.

  5. What a fun post! Love all the confessions. ;^) I don't remember which assigned high school reading I skipped, but I agree that the assigned Catullus and Virgil (in translation), because they were about nature and simplicity and beauty and I was into that. But in my linguistics PhD program a few years later, which I mostly found exhilarating, I could NOT get through a single assigned book by Chomsky, the god of modern linguistics (with ya there on Freud, Roberta). Talk about soporific. Sheesh. I clearly faked it well enough to get my degree, though.

    Reine, love your professor's approach. Very pragmatic, very good for going out into the world!

  6. Grace and Joan, I think that is fascinating. Jonathan also feels compelled to finish a book he starts. I have stopped after a few pages of so many books! Somehow if it doesn't speak to me right away, I can't make myself read it. But Jonathan says he feels he has a contract with the author to finish.

  7. Ulysses. It was never assigned reading in my classes, but I did harvest memorable quotes from it for homemade valentines ("Love loves to love love...").

    And the Russians.

  8. How about those big the sellers? I loved The Correctiins several years ago. But there are some hot box I can't bring myself to read… Oh yes, they are on my nightstand. But they keep stay at the bottom of the pile. Do you have any of those?

  9. OK… I am thinking I have never read a Jodi Picoult. Is that possible?
    Not because I don't think I would like them, just one of those things.

  10. Hank: Well, even if I did not like reading the classics in school, I never thought of skipping or cheating (just too much of a goody two-shoes).

    Interesting how Jonathan puts it about having a contract with the author. I usually read very quickly so one sign that I am not liking a book is that it is taking me a long time to finish. But I remain hopeful that a book (I am not enjoying) will redeem itself, and will just keep reading to the bitter end.

  11. I do not finish books I am not enjoying or at least appreciating. I have an MA in English Lit and I blush to confess I've never read an entire Dickens novel except A Christmas Carol. I got about halfway through Great Expectations recently and couldn't persevere. Not sure I ever even started any of the others. This is especially odd when I have read Gissing and love Edith Wharton and George Eliot.

  12. Never read a Jodi Picout, Hank? You must rectify this. So has a way of really making readers think about hot-button topics in new ways. And she is actually quite good at twists.

    For me, there are so many of the Austen books that I have not read. Just didn't much enjoy Pride and Prejudice, so didn't read on. Love the movies, just can't get into the writing style.

  13. Thank you Reine for the support on INTERPRETATIONS!

    John will slog through a book to the end also, but I'm in the camp that either you capture me early, or I'm gone.

    I agree with Kristopher on Jodi Picoult--well worth reading. I haven't read all of them, but enjoyed the ones I did.

    And speaking of Kristopher, hope you all are reading/rereading your copies of BEL CANTO by Ann Patchett. Remember our book discussion is on January 18...

  14. When I was a sophomore in high school, I didn't read Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" and I never have read it. Otherwise, I read all of my assignments, including in college a course in Modern American Novel when we read two novels a week. The same professor also taught a Shakespeare -- two plays a week!!

    English major here.

  15. I remember getting to college and what a shock it was to discover that it was not physically possible to do all the reading required. It never occurred to me to form a study group but that's brilliant. After all it's about content and understanding, not how much can you read.

    Now kids can skip the book and watch the movie, which I do feel is cheating.

    I once read that ULYSSES first editions have the highest rate of showing up at auction most of the pages uncut (in the old days, you had to cut the pages to read...)

  16. The Red Pony. After having slogged through several Steinbeck books I could not face another one. God Bless Cliff Notes!

  17. Fake read? None come to mind. I have given up a number of times on Ulysses and have never started Proust. I now allow myself to put down a book I just don't enjoy. It is one of the advantages of getting older perhaps. I try really hard to read only what I enjoy. I have no qualms about not finishing something that bores me.

    On the other hand, I am a great re-reader. After I read Bel Canto again, I think I might do the same with War and Peace. I have a very cheap, maybe free Kindle edition that was digitalized by a room full of monkeys, with font size changing every other page. I am going to treat my self to a better version.

    Books I have put down include Middlemarch, Great Expectations, and, would you believe, Ann Patchett's latest, just couldn't get into it.

    I apologize!

  18. I read Freud's Interpretation of Dreams a couple of years ago when I was working on my Molly book called The Edge of Dreams. The story revolved around these new theories of Freud. It was heavy going and I certainly didn't finish it.
    But The Lord of the Rings? My favorite book for many years.
    I have to confess faking reading several books in German while I was a student. (I was a modern languages major). All of Thomas Mann, I suspect. And I know I faked Middlemarch in high school. I've always been quite good at skimming!

  19. So funny.

    In the 70's, in the eight years between my marriages, and feeling bad for not having finished college, I went on an ambitious self-improvement program. I took loads of classes, subscribed to Psychology Today and Discover magazines, and bought a boatload of hardcover books, including many classics. Remember all those great book clubs by mail? Literary Guild was my favorite, and I would fulfill the buy-two-books-after-your-four-free-ones, unsubscribe, and then sign up again, over and over.

    Most of the books I read, with one glaring exception: Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. I managed some of it, but the bookmark about one third of the way in has mocked me for decades. Recently my husband picked it up, and he's been reading it, and he keeps telling me things about it, ad infinitum. I keep saying, "I already read it, in the 70's, remember?" Ha. Big lie.


  20. Oh, and Ulysses. Which looks like word salad to me. Bah.

  21. There were a couple of semesters in college when I know I didn't get through all the assigned readings but the one specific title I remember faking my way through was The Princess Cassamassima by Henry James. I had to write a short paper on some aspect of it and somehow managed to skim through enough of the 500+ pages (no Cliff Notes for that one) to come up with something. I felt guilty enough when I got a decent grade on the paper that I've never forgotten about it.

  22. KAren, I wear we are the same person. BOok club, sign up and then undo and get all the free ones again. They must have known people were doing that, and they must not have cared. I remember being so thrilled to get The Far Pavilions. And then I didn't read it. TWO volumes! nd yeah, I read it too. In the SEVENTIES. Sure.

    I did read Mill on the Floss, began it just to find out what the darn Floss was, since it never crossed my mind that it was a river. Gosh, I loved Great Expectations. And Two Cities. And I agree Laura, Edith Whaton is in my top five authors of all time.

    But No one read Middlemarch. The pages are probably blank, past like page ten, and no one ever noticed.

  23. There have been a couple "hot" books that I haven't read. Biggest example: Gone Girl. Just...didn't. Won't mention the others, but as someone said above, you need to capture me and do it early. I used to persevere to the end, but now my pile is too big and my reading time too precious to spend hours on something I'm just not enjoying.

    I'm another English major - BA and MA. To get my BA, I had to take the graduate exam for English (something-SAT, but I don't remember). If you didn't get the minimum score, you had to sit oral comprehensive exams for every period of literature - Chaucer through 20th century.

    I missed the cutoff by 10 points, which my mentor told me later was probably 1 or 2 questions.

    I had dutifully read every book assigned in my classes, but when I got the list for oral comps I realize there was no way on earth I could read everything. Cliffs Notes to the rescue. But in those lists of "100 books you should read" I still generally get to about 70 of them.

    Same thing in grad school (although I am the only student who took the professor seriously when the assignment was to read Moby Dick in a week - what a waste of time!). Cliffs Notes and study groups. There was no other way. I had to do a 45 minute oral comprehensive exam for that degree, too. My worst memory was when the professor I was sure was going to ask about the Romantic period (since that was his area) asked me to explain the meaning of Waiting for Godot. Ack!

  24. Mary, what did you say?
    And ChrisR, the guilt the guilt! I know, I remember…

  25. Hank, I said the play was a metaphor for finding the meaning of life.

    You can sit under the tree waiting for meaning (Godot) to find you. It's safe, but it's also boring and unexciting. Or you can go out and search for meaning. It's more dangerous, and you might get hurt (the characters who go mad), but it's active and probably more exciting.

    It felt like I was digging a hole, but the professor nodded, smiled, and I passed - so I must have said something right.

  26. I never could make it through Walden in high school -- I had to use Cliffs Notes ~

  27. That's so great Mary--what a lovely memory!

    Celia, yeah, Walden. One of those things we should read as grownups.

    Cliff Notes were outlawed at my school...VERY dangerous contraband.

  28. I never finished "Middlemarch," and never admitted that until today. I actually read a lot of it, but a combination of a family health crisis and sheer exhaustion with the whole thing prompted me to put it down and never pick it up again.

    Hank, I could not get through "The Corrections," and this may cause an uproar, but the same for "Memoirs of a Geisha." My sister and mom still haven't forgiven me for that one.

    Here's a formula I recently learned: 100 - your age = how many pages you should give a book before abandoning it. Life is too short, in my opinion, for reading stuff you're not enjoying. In terms of Jonathan's contract, if the writer doesn't engage me write off the bat, she hasn't met her contractual obligations, thereby releasing me from my end of the deal!

  29. It's the ones I've never read. Most embarassing is Middlemarch, which I have started several times. I believe I was so traumatized by Silas Marner in high school I could never work my through any other Eliot. On the other hand, I did read Julius Caesar in 10th grade, my first Shakespeare ever, and liked it. And liked it even more, as with all Shakespeare, when I saw it on stage. Faking? Umm, some college French for sure. I never could have written that essay on No Exit - in French, no less! - without reading some of it translation.

  30. My copy of Middlemarch has the entire spine cracked, indicating that I read all 800 pages, but I have no memory of the story. Maybe I was snowbound.

    As for The Corrections, if Franzen was a woman at least a third of that book would have gotten edited into the trash heap of overwritten verbiage. Yeah, I said it. Even though the front cover of his novel Freedom features a photo of a bird taken by my brother-in-law Dave Maslowski I have never been able to bring myself to read the thing.

  31. I'm with Ingrid Thoft and others - never read something that doesn't interest. Life is too short and there are too many other books. I worked in research for many years. Essentially, I read for a living. On my own time? If I'm not engaged - and there are many, many reasons I could be - after 50 pages, I just stop. Wrong book for me, wrong book at that moment, wrong author.

  32. Ingrid, I like your formula. Now I can feel less guilty when I put a book down, and the older I get the less guilty I will feel. Brilliant!!! I don't feel compelled to finish books I don't enjoy. There is not enough time and there are TOO MANY BOOKS. And you don't know what treasures await that you will absolutely adore.

    I am at the moment madly in love with Flavia de Luce. I know I was probably the only person who hadn't read Alan Bradley, and I'd had The Sweetness at the Bottom on the Pie on my nightstand forever. But then I got Book 4 on Kindle and it was love at first page. Now have gone back to the beginning and am on Book 2.

    Hank, I read your Shelf Awareness piece. Lovely. And The Once and Future King is a touchstone for me, too, never more so than now.

    Oh, and I never even attempted Middlemarch, so now maybe I can cross that one off my "should" list:-)

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  34. I cringe when I admit that I haven't read the golden age mystery writers (except Agatha Christie) or the classic hard-boileds--Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, etcetera. I'm woefully un-well-read in this genre. On a pop culture level, I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books--seems like every adult I knew was reading those for awhile there.

    I wasn't a fan of THE CORRECTIONS either. I still don't get the whole Jonathan Franzen thing.

  35. Triss, agreed. Sometimes it's the timing.

    Lisa, so funny. I did love Harry Potter. They were amazing, especially the first one. But here's a confession: I completely did not understand Prisoner of Azkaban.

  36. I've never fake read a book. I don't think I've thought about it. But yeah, there are plenty of books I haven't read and don't wish to. And unlike Grace but like several others, I feel life is much too short to waste time on books that don't appeal.

    But Grace, I'm so impressed. You've been keeping a list of books read, with reviews, for 35 years! I wish I had. I've done that since 2010 (including what I stopped reading and why) and I'm amazed at what I've learned about my reading habits.

    Hmmm, seems like there are several JR potential topics here.... if they haven't been done already. 1. Do you keep a list of everything you've read, and what does it reveal about you? 2. At what point (or for what reason) do we give ourselves permission to stop reading a book and pick up the next one.

    Jack.... Yes! Classics Illustrated. Okay, I haven't claimed to have read The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, A Connecticutt Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A Tale of Two Cities, but I sure feel as if I have, thanks to my older brother's Classics. On the other hand, I did go on to read the text versions of Jane Eyre, House of Seven Gables and Huckleberry Finn.

  37. For "fake read", it would have to be something I was assigned to read, either in school or - rarely - business. The one that stands out for me is OTHELLO and and HENRY IV parts 1 and 2. Cliff notes got me through. It was a three semester course of the Comedies, Tragedies and Histories. Same professor. He knew who was faking it, but if we faked it well he gave us credit for reading it. The papers, discussing interrelated themes between plays, was the really hard part. Never at any other time did I regret being an English major, but those three courses were head-breakers.

  38. I confess. I read Don Quixote in English and got an "A" on my report. I was supposed to read the book in Spanish, but at least I wrote the report in Spanish.


  39. Susan D: I give credit to my 8th grade English teacher for suggesting I write a critique for every book I read. She knew I read 100s of books on my own. I first started doing reviews on index cards and a manual typewriter, and eventually imported into a DOS database which I custom designed and still use today.

    And if anyone is curious, I have @5,900 books reviewed over 35 years, so you can do the math about how many I read/year.

    I must admit my personal TBR collection is in the 1000s, but I still will not give up on a book, and will read it to the end. Afterwards, I may throw the book across the room in disgust and give it a poor rating.

  40. The Goldfinch. Lovely prose, brilliant characters.loved the concept of a painting stolen is a terrorist moment. But I never got out of Las Vegas. The tension never changed, I think. The same premise dragged, no heightened stakes, no twisted consequences. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  41. This is so much fun! ANd incredibly interesting.

    Susan D--brilliant ideas! We will do them!

    Richard, I had a HUGE crush on Henry V, so I loved ll three plays. (Actually, even used to dream about him. In college.) And Othello, too. It all just depends!

  42. Dru--I'm still impressed!

    And Grace--we are not worthy. xoxoxoo

    NancyM--talk to Hallie. She's still reading >and has been for the last year or so. :-)

  43. Hank: Of course, you and all the Reds are worthy!! Believe me, you are all in my database!!!

    Creating and maintaining my personal mystery review database satisfies the Type A/anal/researcher side of my personality. And I like keeping statistics. :-)

  44. Karen: Awww, shucks.

    My 8th grade English teacher (Mrs. Shields) was totally cool. We were allowed to pick ANY book/title for our oral presentation and book critique. I still remember choosing P.D. James' Shroud for a Nightingale. The class was mesmerized when I read a 1/2 page excerpt: the memorable death of a nurse/patient during a training college demo. Does anyone remember it?

  45. Hank: I remember posting on your FB page that I shared your secret of reading all of Ian Fleming's James Bond books without my parents' knowledge. That was in 7th grade! And I started reading Allingham, Christie, Sayers and Tey in 6th/7th grade too.

  46. Grace and Hank, please have a joint discussion post. Very interesting exchange!

  47. I have never read Updike or Cheever, and probably never will. Moby Dick was a high school assignment. I had insomnia back then, and found that 3 pages of Melville worked better than a pill.

    It took a long time for me to figure out I didn't have to finish a book if I didn't like it. The a ha moment came when I realized I didn't finish food that was not well prepared, and I could do the same with books.

  48. Ah Grace! A fellow precocious reader. I was reading Christie, Ludlum, and Mary Higgins Clark in 7th grade.

  49. Mary: Yay! Another precocious reader. But I think we are getting away from today's post topic: fake reading confessions!

  50. Grace and Mary,

    I,too, started Christie and other "adult" books early on. I've always been a voracious reader and usually read a book to the end. However, I simply could not read Lord of the Flies; Grapes of Wrath; and The Little Prince (in my high school French class). They were just so slow and are not the type of books that appeal to me. There are one or two more , but I can't think of them off the top of my head at the moment.

    By the way I forget who mentioned Middlemarch, but I loved it. I read that on my own, not for class.

  51. Great topic--we'll do early "possibly inappropriate but who cared" reading soon! (I also get yelled at for MArjorie Morningstar.)

    I loved Catcher in the Rye.

    Daniella, Lord of the FLies still haunts me. It'd be interesting to compare our ages when we read it. But I TOTALLY fake read Grapes of Wrath back then. :-)

  52. Hank, I got through The Grapes of Wrath, which I didn't like, and The Winter of our Discontent, which I did. Don't ask me why now. I hated Of Mice and Men, and really hated The Red Pony.

    I read the Flemings under the covers, too. And I read the English Golden Age mysteries at least by 7th or 8th grade. And, Grace, I certainly remember A Shroud for a Nightingale, but I don't think I discovered Sayers until I was a little bit older.

  53. Hank, I can't believe you didn't read The Far Pavilions. That's one of my all time favorites. It has everything: romance, battles, unrequited love, love fulfilled, clashes between religions... I could go on and on. It's a terrific book!

    I could never finish Anna Karenina. It felt like slogging through 2 feet of snow with no boots. I don't think I ever fake read anything in school. I was also a goody two-shoes. I felt like I had to do everything the teacher handed out. College - not so much. It was the 60's!

  54. I was really into the classics when I was in junior high. I chose Moby Dick for a book report. What a moron! I read the first 100 pages. Yawn. One chapter was a church sermon. Double yawn. I read some of the middle. I read the good stuff at the end. I filled in with a Classics comic book. (Hank, never bring Cliffs notes to school.)
    I still haven't read Moby Dick and I swear I will never attempt it again. In college I sort of fake read a Spanish novel, Dona Perfecta. I was horrible at languages. I was horrible at translating Spanish. I lucked out and found a book with Spanish and English text. At least I could understand the story. It was a stupid story. The end.

  55. Julia, please try some Sayers. She is marvelous.

    As to The Hobbit and LOTRs...While in college, "everyone" was reading these and talking about how marvelous they were. I did not find them of interest. Many years later my son was obsessed with them, ON TAPE. I heard the stories again and again in the car. That is when I realized that I was not impressed when trying to read them because the names of people and places were so complex and unfamiliar that they required laborious sounding out each time I encountered them. The excellent audio version made it very clear who and where was being discussed.
    It was a revelation.

  56. Finally, I have Internet again, after two days of the cable company working on it, all day across from my house today. Hank, I responded to your article you posted it earlier online, but I love all this feedback here. As I originally stated, Ethan Frome is one of my favorite books, so I'm sorry that you fake-read that one. I guess utter desolation isn't for everyone. Hahaha!

    I was an English major, and I thought I had to read all of the books assigned, until I took a British Lit course my junior summer. It was an intercession course, where you only have four weeks of classes. What's funny is that I am a big Anglophile, and I have been for some time. I can't even remember what books I didn't read. I've probably read them since. But, it was the first time in my schooling that I didn't follow the rules by doing every assignment assigned. My rebel class.

    Debs, I'm so happy to hear that you are reading Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series. I absolutely adore it. Hank, the Jodi Picoult books are, as Kristopher said, great hot topic books, although I haven't read one for several years. Julia, I agree with you about most of the Russians. I have read Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago and loved it, and I read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I've read plenty of classics, but there are plenty more I haven't. And, Jack, I do remember the Classics Comics, and I still have a few of them.

  57. I read everything assigned to me in school. Luckily, I enjoyed all of it. There has been only one book I selected to read for pleasure that I "lemmed" (did not finish), and that was only in the last year or so. It was not a mystery but a fantasy book. I guess I have been good up to this point about picking books that I liked.

  58. Angela, what is lemmed? I have never heard that word!
    And Beverly, I know exactly where those books are now… Should I read them?

  59. A Tale of Two Cities. Ugh. I tried...but I can't stand Dickens. So depressing.
    Moby Dick. I skimmed a few chapters. I had absolutely no interest in this one.
    Beowulf - what the heck is "Old English"?

    Almost everything else hat was assigned reading in Jr. High and High School. Oh...and I had good grades. A's and B's. I skimmed well.

  60. To "lem" a book is to not finish it and abandon it. The Sword and Laser book group on Goodreads came up with that term when one of the hosts (and others) could not finish Stanislaw Lem's Memoirs Found in a Bathtub. Now when anyone can't make it through a book, they say they "lemmed" it.

  61. That is wonderful, Angela! Thank you!

    Moby Dick, sigh. I agree, Jane, it never grabbed me… But I remember, I did read it! , I think...

  62. Random thoughts before I go to bed:
    I've never "fake read" a book but there are books I've never read that are often read by English majors (yep, I'm another of those). I never read Moby Dick. A now-deceased neighbor and avid reader used to re-read it once a year to combat insomnia. (He said he also read the Oxford English Dictionary as a sleep aid.)

    No matter how hard I try, I cannot stick with Pride and Prejudice.

    I forced myself to finish reading the first Flavia de Luce book. I have no desire to continue reading that series. I am sure it's well-written; it just didn't appeal to me. Some day I may change my mind but at this point I have no plans to do it.

    In the past couple of years I've given myself permission to not finish a book if I find myself forcing myself to continue reading it after about three chapters. Not all books are meant for all readers!

    On the other hand, there are books I started to read and put aside because they just didn't hold my interest. However, I went back to them months later if the books were recommended by people whose judgment I trust, could not put them down and have become a faithful fan of their authors. I think sometimes I just need to be in the right frame of mind to read a new book. I've discovered that I must wait until spring or summer to read books that are set in cold, wintry settings.And that's a compliment to authors who create vivid bone-chilling settings!

    When I was in my twenties and thirties I used to do the Literary Guild memberships on and off, as others here did!

    Deb Romano

  63. DebRo, and that is the perfect final thought--not all books are meant for all readers! (except for Reds books, right?)

    love you all--see you tomrrow! xoxo

  64. Hank, do read The Far Pavilions. It is fat, but worth the time and effort. And it helped me to understand the current conflicts in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The history is accurate (a must for me) and the story is engrossing.