I heard this on the radio the other day at my mum and dad’s, but before they said what the top book was, the first one I thought of was The Lord of the Rings. It didn’t come out at number one, but was a close second. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve not read No 1 – James Bond (I presume they mean “all” rather than “any”, though I have listened to the Octopussy audiobook as read by Tom Hiddleston, which was a great listen on the commute to work, even if I was laughing sat in traffic at the amount of times he says “pussy”, not very mature I know), but I’ve never said I have read it. So I inspected the list on the original article, found here, and I’ve gone through it with what I have and haven’t read:
- James Bond books, Ian Fleming – not read, though I have Casino Royale & Sebastian Faulks’ Devil May Care
- Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien – I have read, though it took numerous attempts
- The Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis – only the usual suspect, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown – yes, not a fan
- The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins – yes
- Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh – nope, and not really something on my TBR
- The Wizard of Oz, L Frank Baum – yes, in primary school, I remember it strongly because the book smelt mouldy
- Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding – yes, and the second one too
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson – yes, I bought the series for my mum, she read them all, then I read this one and realised how one should really do a parental check on reading material because omigod content
- The Godfather, Mario Puzo – nope, though I bought the films on DVD for dad for Christmas about five years ago and they’re still in their plastic wrapping!
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey – no, though I do have it, so it will be on the TBR
- Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn – tried it, couldn’t get into it, so lent it to mum who I think liked it, but not really my thing
- The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini – no, and never really thought about it, though it maybe should be on the TBR
It’s a fairly standard list, though there were a few surprises – The Godfather, for one. But I thought I’d share my list of books that I think people lie about ever reading. This is based on nothing but my own experiences, and some are my own little fibs too!
- The Lord of the Rings – has to be in there. Everybody says they’ve read it, when really they got to the end of the Fellowship of the Ring and gave up and watched the movies. I know because I did it, and then got halfway through Return of the King and gave up, and then picked it up a year later to realise I was only a chapter from the end because of duh appendices! I am proud to say I have done it now though. Go me!
- Dracula – every single English Literature student must know the black hole of this book. I was a bit of a goth back in the day, and Dracula is meant to be like the Bible of goths, right? I had to read it for my MA in English Literature, many years after leaving the goth-hood behind, and even then it was torture. I even had it in 2 copies and on my Kindle in an attempt to make it easier. Nope.
- Wuthering Heights – has anybody actually really read this book? I have tried and tried and the accents get in the way and the fact that the main character dies early on and everybody is called Earnshaw or Cathy and it’s so confusing. I am sorry, I’m quite sure this is both bookworm and Yorkshire sacrilege but I just can’t do it.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude – I can only read this in summer, and I get so confused with the names of the people which are all the same I usually lose my temper and leave it for another year.
- The Gunslinger – highly controversial, I know. I’ll just make this the entire Dark Tower series, shall I? People rave and rave about it, and I’ve tried and tried and can’t get further than the bit up the mountain. It just doesn’t do it for me, and I was a massive King aficionado, back in the day. Maybe it gets better, but right now, it’s just meh.
- The Moonstone – I managed to plough through The Woman in White for my MA, and wrote my dissertation on it, Dracula, and Camilla. Camilla I have read a million and one times and am convinced that every time you read this slip of a novella something else comes out of it. I didn’t mind The Woman in White but The Moonstone – bit of a slog, I’m afraid. I’m forcing myself through Romance of the Forest by Radcliffe atm and it’s in a similar vein.
- Pride and Prejudice – shut up, you watched Bridget Jones’s Diary, maybe the Colin Firth TV series or the movie with Elizabeth from Pirates of the Caribbean, and maybe even You’ve Got Mail, but you didn’t read the book. I have – it was hard when I was 17 and the long sentences clearly struck a nerve because case in point in self. Emma is even harder. It’s had a bookmark in the second chapter since I was 18. Northanger Abbey, however, is a riot.
- The Girl on, with or in Anything – I’ve read the Tattoo (I liked book one, but the storylines in 2 & 3 were quite boring and not my thing), as for anything else… they all seem to merge into one in my head. I did wonder about turning #MySecondBook into The Girl In Love With the God From Another Dimension but I guess that’s a bit long-winded and isn’t what the book is about at all. Vapid as hell as well.
- Anything by Dickens – I’ve read Oliver Twist a million years ago and don’t remember it and am now doubting whether I actually read it or a kiddies’ watered down version, and I really enjoyed Edwin Drood, but anything else is just too much of a slog.
- On the Road – I read this, and then thought to myself, people must be lying about reading this book or else had a different version to me, because I didn’t like this in the slightest. Nothing happened, none of the characters appealed to me at all, and I just didn’t get it. I’ll be slightly controversial too and stick The Great Gatsby in here as well. There’s something about American literature of this sort that just doesn’t sit well with me.
Another part of this original post on the BBC was about making time to read. We all know too well this age-old tale “I don’t have enough time to do that”. This I feel will be a separate blog post, which makes this a two-parter! Bonus!
What books do you think people lie about reading all the time? My list seems to be predominantly pre-1914 Classics, and for the most part, British literature. I mean I could have shoved Fifty Shades of Grey in there, but I don’t think that’s quite the point of this article or my post. Have you read any of my books? How did you find them?