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Books you are ashamed never to have read?

(141 Posts)
Piggywaspushed Tue 02-Jan-18 10:32:52

I have an English degree and have taught English Lit A level for many years. I was a bookworm as a child and have a huge stockpile of books read and awaiting reading.

Partly , this thread arises form the fact that I have been dissatisfied with so many contemporary novels recently but partly, I am also a bit ashamed that there are books I feel I should have read!

I decided a few years ago to make my way through some of this shameful list but have only managed Pride and Prejudice (knew I wouldn't like it) and Great Expectations (read it for my son's GCSE which is more than he's very long, isn't it?). I read The Handmaid's Tale out of obligation and shame last year. Underwhelmed.

Frankenstein and The Grapes of Wrath are on my bedside table (have been for about a year) and Middlemarch is on my Kindle. I will read Frankenstein before DS2's GCSE. I have never read Dracula either.

I went to school in Scotland so was reading a lot of Scottish classics in my defence and have read nearly every Hardy novel.

Anyone else like to admit what you haven't read bur should have??

Feel free to boast about what you have read too! (although not Ulysses or War and Peace because we all know that would be showing off and/or a lie!)

OP’s posts: |
stilllovingmysleep Tue 02-Jan-18 10:37:35

I admit I haven't yet read Jane Eyre!

GreeboIsMySpiritAnimal Tue 02-Jan-18 10:38:32

Any Dickens other than A Christmas Carol. blush

AgentProvocateur Tue 02-Jan-18 10:41:23

I’ve not read many of the classics, and I have P&P, Middlemarch on my kindle too (unread). I did read Grapes of Wrath for Higher English, and lots of Scottish classics like House With the Green Shutters and The Cone Gatherers - both of which I loved.

I have a mental block about reading the English classics. I know I should, but I can’t work up the enthusiasm.

StripySocksAndDocs Tue 02-Jan-18 10:41:28

Read the first page of Ulysses!! And a third of War and Peace. <smug>

There's quite a few classics I've not read. Tend not to like them. Neither Pride and Prejudice not Sense and Sensibility rocked my world.

I've Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Dracula somewhere. Along with others that I've had so long I've forgotten them!!

Frogletmamma Tue 02-Jan-18 10:42:06

My mother got me 'Every girls life guide' or similar when I was about 10 so I could learn about growing up. Never read it. Found it recently when taking some books from mother. Felt Bad.

TonTonMacoute Tue 02-Jan-18 10:44:38

I have never read To Kill A Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye. However, I have read loads of other stuff - including War and Peace!

IrisAtwood Tue 02-Jan-18 10:44:41

I love English literature and feel some shame that I haven’t read any James Joyce.

I love the 19th century classics so have read and loved lots of them.

Piggywaspushed Tue 02-Jan-18 10:58:50

I love House With The Green Shutters and am pleased to have found a kindred spirit.

I like to pretend I have read Clarissa - but really I have read maybe 300 pages and watched the TV series with Sean Bean (phwoarrrr)

OP’s posts: |
BlackAmericanoNoSugar Tue 02-Jan-18 11:07:38

I've tried to read Ulysses several times, but never made it very far. I've never read To Kill a Mockingbird, and I do have a vague feeling that I should, but I wonder if I know to much of the outside information about it (opinions, analysis, references etc) to be able to appreciate the book for itself at this stage. I didn't read Catcher in the Rye until I was in my 30s, and I never really enjoy books where you are inside of someone's head so I found it uncomfortable to read.

ScreamingValenta Tue 02-Jan-18 11:12:09

I enjoy Jane Austen and have re-read all her novels several times ... except Persuasion. For some reason I just cannot get into Persuasion and whenever I try, I end up abandoning it after a few chapters. I like everything else - I even enjoyed Lady Susan and what there is of The Watsons and Sanditon, so I cannot fathom what it is about Persuasion that so utterly bores me.

lastqueenofscotland Tue 02-Jan-18 11:14:15

Never read middlemarch but it's on my pile
Never finished any dickens...

Sevendown Tue 02-Jan-18 11:23:31

I have so many unread books blush

After seeing the recent Howard’s end bbc adaptation I want to read that. Never read an Edwardian novel!

No dickens, no Elliot, no hardy.

I’ve hardly read any classics -only p&p, tkam, started jane eyre but didn’t like it, tried Virginia Woolf but didn’t ‘get’ it.

Literary criticism is the thing I found hardest at school.

I just can’t read between the lines. I think a lot of themes go over my head.

Plus I don’t find books which would fail the beschdel test appealing.

Piggywaspushed Tue 02-Jan-18 11:32:52


Am wondering now what books would pass the Bechdel Test.

I think books probably have a better chance than films , funnily enough. And films don't have the excuse of being old!

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Tue 02-Jan-18 11:33:55

I have read The Mill On The Floss and loved it so may give Middlemarch a go.

It's sad for an English teacher to say but I find the length offputting.

Jane Eyre is claptrap imo.

OP’s posts: |
Ratinthehat Tue 02-Jan-18 11:35:05

Apart from Romeo and Juliet at school I haven't read any Shakespeare as I just don't understand it (I'm pretty thick) as well as most other classics.

gravyonaplane Tue 02-Jan-18 11:36:50

I went through all my books last year and made a list of the ones I hadn't read (152 - a lot of them 'classics') I listed them and gave them all a number and now I randomly generate a number and read the book it gives me.

I do let myself read 3 books of my choice after every 'enforced' book but I'm not allowed to change the number coz I got a shit book - I'm looking at you Barbara vine! (I know, hardly a classic but my mum liked her - I've discovered I don't).

I'm a re-reader though and could get caught up in the same 50 or so books for the rest of my life if I didn't come up with ways to make myself read different things (I'm also a compulsive book buyer which is how I've ended up with 152 books I've never read)

NC4now Tue 02-Jan-18 11:40:11

I also have an English degree but where Dickens is concerned I’ve only read half of Bleak House. I think that can go on my 2018 goals list actually. Read a Dickens novel.

I have read Paradise Lost and really enjoyed it. That’s probably the most heavyweight read I’ve done.

I’ve never got past the singing in The Hobbit. DS loves it but it just doesn’t do it for me.
Shamefully, Winnie The Pooh’s singing puts me off too, but the stories are so lovely I can just skim over it when he makes up a little hum.

allthegoodusernameshavegone Tue 02-Jan-18 11:45:18

Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austin, and to kill a Mockingbird is a must, but I can’t get into Dickens I have attempted a tale of two cities half a dozens times but cannot get past the first chapter, oh & i love Jane Eyre. I’m also thinking about Middlemarch. Not ever nor will I attempt Shakespeare though!

allthegoodusernameshavegone Tue 02-Jan-18 11:46:42

I absolutely hated the Hobbit

StripySocksAndDocs Tue 02-Jan-18 11:49:20

One of the reasons I dislike the likes of Austin and Brontes is I am utterly irritated by 'etiquette' that's just stuffy stuff of nonsense. 'Principles' that lead to actions (or nonaction) of no logical reason.

Judgemental opinions based on outdated views created all the above irk me.

With the Classics, a good few of which involve these views annoy the heck out of me. Or it's 10 pages of description of someone walking down the corridor (possibly exaggeration).

StripySocksAndDocs Tue 02-Jan-18 11:52:52

Ha NC4now!! Every read A Suitable Boy? There's over 10 pages banging on about a singer singing. It's tedious and adds absolutely nothing to the story.

ScreamingValenta Tue 02-Jan-18 11:52:54

@allthegoodusernameshavegone What is it you enjoy about Persuasion? I would love to find a way into it.

Namelesswonder Tue 02-Jan-18 12:20:08

I have read War and Peace and actually quite enjoyed it.

In my defence I was travelling across Canada on a bus, had very little money to spend, it was in a sale and it was a very thick book so I thought it would keep me going for a few days!

CoolCarrie Tue 02-Jan-18 12:26:33

When it comes to Ulysses get an audio book version. The actor who played Bishop Brennan in Father Ted is the version I have.

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