Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Hate Literature. Literature Sucks. Only Idiots Like Literature.

I don't usually do these meme things, but in looking over this particular book meme, I realized it said a whole lot about my personality and world view, as well as my cultural - or non-cultural - upbringing. I've read almost nothing on it and most of those few things I have read I was forced to read in high school.

Just to make it more revealing, "NHO" means that I have never even heard of the book.

UPDATE: Bold does not work well with this template, so I've put a cross in front ot those I've read.


1) Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

I love Kira Knightley.

2) The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

Do the extended DVD's count?

3) Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

I've seen two movies based on this book, and they were both mind numbingly boring.

4) Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

I'm not even much of a fan of the movies.

5) To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

I tried to watch the movie once, but I'm not much of a fan of courtroom lawyers (Since just about every problem in the world has dozens of those kinds of lawyers at the root of it), so I changed the channel.

6) †The Bible

I've read almost every English translation I'm aware of except for the Tyndale New Testament - most of which ended up in the King James anyway - from cover to cover. Some several times. My favorite is the Authorized Version (King James) but mostly because I love "Olde English." I have a Zondervan Layman's Parallel Bible with four different versions in parallel columns that I love, but it's missing what I think is the all around best English translation, and that is the NIV (New International Version). I've also read The Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (Which is about as long as the Bible itself) and a Protestant version of that entitled The Unfolding Drama of Redemption, which may actually be longer than the Bible. This probably says more about me than anything else in this particular meme.

7) Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

Withering lows.

8) †Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

I was forced to read this in high school.

9) His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman *NHO*

10) Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11) Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12) Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy *NHO*

I bet she was a dog, like that Baskervilles bitch.

13) Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

Saw the movie (I thought it sucked ass).

14) Complete Works of Shakespeare

Reading Shakespeare does nothing for me - I tried Henry V once, but gave up out of crushing boredom - but I love to see staged plays and movies of his work (If they don't suck, that is).

15) Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier *NHO*

Both my high school sweetheart and my ex-wife were named Rebecca: I wouldn't even see a movie with this title.

16) The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

Can't wait for the movie! But, only if Daniel Peter Jackson does it.

17) Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks *NHO*

18) Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19) The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger *NHO*

20) Middlemarch - George Eliot *NHO*

21) Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

Movie was good.

22) The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

Stupid movie.

23) Bleak House - Charles Dickens *NHO*

24) War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

I did read The Gulag Archipellago by Solzenitzen when I was a junior in high school: I'm sure my time was better spent with that than any Tolstoy crap.

25) The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

Saw the movie, which was lame.

26) Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh *NHO*

27) Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This one has always made me go "hmmmm..." I may eventually read this.

28) Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

I think I had this forced on me in high school, but I'm not sure. Was it a Dust Bowl novel of some kind?

29) Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

Only screen versions.

30) The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame *NHO*

31) Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

Sexy name.

32) David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

I thought he was a tall, slender Jewish magician who changed his name for show biz.

33) Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

Only screen versions.

34) Emma - Jane Austen *NHO*

Good name... for a cow.

35) Persuasion - Jane Austen *NHO*

36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

Isn't this exactly the same as The Chronicles of Narnia? See, I don't even know that.

37) The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini *NHO*

38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39) Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden *NHO*

Loved the recent movie, since I lived in Japan and love Japanese culture (I used to go all over Japan to attend Sumo tournaments), but did not know it was a book.

40) Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

Screen versions only.

41) Animal Farm - George Orwell

The movie with John Balushi Tom Hulce was hilarious.

42) The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

Uh huh. Right. As if.

43) One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez *NHO*

44) A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving *NHO*

45) The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins *NHO*

46) Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

That's a real book? I thought it was a joke about something I never understood. Sorta like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms.

47) Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy *NHO*

48) The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

49) †Lord of the Flies - William Golding

Another book I was forced to read in high school. Barf.

50) Atonement - Ian McEwan *NHO*

51) Life of Pi - Yann Martel *NHO*

I did read Hawking's A Brief History of Time though.

52) †Dune - Frank Herbert

And here we have the exception that proves the rule: I read the entire series. It is the only written sci-fi series that ever hooked me. I loved it. All movies of it have sucked. Badly.

53) Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons *NHO*

54) Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen *NHO*

55) A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth *NHO*

56) The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon *NHO*

57) A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

I liked St. Augustine's "City of God," which I think this ripped off.

58) Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

I thought the TV series version, "Roots" was quite good.

59) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon *NHO*

60) Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez *NHO*

Oh yeah, like that title is going to interest me. *rolleyes*

61) †Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

Another high school forced-read. Not bad though.

62) Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

Is that the book Sting was singing about?

63) The Secret History - Donna Tartt *NHO*

64) The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold *NHO*

Vagina Monologues sequel?

65) Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

He's the Count of a sandwich?

66) On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67) Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy *NHO*

Obscure indeed.

68) Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding *NHO*

Is this what those cute movies about the chubby chick are based on?

69) Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie *NHO*

Did he get a Fatwa for this one too?

70) Moby Dick - Herman Melville

I love the old movie of this.

71) Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

Ditto here: The old movie was great.

72) Dracula - Bram Stoker

I love vampire movies even when they are awful. Seriously.

73) The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett *NHO*

74) Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson *NHO*

75) Ulysses - James Joyce

I actually tried to read this. I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when I was touring Europe in the 80's and loved that, so I got a copy of Ulysses. I don't think I finished the first chapter. I remember thinking it was idiotic and made no sense and had no thread to it. Some people think it's a great book though. I think it's garbage.

76) The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath *NHO*

Bell Jar ruined the Star Wars prequels.

77) Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome *NHO*

I had an amazon of a girlfriend once, she... uh... nevermind.

78) Germinal - Emile Zola *NHO*

79) Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

I thought this was a woman's magazine.

80) Possession - AS Byatt *NHO*

Imagine going through life with the name AS.

81) A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

I believe I've seen several movies based upon this, if Ebenezer Scrooge is the protagonist, but I'm not positive about that (That says a lot, I'm sure). The Bill Murray version is my favorite.

82) Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell *NHO*


83) The Color Purple - Alice Walker

I couldn't even make it through the movie.

84) The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro *NHO*

Loved, loved, loved the movie. Didn't even know it was a book until right this instant.

85) Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

"There once was a Madam named Bovary,

and she had only one good ovary...

But it worked all too well,

when she said "What the hell!"...

despite all her work on the Rosary."

I hadn't broken out the old Clement Wood Complete Rhyming Dictionary in years. That was fun.

86) A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry *NHO*

87) Charlotte's Web - EB White

I distinctly remember all the little girls my age loving this when I was living in Panama - I was about eight - so I thought it was a chick thing. A little chick thing.

88) The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn *NHO*

I hope I meet more than five.

89) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Screen versions only, some of which I love (Like Hound of the Baskervilles).

90) The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton *NHO*

They aren't really far away, they just look that way: Bansai!

91) Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

I did not authorize that biography.

92) The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

This is the bio I authorized.

93) The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks *NHO*

I found one of those in a deer blind at the beginning of the 1974 hunting season.

94) Watership Down - Richard Adams

If the ship is made of water, how can you tell?

95) A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole *NHO*

I thought this was a list of fictional stories: How - exactly - does the true story of the Candian Government fit in here? Eh?

96) A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute *NHO*

Fat and slow?

97) The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

Several screen versions, most of which I enjoyed.

98) Hamlet - William Shakespeare

Mel Gibson did this best IMO (Sorry Kenneth), though Rosenkrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead was a close second. LOL!

99) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

Both screen versions.

100) Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

This is a book? I thought it was a play, but then, it and Cats were on Broadway for the entire time I worked in NYC (1984-1988).

I've read exactly 5% of these books: Nearly 50% of these books I've never even heard of.


My mom has a story she likes to tell to embarrass me when we're visiting friends (Well, several actually), and it goes something like this: "I tried to get George to read all the books I loved as a child but he wouldn't even crack the covers open. One day when he was about seven he tossed one asside that I had given him and said, 'I'm not interested in fiction mother, I'm interested in facts.' and that was the last novel I tried to get him to read."

My room was filled with Time LIFE books, Audubon Encyclopedias and stuff like that, which I fairly devoured.

I'd open the cover of this book, though.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cronicles of Narnia is the name of a whole fantasy book series by C. S. Lewis. I loved reading that when I was adolescent. The books within the series are as follows in chronological order. There are "The Magician's Nephew", "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe", "The Horse and his Boy", "Prince Caspian", "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", "The Silver Chair", and "The Last Battle". I noticed you are a movie goer. There were several movies about Narnia released the last few years. I hope they will eventually complete the series.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're missing out on some of the greatest human creations

3:25 PM  
Blogger Hucbald said...

I'm not missing out on anything, since I don't think literature is great. This goes to the philosophical limitations of free will: I can do what I will, but I cannot like what I will. In other words, even if I thought I "should" like literature (which I don't), I can't, because literature bores me, and no amount of willing it otherwise on my part will ever change that.

Even the greatest novel or play is nothing next to a symphony. Anybody can write a novel; not one in a million men can compose a symphony.

7:51 PM  

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