How many of the Top Twenty Books People Claim to have Read, Have you actually Read?

From the Telegraph. (h/t Moe Lane)

  1. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll – Read it as a child, I think? Parts of it, anyway.
  2. 1984 – George Orwell – Read it in high school. Reread several times.
  3. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy – JRR Tolkien – Read it in middle school. Dad made me read The Hobbit first. Reread several times.
  4. War And Peace – Leo Tolstoy – Started to read it, couldn’t get into it.
  5. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy – No.
  6. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle – Recieved it as a gift as a child. Read most of it.
  7. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee – Read it in high school.
  8. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens – No. 
  9. Crime And Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Every now and again I try to read The Brothers Karamazov and fail. Never touched this one.
  10. Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen – Nope.
  11. Bleak House – Charles Dickens – Nope.
  12. Harry Potter (series) – JK Rowling – No, and you can’t make me!
  13. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens – In High School. Reread once since.
  14. The Diary Of Anne Frank – Anne Frank – I think I was supposed to read this in high school, like it was on a summer reading list, and didn’t. 
  15. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens – Nope.
  16. Fifty Shades trilogy – EL James – Who would claim to read this, who has not? Anyway, no.
  17. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie – Read in high school. Reread several times.
  18. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald – Read in High school. Reread several times.
  19. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller – Nope. The ubiquity of the title as a catchphrase has made it seem unecessary.
  20. The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger – Tried to read it a few years ago. Found it dull. Tried reading some of his short works and found them also dull. I sort of get what the big deal is, but I do not share it.


Read – 7

Not Read – 9

Mostly Read – 1

Tried to read and could not – 2

Let’s count the Mostly Read as Read and the Tried to Read as Not Read, and say I’ve read 8/20. Insufficient exposure to Dickens really brought my numbers down.

3 thoughts on “How many of the Top Twenty Books People Claim to have Read, Have you actually Read?

  1. Read: 1,2,3,7,18,19,20.
    You might enjoy Catch 22 for the abrupt leaps in time and place. Heller keeps it all together somehow, though he couldn’t repeat the brilliance in his next book Something Happened. More like Nothing Happened actually.
    I read Catcher as part of my school reading when I was 15-16 and identified very strongly with Holden Caulfield. I read it again when I was in my early 30s and by the end of it I wanted to punch this whiny little punks several times in the face.
    Tried to read Oliver Twist once because ‘Dickens is a very important author’ and quit after twenty or so pages. Boring boring boring. For an Australian Dickens, see Patrick White.

    1. I suppose if there were any of those I might try to read, Catch would be the one.

      Patrick White, eh? What makes him the Australian Dickens? Similar time periods? Paid by the word? 😉

      1. Thinking about it, I may have been a little hard on Dickens when I compared him to White. White just rambled on and on, sufficiently vague to be considered profound… I guess the main similarity in my mind is that they’re both rated as authors you have to familiar with (or more likely PRETEND to be familiar with) if you want to be considered well-read.


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