Friday Book Chats: Books Everyone’s Read But Me

Today’s Book Chat is dedicated to some books that I feel like everyone but me has read. Whether I missed them during my school years, never got around to them when they came out, or intentionally refused to read them, these are all books that haven’t made it into my Hall of Books Past.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The classic tale of teenage angst that everyone reads in high school. Except not my high school. I’m pretty sure my high school only allowed books where you could make an argument that one of the characters was a Christ-figure.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. My school actually did assign this book, I just didn’t read it. Shhhh.

Animal Farm by George Orwell. My friends all read this in middle school, but I was home schooled in middle school and I kind of chose my own literature. Home schooling for the win!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I think a lot of students end up reading one of the classic dystopic books –1984, Fahrenheit 451, Catch-22, or Brave New World. We read 1984 (which I liked) and although my family owned Brave New World I never worked up the motivation to read it on my own. Or any of the others.

50 Shades of Grey by  E. L. James . Without sounding judge-y I will just say that I honestly have never been interested in reading this.  I remember going on vacation the summer that this first came out and women all across the beach were reading it and I thought it was so strange because to me it felt like the equivalent of a bunch of people lying around on the beach looking at porn. I’m not a prude when it comes to book content, but it has to have redeeming qualities. Just not my jam.

Dracula by Bram Stoker. Again, I think people either read Dracula or Frankenstein. I didn’t read either in high school, but I did read Frankenstein in college. Hubby read Dracula and says it’s worth the read so maybe I’ll get around to it someday when I’m in the mood for a classic or something a little spooky.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I know this is a common problem, but looking back on it, my high school education (and even college to some extent) there is a distinct lack of diversity in the writers we read. Mostly old white guys with a few women thrown in here and there. I think this is a book I’d like to read someday, though I don’t really know a lot about it to be honest.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This is such a cult classic and I’ve never read it, nor have I seen the movie adaptation. I’m told it’s very funny so maybe I’m missing out.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery   I know my friend Josh is going to have a heart attack when he sees this one. I’m familiar with the story and the significance, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually read it. I share that in the spirit of honesty, but you have to promise not to shun me now, Josh, even though I can hear your audible gasp from here.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving . This is another book that I feel like many other readers and writers I respect absolutely revere. I think it’s very likely I would like it if I read it, I’ve just never quite been sufficiently motivated.

If you’ve read any of these and think I’m really missing out, be sure to let me know!

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15 comments

  1. I haven’t read any of those either — I partially read Animal Farm when I was very young, but I don’t count that as having read it.

    I agree about 50 Shades of Grey — I find it disturbing that it’s so popular and that young women are swooning over Christian Grey. There are many articles which liken his behaviour to that of a domestic abuser. Not to mention, the book isn’t exactly a feminist’s dream! I won’t be picking up a copy anytime soon.

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    1. I know Animal Farm is really short and I could pick it up and read it in an hour or two, but I’ve just never cared to that much. I really dislike allegories and I know this isn’t exactly an allegory, but it’s similar, so I’ve never been all that interested.

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  2. I have read the little prince (le petit prince) when I was in french class. when you like fairy tales, or for example ‘the alchemist’ from Paolo Coelho you’ll also like reading this. the motto is
    — One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes. —

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      1. Well, now you’re leaving South Korea I’m kind of curious if you can recommend some South Korean writers (obviously those who are available in English since my Korean is very poor).

        this came up because I just finished a book called ‘The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly’ from Korean writer Sun-Mi Hwang. It is, like le petit prince, a modern fairytale or fable. This story is about individualism, motherhood and an ode to freedom.

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      2. You know, I’ve actually never read a book by a South Korean writer! Which is a shame! I will say that literature and reading for fun isn’t widely popular in Korea (I almost never see people reading out and about whereas I take a book or kindle with me everywhere I go) but that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I know there is a famous modern Korean writer named Kyung-Sook Shin. She has a very popular book called Please Look After Mom. I haven’t read it, but it’s supposed to be very good. Kind of sad though I think. I really should have made it a point to read some Korean authors while I was here!

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  3. I read Animal Farm and Heart of Darkness. Animal Farm was a satire about the Russian revolution. Heart of Darkness I vaguely remember to be about Africa and something to do with the English explorers. The one thing I remember being discussed was the shape of Africa is a heart. I actually did like this book and the discussion around it.

    I don’t think I will ever read 50 Shades of Grey either…

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  4. I recently read Animal Farm and really like it, mostly because it was different than the YA and fantasy stuff I usually read. Brave New World is totally worth a read, in my opinion. Also The Little Prince is just precious. It’s a short one, too. I loved it. I’ve never read 50 Shades of Grey and never plan on reading it and I think we’ll both be okay without it.

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  5. I preferred Brave New World to 1984, although it has been many years since I read either.

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy edits in several forms which are each somewhat differently configured. My favorite is actually the original radio series. I’d suggest listening to that, if you can find it.

    And Catcher in the Rye is one of my least favorite books of all time. My high school English teacher loved it, but I found it whiny and unrelatable.

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    1. I didn’t know that about Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Thanks for the tip! And I’ve heard that feedback on Catcher in the Rye quite a bit so it’s not one I’m too eager to pick up!

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  6. I tried to read 50 Shades of Grey but it was so badly written that I found it stressful to read it and I gave up after 40 pages. And I’ve read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which my Aunt had recommended to me, and it was the worst book I’ve ever read. I found it so boring.

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    1. Haha. I definitely understand what you mean about 50 shades of grey. I also have trouble reading something that is distressingly poorly written. Sometimes it’s annoying because you do occasionally want to read something really light and easy to read, but even then, there’s a point at which it’s just too poorly done and I can’t even enjoy it for what it is. It’s honestly really tricky to find those kinds of light, enjoyable, feel-good books that are at least tolerably well written. 🙂

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