Friday, January 17, 2014

PRIDE OF KNOWLEDGE GAPS: On Twitter tonight, we got into a discussion of Flowers In The Attic and how few of us have actually read it, and there was a request for a thread for folks to confess/disclose famous/infamous works of "literature" (and I use that term loosely) that they have never read.  As in the past, once we've got some suggestions, I'll set up a Doodle poll, and we'll see what our readership hasn't read.  In addition to Flowers, I'll offer another oddball gap for me--I've never read any George Owell--high school teachers didn't assign 1984 or Animal Farm, and I've never felt compelled to read them as an adult.  Shameful, I know.  (I also only got to Great Gatsby when it was serialized in the NYT a few years ago.)


  1. Maret Orliss11:21 PM

    I haven't read Flowers or any VC Andrews (I hadn't event heard of this book till I worked in a bookstore after I graduated college so I don't know what happened there.) As for gaps, I haven't read anything fiction by Stephen King (I did read On Writing), I've never read any Raymond Chandler, and I haven't read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.

  2. No King fiction seems like a likely "winner" to me on this one.

  3. Joseph Finn11:34 PM

    Let's see....I've never read:

    The Things They Carried
    The Help
    The Name of the Rose
    Main Street
    Crime & Punishment
    Anna Karenina
    The Brothers Karamazov
    Somehow, I've never read one Agatha Christie novel.

    Then there's a weird amount of SF/Fantasy lit I've never touched:
    Andre Norton
    Poul Anderson
    James Tiptree
    Stranger in a Strange Land
    The Uplift War

  4. I think we've already established that I missed out on a ton of children's fiction. I've also never read Flowers in the Attic, any Sweet Valley High books, anything even possibly scary (no King, Stine, etc), and piles more. I haven't read anything on Finn's list except for The Name of the Rose and Andre Norton. I'm trying to get through the Outlander books, but I've gotten stuck halfway through the second because I don't care abou them all that much. In jr high/high school, I'd say my pleasure reading was almost exclusively Star Trek books or high fantasy I could get my hands on. The local library was reluctant to carry anything that might trouble the local holy rollers.

    I've also never read 50 Shades, but I suspect I'll get there one day. Oh, and i found the Oprah books mostly depressing, but I loved The Poisonwod Bible. To sum up, I love to read, but I suspect I'm pretty poorly read. Eh.

  5. Deanna K. Dykstra11:50 PM

    I haven't read Lord of the Flies, 50 Shades, 100 Years of Solitude (I'm probably one of the few BA-MA-in-Spanish/Latin-American-lit-non-García-Márquez fans, or Allende for that matter, in the world), Anna Karenina, for starters.

  6. Deanna K. Dykstra11:52 PM

    The Poisonwood Bible is in my top 5!

  7. Ditto for me - no King.

  8. I'm not sure whether this is going to sound really pretentious, or like a humblebrag, but I don't mean it either way. The book I'm always kind of amazed I've never read is Plato's Republic. Not because everyone has read it, but because I'm a political theory/philosophy groupie, and have never felt a strong enough urge on that one. But I really want to want to read it, if you know what I mean.

  9. Same here.

  10. The Pathetic Earthling12:14 AM

    Really, truly, you should read David Brin's "Sundiver" and "Startide Rising" -- the Uplift War, the third book of the first trilogy, isn't all that. But the first two are brilliant.

  11. I once started out reading Pride and Prejudice and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies chapter for chapter in tandem. Around chapter 10 I lost the original book, and kept going with the better one.

  12. Tara Kennedy1:16 AM

    I haven't read Flowers or 50 Shades. Or Harry Potter. I have read The Talisman which was co-written by Stephen King.

  13. Maret Orliss1:21 AM

    No Harry Potter is a definite candidate for the win, I think.

  14. Roger2:59 AM

    Same here.

  15. Roger3:00 AM

    I've never read any Jane Austen, even though we share a birthday. Nor any Harry Potter or Tolkien.

  16. Jennifer E4:54 AM

    I've never read Catcher in the Rye. (Hanging my head in shame). Ii have read all the VC Andrews, 50 Shades, and other junk lit posted here, though.

  17. bill.8:00 AM

    I concur, with this warning: Stop after the "Uplight War." I can't recommend anything in the second Uplift trilogy.

  18. Heather k10:21 AM

    Yup no king here too. (Scary is bad )

  19. Joseph Finn11:10 AM

    Good to know! Thanks!

  20. Joseph Finn11:11 AM

    There is no shame in not reading Catcher, a middling novel at best.

  21. The semester I took my oral exams, my students told me I should read Pride and Prejudice and Zombie for my post-exam reading.

  22. The Pathetic Earthling12:27 PM

    I stopped reading Harry Potter after Book 2. Just didn't care that much.

    I've actually somehow never read Huckleberry Finn. Not proud of that. Need to cure that.

  23. The Pathetic Earthling12:29 PM

    Middling? It's life-negating awfulness.

  24. The Pathetic Earthling12:34 PM

    And "Stranger in a Strange Land" is worth reading if you want to read a book for its influence, and the first two parts are good, the third act just is sort of weird. Heinlein's great work are his juveniles -- Have Space Suit, Will Travel; Space Cadet; Farmer in the Sky, etc. -- and the Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I've read (I think) everything of his, but a lot of it is unnecessary.

  25. Joseph Finn1:02 PM

    I still love MIAHM; it's kind of weird in it's family politics, but it's a damn good read.

  26. Karen Peters5:02 PM

    Same here, same reason as Heather K

  27. Adam C.6:20 PM

    I'm a no Potter too (though I've seen most of the movies and been to the theme park, so....)

  28. Marsha11:32 PM

    I have tried SIASL twice - I'm sure it is influential, but wow, is that terribly written.

  29. Marsha11:45 PM

    I definitely read Flowers, and all of its sequels. Many times. Also read nearly everything Stephen King has written.

    No 50 Shades. No Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights. No Great Expectations, No Illiad/Odyssey. Virtually nothing of the biography/history canon - no People's History, no Caro, no Sandberg/Lincoln.

    I'm sure there are zillions of things I could list - my high school reading list missed so many things I had to catch up on later, like To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye. For someone who reads, I'm not very well read.

  30. Thank you! I hated Catcher (Holden is a whiner of the worst kind) and spent large chunks of HS and college defending myself against people who claimed I just didn't "understand".

  31. Saray2:42 PM

    I staged a protest in high school and refused to read "Wide Sargasso Sea" when someone told me it would ruin Jane Eyre (my favorite book.) My sympathetic teacher actually just let me write an additional paper on Jane Eyre and get away with it. No idea how I pulled that one off.

    Otherwise, I have not read:
    - Lolita
    - Catch-22 (tried a bunch of times, couldn't get past about 100 pages)
    - On the Road
    - The Call of the Wild
    - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    - The Phantom Tollbooth
    - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    (clearly I missed a whole bunch of fantasy stuff...)

  32. Jim Bell3:02 PM

    I'm not sure I agree that his best work is his juvenile work. I had in my teens and twenties a great affection for "Methuselah's Children", "Time Enough for Love," and "Job: A Comedy of Errors." Apart from all the weird incest advocacy, these are fine works. Plus, when he brings together the characters from all/many of his prior works, I thought he did it well enough, and it probably allowed King to do it later and much better, clearly being familiar with the Heinlein stuff...