Celebrating my Literary Ignorance: A List of Books I’ve Never Read

Okay, before anyone accuses me of being illiterate,  I actually have read quite a number of books in my lifetime, including many of the so-called “Literary Classics”.

Just that I didn’t major in English, so I haven’t read everything the Tortured Intellectual PhD’s tell us we should read.

There are only so many free hours a day, and not all of us want to read 7 books a week.  And many of us often prefer a best-selling author, rather than plowing through literary criticisms of 18th-century poetry.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s all good.  They’re all just BOOKS, and reading anything is a worthy pursuit.    No one subject is necessarily better than the other.  It’s just a matter of taste.

So without any further ado, I’ll stop my rant and list some of the books I probably “should” have read, but haven’t.

************************************************

Anything by Agatha Christie
If what they show on PBS is anywhere even REMOTELY related to the books, I am SO not interested.

I get the impression that between 1880-1930, half of England was busy trying to “muh-deh” the other half.  Especially on wealthy estates where people wore tweed and sipped tea all day. (As if they didn’t have anything better to do with their free time).

Fine.  Go ahead and kill each other off.  I couldn’t care less.   That’s one less inbred Upper-Class twit the planet has to deal with.

************************************************

Anything to do with Sherlock Holmes
As I wrote earlier, Sherlock Holmes has been done and re-done so many times before, that I’m already sick of it before ever having read a single book.

When you start to see stupid deer-hunter detective hats on The Muppet Show and in Archie Comics,  it’s time to put this 19th-century chestnut to bed.

************************************************

Almost all of Dickens
We studied Oliver Twist in Grade 13 English.  And that was ENOUGH Dickens for my lifetime.

Poor Oliver this.   Poor Oliver that.   Poor dear darling child.  His chin quivered as tears rolled down his pale cheeks.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

ARGH!  The goody-goody, maudlin style of Victorian writing drove me and my classmates nuts.

In fact, by the end of the book, we were hoping for Oliver to DIE!  DIE!  DIE!

************************************************

Emily Dickinson
I’m not saying she might not be good, but I just never got around to reading her.   And I probably never will.

I’m not putting down people who love her poetry.    But hey, I’m a guy.   And an engineer on top of that.

19th-century recluse poetry is just NOT a high priority with me.

************************************************

Most of Shakespeare
I read and/or saw a few of his plays during my teens.    If I recall, this included King Henry IV Part I, King Henry IV Part II,  MacBeth, King Lear, Twelfth Night.

And that was enough.

Seems we spent more time in English Class trying to decipher the 16th century prose, rather than actually enjoying the story.

I know the English profs will clench their teeth and wring their hands when they hear me say this:

But you know what?  I found it okay, but not great.

I’m sorry, but I DON’T think the Bard of Avon was necessarily the direct pipeline to the Divine Voice of God.

There…I’ve said it.

************************************************

Most of the Dune Series
I plowed my way through the first Dune book.   Bloody annoying.

First of all, Frank Herbert invented an artificial language that was so complicated,  it required you to use a freaking GLOSSARY at the back of the book.  It drove me nuts, having to flip back and forth just to figure out what the hell they were trying to say.

Enough with the Bene Gesserits and Muad’Dibs!  …why dont’ you just write the freaking story in ENGLISH!??

As for the plot itself…I just coudln’t get into it.

And what are there…something like twenty five more Dune books after that?

Hey, if I didnt’ enjoy the first book my chances of reading the sequels are pretty slim.

************************************************

Lord of the Rings
Oh, I can just hear the Dungeons-and-Dragons geeks screaming in angst when I admit I haven’t’ read this one yet.

(No!  No!  I loves my Tolkein.   I knows his books is supposed to be good!)

I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

I probably will…eventually…one day.

Just that reading the trilogy involves a huge investment of time.  (What are there, 37,500 pages in total?).

I’m sorry, I’m in a relationship with several other books right now.

I…I don’t know if I’m ready to make that kind of commitment yet.

************************************************

Pride and Prejudice
The equivalent of a 19th Century Chick-Flick.

Oh, now there’s GREAT READING MATERIAL for a single guy.

‘Nuff said.

************************************************

War and Peace
This is the one people always say they’ll read one day.  (“Oh, yeah, I’m going to bring it to the beach, my goal is to finish it over the summer.”)

It’s as if completing this book is some kind of literary rite-of-passage.

Like eating your brussel sprouts:  it’s something you do because it’s good for you, but you don’t necessarily enjoy.

I’ve never heard anyone tell me they’ve actually LIKED the book, though.

************************************************

Most of James Mitchener
I’ve read three of his books. (And that alone, accounts for more reading than many people do in a lifetime).

But I think I’m done here.

Sweet Jesus, his books are thick enough to stop an artillery shell!   With all the plots, and sub plots, and sub-sub-plots, with hundreds of characters you have to keep track of, there is just WAY TOO MUCH reading.

In Texas, for example,  I could have done without the intricately-detailed description of how the wife of a very minor character I never read about again collected wild pecans on her pioneer homestead to make a pie with.

He obviously must have been paid by the word, or something.

Hey!  Authors!   If you can’t tell me your story within 1000 pages, then chances are, you’re babbling too much.

************************************************

The Bible
I admit it.  I’m a Bible dilettante.

Oh, sure, I’ve read selected passages in Religion Class when I went to Catholic School.  I know bits and pieces of the Gospel from Mass.   But I’ve never read the best-selling book of all time, from cover to cover.

I probably SHOULD.

But I probably won’t.

I might burn in Hell for saying so, but I’m sorry, I find Stephen King more fun to read. 😉

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59 Comments on “Celebrating my Literary Ignorance: A List of Books I’ve Never Read”


  1. I thought I was the only one who doesn’t like Dicken’s. Hmmm. Friar, maybe you really ARE my little brother. I also think Mitchener is a blabber mouth.

  2. Amy Derby Says:

    I read Lord of the Flies, but never Lord of the Rings. I’ve also not read all the Harry Potter books. I saw one of the movies (only because I was dragged), but I fell asleep before the ending.

    I hate Shakespeare. To read, to watch. Everything about the dude. I have no idea what people love about him.

    As far as I can recall, Old Agatha only wrote one book I liked — And Then There Were None (also called Ten Little Indians). I read it in elementary school, so not sure if I would like it now, but I thought it was clever when I was 12.

    Actually, I haven’t read most of the stuff on your list. Some of it I haven’t even heard of. I’ve read the bible, even though I’m not christian, because I went through this athiest phase as a teenager where I felt the need to debate with a lot of bible thumpers.

  3. I. Cant Says:

    This is hilariously perfect. I am an English major, thought not a Tortured Intellectual PhD (lol) with collections by many of these classic authors…that I never read.

    There, I said it. That was cathartic! (smile)

  4. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    You would despise me IRL, wouldn’t you? Except for Dune, I’ve read every bloomin’ thing on your list and I was peeking through my fingers by the end, hoping it wouldn’t be something else I’d read. (My James Mitchner is as limited as yours, but I make up for it by reading David McCullough—lovely nonfiction version of same—the minute he sticks a rough draft in his mailbox. Total addict.)

    Every single thing on the list. Why am I embarrassed?

    I was laughing my head off, though. You do make me laugh at me, but I worry about the fact that you often seem to be inside my head.

    How do other people get on without torturing themselves with War and Peace?

    Better, perhaps. 🙂

    Regards,

    Kelly

  5. Friar Says:

    @Wendi
    You and me both….about Dickens (Though I think we might catch an earful from Steph for admitting it). Isn’t she a big Dickens fan?

    @Amy
    Oh…good point. That’s one I should have mentioned. I haven’t read ONE Harry Potter book either.

    I’m more into black holes and warp drives, rather than wizards and dragons.

    I listened to a CBC show once (driving through Northern Canada out of sheer boredom). This old prof droned on and ON about how great Shakespeare was. My God, you’d think Will was the Second Coming of Christ, or something.

    Like you…I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

    PS. Didn’t they recently change the “Ten Little Indians” title? (Because it was not PC!?)

    @I. Can’t
    Sometimes, I think there’s a conspiracy. The classics are considered great, not because people enjoy them, but because the profs keep telling the students they’re classics, and they help perpetuate the myth.

    (Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me) 😉

    @Kelly
    Oh, DON’T be embarrassed. You’re better read than I am.

    I wasn’t really trying to mock anybody…except myself…I haven’t read this books, and I’m PROUD OF IT. Like I said, it’s a matter of personal taste.

    I’ve read a lot of great classics. But I’ve also indulged in a a lot of junk-food reading that would have the Tortured Intellectuals wring roll their eyes, and cluck disapprovingly.

    Of course, it’s fun to talk to them about the latter, just to get them all riled up.

    Once, my snooty English teacher talked about the Sirens, and I made police car noises in class! 🙂

  6. Amy Derby Says:

    Friar, I think they changed Ten Little Indians back when I was in grade school, so about 20 years ago, maybe 18? My English teacher in grade 7 went on a rant about the title change, so I know it has already happened by then. Re Willy, my girlfriend is a major theater snob (and I sort of am too, but I don’t like shakespeare). She tried so hard to convince me to like it, but I just can’t. She dragged me to one play this year, and she was so sure I’d love it because it was supposedly the best production Chicago has seen in light years, but I was bored and played on my iphone the entire time. Then I ranted about it on one of my private blogs. So she hasn’t tried to convince me to go again. (I’m very grateful.)

    Kelly, I tried very hard to read War and Peace, but I just couldn’t do it. In fact, I couldn’t even make it through the whole Cliff’s Notes version. I have no idea how I passed that test. I wonder how badly you would hate me in real life. 🙂

  7. veredd Says:

    I read most of them, except for War and Peace and Shakespeare.

    But I haven’t read a book since I started blogging 6 months ago.

    You’re not pretentious. I like that.

  8. Martin Says:

    Oh I read War and Peace, when I was on the beach (a very boring beach) and I was enjoying it. Okay, it was sometimes torturing but in the end it was worthy.

    But I even don’t know who the hell is James Mitchener. Never heard of him, so he can’t be so much a classics.

  9. Ann Onymous Says:

    Have you read Homer’s Illiad?

    That’s usually a literary must.

  10. Karen JL Says:

    Um, yeah. Neither have I.

    Between the tortured intellectual post and this one it has now been confirmed that I am officially an uncultured moron.

    …That watched too many cartoons.

    And I can guarantee you that I will *never* read the bible. Everything I need to know about religion I learned from South Park. 😉

  11. Kelly Says:

    Amy,

    No way. You’re like the little sister I wish I could substitute for the one I have. I love her, I love her, but well… hard to explain, but the words No Fun keep coming to mind.

    IRL I’d take you to Einstein’s for a bagel if you were ever in my time zone. & If there weren’t 52 things about bagels that you probably hate, lol.

    Friar,

    I can’t help that former English majors read and love everything in sight. I love coming here to laugh at things I recognize in myself. I’m just glad than when I put it together, my equation doesn’t add up to “stuffy jerk.” If it did, I wouldn’t get why you are one of the funniest people around!

    Sirens. Oh, that’s beautiful. Too, too funny.

    Until later,

    Kelly

  12. Friar Says:

    @Amy
    I remember our English teacher kept telling us NOT to refer to Coles notes (the Canadian version of Cliff’s notes). He was pretty adamant about it.

    I found out why. Coles notes EXPLAINED things CLEARLY, in NORMAL ENGLISH!

    God Forbid, should students use a tool like that. (It would put the Tortured Intellectual English teachers out of work!)

    @veredd
    Thanks for the compliment. I certainly don’t want to come across as pretentious. My goal is to just sh*t-disturb, and annoy the Tortured Intellectuals.

    (Deep down, I already know how “well-read” I am….and that’s all that matters).

    @ Martin
    James Michener is a best-selling author, who’s career spanned five decades.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Michener

    Maybe they don’t study him in Classic Literature, but he’s certainly a prolific and extremely popular author.

    300 years from now, he’ll probably be considered “Classic”.

    @Ann
    Nope. Havent’ read that one. (Though I did see a spoof of it on the Simpsons!) 🙂

    @Karen
    You, uncultured? No, I dont’ think so.

    You provide stories and picture that entertain and amuse us. Who’s to say that isn’t a valid part of our culture?

    @Kelly

    You musta fallen between the cracks in school or something. Because you’re too normal to be a Tortured Intellectual.

    The fact that you find this funny automatically proves you’re not one of Them. 😉

  13. Friar Says:

    @Karen

    The Bible, as interpreted by South Park. (OMG!) 😀

    Though you gotta admit, South Park, in all their irreverence, opens up some very interesting theological questions (Questions that deep down always bugged us, that we never dared ask our teachers or the priests).

  14. Writer Dad Says:

    Don’t feel bad about Lord of the Rings. I was late to the party on that one too. I didn’t read it until like an hour before the movie, and the Hobbit was the first book I ever remember reading.

  15. Karen Swim Says:

    I haven’t read a few of these either but no apologies on my part. 🙂 I love Shakespeare. My dad was a fan so I grew up with the Bard. I think he holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me of my Dad. The Bible is actually full of rocking adventure, once you really read it the Old Testament is better than anything on TV today. 🙂 I am not a fan of Pride and Prejudice, or Gone with the Wind for that matter (I know totally unrelated just wanted to throw that in) so I so get that. Agatha and James don’t float my boat either. Like you said though there are so many books and the joy of reading is that there is something for everyone.

  16. Dan S Says:

    Haven’t read the bible? its like the best sci-fi story ever! imagine this ultimate being who judges on something like the puny little mortals he “created” and then turns them into salt for looking back at a city, tells a man to kill his son to prove himself to him, and a wack of other stuff!
    But i haven’t read nearly any of those books, in fact try finding someone who has out of there own free will 🙂
    though i suggest 1984 if you haven’t read that, or any of vonnegut’s work.

  17. Friar Says:

    @Writer Dad
    Yesss!!! Someone else who hasnt’ read LOTR besides me! 😉

    (Though I wonder if I can still call myself an engineering geek, without having read it?)

    @Karen
    Hah! GWTW is another one I should have added to my list (though someone told me they really liked it).

    From what I know about the Old Testament, that was a pretty harsh time. Floods and fires and plagues and such. I should give it a whirl, and try to read it one of these days.

    @Dan
    The Bible has some pretty far-out sci-fi stuff , when you come to think of it.

    How about flooding the entire planet? Or someone causing the earth to suddenly stop rotating? Or the sky turning red as blood?

    I really liked 1984, and it was quite prophetic. I swear, it reminds me of some large corporations.

    And I love Vonnegut, I’ve read almost all his work.

  18. Amy Derby Says:

    I switched to bloglines, and your comment feed isn’t working for me there either. I’m missing all the fun. *pouts*

    Friar — I couldn’t have gotten through shakespeare without cliff’s notes. Shakespeare might as well be written in Greek for all I got out of it. My feeling about a good book is that if I need a decoder ring to get through it, let’s just skip it.

    Kelly — I will gladly substitute you for a sister. That would rock. And I don’t hate bagels, but I drive people crazy when I eat one. I eat them plain, and I gut them with my fingers. I eat the inside first, then the outside. 🙂

    Karen — Religion according to southpark. I like that. LOL

  19. Rita Says:

    Friar,

    Not only are you far from “illiterate,” but your fictional post is up on my blog today, I hate to prove you wrong, but it’s brilliant.

    Anybody who wishes to read how Friar can write fiction is invited to http://www.bloggrrl.com for HIS words, The entire blog was written by Friar, himself.

    SUPER JOB FRIAR!

    Rita


  20. Hm. So I could see Friar’s version of Cliff Notes…LOL

    I’m still laughing at your sirens sound effect….

  21. Friar Says:

    @Amy

    I’m convinced my English teacher used Cliff notes himself, that’s why he didnt’ want us to look at them.

    Make something appear more complicated than it has to be. Withold information. That way, you can appear smarter and superior to the students you’re trying to impress.

    @Rita

    Aww..gee…Thanks for the encouraging words. 🙂

    Well, you DID help with the editing…!! (Sorry, I still couldnt’ read what I had written…Stupid Microsoft Word…even Brett couldnt’ fix it). I have to get the discs and re-install it from scratch).

    @Janice
    Oh, don’t get me started on Cliffs’ notes.

    Heh heh heh. You’ve just given me a great idea for another Blog post!

    (Friar’s Notes on Literary Classics).

    Oh, no. Look at what you’ve started. 😉

  22. Marelisa Says:

    I was a big Agatha Christie fan, as well as a Sherlock Holmes fan, in my teens. I also read the Lord of the Rings then and loved it. I don’t like Dickens; have you ever tried reading “Bleak House”? Don’t even go there, trust me. Haven’t read the Bible–don’t have any intention of reading it–and I had never heard of the Dune series or of James Mitchener. Other than that, I’ve read everything else you mention on your list.

    Here’s a Mark Twain quote for you: “A classic is something everyone wants to have read but nobody wants to read.”

  23. Friar Says:

    @Marelisa

    That’s an excellent Mark Twain quote! He hit that one right on the money! 🙂

  24. Steph Says:

    YES, I’m a Dickens fan!! He was such a huge part of my child- and teenagehood. I have wonderful memories of sneak-reading David Copperfield in Le Chatelard (an academy)in Les Avants-sur-Montreux in Switzerland) when I was supposed to be working on a mural of religious characters for a high school in Paris… The place was HUGE and I often disappeared, book in hand…

    AND I’m an LOTR fan! I am appalled by how many haven’t read it!! GASP!! I’m choking over here… 🙂

    I went through a phase of devouring any Agatha Christie I could get my hands on, though that was years and years and years ago, and I was just thinking I will pick up her Halloween Party and read it again. I loved her. And AMY!! You’re going to hell for hating Shakespeare.

    All right, so I have never read James Michener. No interest. And although War and Peace sits on my shelf, I haven’t read it, either. I haven’t read anything by James Joyce, except maybe a paragraph, oh, and a short story. I will never read Robinson Crusoe to the end, because I hated that book, and I have struggled with Moby Dick since I was ten. It was the first book I ever bought with my own money.

    Oh my God, don’t even get me started. There are so many good books…and then, it’s all opinion and taste, isn’t it…

  25. Friar Says:

    @Steph
    Heh! heh! I knew you’d come to Dickens’ rescue. but that’s okay! I still love ya! 🙂

    But it’s comforting to know, that even a book-o-phile like yourself hasn’t read all of the so-called “Classics”.

    Makes me wonder….maybe it’s time we asked ourselves just HOW GOOD some of these classics are?

    Would some of these books have gotten accepted by today’s pubilshers? Probably not.

    Back in the 1700’s and 1800’s, I wonder if it was easier to be an author. For one thing. the competition was much easier. You didnt’ have millions of other bloggers to deal with.

    Heck, just the fact that anyone could even WRITE, gave them a huge advantage, and put them well ahead of the general population.


  26. Friar,

    I will have to admit that I have read the bible straight through about 8 times. I just start reading it over again every January. It is honestly a GREAT book. It’s got sex, adventure, violence, suspense, plot, intrigue, and some great love stories.

  27. Friar Says:

    @Wendi

    Wow…that beats my record. I’ve read some favorite books 4-5 times, but never EIGHT. You must really like that book.

    Okay, now everyone’s got me convinced I should pick up the Bible and check it out…

  28. Steph Says:

    Friar: Oh. I have so broken so many rules. I was reading this list of 1001 books to read before you die, and I was like, THIS bore? Not likely! Who decides this stuff, anyway? It’s all what interests you, right? And Proust does not.

    One of my profs was like, you can’t call yourself an English major unless you’ve read Tom Sawyer. UGH! But I did read it. I had to for a class. Or was that Huck Finn? I really abhor books with dialect spelled out in them. It’s one reason I can’t make myself read The Secret Garden, although I loved it on tape when I was a kid!

    Well, now, I’m not sure you’re right about it being easy to publish back then. Kipling was rejected by a guy who told him he had no talent…

    @ wendi: SERIOUSLY?? 8 times?? I have never in my life met anyone who has read it cover to cover. I’ve tried but I didn’t make it very far at all. Though I do find some stories wonderful and many books are so beautifully written.

  29. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    The prof said you can’t call yourself an English Major unless you read Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn…????

    Hahahahh! ….AS IFFFF.

    So I guess your four years of school were useless, and your training and skills you learned werent’ validat, unless you read that ONE BOOK that the ONE PROF happened to like.

    You see? That’s the type of smugness I can’t stand with Tortured Intellectuals PhD’s.

    I read Tom Sawyer and I really liked it (But then again, I was 13-14 at the time!) It’s not as if it’s a life-changing book or anything.

  30. Eva G. Says:

    Tried War and Peace and regularly lapsed into comas. Got through 2 of 3 Lord of the Rings books and essentially wished I hadn’t. There’s only so much description a forest really needs.

  31. goldenzen Says:

    How can I say it? Where do I hide?
    I love Robert Jordan’s wheel of time.
    Not big on Pride and Prejudice.
    Prefer the Bible over Stephen King though…I sleep better. 🙂

  32. Evelyn Lim Says:

    I looked down your list and realized that I have only read Pride and Prejudice, some of Agatha Christie’s books and Oliver Twist. Neither have I read LOTR or the Bible from cover to cover. Oh…what a hoot!


  33. Steph,

    yeah,

    oh…at least 8 times, when I was thinking of how many times, that was how many different versions I can count looking at me right now on my shelf. ( I am a book aholic) But… now putting this in context…I have also read all of the Lord of Rings Three times and War and Peace twice (once as a teen and once as an adult.) The complete works of Shakespeare three summers in a row. I also read Dante’s Divine Comedy a few times for the fun of it. But I will tell you honestly that NONE of that will stop me from being the first in line to grab a Nora Roberts paperback off the shelf the day it comes out. Or many other good smutty paperbacks. I also read the entire Twilight series in two days, I won’t apologize for it either.

  34. Friar Says:

    @Eva
    Okay, thanks for the warning. Now I don’t feel so bad about not having read War and Peace or LOTR. 😉

    @goldenzen

    Stephen King writes great non-horror too (like the Green Mile, The Body, and the Shawshank Redemption, for example).

    @Evelyn Lim
    Hey. Someone else like me!! I’m not alone!

    @Wendi
    I make myself read “intelligent” books on a regular basis. But like you, I often enjoy a good trashy novel.

    One of my favorites is the entire series of Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers. The books are broken down to 1-2 pages per topic. But BOY, do they ever pack in a lot of information. (And nobody says you have to read them on the bathroom, either). 😉


  35. Shawshank Redemption- Book and Movie….Two of my favorites!

  36. Friar Says:

    @Wendi

    Did you also read “The Body”? (which they made into the movie “Stand by Me”)? That was also excellent.


  37. I read a lot of Christie and Conan Doyle in a college class called Detective Fiction. (It was an awesome course!) But somehow I managed to graduate without taking a lick of Shakespeare. He never did it for me either.

    As to LOTR, they are my favorite movies, so I figure why bother reading the books. I’m mixed on the Bible: It’s entertaining in some places, yet boring and completely irrelevant in others.

    Friar, you mentioned The Simpsons’ spoof on the Iliad; have you seen their Bible stories? Milhouse as Moses: What’s funnier (or more sacrilegious) than that?


  38. Friar,
    Yes, I read the Body! The Four Seasons Compilations of Novellas was one of my favorite Stephan King books and three of his best movies came out of there!I was always surprised that the The Breathing Method wasn’t made into a movie ( The last story in that book) as I thought it was the best one written in the bunch.

  39. Friar Says:

    @Rebecca Smith

    I love the Simpsons’ Bible Spoofs! Though you ask what’s more sacriligeous than that?

    Two words:

    South Park!

    (Am I right, Karen JL?) 🙂

  40. Friar Says:

    @Wendi

    Yep! I loved the Four Seasons. (Though now I’m feeling old, because think I read that in ’83). My GOD…was that 25 years ago?

  41. Rita Says:

    Friar,

    After I logged off last night, I remembered that I had to send you that “Bible Post.” My only problem is, I think it might even be too disgusting for YOU. Nah…I’ll look it up and send it. Then you can quote THAT and see a couple of people’s jaws fall 🙂

    Rita


  42. Friar boldly goes where no other man has gone! A toast to you for your bravery and honesty with these.

    Everyone’s responses are pretty great too.

    Hilarious. I agree with most of these, except for the 2 power houses:

    Shakespeare I admire beyond all writers and I love his work. It is so intelligent and emotionally insightful. It is my secret fantasy to be the Shakespeare of 2000s… but geeze, I would have to be hit in the head with the piano of brilliance.

    Laughing about your bible thoughts… I find the bible a most fascinating book that, it seems to me, most religious people haven’t read. In no other book have I read so many stories about murder, revenge, lust, spirits, fantasy, science, law, prophesies, psychics, sorcerers, and so on. When religious groups rally to ban movies, music, etc, it kills me, because I have read nothing more violent or scary or salacious or paranormal than the bible, except for maybe the Koran.

  43. Ian Parker Says:

    Friar,

    Dune and Lord of the Rings can definitely be an acquired taste. I’ll agree to disagree with you on Shakespeare as I’m a big fan. BIG FAN. 😉

    As for War and Peace, I loved it. But read this translation of it.


  44. Add to that the Canadian ‘classics’ we were subjected to. WO Mitchell, Margaret Laurence. God, I wanted Hagar to just shrivel up and die and put us all out of misery. And then there’s the NEW Canadian authors like Barbara Gowdy. That woman is SICK and TWISTED. I had nightmares for weeks after reading We So Seldom Look On Love.

  45. Friar Says:

    @Rita
    NOTHING is too disgusting for me to read! (Well, ALMOST nothing!) 🙂

    @jaden
    Well, maybe I just dont’ get Shakespeare (or nobody properly explained it to me). My English teacher was a big KNOB….that probalby contributed.

    As for the Bible…all those years of Catholic Mass have kinda killed any interest I have in reading it. (Though I’m not saying never….I might try it one day).

    @Ian
    Well, seems our reading tastes are quite dissimilar. But nothing wrong with that. It’s all a matter or personal preference, like I said.

    @Urban Panther
    Hahah! YES…! I remember our mandatory Candian Lit.

    I didn’t mind Duddy Kravitz.

    I didn’t mind “Who has Seen the Wind”, only becase they use the word “spalpeen” in the book.

    But “Fifth Business” SUCKED. I was so godammed SICK of it by the time we were done. It traumatized me for life.

    (It wasn’t even that great of a book). I havent’ read anything by Roberston Davies since….and that was almost 30 years ago!


  46. “Heh heh heh. You’ve just given me a great idea for another Blog post!

    (Friar’s Notes on Literary Classics).

    Friar- I am tricky that way. 😉

    They will be sooo funny.


  47. I majored in English and I haven’t read most of these either. I did take a whole class on Shakespeare but am ashamed to say I too have not read LOTR. I did read the Hobbit though! It’s impossible to read all the literary classics in just one lifetime and there’s nothing wrong with preferring best-selling novels.

  48. Friar Says:

    @Janice

    You guys are great for that…for egging me on!

    @Melissa
    Wow! I’m actually a bit surprised. You have such a great literary knowledge, you write such informative posts, I’d have assumed you’d have read most of these books.

    Heh heh. I was almost expecting to get an earful from you over my comments about Emily Dickinson, though. (Thanks for letting me off the hook).

  49. Karen JL Says:

    @ Friar – South Park can teach you about *all* religions.
    “Dum, dum, dum, dum, dummmm…”

  50. Friar Says:

    @Karen JL

    Especially the “subtle” way the Dum Dum DUMS get louder and LOUDER as the show progresses! 🙂

  51. Amy Derby Says:

    Rita, you have a post that is too disgusting for FRIAR? Oh, this I’ve gotta see. 🙂


  52. @Friar, Nah, I did have to read a lot of classic lit for school and there are plenty I’ve read on my own but seriously, one could dedicate every waking hour and still never get through the entire literary canon. I love sci-fi fantasy, Oprah books, and a few mainstream best-sellers (just a few, mind you). So I try to balance everything. Some of the older works are not easy to get through because the language was so different back then. Two of my favorite literary classics are “Catcher in the Rye” and “Grapes of Wrath.” I didn’t like “The Great Gatsby” at all. Love Shakespeare plays, the poems are just so so. I could go on and on…

  53. Friar Says:

    @Amy

    Yeah, I know…. Frightening to think about, eh? 😮

    @Melissa
    Like the list Steph describes: 1000 books to read before you die. Sheesh! Who has TIME for that? (Assuming you never read anything else).

    I didn’t quite get Catcher in the Rye. The book made me go “Mmmmeh”.

    Though I LOVED Grapes of Wrath. And pretty much all the other Steinbeck I read. (East of Eden was my 2nd favorite).

  54. t.sterling Says:

    Except for Shakespeare, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything from any of those people… Well, maybe Dickinson, but nothing I can remember and I was probably forced. By forced, I mean my school made me do it, and that’s how I read Shakespeare. What a great point about having to interpret what’s being said and missing the point of the story. I couldn’t tell you what MacBeth is about. It was back to back plays, that was the last one, and my brain was fried by that time. Even a fellow poet as myself could only take so much.

    Only one teacher made it interesting and that’s because she was gorgeous and every guy was in love with her. So maybe if she asked me to read War and Peace, I might give in. But as for everything else, I know enough about them to know I won’t pick them up anytime soon. I might not even see the movie if there is one. I don’t read much of anything but I try. Oh yeah, the Bible is on my reading list too. But mostly magazines and news websites. Read any John Cheever? I’m watching Seinfeld DVDs right now and that episode was on so I thought I’d ask.

  55. Friar Says:

    @t. sterling.

    I remember this about MacBeth: Killed people to get ahead and try to become the king or something. Bitch wife had nagged him to do so. But then he died or got screwed around for being such an a-hole. Yadda yadda yadda.

    It was an okay story, not that great, though.

    I think English Class in school was designed to suck all the fun out of books, instead of just letting you enjoy the reading. Probably some of these books wouldn’t be half-bad, if we didnt’ have to over-analyze everything, but I’ll never know.

    Nope, I never read John Cheever.

  56. ng kai-lee Says:

    you’ve never read christie’s works?
    she’s one of my favourite authors of all time, and of course i know some of her books have really far-fetched conclusions… but still… i’ve been trying to find the rest of her books that i haven’t read for a long time… sigh… books are expensive here in malaysia
    i suppose teenagers like me are supposed to read romantic novels… like the “twilight” series, no?
    ok, back to topic, i’d really recommend some christie works to you. “and then there were none” is quite a masterpiece, so they say. it has nothing to do with people in estates who sipped tea all day long. “sad cypress” is quite okay too.

  57. Friar Says:

    @ng

    Books aren’t cheap here in Canada either. You’re looking at at least $12.00 for a the cheapest paperback. Closer to $20 if it’s a best-seller.

    Maybe I will try Agatha one day.

    Just that I have such a LONG list of other books sitting on my shelf that are next on my reading list. And I can barely keep up with THEM. There are only so many hours a day…

    But if I do.,…I’ll remember to start with “And then there were none”. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  58. Jason Says:

    Sorry, but if I was even mildly-suicidal, your vile posting and the even more insipid responses would have sent me over the edge. You people are not only ignorant beyond what I’d previously imagined, you are sick. What really gets to me is not even what you haven’t read, it’s how you juxtapose great art with trash, unable to see any distinctions. That and your utter laziness.

  59. Friar Says:

    @Jason

    Let me guess…you got a degree in the Liberal Arts, right? 😉


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