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9 Books None Of Us Have Actually Read

Updated on September 16, 2015
Oh, the filthy shame!
Oh, the filthy shame!

Autumn has not been a subtle lover this year (curse her); she has kicked us right in the pants with a gleeful cackle, shaking away the leaves, dropping the temperature, and darkening the days. And thanks to those shorter days, the time is fast approaching when I will no longer be able to take my dinner break outside. But hey, rather than focus on my rapidly diminishing window of fresh air, I thought we would instead usher in this new season by tearing our robes over our perpetual sense of literary shame.Together!

You know what I speak of, padawan. I’m speak of all those books everybody knows about but few have actually read. In fact, if you somehow escaped high school without being forced to flip through these, odds are that you’ve never even opened them. But you’re not alone.

As a side note: I consulted the following article as an accompaniment to this post: Check it out if you have time. It, too, elaborates on humanity’s need to feel well-read without ever actually reading. (We're kind of a stupid species, aren't we?)

Speaking of reading, here's the link to getting my new book for FREE in case you mixed it last week:

You can also check out its sexiness here:

Shameless plug done. Onward!

Why Bother Reading Anyway?

1) Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville

“That’s about the old dude who spends the whole book hunting a whale, right?” For most people, this is the extent of their Moby-Dick knowledge. For others, the only thing they know about it is that it’s got more pages than an English court; that alone is enough to turn them off. Just pick up Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea. Same plot in about five-hundred less pages.

2) Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

When I was a kid, my mom used to chant to me in a sing-song voice: “Run Eliza, run. Run from Simon run.” I think it came from some adaption somewhere. Maybe a musical. I never bothered to look it up. But who is Simon and who is Eliza? Who cares? In fact, if you know which one is the slave and which one is the master, you’re doing better than most people.

So THAT'S where all those went....
So THAT'S where all those went....

3) War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

You’ve been meaning to add this one to your reading list, right? For like 20 years. This is a 1,000+ page monster about people living in Russia during a time of war. All I know is that it has a billion characters who probably (Russian-style) have about ten nicknames a piece. Your time would be better spent whipping up a batch of seasonal pumpkin spice muffins and using this paper beast to fuel your stove.

4) Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

No, this isn’t the one about the guy with bandages on his head. That one’s cool. This one is about blacks and whites and how they interacted in America at one point. If you fell asleep just readying the summary, join the club.

5) Infinite Jest, by David Wallace

We all know this as a social commentary on…something social. As Huff post stated so well, “people don't actually read it so much as walk around carrying its unwieldy bulk in order to be seen carrying its unwieldy bulk.”

6) Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Huff post puts A Christmas Carol on their list because they claim that too many movie versions exist for people to bother reading the actual book. I’m including Tarzan on this list for the same reason, only in this case, the movie versions have hindered the reputation rather than helped it. In fact, the very name “Tarzan” has become a joke, no thanks to all the deformed movies that have come screeching out of the contracting womb of Hollywood over the last fifty years. Most people can’t even say the name of this book without grinning, like they can’t believe you’re actually suggesting they read it.

If only we'd listened to Herbie...
If only we'd listened to Herbie...

7) The Island of Dr. Moreau, by H. G. Wells

Wells will forever be known as the "alien guy." But I think he's actually a prophet. This book right here is about the future. For reals. Too bad you won’t see it coming cuz you’ve never opened it.

8) Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson

“But I already know the ending, so what’s the point?” You’re right; it’s only a classic. What could it possibly teach you? Just be real and admit that you prefer Netflix and a bag of potato chips so Robbie can go off in a corner by himself and sob bitterly.

9) The Bible

Frankly, I don’t see the appeal of this one. It’s only the most quoted book on the planet, neck and neck with the Bard himself. But few have read it from start to finish. In fact, practically nobody has. Who needs to? Everything you need to know is on Google, after all.

See where your  procrastination gets you?
See where your procrastination gets you?


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    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I too have read several of these, but you make a good point!

      (BTW, my favorite was Tarzan of the Apes, which I read as a small boy!)

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      I've read the first few chapters of a couple of these, but I suppose it's because most of them are so damn boring that few folk actually get around to finishing them. It's like all those people who claimed to have read Lord of the Rings - what they actually meant was they'd seen the movie!

    • Bernadette Harris profile image

      Book Bug 2 years ago

      My hat goes off to you for Moby -Dick, Jodah. I never met anyone who made it all the way through that bad boy!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good concept for a hub Bernadette, however I have read some of these from cover to cover: Moby Dick, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the Bible (though this one not in one over many years). Though I haven't read Tarzan I am a fan of Edgar Rice-Burroughs and have read The Time Machine and all the Jon Carter of Mars series.

    • profile image

      Ryan K Y Lai 2 years ago

      I've read #8, though it's obviously the shortest one of those you listed here XD I haven't read Invisible Man, but I've read Wells' THE Invisible Man.

    • Herban Cowgirl profile image

      Herban Cowgirl 2 years ago from Wyoming, USA

      I like the humor here and I have not read any of them cover to cover, except the Bible. Seems fairly important to do if you're a Christian; if you're going to claim to believe all that stuff, you probably better read the whole thing pretty regularly.