#1 10 Books Not To Read Before You Die.09-18-2008, 12:33 PM10 Books Not To Read Before You Die
The producer of at least three television shows that you may quite like shares with us his definitive list of books that just aren't worth the bother
Recommended lists of ‘essential’ reading are the most pernicious ‘to do’ lists of all. Lists of physical achievements or magical holiday destinations or wonderful restaurants or fabulous hotels make you feel like your life has been wasted; a list of great books you should have read makes you feel like your brain has been wasted.
Most people embarking on a journey into a new book will feel they have to hack through a hundred pages of dense undergrowth before their conscience will allow them to give it up as a lost cause. But how many people feel secure enough in their own judgment even to do that? How many times have we all ploughed on to the end to find there’s actually no treasure after all? A book, even a useless one, can take several days out of your life so it’s a big investment.
The best way to fight the massed ranks of recommended books is with an offensively glib and, if possible, ill-informed reason for not bothering with them.
10: Ulysses – James Joyce
There’s a brilliant scene in the much-underrated sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum, when Sergeant Major Williams (Windsor Davies) snatches a book from Mr La-di-dah Gunner Graham and says:
‘What’s this you’re reading? Useless?’
‘Ulysses, Sergeant Major.’
At school I remember my English teacher saying that he knew no one who had managed to get to the end of it. It does sound rubbish, doesn’t it? I’d have thought it was the duty of a great book to drag you along to the last page. But in a way, that’s good to know: if it’s famously hard going you have the perfect excuse not to bother with it.
9: Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien
The best I can say about this book is that it was a very useful tool at school for helping to choose your friends. Carrying a copy of Tolkien’s monstrous tome was the equivalent of a leper’s bell: ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ I knew I would have nothing in common with anyone who had read it. Their taste in music, clothes, television, everything was predetermined by their devotion to Gandalf. Without a shadow of a doubt, in a few years, these people would be going to Peter Gabriel gigs and reading Dune.
09-18-2008, 12:36 PM
Lord of the Rings was tough to read - that's why I only read the three of them twice :DThey're not people, they're hippies!! -Cartman
It is nothing against you to fall down flat, but to lie there - that's disgrace
09-18-2008, 12:44 PM
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Northern Virginia
I haven't read #4 or #6; otherwise, I agree with the Proust choice. The rest were worthwhile, at least in their time and place."Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
09-18-2008, 01:54 PM
I didn't read #6 either. Fear and Loathing is pretty worthless, though.
I have to agree with the author that The Beauty Myth is utterly pointless.
09-18-2008, 02:51 PMWar and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
EyelidsGuest09-18-2008, 04:10 PM
I love Fear and Loathing in LV, though Campaign Trail '72 is better.
09-18-2008, 04:20 PM
If time is short, I'd recommend giving Silas Marner and The Mayor of Casterbridge a miss.
09-18-2008, 04:28 PM
I vehemently disagree w/ No2
2: The Iliad -- Homer
The very idea that you are somehow culturally incomplete without knowledge of Homer is ridiculous. The Iliad is one of the most boring books ever written and it’s not just a boring book, it’s a boring epic poem; all repetitive battle scenes with a lot of reproaching and challenging and utterances escaping the barrier of one’s teeth and nostrils filling with dirt and helmet plumes nodding menacingly. There’s a big fight between Achilles and Hector and that’s about it."Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves." -William Pitt
09-18-2008, 04:42 PMAt Coretta Scott King's funeral in early 2006, Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, leaned over to him and whispered, "The torch is being passed to you." "A chill went up my spine," Obama told an aide. (Newsweek)
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