It’s World Book Day and a poll conducted to mark the day has discovered the books that people lie and say they’ve read. Topping the list is George Orwell’s 1984 which happens to be a book I love and – honest – have finished. Most of those surveyed admitted they had lied about reading certain books in order to impress someone, citing classics by Jane Austen, the Brontes sisters, Dickens and Dostoyevsky. Needless to say, Jimmy Joyce is in there too but surprisingly so is Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. Why? Is it on trend to say you’ve read it and that NOT reading it counts as not having your pinky on the political pulse? Tosh. Ditching books because they’re hard going is one thing, ditching them because they’re awful and you’ll never get the time back is another. So without further ado, here are my confessions in both categories.
Cult faves/Classics I didn’t finish:
Ulysses by James Joyce
Reason: Have made several attempts and always lose interest about three-quarters of the way through. Have read and liked Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist, so am not a totally illiterate heathen. I think it’s just another airing soon though…
The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien
Reason: Very unpopular to say this, especially when one of my best friends reckons it’s their favourite book of all time. Sadly, I just couldn’t get into it. And I didn’t find it as funny as everyone says it is.
The Diceman by Luke Rhinehart
Reason:An OTT pile of pretentious rambling is a good enough reason for anyone not to slog on to the end of a book.
Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky
Reason: I think it was because I was 17 when I attempted it and just got bored reading it while simultaneoulsy taping music off the radio. Definitely plan to return it some time.
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
Reason: Now I like Woolf as a writer, but lots of people don’t and if their first introduction to her was this book, it’d be completely understandable. The stream-of-consciousness stuff becomes too much after 40 pages or so.
Books I just lost the will to finish:
Q&A by Vikas Swarup
Reason: I don’t care how many people tell me how great Slumdog Millionaire is, the book its based on is cheesy, formulaic and lame.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Reason: Dull and contrived – I don’t get the appeal of Smith at all.
The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Reason: Predictable, dross that seemed to set out to check a lot of reader boxes. And it’s going to be on telly soon. Oh dear.
So have you fibbed about a book you’ve read? Are you a ditcher and what have you ditched?