Saturday, March 17, 2007

"The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea." - Buck Mulligan, in Ulysses by James Joyce

I join 50 Books’ Doppleganger’s List of Books I Have Lied About Reading, already in progress.

I have actually read the one book most people seem to need to lie about: Ulysses.
Also, Satanic Verses.
I LOVED Verses. I had to read it for a class, but wound up falling in love and reading it again a year or two later. On an international flight, before the events of September 11, 2001. Not sure it would be the wisest airplane book now.
I had to read Ulysses for a class as well, and write a rather involved paper on it. Mostly, I enjoyed it well enough, in parts. I loved the Molly Bloom bits, and skimmed the stuff I didn’t love.
I would not want to read it again.

I lied about having read Lolita before I read it and loved it.

I lied about reading tons of plays (I was a drama major in undergrad):
Major Barbara
Death of a Salesman
Desire Under the Elms
Endgame
Emperor Jones
Peer Gynt
More Shakespeare than you can shake a stick at, most of which I read later and enjoyed.

Turns out that designing a set for a play you haven't read really isn't all that difficult.

I do lie to my next-door-neighbor-from-when-I-was-a-kid, Peggy, who was one of my mom’s closest friends. She sends me boxes of books, occasionally winners like the Penny Vincenzis, but more often dreck akin to, if not actually, Danielle Steele. But I call her and thank her and tell her how much I enjoyed them. Because she means well, and she’s eighty years old, people!
Plus, I spent years of my childhood lying to her that I HADN’T read a book her daughter had lent me and which I HAD read but then subsequently lent to my friend Janine, who lost it - or so she claimed – and I was terrified to tell Peggy. So I kept telling her – over two or three years – that I hadn’t read it yet. Damn Baby Island. I used to pray fervently every night that Janine would find that damn book and give it back to me.
So I figure pretending I have read the Danielle Steele-wannabes is some sort of karmic something or other (but, do note, not enough to make me actually read them.)

But mostly I either don’t lie, or I have read whatever book in question. (That sounds unbearably snotty, but it's true. I think it's because I am thrilled to pieces to talk about a book I HAVE read, so...what's the point in trying to talk about a book I haven't?)
Also, really, what else do I have to do with my time?

4 comments:

Joke said...

The reason I never lie about reading books is so I can say, with may head held high: "It sucked dead marmots. I hated it. This author gives book burnings a good name."

I may start a list of 50 Great Books Which Verily Did Suck.

-J.

Sarah Louise said...

I don't think I actually ever said the words "I read Bunnicula, you should too," but I sure hand-sold a lot of copies just by describing it pretty well.

Ditto for Wind in the Willows, which I have since read and love.

Katya said...

I don't lie about reading them either because usually I have or else I just can't bear them -- like Moby Dick and Ulyssess -- I tried but I just couldn't get through them. Satanic Verses either, but I've only tried it once and I usually try a book more than once as sometimes it will take me as much as six starts, as was the case with In Cold Blood, to get into a particular book.

nutmeg said...

I think I should START to lie about all the children's and YA I did not read as a child. I was sooo slack I think I read a couple of Trixie Beldens and maybe a few more of those putrid Sweet Valley High books! I'm trying to catch up on those classics like Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, The Secret Garden, etc etc. And sci-fi like the dark is rising series :-)