Wednesday, September 17, 2008

10 books to *not* read before you die

by Richard Wilson, Times Online September 17, 2008

10: Ulysses – James Joyce
9: Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien
8: For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
7: À la Recherche du Temps Perdu – Marcel Proust
6: The Dice Man – Luke Reinhart
5: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S Thompson
4: The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolff
3: War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
2: The Iliad -- Homer
1: Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

You really should read the article to see his reasoning. Some are quite funny, some are almost offensive. Take his reasoning on the number two pick, The Iliad:
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.
He left out the bit about the cataloging of ships. Still, it is an amusing article. What are your most over-rated books?


jacqueline said...

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I couldn't finish the book. I tried, I just couldn't. According to Wikipedia (the modern student's Cliffnotes) the book explores the metaphysics of quality by chronicling a 17 day motorcycle trip across the country.

Honestly tho, I saw it as a boring, uneventful roadtrip filled with tinkering with his engine, and longwinded diatribes into his thoughts as he whines about the haves and the have-nots... and why the have-nots are stronger in character... even tho he totally misses the fact that he's taking jabs at his travelling companions for being willing to spend a little more money just for the convenience of not having to worry about their bikes breaking down.... and frankly trying to take your friends down a peg seems slightly weak in character to me.... so yeah.

Don't let the title fool you. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is NOT a doorway to enlightenment or inner peace.

Lien said...

Oh God, anything by Paulo Coelho. Naval-gazing at its eye-rollingly finest.