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Guilty by disassociation

I’m currently enrolled in a Reader’s Advisory class, and thought it would be fun to repeat one of our discussion exercises here. Our professor set up a thread where we can come clean and voluntarily admit to the books that we feel guilty for never reading.

You would be surprised how many people have never read Orwell’s “1984″, the number of English Lit majors that struggle with Jane Austen, and all the children’s librarians out there who have somehow steered clear of anything “Harry Potter”. I sheepishly posted that I have never managed to get through anything by Dickens, which started an avalanche of agreement .  Glad to know I’m not the only one!

What about you: what haven’t you read that makes you feel just a little bit guilty? Chances are that someone else will sympathize with you completely. Post in comments and free yourself now!


  1. Arlene says:

    I think life is too short to read books that you don’t like so I usually don’t suffer from guilt. Especially with Dickens. Or Tolstoy. Or Margaret Atwood. Or Tom Clancy. I’ve read some of each, I will never read more. I make myself feel better by sharing my deep passion for Albert Camus who shows up on so many other people’s guilty lists.

  2. Eleanor says:

    I don’t feel guilty about not reading things that don’t interest me, but there are quite a few things I really want to read but just never seem to get to. The list is endless and I’d probably need to learn several languages to do it justice, but here is a sample in no particular order:

    The Lord of the Rings, Dune, Jane Eyre, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Tanakh, New Testament, Qur’an, Prose Edda, Poetic Edda, Beowulf, Iliad, Odyssey, Plato’s Republic, Corpus Aristotelicum, Bacon’s Novum Organum & New Atlantis, Thoreau’s Resistance to Civil Government, Emerson’s Essays, Enûma Eliš, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, Hobbes’ Elementa philosophica & Leviathian, and Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger!

    (Add to this the stack of paperback Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels that I have neither the time to read nor the shelf space to store…)

  3. Samantha says:

    I always felt bad for not reading The Satanic Verses. I tried to start it, but his writing style just turned me off. I hated Pride & Prejudice (but the movie was good) and I never got past chapter one of Anna Karenina. Also on my list:
    The Hero With A Thousand Faces
    Roughing It
    East of Eden
    Madame Bovary
    Dostoevsky’s books

    I also regret not finishing Alastair Reynold’s Revelation Space series. The first two were good, but the third was terrible. I just couldn’t do it.

    A book I’ve had forever and never got around to is Atlas Shrugged. I read the Fountainhead, and that was good, but Atlas Shrugged just scares me. Too daunting.

  4. cturner says:

    There are countless books that I’ve started and failed to finish for one reason or another, but only one that I feel guilty about not finishing: Moby Dick. I’ve started it three or four times and I just can’t seem to generate the momentum necessary to make it through to the end. This summer though, I am going to get a running start and try again.

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