Monday, March 12, 2007

Your (Unreadable) Secret

While I was reading the Guardian Unlimited article, "The great unread: DBC Pierre, Harry Potter...oh yes, and David Blunkett," and I was immediately reminded of a story the boss told me about our old mall manager. One day he walks in and asks for the newest, hottest business title.

No prob, we had it. Yay, goooo booksellers!

As the boss rang him up, she did the usual patter--very popular book, written up in the NY Times, yadda yadda--only to have him tell her point blank, "Really, that's good to know, but I don't plan on reading it."

Say wha--huh?

Turns out he was just buying it to impress someone by leaving it out on the table. To look smart by proximity.

No wonder this Guardian article makes total sense to me, but I don't think that's the only reason people don't read certain titles they bought. There are also those novels that you start but don't finish right away, or those ones you buy for that long off possible snow storm.

But please take the article as your journalistic absolution and share with us the books you just could not bring yourself to read. At least not yet.

Here are my offerings:

Lads by Dave Itzkoff (started but did not finish)
Fallen by T. Jefferson Parker (started but did not finish)
Joker by Ranulfo (haven't started, but plan to at some point)
Anna Karenina by Tolstoy (maybe someday)


Little Willow said...

I don't have any faux-reads myself.

I've had so many customers that get bestsellers to put on their coffee tables and never to read, and it makes me incredibly upset.

Chris said...

Ugh! Who are they trying to impress? And what if they're asked about it?

Hopefully, they remember to dust occasionally.

I read one Henry James book and swore I'd never read another. I still have 2 on the shelf.

Marianne McA said...

On the basis that you have to feel rather guilty about the failure for the book to make the list:

Dickens, the Pickwick Papers.
I've only read one Dickens, Oliver Twist, at school, and I've an uneasy feeling I ought to have read more, so I bought the Pickwick Papers, 'cos it looked a light read. Every now and again I read the first two chapters and give up.
Trollope, The Eustace Diamonds, on the same principle.
Anthony Beevor, The Battle for Spain - I got hoplessly lost really early on. Even with the idiot's guide at the front, I could never remember which faction was which.

Lori said...

Ahh, Dickens! For what ever reason, I can't finish GREAT EXPECTATIONS. I tried in HS and couldn't finish. I tried again when my brother was assigned it in HS . . . and again, couldn't finish. I even tried watching the doggone movie. Never finished that either. It's puzzling and frustrating because I really do enjoy the first half of the story (smile).

Matthew said...

Confessions of a Compulsive Book Buyer:
12 Books on Iraq, 2 of which I'm almost done with
Various classics, because I'm a lit whore- 20K Leagues Under the Sea(new complete translation from the French- unprecedented), various Gothic mysteries- Confessions of a Justified Sinner, The House of Seven Gables; J.K. Huysmans' oeuvre(lit relevant to the decadence movement in graphic art)
Any other compulsive lit whores out there?

I Buy Books said...

(meekly raises hand as another litwhore): I can join everyone else with the unfinished Dickens novels. I've managed to get through The Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations (had to for school), but there are several others I own that I've never even touched. The thing I've learned about Dickens is that he's got 17 different plot ideas all rolling along, but they don't really come together until the end. It really is worth it if you have the patience.

I also have the entire Barchester Towers series (6 books) by Trollope and I've only read the first one.

And Thomas Hardy is my ultimate downfall. Just can't get through anything of his at all.

Sheena said...

Must admit I'm one of the group who have tried to read Salmon Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, and couldn't get past the first chapter.

lady t said...

Okay,I'll confess to the following:

Moby Dick-I tried and the writing is interesting but the story gets so bogged down with all the minuate details of whaling(such as measuring the exact cubic feet of whale blubber)that I just couldn't go on.

Middlemarch-I keep trying but failing to get any further than a few chapters. This annoys me because I had no probelm reading Daniel Deronda or Silas Marner,so why can't I get into what is considered to be George Eliot's masterwork?

White Teeth-good writing but I just couldn't hold on to it.

The Count of Monte Cristo- Got inspired to read it after watching V For Vendetta but my bookmark is still stuck in the same spot. I would have to get the unabridged version!

I confess to being a lit junkie too and have several volumes of Trollope and Henry James that haven't been touched yet or only half attempted. Yet,I don't want to get rid of them,in case I do want to try again.