The Big Reading Lie

Is there a book you´ve never read but tell people you have?

In all honesty – Yes. I have. But let me explain….

First, let me tell you…I´m not huge on lying. I´m probably the worst liar there is because I get tangled in my own lies. That´s why I don´t lie. Lies are so stupid and worthless because… they´re simply facts that aren´t true.

Years ago, it was frowned upon in the book society when an avid reader claimed to be an avid reader without having read the world´s classics.

“What?! You haven´t read Kafka´s Methamorphosis?” 

So, what does a girl do who´s been asked if she has read the works of Kafka, Nietzsche, Wilde, Austen and Co. but hasn´t? A girl lies.

” Of course. I´ve read Kafka´s Methamorphosis.” My big reading lie.

My problem was-  I´ve already had a few classics under my reading belt up until that moment. Not many classics. Just the one´s I either had to read in School or the one´s my parents had on their bookshelves.

The lie I gave nearly ate me alive. On the one hand, I was ashamed that I (!!) haven´t read anything from Kafka, and on the other hand, I was afraid those same bookish people would eventually want to discuss Kafka´s work with me. The only solution to my problem, before ending up with stomach cramps, was: To pick `Metamorphosis`from Kafka and read it.

And boy, did I ever read Kafka´s Metamorphosis. I read it. I flung it on the sofa. Picked it back up. Hid the book where I thought I would forget about it. Felt bad and pulled it back out. To make a long 3 week story short: I hated it. I hated every page. I despised the words.

There was no negative feeling I hadn´t felt while reading Metamorphosis. But… I was prepared for future discussions with book people. That was my goal and I achieved it with lots of sweat and hate.

After that, I decided no book club was worth the effort. No book discussion would ever drive me to such extremes again. No more lying about books I haven´t read.

What I didn´t know back then was, a classic isn´t necessarily a classic. I read `Little Women` by Louisa May Alcott and I´ve also read a few Jane Austen books. But those were also frowned upon in certain book circles because they´re “mainstream”. You´re only a real book-worm if you´ve read the heavy hams people curse to be true literature classics.

Honestly, I feel like I´m in Highschool, again, taking music. You were only cool if you listened to dubious, unknown artists… or Nirvana and acted all artsy with uncombed hair ( those were the days, eh?).

After my encounter with the book club from the seven pits of Hell I sort of kept an eye on other book discussions. You will not believe the amount of liars there are in those many groups.

“Nietzsche? Oh yeah. I have his collection. Right next to my Fifty Shades Of Grey books.”

“I read Tolstoy when I was 14 years old. Brilliant, I tell you. Just brilliant.”

It´s not that I don´t believe people when they say they´ve read certain classics. I do have faith that not everyone is a liar. But you can spot a book lie when having a book conversation. Words fly back and forth and then it happens.

“Oh, I´m waiting for approval on Netgalley for that one.”

( for Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Publication date: 1932 )

Busted. Caught.

 

Some time after my own private book lie I found a thread on Reddit where people were trying to hold a civilized conversation on the classic literature topic.

That thread was GOLD!

Book people from all corners of the world, from all literature niches were arguing over what could be considered a classic, classic literature… and if those classics were mandatory reads. I watched the thread grow for hours. It was interesting, to say the least. Interesting because so many people have read ALL the world´s classics.

Then there was a woman. I have no idea who she was, where she came from or why she was following the thread but she was my favorite person that evening.  My bookish Hero.

“It´s not a crime if you haven´t read classic literature”

I´m not sure if that woman is still alive or if the classic literature brigade hunted her down. I hope she´s okay.

I have to agree, though. It´s truly not a crime if someone has never touched a classic book before. There´s no shame in reading modern books and believing they´re literature.

Literature in its broadest sense, is any single body of written books. Of course, the older works from long passed writers are considered to be superior because they´re… old and hold a different worth. But does that make modern literature worth less? No.

So, my question still stands.

Is there a book you´ve never read but tell people you have?

Share your secrets and lies.

Thank you for reading.

Morgana ❤

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Big Reading Lie

  1. Haha I love this so much and you for your pure honesty ❤ Although, Brave New World is one of my favorites, there are many classics I will never bother to pick up and have no shame about it. I have never been in a circle where I felt this pressure, thankfully. But reading this, I see how it could really happen to readers. I often struggled with dated titles and every now and then find one or two I love. But I will openly express my dislike and DNF them just like the rest. You are one hundred percent right that modern literature is every bit as valuable.. in 50 years or so.. they will be calling our favorites "classics" 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you..:-) ❤ I read Brave New World in School and years later ( again ) when I wasn´t being forced to read it. Lol. I really enjoyed that one. I find it great that you can DNF a book! Seriously- I can´t find the heart to DNF.
      Let´s hope that the books we read now will be considered as valuable classics 50 years from now. Modern literature has so much to offer. ❤ Thank you for reading and commenting ❤

      Like

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