Friday, 6 February 2009


I had half a mind to post something mildly pretentious today. I was going to highlight my all-time favourite bits from my all time favourite books. I don't know why. I mean, does that sound entertaining? Maybe a little. But it could also be very dreary. Let me know if it sounds like something you might like to read, or more like something you would gnaw your limbs off to avoid. They aren't terribly high brow, I can reassure you. I was going to include a bit from Daniel Deronda (I think I am a bit like Gwendolen, looks wise - she's described as having a very long snaky neck and scornful green eyes), but I gave myself a slap instead and ate a bar of chocolate.

It isn't happening today though, because I only have an hour before gulag time (gulag pancake day too, which will be tricky since they charge you about €5 for a sphere of dough, I have no money and Oscar ate my cash card) and it would require me to face all sorts of insuperable obstacles like, going up two flights of stairs when my legs have wasted away to Ian McShane matchstick dimensions (large man! tiny legs!) from inactivity, and trying to locate books that are probably in the cellar or still in York anyway. Also, the CFO happened on a noise that makes Oscar behave like a rabid monkey and it is very amusing (it's a sort of ghostly whooooooing noise), so I have spent much of the day doing that and falling about laughing.

Instead, and sort of continuing on the theme of confessions, I am going to go the absolute other extreme and telling you all the books I haven't read and films I haven't seen. It will be like the bit in a David Lodge book where all the dons play this game, Humiliation, and one of them admits he hasn't read Hamlet and is instantly doomed, whilst also winning masterfully. It's also a bit like the meme Persephone sent me way back - a hundred books you had to say if you had read or not - that I got halfway through doing and gave up .

So. A sort of cultural confession if you will. The films bit is quite jaw dropping so expect to be shocked. I have nothing to say in my defence. Your job is either to advise me whether to read or see the things on the list of shame, or alternatively, to give me your own list of shame.

Here goes. I can't decide if this will be good or searingly embarassing. Probaby searingly embarassing. Tomorrow, I show you my verucca! (No. I do not have a verucca. Though my son does and he's had it for months, because I am a very bad, neglectful parent).

I have not read:

War and Peace. I own it. I love Anna Karenina. I really should like it, but oh sweet baby jesus, too many battle scenes.

Ulysses - ha. I am not alone and I know it. Also, I claim to have read Dubliners, but I am not even sure if this is true, or if I only read five pages. I suspect the latter. I sure as hell haven't read Finnegan's Wake.

Any John Updike.

Or Philip Roth.

Or Hemingway.

Or Faulkner.

Or John Irving.

Or John Steinbeck.

Basically, if you are an incredibly revered male American author, it is likely I have not read you. Especially if your name is 'John'. No, don't cry.

Lord of the Rings - fantasy - bleugh

Nineteen Eighty Four - futuristic, nope.

Crime and Punishment - title distinctly lacking in fun and escapism, sorry Fyodor, and also, sorry Gwynnie.

One hundred years of solitude - magical realism also out.

Love in the time of cholera - ditto

Heart of Darkness - this is Stowmarket's fault.

Don de Lillo's Underworld - gaaaah. So many pages. So little appeal.

Belle de Seigneur

[Also, I pretend to know all about collaborationist literature in France, but have not in fact read CĂ©line's Voyage au bout de la Nuit, aaargh. Ouch. That one hurt.]

I have not seen:

Citizen Kane


Star Wars

Lord of the Rings


Schindlers List

It's a wonderful life

Apocalypse Now

Easy Rider


Cinema Paradiso

Some like it hot (I know I would love this. But I haven't seen)

Eeeee. I'm cringing at what I've just admitted. Go on, put me out of my misery or prolong it by mocking me.


BMF said...

I cannot be your friend any more because you are culturally illiterate. And yet I never knew.

BMF (ex)

Liberty London Girl said...

Does this make you feel any better? *Coming from journalist & ex film reviewer?)

War and Peace.
Ulysses – ( But I have read Dubliners, & um, enjoyed it, I think)
Any John Updike ( I tried, maybe it’s time to try again since I live in NYC)
Lord of the Rings - fantasy – Yup with you there. NO WAY
Crime and Punishment (I like being amused when I read. Call me shallow)
One hundred years of solitude – magical realism also out. Yup with you there again
Love in the time of cholera - ditto
Heart of Darkness – we’re back to the amusement thing again
Don de Lillo's Underworld – I tired, sooo boring. One of the only books EVER I have given up on
Belle de Seigneur
I have not seen:
Godfather (too long)
Schindlers List (too heartbreaking)
It's a wonderful life (absolutely no excuse)
Apocalypse Now (War, unlikely)
Psycho (Never going to happen either)
Cinema Paradiso (too many wet blokes at uni liked it, put me off)

nappy valley girl said...

Ulysses is one of the only books I've never managed to read in spite of trying - although I did manage to write an essay on it once.

War and Peace - I have read it but confess to skim-reading the battle scenes and wallowing in the human interest/romance bits. My husband read it in exactly the opposite way. Interesting Mars/Venus approach.

Not read any Steinbeck, Roth, Updike - and not tempted to. Would still recommend 1984 and Crime & Punishment, though.

And I've only seen half the films on your list - probably the wrong half, as well......

katyboo1 said...

Ulysses only took me ten years. And it wasn't worth it. I also hated Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist. I draw the line at Finnegan's Bloody Wake. Nobody can say I haven't tried.

I decided to read War and Peace during my next pregnancy. I have had my tubes tied! I did love AK though. I cried.

Nope, not read many great American Male authors either. Specially not the ones called John. I did do a little Hemingway (Old Man of the Sea) and Steinbeck (The Pearl) trust me, you are not missing a thing.

LOTR -Over rated. It's not the fantasy as such. It's the endless poetry. Films far better, less poems.

I liked Conrad. Very claustrophobic. A lot like Camus but with more jungle.

Seen most of them. You should definitely take time to see Some Like it Hot. It's ace.

I finally got round to reading Lord of the Flies last year. I hated it. It was good, but horrible. The year before that I read Catcher in the Rye, pretentious twatmonkey was my thought on that. I think I needed to be eighteen. Did finally read To Kill a Mockingbird recently. Loved it.

Mrs Jones said...

Am with you on almost all the books, except I have read Lord of the Rings (really, don't bother, the film trilogy is good enough), Heart of Darkness (not as much like Apocalypse Now as I would have liked), Nineteen Eighty Four (read when a teenager, I expect it was good).

As for the films - SHAME ON YOU!!! Really! I'm SHOCKED, and I feel an attack of the vapours coming on (except I've not seen Schindler's List either - read the book though). If you'd said 'most of the oeuvre of Akira Kurosawa' I could (just) have forgiven you but, Godfather 1 and 2? Are kidding me?

I'm sorry...I have to go and lie down now (and listen to The Cramps to cheer myself up, even though Lux Interior has just died and that has made me sad).

I think I should set you some homework/penance (I did yours, remember?) At least watch 'It's a Wonderful Life', and try to understand why it's the Christmas film (or should that be 'winter holiday film') of choice for the entire population of the United States...

Sinda said...

I HAVE read:

LOTR - I was 11! Well, when I started, anyway.

John Irving (ditto, 11 - that was a big year for reading)

1984 - was forced to in high school

100 years and love in the time - both read in college, I think

Otherwise, no, no, no, no! I don't even know what Belle de Seigneur is and I refuse to be ashamed enough to even google it!

But, most importantly, I came here to tell you that a child's accordion can really drive a dog WILD. Not that I'd know this first hand, of course....

Juci said...

Yaaay, I haven't seen Casablanca and Schindler's List and The Godfather and Apocalypse Now and Easy Rider either! (Is that sentence even correct?) Anyway, don't read War and Peace. Way too long. But One hundred years of solitude is wonderful, and so is Of Mice and Men and East of Eden. Those I recommend.
And what the hell is Belle du Seigneur? Never heard of it.
If you want to get your hands on some new reading but the CFO is nagging you about the credit crunch, I recommend this: Next one is in Leuven in 3 weeks. We bought 50 books last year for a total of 200 euros. They have English, French and Dutch books, and fairly recent ones, too. It's amazing.

ptooie said...

I've not read LOTR, but I did enjoy the movies. They are beautiful.
I think I read Ulysses, but way back when I was young and bored and stuck at grandparent's house... I went through a set of greatest or important stories or something.
My semi-oddball thing I HAVE read is many Gunter Grass novels. Tin Drum is freaky.
On your movie list, besides LOTR the only ones I've seen are Star Wars and Schindler's List.
It took me 3 days to watch Sling Blade a few years back because I could only watch it when the baby was asleep and she didn't sleep more than 45 minutes at a stretch...

Shoe Envy said...

I am with you on most of your list although I don't consider myself to be particularly well read so it's not surprising really...

I flipped through the pages of Ulysses once and immediately consigned it to the "not in a million years" list.

I have read One Hundred Years of Solitude - in my humble opinion, it is total wank.

However, A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving is very good - I'd definitely recommend it. Although after that I went on to Until I Find You which I didn't like.

As for the films, I get laughed at for never having seen A Few Good Men. Apparently that makes me strange...

fourstar said...

I have never seen Wizard Of Oz or The Sound Of Music. Or Mary Poppins, come to think of it. Actually, I'm now not sure I was ever a child.

Belle said...

I don't give a fig what you have read or not read. We all know that Victoria Beckham has read nothing and she seems to have lots of money.
What about George Clooney? Did you know I have a thing for him? I kinda liked Ian McShane, but not anymore. Not after the legs-thing. I didn't know.

Liberty London Girl said...

oh yes - A Prayer for Owen Meany is wonderful. But then I went on to hate everything else I read that Irving wrote...LLGxx

livesbythewoods said...

I've never seen the Godfather (any of them), Schindler's List, Citizen Kane (Well, saw the last 2 minutes, but that probably doesn't count), Psycho or Cinema Paradiso.

Do love the old fantasy/sci fi/weirdy futuristic bollocks stuff though.

Life is too short to sit through a film that you don't want to see.

Mrs C said...

I'm surprised that you haven't read any John Irving. He's completely barmy. Not that you're completely barmy...

Owen Meany was my favourite of his books. Don't bother with Son of the circus. Trust me.

War and Peace: read it my first year in Paris. I needed an English book to read and the classics were cheaper. I think I paid 10 Francs for it.

Ulysses: I tried. Now it is lining a shelf.

Steinbeck: Mice and Men. Liked it.

The other Great American men other than Irving: No.

1984: Yes

LOTR: Yes. Plus The Hobbit for bonus marks.

And all of the others. Nope.

As for the movies: I'm a terrible movie-goer...

katyboo1 said...

I loved Owen Meany and a lot of his other stuff, Hotel New Hampshire is probably my favourite.

He seems to be obsessed by Vienna Zoo, wrestling and bears for some reason. I am sure it is all deeply symbolic. I have no idea why. That would require me to think.

justme said...

Good grief.....why on earthSHOULD you have read any of those dreary books or watched the tedious films, when you have the whole of the internets at the touch of a keyboard?
I foresee that our children will not read books AT ALL!

CK Lunchbox said...

Hey, I was and English Lit major and never read most of those authors either (Cliff Notes and the Web). Still graduated with an A... go figure.

Also, I wear fake glasses

Jaywalker said...

I'll return to you all more fully, but can I just pass on this from one of my favourite email correspondents on John Irving which made me semi-hysterical:

"all that happens in every one of his novels is one/all of the following:

There is a bear,

There is some kind of circus activity,

There is some incest, if only in the mind,

There is an absence of parenting,

There is wrestling….always with the wrestling,

There is an ostensibly unappealing male character who inexplicably gets the gorgeous woman (he and Woody Allen must be best mates),

There is rampant use of CAPITALISATION

Cross him off your list my friend".

Iheartfashion said...

I'm with you on James Joyce and William Faulkner, but you really should give the Johns a try.
I can't stand magical realism either, so that leaves out 100 Years and Cholera.
War and Peace was required for school and I couldn't even make myself finish the Cliff's Notes! (and I've never used CN for any other book)
DO see Some Like It Hot though-classic.

J. said...

The only good Hemingway book is A Moveable Feast, which is about the American expatriate writers living in Paris in the 1920s and is nothing like anything else he ever wrote. I highly recommend that one. I've hated every other Hemingway book I've ever read, and I've read a lot of them (I live in the village where Hemingway grew up, and his name and works are plastered everywhere. EVERYWHERE).

And I recommend skipping Citizen Kane until you've seen Hearst Castle (palatial estate of publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, the man whose life the Kane character was based on) on a sunny California June day. It's what I imagine heaven might be like. And, rather than reading Steinbeck, go hang out in Monterey, CA and learn about Cannery Row from the murals. It's a gorgeous town with a kickass aquarium where you get to pet stingrays, and much more pleasant than an afternoon with the Grapes of Wrath.

K said...

I read One Hundred years of Solitude and I hated it. Definitely don't waste your time.

That said I kinda liked 1984. I haven't watched a lot of the important movies, but I did watch The Graduate and I don't think I get it.

Persephone said...

I wondered what happened to you. I though you just didn't like me...

Of Mice and Men will take you about half an hour. Then you can say you've read Steinbeck. I remember really enjoying him when I was a teenager, but haven't read him since.
As for the movies, I'm with many people here: See Some Like It Hot. The rest you can live without seeing.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I have only read the Conrad and Ulysees, only because I had to for College.

I have seen virtually all the films, but for Cinema Paradiso, 'though!

And, I do like the idea of you sharing bits of your favourite books with us, JW!

Have a fab weekend - I love that Oscar ate your cashpoint card, but it must be a real pain!

Jeannette said...

You are clearly having too much fun out in the world. Stay in and watch more films!


Faulkner is worth it

Updike (sorry John I know you just died) is not

Roth you'll get sick of unless you like reading about the same alter-ego having sex all the time, not very interesting sex at that.

C & P and W & P... I think one can live very happily without without these. Also the Joyce.

DeLillo is COMPLETELY overrated, couldn't get through the first 10 pages

as is -gag- Carmac McCarthy or whatever his name is

Do read: Schindler's Ark (the book the movie is based on)

Confession: until 2008, I had never read any Dickens!

Red Shoes said...

My brain isn't working well, so I'm not good for a proper comment on this, but I will say that I've seen a photo of your bedside table and I know that for each of these books you haven't read, you've compensated for it with 5000 others. So what if most of them were Grazia and crime novels. If you weigh them against the dreary endlessness of Love In The Time of Cholera (which I tried SO HARD to complete but just could not like the characters enough to give a DAMN whether they made it through to love in old age or not for fucks sake) they totally compare when done in bulk. At least that's what I tell myself, who has not read most of the ones you mentioned either. Literature. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again!

Oh my. I should return to the Quiet Corner, I think. So sorry, everyone.

Cassandra said...

My house is lined with books of all sorts, from the great to the grubby. But you know what? The only one that's never actually here, because people always want to borrow it, is Paula, Michael and Bob - everything you know is wrong, by Gerry Agar. Isn't that a pip?

Completely Alienne said...

There's no point reading a book or watching film if you aren't interested in it - I haven't read or seen most of those on your list either. The only one I am a leetle surprised at is Casablanca (but then I thought my dad was Humphrey - see my honest scrap answers if anyone is remotely interested in my sad delusional life).

I hvae to say I lost interest in this generally when I got to Mrs Jones' comment. Mrs J - how come you keep appearing and passing on information like this. First IKEA do mail order and now Lux Interior is dead. I am sooooo sad. I loved the Cramps, they were great live and I still listen to them and I always had a soft spot for Lux.

I have a long drive tonight and I shall listen to the Cramps all the way. My wv is promyl - guaranteed to be illegal and I bet Lux would have taken it.

Mrs Jones said...

On a completely different matter to your lack of cultural literacy, can I just say that I think your blog is INFINITELY more interesting and funny than 'Wife in the North', and SHE got a book out of it. I suppose it's who you know in this world, isn't it, plus having the gumption to actually buckle down and write the thing. But I reckon a book of your life would be a MASSIVE BESTSELLER....

Mrs Jones said...

Ah, Ms Alienne, I can also tell you how to grow brussel sprouts, play the saxophone, make dichroic glass cabochons for wire-wrapping, and recognise sherds of Iron Age pottery, but I can't make a decent living out of any of it!

Yes, astonishing to think Lux managed to reach 63 years old and was still prancing about in skintight rubber trousers and 5 inch heels to the end. I always wanted to be able to play guitar and chew gum like Poison Ivy...

Anonymous said...

I did two years of Eng Lit at uni, and both 'Love in the Time of Cholera' and 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' were on the reading list. I'm sure I read one, well partly anyway. I have NO recollection of either of them, but I did write essays on both, reading crits etc. Passed too.

On the James Joyce front, occasionally I claim to have read Ulysses (uh-oh, I even had to check the spelling). I tried Finnegans Wake twice - once being stoned but even then my feeble brain could make no sense. Is it possible that it is indeed incomprehensible and that the pretentious ones just claim to understand?

'Lolita' caused a riot in the year below me because one (clearly abused) girl had a public breakdown in a 300 strong lecture hall.

It tool me years to read 'liitteeeatoor' again. I've spent my time reading non fiction. And still know fuck all.

I love 'Vanity Fair'

The first 'Lord of the Rings' films I was dragged to when 8 months pregnant and so continue to be impatient with it all, and I'm never going to read the books

I spent my first few months breastfeeding my first child tied to a bed reading and rereading Victoria Beckham's first autobiography. I am eternally grateful to her.

Just read Naomi Klein's 'Shock Doctrine'. Shocking stuff. I feel naive.


Grit said...

i didn't enjoy updike, but i tried. bloody hated roth twattwattwat. faulkner MANGOD. piss off john irving. and as for that russian lit. fantastic. blow things up and snog.

(this erudite literary criticism is brought to you courtesy of three years lolling about the university of york while the state paid. excellent.)

Jaywalker said...

BMF - oh, you so knew. You just chose to ignore it.

LLG - Yes. That makes me feel a lot better. And spookily as if we may in fact be related, given we both prefer Nancy Mitford and Stella Gibbons to Important Male Americans.

NVG - Phew.

Katyboo - you see, I knew I could rely on you not to let me down despite you having a first in eng lit and all. calling salinger a pretentious twatmonkey. Yes. This is good stuff. More. Also, did you see? my email friend highlighted many of the same leitmotifs as you in irving.

Mrs Jones - indeed. Shame on me. I have never heard The Cramps either. I thought Lux Interior was an esoteric deco magazine, in the style of wallpaper.

Ah. Sinda. I can tell you that the very first thing I did on reading that was summon Fingers to get his from the placard secret. We tried it. Dog tried to eat his head. Most successful. Thank you!

Juci - hhmmm. Most tempting. I might lock him in the cellar and join you.

ptooie - you would have to be SO BORED. I would have read Horse and Hound before Ulysses.

Shoe envy - I'm not sure I know which that one is. Does it involve court marshalls and demi moore? No? See. Pig ignorant.

Fourstar - you must be the only person not hideously traumatised by that trifecta of doom. Hooray.

Belle - yes. Just like Hasselhof. Freakish. What have you done to your picture? Coloured it in with a crayon?

LBTW - well yes. And Prog Rock did make us sit through Metropolis AND battleship potemkin.

Mrs C - I can't decide if I would like it or if it would make me feel peculiar. I suppose I should try.

Justme - no, don't say that. It's my greatest fear. Aiee. No. They must, even if I have to pay them to do so.

CK - why would you do that you crazy person? Glasses are horrid. Real ones at least. Maybe if you know you can take them off and still recognise your family it's different?

Iheart - the johns. I will try. I pledge to try a john.

J - hell yes a kick ass aquarium is so much more appealing than depression lit. yes. I may love you.

K - you see, this is the kind of validation I like. Thank you. I won't.

Persephone - it's lurking half drafted, but it made me sound like a pretentious twatmonkey. And I kept being overcome with desire to lie.

Woman - Imagine the look of grim delight on CFO's face on hearing this news..

Jeanette - hee! Will we still be able to look one another in the face when we have coffee? I doubt.

RedShoes - you clearly enlarged the pic and checked out the books, because yes and yes. No. Don't go back to your corner. You can stay.

Cassandra - what is this book? Also, loving the Night Garden ref. Classy.

CA - it's bad. I should. I would probably enjoy.

Mrs Jones - that is lovely, though also possibly insane. I will cherish it nevertheless.

Anon - Yes. I like you. vanity fair is fun. I mainly watched australian soap operas breast feeding I think. spawn would thrash around and thump me if I tried to read.

Grit - York! Thank god you didn't do social policy or biology or you would have had my parents. I grew up on that bloody campus. "blow things up and snog" is good; did Jacques Berthoud teach you that, I think not.

Grit said...

jacques berthoud on grit's literary abilities: 'seductive confusion'.

(trans: sounds good, but is crap)

Jaywalker said...

Grit - he was quite sweet. What a lovely phrase. My mum had a bit of a crush even though he is nine gazillion years old and slightly dusty.

KSV Woolfoot said...

Before we go all Lord of the Flies here and start exalting philistinism, I am willing to do a little finger sharpening. You must, at least, get Citizen Kane this weekend and watch it. You are positively depriving yourself. And John Updike? For those of us who more or less grew up inside an Updike novel he is essential. Don't you care about American suburbia in the mid-to-late 20th century? Scratch that, I meant "the human condition"?

In other news, this may be the single most brilliant blog post I have read in a year - maybe ever. You should be given a cash prize for it. Look at us all, the world over, scurrying in to have our say. Wow.

La Belette Rouge said...

You cannot survive college-prep American High School English without enduring the Johns and all the other heroic white male fiction. Now, my English lit is extremely limited, primarily to Jane and Emily. I have a long list of classics I have not read. Unfortunately I took a lot of film classes so I have seen all the films you haven't. Does it count if I slept through Star Wars?

Red Shoes said...

get Citizen Kane this weekend and watch it. You are positively depriving yourself

Really?? I must have missed something because I watched it for the first time last year and was positively stunned at how immeritous I found it. I couldn't feel anything for any of the characters, nor was I sufficiently engaged intellectually to make that ok. I was bored, and that was a big let down. I was hoping for so much more.

Helena said...

I've never seen Star Wars and I'm proud.

Anonymous said...

I am so with you! But you've got to read Irving, at least. Also love Gabe Garcia, rest of long Hispanic name guy's books but I couldn't get through them right now, so wait until you're ready for them. Skip the rest, the ones I've actually read/seen weren't worth the time.

ptooie said...

Permit me to return to the 'forced to read it in high school' part of this for a moment, please.
Anybody else have to read Ordinary People? Of all the stupid stuff I read just to take up time because I grew up trapped in a semi-rural area, this book felt like the biggest waste and I had to read it because somebody high up in my school district thought it was wonderful. I hated it.
I was much more entertained reading a biography of Countess Bathory during the time allotted us in class to finish the book (I've always been a fast reader).

AdviceMaven said...

I love this idea. Now I feel like I should go confess on my own blog, but I'll probably wimp out and just blurt things out about everyone else instead.

Jaywalker said...

KSV - Ok, you've convinced me on Updike. I'll give it a shot. I accept the cash prize graciously.

Belette - any you'd actually recommend, dearest? Or am I safe in my ignorance?

Yay Helena! Big old philistine high five!

Anon - I think I might need drugs to read GGM. Irving AND Updike I have now committed to? Will I need supplies (whisky, temazepam, restraints for children)?

Ptooie - never even heard of it. Presumably, from what you say, I should leave it that way?

AdviceMaven - you may confess here. Maybe I should go over to yours to offload my darkest confessions. Yes. There are more. And worse.

Welsh Girl said...

Glad I'm not the only one out there! Having said that, Hundred Years of Solitude is well worth the effort, though I'd take Horseman on the Roof over Love in the Time of Cholera anyday.

I've also never watched The Godfather films nor Easy Rider and have no intention of ever watching them. The second somebody tells me I MUST watch / read something I instantly wish to never see it again. Contrary or what?

Pochyemu said...

If you read one book this year, make sure it's this:

!!! She's at it again!

Jaywalker said...

Pochyemu - noooo! It can't be true! She will never leave us alone.

WG - do you get that with people too? Like "you absolutely MUST meet x you have so much in common I know you'll get along". And then you resolve to hate them?

Red Shoes said...

WV is "brusel".

That's all.

Chantal said...

(I am so late, but we have no internet at home at the mo, thus can only read blogs at work - gah! Or maybe...yay?)

Have to comment here though as a *coughwankercough* Masters graduate in English (glorious, glorious University. I loved you so much. You repayed me by teaching me absolutely nothing at all about the real world). Maybe it means I might be qualified to make you feel better though? Here goes...

War & Peace and Other Important Nineteenth Century Literature: Can't STAND the 19th century until right before the very end of it. 99% of the literature of this period is godforsaken, overlong melodrama where all the men are uptight tossers and all the women are swooning pansies.

Ulysses - rubbish. James Joyce is possibly the most overrated writer in the history of the world. So irritating could not force myself to finish. Dubliners I will concede is quite good though, albeit tainted by knowledge that it is still Joyce.

Great White American Writers: Steinbeck - bit of a simpleton but I quite like his stuff, at least it's readable. Roth, Updike etc -meh. Can't tell difference between them. Hemingway - HATE HATE HATE! Learn! To! Write! In! Sentences! Of! More! Than! One! Word! Rah.

Lord of the Rings - LOVE it and am unashamed to say so. Wrote one of my undergrad dissertations on Manichean vs. Boethian presentations of evil in said book. Am a wanker. Do not care.

1984 - gave me nightmares. 'Tis good though. Do not read if suffering from paranoiac disorder.

Magic Realism - if written by English women, eg the wonderful Angela Carter, thumbs up. If written by pompous, mysoginist South American gits, thumbs down.

Heart of Darkness - manages to be both creepy and totally unbelievable. Not a fan.

Underworld - never read it either.

Belle de Seigneur - have NEVER HEARD of it. Oh dear. Shameful.

God, I don't like much, do I? Fuck knows what I read to get me through 4 years of Uni. Just to add further insult to injury, I have read Jane Eyre up until the last twenty pages then gave up. I DID NOT CARE what happened to the insufferable lunatics. I also don't like Jane Austen. In all fairness, they should probably strip me of my degree and kick me down the steps of my almer mater.

Jaywalker said...

Chantal - hoorah. I enjoyed that a lot. You should take over Late Review, I think. I would totally watch.

mothership said...

Snore and Peace = give a miss, second part seriously boring
Ulysses ,Bugger me,THIS JOB'S TOO HARD

Quite enjoyed Brazil (Updike) but if you hate magic realism you will loathe it. Also was younger and more romantic then. Suspect it would make me hurl now.

Roth - too much masturbation. No thanks.

Hemingway. Misogynistic and incredibly pleased with self so too irritating to read imho

Faulkner - Dunno

John Irving - Read a couple (Garp, Widow for One Year, Fourth Hand). Think he's overrated and highly forgettable. I don't think he agrees with me, but we're unlikely to meet and fall out over it.

John Steinbeck - I have read absolutely EVERYTHING this man has ever written and I love him. He is quite superb. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Especially the funny ones - Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, Tortilla Flat. Also of interest in these credit crunch times is the Grapes of Wrath which gives a very interesting account of the dust bowl 1930's. It has been very interesting to read him again now I live in California and can see the remnants of the California he wrote about, at least that which is not now covered in shopping malls.

Bored of the Rings. need I say more. Only read if you have no friends and like Dungeons and Dragons

Nineteen Eighty Four - I like this book, just re-read it. Lovely to see the 1940's left wing ideas pushed forward to the future which is at once hilariously off , and also not very funny or innacurate.

Crime and Punishment. Duh. I dunno. Too big. Too many words.

Not a big GG Marquez Fan. If I'm going to go magic realism, latino style, I'll take early Isabel Allende, more fun.

not read the other 3

For a book you MUST read if you haven't already, my best book of the last 5 years
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

Kiss the ring.

Can't really get worked up about any of those on your list, have seen a couple of them.
My favourite film of all time is This Is Spinal Tap.
It is not highbrow. It is a monumentally stupid fake rockumentary made in the early 80's.
A lot of people sit through it stony-faced while I roll around weeping, snorting and clutching my sides.

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