Saturday, March 28, 2009

we have always been at war with eastasia

Last one today: I know I've missed the boat a bit as far as World Book Day goes, what with it being three weeks ago and all, but I'm struck by their list of books people claim to have read but haven't. Here's the top ten, in case you missed it:

1. 1984 - George Orwell (42%)
2. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (31%)
3. Ulysses - James Joyce (25%)
4. The Bible (24%)
5. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (16%)
6. A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking (15%)
7. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie (14%)
8. In Remembrance of Things Past - Marcel Proust (9%)
9. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama (6%)
10. The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins (6%)

- many of which are entirely understandable, as long as you accept that it's reasonable for people to lie about these things; I mean, Ulysses, War And Peace and À la recherche du temps perdu are all big forbidding tomes that one could be forgiven for not quite getting round to (though I'd like it noted that I have read War And Peace). What I find utterly extraordinary is that one might lie about having read Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of the most thrilling and accessible and yet life-changing novels ever written, and really not all that long at 300 or so pages. If you're over, say, 16, and you haven't read it, I don't care whether you lie about it habitually or not, get a copy and read it.


The Black Rabbit said...

The Bible AND Selfish Gene in that little list eh?

I would like it noted that even I have managed to fit reading 1984 into my usual non-fiction reading regime. It is good. (I should be on telly with reviews like that!)

electrichalibut said...

Well I wouldn't swear to having read the Bible cover to cover; I think I skipped a few "begats" and some of the smiting. And I've only read half of TSG 'cos I lost my paperback copy, though I found it again when we moved house, so I'd better go and finish it now. Well, not right now....

The Black Rabbit said...

You've only read half of TSG?!
Have you read any of the dawk's works?

nicola said...

I am like you Dave: I have read 'em all apart from dawkins and the bible. and of course i read the frog ones in frog language. I'm boasting now innit.

electrichalibut said...

In answer to Doug's question: no. Half of The Selfish Gene and a bit of at least one of the others; I think it was probably The Blind Watchmaker. Long time ago though. An omission to be rectified, undoubtedly, but, well, you know, there's a lot of other stuff in that queue as well.