Books that “everyone” has read but me

I borrowed this nifty idea from Daphne of Nevertravelled’s Blog, who borrowed it from Stefanie of So Many Books.  Basically, this is a list of books that it feels like “everyone” has read except for me.

1. Animal Farm by George Orwell – I read 1984 in high school as required reading, but was never assigned Animal Farm.  I have about zero interest in reading it now.  I feel some aversion to it because I know it’s allegorical, and  I tend to think that allegorical works will distancing and too ‘instructional’ somehow for my tastes.  That said, I do enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia, so it’s not a clear-cut preference.

2. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger – I think I’m too old for this book now.

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Even after seeing so many glowing reviews, including reviews that said, yes, actually it lives up to the hype, I just can’t seem to muster any urgency about reading it.  I think that I probably will read it . . . someday.

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I tried this in high school and it didn’t quite click.  I’ve picked up on a lot of the references (“42”) and yet have not read the source material.

5. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – There is no real reason that I haven’t read this yet, as I think I’d like it.  However, I don’t tend to blind-buy books a lot, and I’d probably have to put myself on a long library waiting list to check it out.

6. Life of Pi by Yann Martel – I know it’s about a tiger and a boy and a boat.  Because that is what is on the cover.

7. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger – I don’t think this book is so much discussed anymore, but I remember feeling like “everyone” had read it because I think most of my family had at the time.

8. The Sweetness at the Bottom of Pie by Alan Bradley – I actually own this one and now I see reviews of the sequel all over the place, so I feel a bit behind. 🙂

9. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen – Despite my tendency not to blind-buy books, I’ve come sooo close to buying this book in airport bookstores.

10. any book by Margaret Atwood – I started reading The Handmaid’s Tale, but it was college and I really didn’t have the time.  Years later and I still haven’t read anything by her although she is such an admired and beloved writer by many.

So will you show me that I’m not alone in the comments or confirm my suspicions?  Also, feel free to throw in some titles of books that you haven’t read that “everyone” else has.

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32 Comments

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32 responses to “Books that “everyone” has read but me

  1. I have not read numbers 1 through 9, but I have read 10…two Margaret Atwood books.

  2. Jason

    Well, I’ve read 6 of 10 books on your list, so I can speak to those. Three I can recommend: Life of Pi (great book for discussion, but you’d have to read it to see why), The Hunger Games (I just did the library waiting list thing — I only had to wait a week and a half, and the story was compelling once the games started), and Three Cups of Tea (very worth it to see the difference a mountaineer and the villages he’s working with are making in Pakistan).
    One I can halfway recommend: Animal Farm does have some good points, though I suppose you could interpret it as preachy.
    Hitchhiker’s Guide has very dry wit; if it didn’t click in high school, it probably won’t now. And I think you’re right about Catcher in the Rye — it’s better read while young (not that you’re old!).
    As for books everyone else has read — well, I’m not planning on ever joining the Twilight bandwagon, so I suppose there are those books. But I’ve been working off my list of books everyone else has read these past couple years, so I can’t include The Book Thief, The Road, The Great Gatsby, or Jane Eyre.

    • You know, I almost put Twilight on the list, but that’s only halfway true. That is, I read half of Twilight but I got bored with it and never finished. Thanks the recommendations. I think I’ll just have to throw a hold on Hunger Games and see how long it takes. 🙂

      I feel like I was a very different reader in high school, so I might still try Hitchhiker’s Guide, just to make sure.

  3. of your list, i have only read Catcher in the Rye and Hunger Games. i tried to read Animal Farm once, but set it aside and never went back to it. i’ll get there someday…

    my list would of books that everyone has read except me would be much longer than 10! i haven’t read Pride and Prejudice or The Great Gatsby. and although i haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird, it is up next on my TBR pile.

    • Pride and Prejudice is fantastic. I read The Great Gatsby in high school but don’t remember caring for it much one way or the other. To Kill a Mockingbird is great.

  4. I’m afraid that I think you are too old for Catcher in the Rye now. I read it a few months ago and I just didn’t get it.

    I haven’t read Peace Like a River, but do own a copy. It seemed to be everywhere last year, but I haven’t seen it mentioned for a while. Perhaps it’s time to get it off the shelf?

    • I think I remember reading your review of Catcher in the Rye and it just confirmed my suspicions about that book.

      I’m not sure if Peace Like a River’s fading buzz is related to its quality or just the fact that there’s only so many books that can be buzzed about at any one time and the others just have to give some ground.

  5. I haven’t read The Help, or Peace Like a River, or Three Cups of Tea. But can I put in a plug for The Handmaid’s Tale? I haven’t read any other Atwood yet, but THT was very, very well-written and well-plotted and just generally good!

    Life of Pi is good too – I was blown away by it the first time I read it – but it’s been years since then, and I’ve never had the urge to reread.

  6. Here’s another plug for The Handmaid’s Tale; a little dated, but still powerful.

    I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games, and that’s it. You’re not missing much with The Hunger Games, especially with the love story that feels tacked on.

    • Ooh, that’s interesting that you would say that about Hunger Games. One of the things I know about this book is that its love triangle has inspired fans to ally themselves with team Peeta or team Gale. I know this even though I don’t know anything about the characters for whom the teams are named. (There do seem to be more team Peeta folks though.)

  7. I’ve read 5 of these 10 — Animal Farm, The Help, Hitchhiker’s Guide, Peace Like a River (just posted about it earlier this month), and Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I’ve loved all of these!

  8. i’ve only read animal’s farm from your list. so you’re definitely not alone. i have a pretty long list of books that i think everyone’s read except me.

  9. I’ve never read Animal Farm. I’ve never heard of Peace Like a River. And I do want to read The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie. I go back and forth on Hunger Games. I keep hearing how good they are but haven’t managed to pick them up yet.

    • Yeah, when I wrote the list, I felt like Peace Like a River was probably the least known, and possible some may not have heard of it. I wasn’t a blogger when it was popular so I didn’t know how much it hit the book blogger world.

  10. I love these lists. Let’s see.

    1. Read this very long ago. It was good to read, if only to be “in” on all the references, but certainly not uplifting…

    2. It was worth reading when I was 15 /16. Not sure how it would translate now…

    3. If a copy comes my way, I’ll read it, but I haven’t made any effort yet.

    4. I read this, but this sort of humor isn’t my thing. It’s funny, but a little too clever for its own good, you know?

    5. I got this from the library and then didn’t read it… but I might try it again sometime.

    6. Oh, I LOVED Life of Pi!! It was totally unexpected and pretty wonderful. I adored this book.

    7. Hmm. Haven’t heard of it!

    8. I wasn’t going to read this, but I’ve read a few reviews lately to change my mind, plus one of the characters is named Daphne, so there you go. It’ll go on the list, probably for the fall or winter.

    9. Eh. Meh.

    10. Atwood can be prickly, but I love her books so much. Handmaid’s Tale is a must-read at some point, but you might enjoy something like Alias Grace or The Blind Assassin first. She is so gifted.

    • Re: your response on #5, I seem to be doing that more and more lately.
      Life of Pi seems to be possibly a love it or hate it book, though I’ve heard more about the “love its.”

      8. Has your name ever prompted you to read Daphne du Maurier’s works? 🙂

      Thanks for the Atwood recommendations!

  11. I lied. I have also read Peace Like a River. That book was not for me…or my bff, Laurel. I cannot recommend it, but know other people who have liked it. But yea, I would recommend skipping that one.

  12. I’ve read about half of your list. I haven’t read THE HELP and probably never will- I gave my galley away and I only do that if I’m SURE I’ll never want the book. I also haven’t read THE HUNGER GAMES because I don’t read a lot of YA generally. I loved Life of Pi, and Atwood is one of my favorite writers and I’ve read almost all of her books. I enjoyed Animal Farm as well. A bunch of stuff you listed is stuff I’ve never even heard of, LOL! 🙂

  13. Well, there are some I haven’t read either if it makes you feel better. I got “The Help” simply because I can’t seem to escape glowing reviews for it … I have yet to read it because I’m nervous I won’t like it. I did read “The Hunger Games” for the same reason … it was OK but suffered from the hype I thought. “Life of Pi” I did read and really liked … you have to push through to the end though to get the payoff. I really enjoyed “Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” — very unique narrator that caught my fancy.

  14. I haven’t read Peace or Sweetness, and have no plans to. And as for 3 Cups of Tea…urgh. That book needed a good editing.

  15. Marie – Oh wow, what made you decide so definitively that The Help wasn’t for you? I’m attracted to the dystopian YA mostly, and the fantasy tales, but not a steady diet of them.

    Jenners – thanks for the advice on Life of Pi. Yeah, hype is can be hard on a book. On the one hand, it’s what helps you to be aware of the book’s existence, but on the other, it can put expectations beyond the book’s capability to meet.

    softdrink – yikes, not good news about Three Cups of Tea. Perhaps not a blind-buy, but a library pick-up after all.

  16. I haven’t read all the comments (sorry!) so someone may have said this already….

    You may enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia because it’s not technically allegorical (at least not all of the books are). While there are certainly parallels with the Christian faith in them, most of the characters and plot elements are not strict archetypes, in that they are developed in and of themselves, thus allowing them to evolve from being mere allegory.

    So that may be why you enjoy Chronicles more than other “allegorical” works.

    I’ll also throw in my recommendation for The Hunger Games. It’s a lot of fun, and I know you are open to YA in general.

  17. I haven’t read The Help either, and a bunch of other ones on that list. I want to read The Help, but after some of the hype has died down and I’ve forgotten all the stuff people have said about it so I can go in sort of without pressure.

  18. Jennifer (the sister)

    Lot’s of good insight – has me thinking the Life of Pi might be a good one. I have read 1 & 2 Christy and blah to the former and yes you are too old for the latter:) I have had too many adults tell me to read Hitchhiker’s Guide, so I will probably read it some day…;)

  19. Scott – You make a good point about the Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis definitely seemed to value telling a good story. Thanks for the rec for Hunger Games!

    Kim – That sounds like a good plan. I think that’s what I will say I am doing because it sounds so nice and strategical. 🙂

    Jen – Has it been unanimous in the comments that I’m too old for Catcher in the Rye? Hee.

  20. Pingback: Books that “everyone” has read but me – Meme Monday « Stuff

  21. bookgazing

    I was so positive I didn’t want to read The Help but when I did it went so fast and felt like a massive reading weight had lifted from my shoulders (also was v good). But I think it’s a book that will keep, because it’s historical not current and is perfect for lazy summer days.

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