Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Books Not Read!

Somewhere today while wasting time reading blogs, I came across an article claiming that someone somewhere had done a poll asking people if they had actually read some of the best sellers they had bought.

Answer: Many of them had not.

Now I can't remember what blog I read this on.


Anyway, I seem to recall that Bill Clinton's memoirs were mentioned, and so too DBC Pierre's Vernon Little God, which won the Man Book Prize some years back. To my complete un-surprise Ulysses was also mentioned. Now, I pride myself on being able to wade through some pretty sticky prose--I have read The Worm Ouruboros twice and E.R. Eddison's prose style could have sunk the Titanic if the iceberg hadn't gotten it first--but I have never managed to get more than three pages into Ulysses, and I've always been a little suspicious of people who said they just loved it best book ever. Huh. If you say so. Perhaps I shouldn't project my failing on others, but still...

Anyway, the article struck me because Ulysses is not the only book I've always suspected more people bought than read. There are a lot of Important Books out there, well celebrated, that, in addition to being important, are also Turgid, Obtuse, Pompous, and Flat Out Boring. I have oft wondered how many people, suckered by glowing reviews, have purchased said tomes, read two pages, and then put the book away, convinced the fault lies with them and not within the book.

Mentioning no names, of course!

But, dagnabit, I wish I could remember where I'd read that article.

LATER: Literaticat has kindly reminded me that the article was in the UK Guardian. Link in comment below! Muchas gracias! (Check out Literaticat's blog--fabulous Tiki graphics--now I'm jealous!)


Literaticat said...

They say that more people have bought and not read Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire than have bought and not read Ulysses.


The original article is here, at the Guardian UK.

Ysabeau Wilce said...

Ah, yes, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the other book. Is that the super long Potter? Personally, I'd rather try to slog through Ulysses..!

Thanks for the link to the original article!

Anonymous said...

Well, you got two pages farther along than I ever did on Ulysses. I remember I was hesitant to try Portrait of the Artist too. I said to myself, "If I can understand the first line, I'll make myself read the whole thing if it's the last thing I do." Fortunately, the first line is something like, "Once upon a time there was a moo cow."