Thursday, March 5, 2009

Not so guilty secrets

The Guardian has a piece discussing a survey showing that people often say they've read books they actually haven't. That didn't surprise me. Seriously.

What did amuse me was that the survey, run by World Book Day, found that "When asked to name the writers they really enjoyed, 61% of people ticked JK Rowling and 32% John Grisham." This information was, I think, more to the point. People lie about having read books they think they ought to have read in order to be considered intelligent and well educated. Hence the numbers lying about having read Nineteen Eighty-Four. It's not that they find the book too difficult to read, I'll guess, but that they've simply not had the inclination to read it, but sometimes feel guilty about that. On the other hand, they actually do have the inclination and enjoy books by Rowling and Grisham. Is this bad? Does it mean that these particular people are less well educated or intelligent?

For I admit to a little smile about anyone going by the moniker 'babybooshchick' writing "I am a bit of a book snob and refuse to read any Rowling." Rowling is a wonderful story teller. Why would a 'book snob' not read Rowling?

As for Nineteen Eighty-Four, I've been trying to remember if I have read it. I think I have. Alas, I have no memory of it, other than the niggling feeling that I did at some point read it. That doesn't mean it's not a wonderful book. Simply that at the time I read it, it didn't have as great an impact upon me as other books. I think I was a bit weary at the time of the whole pessimistic future schtick (which may reveal I didn't read it and simply put it aside because I had the suspicion it was like that). We are individuals. We do not all respond to books in the same manner. And sometimes we read a book at the wrong time. Hence, if I do get around to reading or rereading Nineteen Eighty-Four, I'm sure I'll have a different opinion. But there are other books I want to read first.

1 comment:

lorrikeet214 said...

I've read Nineteen-eighty-four! It's really good, although I must confess I don't have a particular inclination to read it again anytime soon... too confronting in the midst of 50% and 75% assessments!