You know how every so often you come across an article that really annoys you? So it was when I came across Huffington Post’s A Guide to Pretending to Read Literary Classics. No, it wasn’t just the awkward grammatical tense of the title, it was the principle of the thing.
I hate it when people pretend to have read books. It’s invariably because they think it will impress someone, but actually if you are having an involved conversation you can always tell. If you’re doing it to fit in with friends, it’s a little sad. If you’re doing it in an interview you just end up looking odd. My friend was having an interview to read English Lit at an Oxbridge university a few years back and a book came up in conversation that they hadn’t read it, so they tried to bluff that they had. They didn’t get the place.
If you’re the kind of person who thinks reading the classics gives you a kind of prestige (or that the books that you read are too, and I quote, “pulpy”) go to the library, take out a book and read it. Then you’ll be able to talk about it. Otherwise, and I recommend this to anyone who is truly embarrassed by the things that they enjoy, go to the library and have a rummage in the self-help section for a book on self-acceptance.
Life is too short to people please with your reading material once you’ve left school.