Who's asking: Me, but inspired by Tod Goldberg
Over at Jewcy yesterday, Tod Goldberg discussed his habit of pretending to have read important works of literature.
I'll go out on a limb and say that everyone who lives and works in the world of books has done this about at least one book, so today I'm asking you: what's the book you most often claim to have read, but never actually made it through?
For me, it's Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. In 1996 or 1997, my then-housemate Ashton decided that all of us living at 1800 15th Street NW should read it, and discuss it; he bought four copies, and we all started in.
I carried it around with me for about three months, and made it about halfway through. I was traveling a lot at the time, and what alarmed me was how many people stopped me when I was carrying it -- "Are you reading that? That's my favorite book EVER! That book changed my life!"
The oddest instance of this happened at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I was in Cleveland for a meeting, had a couple of hours off and wandered over to check out the Hall and maybe read in the plaza afterward. The ticket-taker, who was somewhere in my age range (30ish), noticed my book and told me that it was the greatest book he'd ever read.
Sometimes I think that if I'd actually been able to finish Atlas Shrugged, I too could be working at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame -- but in the immortal words of Too Much Joy, all I've got is a few big dreams divided into many small regrets.
Anyway, I want to know what your Big Literary Lie is. Leave it in the comments section.
Five Random Songs
"Suite - Judy Blue Eyes," Crosby, Stills & Nash. So beautiful, still.
"President Gas," Psychedelic Furs. Great workout music.
"Jubilee," Mary Chapin Carpenter. This album (Stones in the Road) is my favorite of all her records, a meditation on mid-life and lost love.
"Troubled Times," Fountains of Wayne. Why aren't these guys huge, huge stars?
"Lullaby of London," The Pogues. "May angels bright watch you tonight/And keep you as you sleep."