ITT: Books that people read just to feel smart -

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I personally think a lot of people claim to read Lovecraft stories and Sherlock Holmes to sound smart despite having never read them. I get this impression as someone who actually has read most if not all the stories in both series and most of the people I talk to on the subjects have little to no actual understanding of the material despite claiming to be "fans" or in some hilarious cases claiming to be experts. My favorite has to be the guy who said Sherlock Holmes are Whodunits and I just looked at him and said "You've clearly never read The Hound Of Baskervilles.."
 

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The Hate U Give is one people "read" in order to seem smart and educated. Back in college I saw fliers for the book because some shitty book club was reading it. I kind of wanted to start a classics reading club but I knew all we would do is read books by women, that school was so obsessed with divershitty.

I read some of Pride & Prejudice after hearing about it for so long and it was so verbose and flat I had to stop not too long into it. The preface to the book was jerking off Austen so much too.
Most people probably haven't read it and simply gave it 5* reviews.
I "read" P&P for AP Lit. And I did, indeed, look at all the words but got nothing from them. What a nothing book, terrible for teenaged boys though I have heard girls say they like it.
 

Getting tard comed

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The “fancy classic” brand: Mostly anything longer than a regular novel, written by a Russian author. Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, etc. The amount of people who think carrying around unread copies of Anna Karenina makes them smart is shocking.
What's the deal with the hate on War & Peace? I'm reading it now for the first time and I'm really, really enjoying it. It's a compelling story, I'm enjoying the relationships and the larger commentary I believe Tolstoy is setting up could be incredibly fascinating and really relevant to today. Why don't people like it?


For contrast, Swann's Way is much more pretentious and nobody has mentioned it yet. It's a 12 volume novel and most people only read the 1st one and that qualifies as reading the whole thing and that book is entirely only read for intellectual superiority purposes.
 

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I "read" P&P for AP Lit. And I did, indeed, look at all the words but got nothing from them. What a nothing book, terrible for teenaged boys though I have heard girls say they like it.
I like the book quite a bit, but it (and really most all Austen) is really just better-written chick lit from 200 years ago. It gets heavily overrated since it's an older book that's still pretty easy to read, both in terms of the prose and the plot. So you can feel smart reading something that's old, but isn't as mentally taxing as like Hawthorne or Melville or something.
 
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I like the book quite a bit, but it (and really most all Austen) is really just better-written chick lit from 200 years ago. It gets heavily overrated since it's an older book that's still pretty easy to read, both in terms of the prose and the plot. So you can feel smart reading something that's old, but isn't as mentally taxing as like Hawthorne or Melville or something.
Austen is a lot smarter as a writer than most of her readers give her credit for, but she's still not a writer one should read to feel smart. Though I do recommend looking up her juvenilia where she's much less restrained about taking the piss out of contemporary social conventions. She pretty much laid the foundation for witty, social comedy/satire romance and because she was a pretty good writer and the genre is pretty simple in itself, she hasn't been really superseded by any other writer. Plus her writing is very clear compared to her contemporaries and influences, so she's easy to get into even 200 years later.

She's enjoyable, but not particularily deep, so if you're reading her to look smart, you should probably try something more complicated or at least less well-known. Matthew Lewis' Monk doesn't get the instant name recognition of Austen, but it's well-known enough and there hasn't been a time in the last 200 years where trashy, lurid anti-Catholicism wasn't in fashion in English speaking countries.
 

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Do you think the characters aren't deep, or Austen's style/plots?
Mostly the plots. I haven't read Mansfield Park which is supposed to be the most atypical, but her other books are ordinary plot-wise. It's probably partially that she's one of the earliest writers who did "modern" chicklit/romantic comedy or however you want to call it, so she does not come off as very innovative after 200 years. Her satire of 18th century sentimental novels and late 18th/early 19th century gothic romances is almost completely lost to 99% of her readers, since those genres have aged much worse than Austen and reading them to get the context would require a lot of effort from almost anyone. (I'm sure there's people who read Mysteries of Udolpho for pleasure and I thin Valancourt Books is doing pretty okay with its reissues of forgotten gothic novels including the ones referenced in Northanger Abbey, but those groups are vastly outnumbered by Austen's readers.)

The characters are just as deep as the reader wants them to be, which I think is one of Austen's strengths and what has made her endure for so long. I maintain that reading Pride and Prejudice as a story of two shitty people whose faults make them just as compatible with each other as their supposed virtues is more interesting than reading it as story of two straightforward romance protagonists, but the story works and is enjoyable either way. Everything I know about Austen suggests that she was smart enough and cared about her writing enough to create that effect intentionally, but it means that what the reader puts into the book is what they get from it. You can read Austen for deep characters and you'll find them, but if you don't, you're still able to enjoy the books.
 

alreadyhome

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Mostly the plots. I haven't read Mansfield Park which is supposed to be the most atypical, but her other books are ordinary plot-wise. It's probably partially that she's one of the earliest writers who did "modern" chicklit/romantic comedy or however you want to call it, so she does not come off as very innovative after 200 years. Her satire of 18th century sentimental novels and late 18th/early 19th century gothic romances is almost completely lost to 99% of her readers, since those genres have aged much worse than Austen and reading them to get the context would require a lot of effort from almost anyone. (I'm sure there's people who read Mysteries of Udolpho for pleasure and I thin Valancourt Books is doing pretty okay with its reissues of forgotten gothic novels including the ones referenced in Northanger Abbey, but those groups are vastly outnumbered by Austen's readers.)

The characters are just as deep as the reader wants them to be, which I think is one of Austen's strengths and what has made her endure for so long. I maintain that reading Pride and Prejudice as a story of two shitty people whose faults make them just as compatible with each other as their supposed virtues is more interesting than reading it as story of two straightforward romance protagonists, but the story works and is enjoyable either way. Everything I know about Austen suggests that she was smart enough and cared about her writing enough to create that effect intentionally, but it means that what the reader puts into the book is what they get from it. You can read Austen for deep characters and you'll find them, but if you don't, you're still able to enjoy the books.
Well-said, I think it's incredible how much variance there is in what people get out of her books, although that may be true for every book, who knows?
 

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What's the deal with the hate on War & Peace? I'm reading it now for the first time and I'm really, really enjoying it. It's a compelling story, I'm enjoying the relationships and the larger commentary I believe Tolstoy is setting up could be incredibly fascinating and really relevant to today. Why don't people like it?
I expressed myself poorly. Those books are great! I personally believe most novels have something to add and a target audience who will love them. I’m more referring to the people who get a false sense of intellectualism from reading these books (the amount of people showing off their unread novels on Instagram is insane).

I believe many people may be put off by the length of his works, though.
 

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Atlas shrugged. read it once, and now i can't figure out what to do with it.
I enjoyed atlas shrugged because I thought it was an interesting premise, though anthem I think is much easier to read and more entertaining. I think it's much better if you don't think of it as some treatise on philosophy but more as over the top hypothetical. The "rape" scene in the fountainhead was really kinda wack and should give everyone the hint that her books aren't big brained takes on economics.
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It's the comic that turned an entire generation of ignored teenagers into angsty anarchy loving retards.
The part where the guy takes acid and proclaims his undying love for homosexuals was such a weird part of that book that doesn't get mentioned enough.
 
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Czargon the Red

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Grad english lit students who say they specialize in postmodern literature.

If I had to drop another book to add to this pile, it'd have to be the girl with the dragon tattoo.
 
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Lmove

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The Greeks.
Or any big philosopher that gets quoted/cited a lot.

I dunno about you guys, but when I ask for someone's opinion I'd like to listen to their opinion, not Nietzsche's.
It gets more annoying when they read only one philosopher and keep parroting them.

E.g.
 

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Starship Troopers.

snip

I really enjoy it but I see Sargon types release hours long videos about its politics and just want to die.
I started reading it because of Sargon's video about the politics, and so far I'm enjoying it a lot.

The wikipedia article about the book is little more than a list of people calling the book racist, sexist, and fascist. If it wasn't for those spergs saying that, I don't think people would defend the book on political grounds.

I personally think a lot of people claim to read Lovecraft stories and Sherlock Holmes to sound smart despite having never read them. I get this impression as someone who actually has read most if not all the stories in both series and most of the people I talk to on the subjects have little to no actual understanding of the material despite claiming to be "fans" or in some hilarious cases claiming to be experts. My favorite has to be the guy who said Sherlock Holmes are Whodunits and I just looked at him and said "You've clearly never read The Hound Of Baskervilles.."
100% agree about Lovecraft. I started reading (listening to the audio books) a while ago and claims like "every story ends with the hero being killed or going insane" are simply false.

Call of Cthulhu in particular is so far removed from the popular opinion of it that I think I might have listened to the wrong story. Most of the story is a bunch of professors talking about a statue, and at the end some fishermen wake up Cthulhu and escape.

Just like Starship Troopers, I've yet to see the racism and antisemitism anti-fans keep talking about.

Edit:
Shakespeare, is like a cliche, is one of the go-to authors people who don't really read like to always mention.
The scene in the Black Adder special where he punches him "for every school boy and girl for the next 400 years" is so satisfying.
 
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Getting tard comed

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I started reading it because of Sargon's video about the politics, and so far I'm enjoying it a lot.

The wikipedia article about the book is little more than a list of people calling the book racist, sexist, and fascist. If it wasn't for those spergs saying that, I don't think people would defend the book on political grounds.


100% agree about Lovecraft. I started reading (listening to the audio books) a while ago and claims like "every story ends with the hero being killed or going insane" are simply false.

Call of Cthulhu in particular is so far removed from the popular opinion of it that I think I might have listened to the wrong story. Most of the story is a bunch of professors talking about a statue, and at the end some fishermen wake up Cthulhu and escape.

Just like Starship Troopers, I've yet to see the racism and antisemitism anti-fans keep talking about.
Lovecraft was "racist" in his personal life. That didn't make it's way in any of his books with the possible exception of one iirc. Unlike 90%+ of today's writers he was able to write something without his personal beliefs seeping into it.
 
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100% agree about Lovecraft. I started reading (listening to the audio books) a while ago and claims like "every story ends with the hero being killed or going insane" are simply false.

Call of Cthulhu in particular is so far removed from the popular opinion of it that I think I might have listened to the wrong story. Most of the story is a bunch of professors talking about a statue, and at the end some fishermen wake up Cthulhu and escape.

Just like Starship Troopers, I've yet to see the racism and antisemitism anti-fans keep talking about.
Lovecraft in general had a lot more range than people give him credit for. It's probably going to get even worse now that a lot of people wouldn't even read his work for fear of being contaminated by racism or at least wouldn't read it without providing a lengthy condemnation of his racism beforehand.

Call of Cthulhu in particular is I think the only time he pulls the trick of 'you, the reader, just went through several narratives by different people about the Cthulhu cult and all of them died in mysterious circumstances. You, the reader, may be next'.

There is a bunch of racism in his works, but it's mostly in his early stories that aren't really read anymore except by completionists because they're not very good. The twist in Polaris is that the monstrous, barbaric race that destroyed the narrator's people is called the Eskimoes. The narrator in Arthur Jermyn burns himself alive because he finds out he had an African great-grandmother. Horror at Red Hook goes heavy on 'all immigrants are evil murderers', but that's one of the stories he wrote living in New York and that colored it a lot. A black man is described as a monster in Reanimator, though that story was one I think even Lovecraft himself regarded as (paid) hackwork. It's definitely extremely low-key compared to what the endless agonizing about reading famous racist Lovecraft might lead you to think.
 

alreadyhome

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Assuming this thread is for books people read just to feel smart, but that then don't make anyone smarter (as opposed to books people read to feel smart that actually do make them smarter):

The Sorrows Of Young Werther
Naked Lunch
Lolita
 
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