My Photo


Stats & Etc.

  • All written content (c) 2005-2021 Billy Mernit, all rights reserved.

« Literally Like a Girlfriend | Main | Now It Can Be Told, or: Shameless Self-Promotion »



I've been awake for less than 40 minutes. I haven't read the whole post yet (need coffee first), but I have read the first paragraph, and I think - swear to God - it's the funniest thing I've read in months. Thank you!


ok... hmmm.. Loved "Middlemarch," btw.

Ok... i ran out on "House Made of Dawn," by M. Scott Momaday. i thought it was the worst sort of shit. i felt a little guilty, but then i remembered there are lots of native american writers that i DO like (well, 3, anyway), so i got over it.

i tried to read a doris lessing book once and abandoned it for the same reason you did "ulysses" (stream-of-consciousness).

it took all my effort to finish thomas pynchon's "v," but i managed. practically threw a party when i was done.

let's see...

probably my biggest enemy in the history of literature was "the yearling." it was the first school-assigned book i gave up on completely. this was followed in short order by "johnny tremain" and "the autobiography of ben franklin."

there are still goads of "classics" i haven't attempted to read yet, so who knows how many depressing rejections are in my future.

Amy F.

The Confederacy of Dunces. Hated it.

Bill Sebring

This is a topic near and dear to my heart, since I spent many years assuming that I couldn't read, and largely because I didn't get the books I was "supposed" to. As a young man, I was supposed to get, say, Hesse, or "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," or Ibsen, or "Gravity's Rainbow," or "Ulysses"--the list could go on and on.

One of the delights of being a grown-up is that one discovers that it's OK *not* to like everything, even "Ulysses," and, in fact, it's OK to skim, or to hop around, or to read a book anyway one desires. Things began to get better in my thirties when, after ten years of staring at Rushdie's "Shame" on my bookshelf, I found--to my surprise--that I could actually read it.

When I was an undergrad, an instructor made me read Pynchon's shortest ("The Crying of Lot 49"), a book that the sixteen-year-old me just barely understood. But, as a thirtysomething, completing "Mason and Dixon" had a profound effect on me, a psychic weight off my shoulders.

A few years back I edited a themed journal on "the book in the electronic age" and asked a friend (who works in the writing seminars at JHU) to write on unread books. His piece is brilliant, and I'll try to dig it up and pass it along.


Amy, I'm with you on "Dunces"...

Kristen, thanks for steering me clear of Momaday and Yearling...

Bill, I understand your pains with Pynchon, who I struggled with early on but grew to really love. Look forward to the article if you find it...


The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Painful.

Clair Lamb

You hated "Confederacy of Dunces"? Ack! How could you?

The secret of Ulysses is that you can't read it, you have to listen to it... see if you can track down an audio version, and then listen to it only in per-chapter chunks (the Cliff's Notes give you the chapter breaks). You'll go back to parts of it, I promise.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Billy's Books

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2005