Slate gathers together a bunch of naughty writers who confess on "great" and not-so-great books they've either never read; or conversely books that constitute a guilty pleasure.
My favourite of the list is Nell Freudenberger's entry, shamed because she's read, but faked her interest in, Thomas Pynchon.
Alas, I've never read Freudneberger, although I've heard a number of good things about her novel, the Dissident. I've sure as hell never finished Pynchon, because I agree with her that
"this morning, I reread the first chapter of Vineland, wondering whether I might have matured since the first time I tried it, in 1994. Nope. I couldn't get through even two pages of my husband's copy of Gravity's Rainbow, but I did note with frustration that the spine is convincingly broken. I'm sure I finished Vineland in college (because I am the type of person who finished all the books assigned—i.e., the type of person who can't understand Thomas Pynchon)."
I took note of her feeling left behind by the "cool" kids in college who had read Pynchon.
It looks like today's young writers don't need to sweat that sort of pressure anymore.
It also looks like tomorrows college students won't be made to feel uncool about reading anything.
Oh well, continued good health to all the boomer's out there.
Posted by Dave