reading

F is for Famous Books

So . . . there are a lot of famous books out there. Some are more the type you read in high school English classes, some you see on the New York Times bestseller list, some win awards, and some were first published decades ago and are still in print; everyone you know is reading it or plans to; there is a movie or TV show based on it.

Do you read famous books? 

I, sadly, haven’t read too many of these books. Most of the ones I had to read in high school English class were boring; most of the books on the New York Times bestseller list are not to my taste; I only really follow science fiction and fantasy awards, but I have read very few the winning novels; I haven’t read too many old books, because lots of times they’re written in a long, winding style and that just annoys me.

Sometimes I think I should read more famous books, because more people are likely to have read them (So I think anyway. How could famous books stay famous otherwise?) and if people around me get into random conversations about them, I will be more able to participate.

Also, to better understand, what about the book makes it famous. This is why I read Twilight and I still haven’t arrived at an answer. But! I can talk about it now and tell people exactly what I thought of it. So that’s a plus.

But more often I look at my reading options and think: this book looks so much better than the more famous one. I want to read it so much more and I don’t actually have to read this much more famous book. So I don’t.

I think this is why lots of people (anyway, most people who don’t read science fiction or fantasy. Sometimes even people who read science fiction or fantasy.) have never heard of half the books I read.

What about you?

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30 thoughts on “F is for Famous Books

  1. I go by what interests me. I have been wary of some of the extremely popular books. For years I didn’t pick up Harry Potter, only to fall in love with them when I eventually did.

    As for classics, I have read most of the classics and enjoyed them. So I pick up books based on what I think I might enjoy and sometimes they are ‘famous’ books 🙂 Twilight never interested me, so I haven’t picked it up.

    1. Well, sometimes popular books are good!

      I wanted to enjoy Twilight, but didn’t and so I only managed finished it as an intellectual exercise. Otherwise I wouldn’t have finished it as all.

  2. What makes a book famous eh? It seems to me, one that has stood the test of time – classics in other words and then there are books that are turned into film which gives them a wider audience for example Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic, or as has already been mentioned Harry Potter (which I read the whole series) and of course one cannot forget Alice in Wonderland or the Wind in the Willows – for me it doesn’t matter whether a book is famous or not, I like diversity in my reading and in that reading some of my choices will be deemed famous books.

    1. I can agree with that! Harry Potter isn’t that old, but I think it will stay in print for years.

      I haven’t read Alice in Wonderland or the Wind in the Willows – my bad!

  3. I don’t read many famous books, not unless, like you, they cross into my genre, and even then I’m sometimes disappointed. I love The Hobbit, but Lord of the Rings, as a book, for me, is not an easy read (although the story is fantastic). Harry Potter I have read, but I didn’t like book 5 at all, and the last one is dodgy IMO too.

    One famous book that I did read outside my genre and at school too, and, against the odds, loved, was Lord of the Flies by William Golding – it’s a very powerful book.
    Sophie
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

    1. Lord of the Rings is so worth reading though! So good! I have never read Lord of the Flies by William Golding, but I found only a few during English classes that I actually liked.

  4. I do read at least a few famous books each year. I try to fit in at least one or two older classics that I missed in school or college–I have a lot of them around the house so I’m trying to finally read as many as I can. I also read past best sellers. Rarely do I read anything from the current bestseller lists. I tend to be a few years behind on reading like that.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Just lately, I have only managed to read classics during national novel reading month – a challenge where I and twitter friends read some classic book.

      I honestly hardly know what is on the bestseller lists.

  5. Sonia, I read a smattering of everything – famous, not famous, fiction, non-fiction. There are definitely popularly held books that I just can’t can’t can’t connect to. Stories are personal, authors are personal too. When I was in high school, I didn’t understand why some books and stories were classics – over time I’ve come to accept that different cups of tea are out there for a reason.

  6. I love to read and read a lot, but often feel bad because I haven’t read the famous or classical books. It is my dirty little secret.

    Visiting A to Z

  7. I don’t think famous books have necessarily been read by more people-I think it’s because they either have a ‘shocking’ aspect or they make an interesting comment on society, or they’ve had a movie based on them or they’re just well written. I think more people claim to have read the classics than have actually read them. I don’t believe in following trends. I do listen to recommendations from friends, family and fellow bloggers and a book might catch my interest if it is becoming popular, but that wouldn’t be the only reason for me to read it. If I don’t like the sound of the synopsis I won’t bother with it, no matter how popular it is. I read The Hunger Games and Divergent because I like dystopian fiction, but I’m not interested in reading Fifty Shades of Gray or The Fault in Our Stars.

  8. Most of the modern popular fiction books just aren’t to my taste, so I tend to go more by recommendations from friends who know my reading habits. 🙂

  9. I won’t read a book simply because it’s popular. I have to hear good things from people I know to push me toward a book that is outside of my normal favorites. For example, I never read the Harry Potter or Twilight books just because they didn’t appeal to me. On the other hand, I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series based on a few comments people made about it. So I can go either way.

  10. I definitely get intimidated by some classics – especially the older stuff like Dickens or Bronte or Austin and I just don’t know if I can invest the time and effort into reading books like that.
    I sometimes read books that have a lot of hype and are very popular and famous but then they often don’t live up to my expectations because of the hype. Sometimes I find it best to read super famous books a year or to after they’re at their peak famous-ness, then the hypes gone down and I can go into the book without being influenced too much by other people.

  11. It’s a matter of taste. What I liked when I was 20 is not especially what I like now I’m 60. But I still like a good adventure, SciFi/Fantasy is still my preferred genre (though I do like a mystery, spy novel, adventure just as well). I’ve found older stories just as fascinating as newer stuff. My take? Give it all a try.

  12. I wouldn’t pick a book just because it is written by a famous author..I’d pick anything that catches my eye or if I have read a good review about it!

  13. Well, I just know that I’m a sucker for famous books. The moment I read some xyz book is getting in the trend, I want to know why and for that I ought to read that 😉

  14. I’m always torn. There are SO MANY great books out there; many of which are underrated, but I need more hours in my day! I’m in a book club, which has been great because we all have different tastes and it forces me to read books that I may not otherwise pick up. It’s also introduced me to authors I never knew about, but are now on my list of favorites. It’s tough to know which books are worth reading because the whole industry is so subjective. I guess the best thing to do is to keep reading, regardless of what fancy list it’s on.

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