March 13, 2014

Literary Quiz

There’s a quiz making the rounds that estimates that most people have only read six books out of the 100 listed. I took the quiz and was horrified to find that I’d only read 33 of the 100. But that put me in the top third of people taking the quiz, so I was somewhat mollified.

The list relies very heavily on British authors, featuring a lot of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters’ books, and nothing by Harper Lee. image

There are some English books that I’d venture to say most Americans have never even heard of. image

Some of the books were “must read” books, but are no longer as current or compelling.image

Even if you can’t bear to take one more quiz, you should look at the great book covers they’ve selected for the books they’ve chosen.image

The quiz is here.

36 comments:

  1. 72, but I grew up without television and haven't owned one since college. Will have to check out the ones I never heard of.

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    1. I don't watch TV either, and I do read a lot, but just not these books!

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  2. 51. There were a lot of fantasy-type books, which I detest, and some that I read but hated (Love in the Time of Cholera, Handmaiden's Tale). Meanwhile, there was little or nothing of humor, 18th century novels, plays of most kinds, non-fiction, etc. etc.

    I think there is a point of diminishing returns matching up your reading to a list like this. The purpose of reading (for me at least) is to explore your own tangents, and it would upset me to match a generic list like this too closely.

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    1. Agree! Because of the Book Thing, I find the most random things which would never, ever appear on a list like this.

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  3. Oh wow...24. I consider myself a "reader"! I do tend to read old stuff so many of the new fiction I have not read. But I have read almost all John Irving so... And many of these books I have read twice - maybe more! Some of these books I only had read partially so I didn't check them - I was very honest...so yeah, 24...I better get reading now!

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    1. Like you, I've read and re-read some of these books and am totally disinterested in others of them.

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  4. To Kill A Mockingbird was on the list! I've read that probably 4-5 times - a favorite

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    1. Don't know how I missed Harper Lee on the list. Maybe I should go back and re-take the quiz!

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  5. I read 53 of the titles. I was a "book nerd" in middle school and high school and that's when I read most of the titles. It was a nice walk down memory lane. I am definitely going to re-read some of these and add a few new titles to my reading list.

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    1. Agree - some new titles and some other old favourites.

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  6. I read 62 of the books, but agree that the list was kind of odd. A.S. Byatt, but no Margaret Drabble, for example. I love lists like this anyway, because I always find some ideas of what to read next. I recently got a copy of Remains of the Day from the Book Thing (thanks Meg--found out about the Book Thing here). That might be next on my reading list.

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  7. You'll love remains of the day. It's stunningly great. As noted, to kill a mockingbird is on the list. It's the only book Harper Lee wrote.

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    1. Don't know how I missed Harper Lee on the list. Maybe I should go back and re-take the quiz!

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  8. Well THAT was embarrassing. I got a 25 *gasp*. There were plenty of worthy bits of literature that were not on the list that I have read though. My husband will have 60 -70 ish he's read everything.

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    1. I can't wait to hear your husband's score!

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  9. I am surprised the da vinci code made such a quiz!

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    1. It really brings the tone down, doesn't it!

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  10. A 58 for me! Nothing like Girls' Latin School's summer reading lists...

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    1. I think that a lot of these were on our summer reading lists!

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  11. 54 was my score. Too heavy on the Austen and Bronte for my tastes, and certainly more old world than American. Even so, if it's books everyone should read (including books for young audiences) I would expect the British to include The Once and Future King. There are definitely some ones I will add to my book list. I have read many of Shakespeare's plays but all?

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    1. I agree... too much historical chick lit!

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  12. 53 was my score + love list like this + I now know what books I will read.xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  13. I've read 80, but I was a miserable bookworm of a teenager. I also regret reading the dull and turgid Marquez. He wasn't any better in Spanish, either.

    Also, where was Black Beauty???

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    1. Excellent!

      There were a lot of holes in this list... as there would be in any list.

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  14. I have a score of 73. Like others above, I was book nerd as a young person and then became an English major. Go figure. Hate the fantasy/sci fi stuff and, sorry, the Potter books.

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  15. I scored a 52, but was a book nerd. Now, I realize that I'm basically reading junk---need to get busy and read more weighty stuff.... Great inspiration.
    xoxo Mary

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  16. Meg, your score nearly matches mine--34, but since you were mollified, I guess I will be too. I think I will take this list to my book club. We could all enlarge our territories.

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  17. I scrolled down and explored Rory Gilmore's reading challenge. Oh how I miss that series. Gilmore Girls was such a quirky show. I wonder how well you and your readers would fare on Rory's quiz.

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  18. 55 for me... I read very quickly, and when I was young the libraries would have brown bag book sales where you could buy an entire bag of whatever would fit for a few dollars less each day the sale went on. I'd go the last day and these older classics would be what was left, so that's what I bought and read. It was kind of nice because when I traveled if bring those books along and leave the ones that didn't connect behind. Tess, Vanity Fair, all of Austen, anything Daphne du Maurier are still among my favorites. Seeing Swallows and Amazons brought back memories, that was a series my grandfather loved and encouraged me to read.

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  19. I'd also read about 30 but what I noted was that it was a strange mix of great lit and "good reads" for the beach or a winter storm. I don't think many of these titles are worth counting.

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  20. I've read 66 of the books. What a treat to find a whole new reading list, of those that I haven't read (notably the Russions and some of the more modern tomes). Fun quiz!

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  21. I haven't done the quiz, but I've read 12 of the ones you pictured in this post.... 8-)

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  22. Thoreau's Walden Pond? Emerson? G. Bernard Shaw? Kipling? I read 55 so not too bad but too many left off: Hemingway? T. S. Elliott? Virginia Woolf?

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  23. Well....my score was 30. Not too impressive, but at least not a total illiterate.
    Thanks for sharing this Meg, it's clearly time for me to increase my reading!

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  24. I got 42. I must say 3 of the 4 you list as maybe not being as well known in America are really quite quite well known. Holmes is almost universal, Conrad is a must on pretty every 'important' list and The Little Prince is a classic. There is even a bar/restaurant called Cafe-Ex in DC named in its honor.

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