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In The Telegraph , Iain Hollingshead offers a list of ” Not the 50 books you must read before you die .” The subtitle claims that the list provide “some tongue-in-cheek literary advice.” But I think he’s mostly serious. At least I hope so. I don’t agree with every entry on his list but some of them would make my list too (#1, 7, 11, 12, 13, . . . ):

1 Ulysses by James Joyce

Only a “modern classic” could condense one man’s day into an experimental epic that takes years to plough through. If the early description of the protagonist going to the lavatory doesn’t make your eyes swim, the final 40 pages, untroubled by punctuation, will.

[ . . . ]

3 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Directly responsible for too many newspaper articles starting: “It is a truth universally acknowledged . . . ”

[ . . . ]

7 The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

Jay Gatsby is not as great a character as everyone thinks he is. Neither is this book, or the author, or the million of people who pretend to like it. Full of people doing tedious things, breaking off only to sleep with each other’s wives.

[ . . . ]

18 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

A tale of mental anguish and intense moral dilemmas. Mercifully, it’s shorter than War and Peace.

Now that the Tournament of Novels is over we can finally admit that there are a number of books that we we simply don’t like. What makes your list?

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