Friday Five: The Great Pretender

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

I’m one week into Anna Karenina. A book that is considered by most to be the best book EV-ER and one that has been haunting my to-read list for a very, very, very long time. I don’t know why I’ve been dragging my feet so long because I’m absolutely loving every page. (Russian writing, like Russian music, is simply gorgeous.) It shouldn’t seem as daunting to me as it did, but I suppose that’s what 800+ pages will do to you.

I’ve always loved classic literature, but there’s something about not being in high school anymore that makes me forget to pick one up now and again. And there are several I’ve never read (but really should have) that make me feel like a book-lovin’ fraud.

When I was in high school I took an American Lit class my sophomore year which would set us up for European Lit my junior year. But that junior year never came. I transferred to a different school where their junior AP Lit class focused on….American Lit. So I basically read all of the Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Twain, Lee and Steinbeck I ever wanted to (and most of it twice!), but I missed out on a lot of required reading otherwise.

Buzzfeed had this hilarious list of books people pretend to have read accompanied by a “what you think it’s about” and “why you should actually read it” for each one. Oh, how I laughed. Please read it yourself–you’ll love it and then you’ll spend about 45 minutes browsing BuzzFeed. Happens every. single. time.

I’ve mentioned here and there that I should dedicate a season of My Shelf Life to classics-I-need-to-read, but after spending my down time with Anna for a few days, I know that it’s best to spread them out. Say, one every four months? You appreciate them more that way. Show ‘em the love they deserve!

So, it’s time to come clean.

Here are my top five “oh yeah, I’ve read that” books that I’ve actually never read, illustrated by their Baby Lit companion covers. If babies are digging these stories, then we should too! (Plus it makes them a lot less scary this way.)

5. Frankenstein

Oh, Mary, how could I forget you and your monster? Friend Ica says it’s one of her favorite books, so I better get on this fast.


4. Wuthering Heights

I feel like this is a book that comes up a lot in conversations and pop culture, but I honestly have no clue what it’s about. But I have a feeling that I’m going to be BFFs with these Brontë sisters someday. Which brings me to….


3. Jane Eyre

Now that Anna Karenina is under way, this has moved up in rank to the #1 Classic-I-Actually-Want-to-Read. My former boss said it was her favorite book of all time and continues to read it once a year, every year. That’s a pretty solid seal of approval.


2. Great Expectations

I know this story’s basic characters and some of its plot, but that’s about it. I feel more inclined to read this before seeing Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham. Sorry, this is the only Dickens that has a Baby Lit! Close enough, right?


1. Anything by Jane Austen that isn’t Pride and Prejudice

Talk about your pop culture references! When it comes to literature, Jane’s got them all beat. Too bad I’ve never read most of the original sources: Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park….


Those are my top five, but I have to give honorable mentions to: Madame Bovary, Lolita, Middlemarch, War and Peace (yeah, sorry, not going to happen). Coincidentally there are no Baby Lit versions of those. HA!

But oh how I love those Baby Lit books. I want them all for myself, even though I already know my colors and numbers. They are my go-to baby gifts for mommas. #spoileralert #actsurprised #dontstealmyidea

And because it’s on my nightstand as I type…


Time for you to weigh in! What have you pretended to read? What classics are your favorites? You know what the worst part is about the books on my list? I’ve owned copies of them since I was in high school. No excuses, people, just confessions! Let’s get reading!


7 thoughts on “Friday Five: The Great Pretender

  1. Loved Anna Karina and read it while sitting in a hospital with my dad! Some things we never forget! No familiar with the children’s version of books. Tell me more.

    • I love remembering when and where I read my favorite books for the first time. You definitely need to check out “Baby Lit Books” on Amazon — little primers for kids based on classic literature. All of the photos in the post are book covers from the series. They make really cute gifts!

  2. I love Anna Karenina. And I bought my sister’s daughter the Baby Lit version recently. 🙂 Though really it was more for my sister! It was so cute, I wanted one for myself too.

    • Suzy! Glad to hear your seal of approval for Anna too. I’m loving it. I know what you mean about wanting those baby lit books for yourself, I feel exactly the same way and I don’t even have kids! 🙂

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