Take It As Unread

Mallory Ortberg kicks offToast thread by coming clean about the books and TV shows she’s only pretended to know:

I will get the ball rolling: I have never seen The Wire. I have seen the pilot for Friday Night Lights three times and the pilot for The West Wing four; I have never seen any other episode for either show. I have never gotten more than three chapters into Lucky Jim because it wasn’t funny and also I hated it. At least two separate friends have lent me their cherished copies of Mary McCarthy’s The Group and I have returned their copies to both of them unopened. I have never read Octavia Butler and I’ve gone for so long without admitting it, I don’t know how I’ll get on after confessing. …

I have read two Chelsea Handler autobiographies. This is not germane to the topic, but I felt the need to confess. I read the first half and the last chapter of The Brothers Karamazov but skipped most of the important stuff. I do not know if I have ever read Camille Paglia. I have a vague idea of who she is — in my mind she is a little bit connected with Fran Leibowitz? — and I know a lot of my friends get mad about her. That’s pretty much it.

I have never read Infinite Jest. I have done my best to give the impression that I have in conversation without ever actually making outright claims, but I have not read even a single word of David Foster Wallace’s fiction. I have never read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, and I do not believe that I ever shall.